By Emily Rollwitz – Content Marketing Executive, Global App Testing
Whether you’re an established company or a new small business, eventually you’ll want to expand into global markets. Localisation can help you reach customers in their native language. Research indicates as many as 90% of customers prefer to shop in their native language.
For new ecommerce businesses, you should consider it from the get-go. 50% of all Google queries are in a language other than English. Many users won’t engage with your site if it’s only optimised for English speakers.
What is Localisation?
You might think just translating your English content to another language will be enough. You can certainly provide a bit more accessibility to your content that way. Yet, if you want to give the same quality experience to your global customers, localisation is the better option.
That’s because localisation takes the context of local culture and preferences into account. Rather than just translating the words directly, localisation adapts content to be more relevant to local sensibilities and habits.
It doesn’t just stop with the words, either. When localising content, everything from the images and colours used to the tone of voice needs to be considered. Local currency, political and legal policy are also essential factors.
Take a look at this PandaDoc PPC proposal example. Translating the language would be relatively simple. To localise it, you might need to change the pricing and currencies, the third-party platforms mentioned, and even the colour scheme and date format.
Why is Localisation More Effective Than Translation for Marketing?
There are two main pillars that drive most of today’s marketing; personalisation and engagement. Simply translating content doesn’t facilitate either of these goals.
Effective localisation involves the analysis of the local market and market research. When you have this information, creating engaging content for a new audience is much easier.
Seven Key Considerations for Quality Localisation Strategy
The best advice we could give for localising your content is to think of it as a business strategy. You won’t achieve much if you focus on localising individual pieces of marketing content or web pages. Truly localising your content needs a business-wide approach, whether through social media or digital signage.
These seven key principles will help you approach localisation with a coherent strategy.
1. Identify & Target Diverse Markets
Seeking out new markets internationally can lead to significant revenue growth. If you’re based in the UK, it can seem sensible to focus on domestic and local European markets for easy logistics. Yet, Asia contains over half of the world’s internet users.
Your ideal market could be halfway around the world, depending on your industry. Once you’ve identified your new target market, you need to analyze it. Researching buying habits and preferred communication channels will help you position your localised content.
2. Understand Local Culture to Create Deeper Connections
The key to successful localisation is understanding the local culture. We often take cultural norms for granted. In the U.K, for example, we all recognise red as the colour of warning signs, stop signs, and so on. But in East Asian markets, red has more positive symbolic meanings.
This kind of cultural understanding trips businesses up more often than simple translation blunders. Working with a localisation partner can help you integrate local cultural ideas into your marketing.
3. Personalise for a Better Customer Experience
It doesn’t matter what market you’re in, today’s customer expects a personalised experience. When you’re building a localisation strategy it helps to keep this in mind. Building geolocation features into your apps will help you personalise content based on a user’s locale.
Personalising your user experience doesn’t stop there. To fully engage with your global customers, all your after-sales support, marketing, and customer care must also be localised.
4. Internal & External Applications
Localisation isn’t just important when dealing with new customers. There are also business relationships to consider. You may need to deal with local suppliers, business partners, local contractors, and more.
Your localisation strategy should consider your internal materials too. This can be especially useful if you’re looking to launch an ecommerce app in an international market. Effective localisation will help you work with local software engineers on continuous delivery testing.
5. Localise in All Departments
All of your customer interaction points will need to be considered in your localisation plan. Ideally, you want to give your international customers the same experience as your domestic audience.
To do that effectively means not only making your sales and marketing locally relevant, but also your customer service, help center, account management, and shipping.
6. Research Local Currency & Payment Preferences
Apart from the obvious need to translate prices to account for local currency and taxes, there are also payment methods to consider. Different regions have different preferences, in many places, digital and mobile wallets have overtaken debit and credit cards as the go-to method.
If you want to get the most out of a new market, you need to approach customers where they want to be. That means facilitating their preferred payment channels too.
7. Create a Well-Defined Strategy Document
Your localisation strategy won’t mean much if you can’t communicate it across your business. Creating a strategy document can help you visualise your localisation plan and balance it against your existing content strategy and schedule.
Final Thoughts: Localisation for a Global Audience
A modern audience is a global audience. If you’re looking to continue growing your business, then international markets will play a part sooner or later. Consider localisation from the start to avoid costly reworks later down the line.