Localize Your Content with These Highly Useful Tips
Globalization has forced digital marketers competing on a worldwide scale to pursue localization as the best strategy for connecting with consumers and prospects in markets spread far and wide.
An effective localization strategy can boost brand value and save companies millions. Ignoring or doing a poor job at localization, on the other hand, can create sizable costs for a marketer – in lost sales opportunities, or even in regulatory or legal penalties.
As consumers demand more and more personalization, identifying cultural differences within target markets and tailoring your marketing campaign accordingly can give you a very real competitive advantage.
Just one example? According for Forrester, 56% of visitors to websites stay twice as long on sites available in their native tongue.
Why localize? To avoid risks -- and reap rewards
Many businesses still choose to standardize their international marketing mix. That may be due to the lack of a coherent global marketing strategy, or financial restrictions. But these firms are creating very real risks for themselves.
First off, their marketing messages may be misinterpreted, or may fail to connect at all with audiences, even to the point of arousing customer boycotts or protests. Plus, countries, states and municipalities are introducing new regulations and legalities about digital marketing on a constant basis. So companies may run the risk of making costly errors that result in fines and other sanctions, even outright bans on doing business.
In spite of these risks, a study by LionsbridgeLionsbridge found nearly 40% of companies doing business on the internet don’t have a web content localization strategy. Yet any enterprise that’s operating across national borders needs to count off the benefits an effective localization strategy can bring their way:
- Credibility & loyalty: Offering a website in a local language or dialect projects a professional and customer-focused image to visitors. So it’sit’s no surprise that 52% of online consumers make purchases only from websites that present information in their native language, according to a study by Common Sense Advisory.
- Evangelism: Since a huge amount of product trial and consumer loyalty today is driven by word-of-mouth, especially via social media, earning that local trust can have a major evangelizing effect.
- Improved search engine rankings: Localization also means you’llyou’ll have better presence in search within each country where you’ve created a localized website or digital touchpoint. Users will be typically searching in their native language, and won’t find you unless you’ve translated your content.
- Bottom line rewards: Research has shown there is a strong correlation between brands developing websites in multiple languages and their financial performance. Just one example? A study by the Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) revealed that a typical business was seeing an ROI of $25 for every dollar spent on localization.
A few quick tips for smarter localization?
Here are just a few of the best practices to follow in mounting an effective localization effort:
- Consider the need for language localization within a region (or even within a country): For example, German Swiss has notable differences from the German spoken in Germany.
- By localizing and sub-localizing within a region or market, you create content variation that’s good for SEO.
- Account for the fact that date and time formats and observances may change across borders. In the US, the first day of the week is Sunday, but in the UK? It begins on Monday. In the Maldive Islands? Friday.
- When using video, remember that some other languages may need more words or characters to get the information across than in English subtitles.
Localization needs to be part of the earliest planning stages for any digital experience campaign that reaches across borders. Done right, it reinforces brand identity and local awareness and embrace of your brand. That builds ironclad bonds between you, as a global marketer, and the consumers you’reyou’re servicing in communities around the world.
Want more tips? Get our in-depth guide, 10 Highly Useful Tips for Localizing Content.