Do you dream of your company having its representative offices abroad? Do you wish that your products or services are bought by people worldwide? In times of globalisation and e-commerce this is possible. However, there is one important factor that is required for success of such activities and that is localisation. We do not mean an attractive place for opening another office but a communication strategy.
Who are your customers?
This is one of the key questions, the starting point for any marketing strategy, besides how you define your product. Another step will be to become aware how you would like to communicate your activities, and if your business operates globally, in what language?
A simple statement “everyone knows English now” is only partially true. Research of Professor Urlich Ammon from the University in Dusseldorf has shown that the biggest number of people in the world indicated Chinese as their native language (1.39 billion). Hindi or Urdu are ranked second (588 million), while English was only ranked third (527 million; Newsweek, April 2015).
A slightly older study conducted in 2014 by Common Sense Advisory, whose results were published in a report entitled “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy”, indicated that 87% of respondents who did not speak English would not buy products or services from English-language websites. The survey was participated by 3002 people from 10 countries: Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Spain and Turkey.
What does it mean? Choosing a language for communicating your brand should be preceded by a survey of the target group because reaching a customer will be effective only if you speak their language (literally!).
Localisation – what is it?
Using translation services and/or employing specialists who speak a given foreign language is a guarantee of success of your brand on global markets. What is more, in order for communication to be effective and comprehensible to the recipients, familiarity with the culture and reality of a given country are a must.
Hence, your website and the content that you wish to reach your target group with, should not lack the proper register, understandable specialised linguistic terms or a good sense of style typical for a given language, to avoid ambiguity. This also applies to naming domestic currencies, units of measure, time zones, etc. in all contact forms, payment systems or in product descriptions.
Such a procedure is called localisation and it strongly differentiates the method of communication with a French-speaking customer from a Polish- or Spanish-speaking customer, despite the fact that the idea of the information you wish to convey remains the same.
Benefits for your company
Thanks to conscious localisation of messages regarding the products or services you offer, your company will gain various benefits:
- Prestige and brand recognisability – a domain with the proper suffix, e.g. .com, .pro, .io as well as a multilingual website with professionally prepared content is a sign for the customer that they are dealing with a trustworthy global brand;
- Increasing number of customers – the bigger the number of recipients combined with understanding their needs, the bigger interest in your products and services;
- Better visibility in search results – the Google search engine is the most popular engine in the world (used by a total of 1.17 billion, in the US, this is 75% of the market). It promotes local results that respond to the needs of users in different countries (the English version of the website targeted at recipients in Germany does not necessarily meet the above assumptions);
- Increasing reach in social media and other channels of promotion – professionally prepared content (with a sense of humour, educational, etc.) in a given foreign language will be more eagerly shared by users than the same material created for everyone in English;
- Higher value in terms of UX – a website adjusted to the recipient in terms of the language will simplify navigation and affect an increase of conversion (purchase of a product, signing up to a newsletter, etc.). A good example is the often forgotten 404 error page that is displayed in English by default. When you prepare it in a number of language versions and guide the user through further steps, this will certainly reduce the coefficient of rejections and will make the user more willing to view the offer.
What is your opinion? Are you happier to shop on websites in you native language or in English?