If your website has not been localized in other languages — or if you localized it using Google Translate — here is what you are missing:
According to Common Sense Advisory,
- 72.4% of global consumers prefer to use their native language when shopping online.
- 85% of all consumers will not purchase if information is not in their native language.
- 56.2% of these consumers said obtaining information in their own language is even more important than price.
Whether you are marketing a product or a service, or focus on Asia instead of Europe, the trend is ultimately the same: People want to read about your offering in their own language.
In fact, even in the EU where many people are multi-lingual, only half of EU Internet users will bother with an English website — even when no other language is available.
So if you are serious about achieving global marketing success, you simply must localize your websites into your target countries’ languages.
And be sure to use professional linguists. While Google Translate and other programs can sometimes do well, relying on them is unwise since they often commit comical errors and mistakes that can damage your reputation for excellence. This can lead prospective customers to naturally wonder that if you are willing to settle for a cheap, second-rate presentation, how can you be trusted to provide first-rate products or services?
But localizing some or all of your website into other languages is only one step toward successful global expansion. Other issues to consider are:
1- Do you know what countries or world regions are most receptive to your product or service?
Demographic research will tell you.
2- Do you know how to enter those markets?
Don’t assume that what works here will also work there. You may need to employ different product configuring, packaging, soliciting, pricing and selling methods.
For example, if you make candy or shampoo, the developing world could be a prime market. But you may need to repackage your products in small packets of one or two pieces or individual sachets for one or two uses. Often, most people in these countries work at outdoor markets, small shops or as day laborers, earning cash daily or weekly. They can afford small quantities for small prices, earning you a much larger market share.
3- How formal or informal is your target country?
In informal countries such as the US, Australia and New Zealand, you can use methods such as cold calling, email blasting or postal ads to attract prospects. In formal countries, such as East Asia, India, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America, personal connections or relationships are seen as more trustworthy. If you are marketing there:
- Do you have a network of personal connections?
- How extensive is the network of your distributor or agent?
4- Do you know your target country’s retail methods?
Best Buy thought it did when it entered China. It simply replicated its successful model of the US in which many manufacturers’ electronics products are sold under one roof by category (all printers, all TVs, all CD players in their respective sections). But in China, that was a disaster because:
- Customers there shop by manufacturer, not by product category. So to them, Best Buy’s layout was confusing and frustrating;
- Chinese sales reps are loyal to and employed by their manufacturer (brand), not to the retailer at which they work; and finally
- Best Buy emphasizes post-sale customer service. This adds to product prices, while most Chinese customers value cheaper prices more than post-sale service.
In short, languages — whether for brochures, user manuals, contracts or websites — are very important but are one part of the global marketing mix. Many other marketing elements are equally as vital.
We at Auerbach International are one of the very few firms that combine both first-class language services and state-of-the-art global marketing solutions under one roof. If you seek to expand your company’s global footprint, please contact us for a free quote or consultation.