The most important aspect of selling to any new market is making that market feel comfortable. There is always pressure to expand in an undisciplined way to keep up with the digital Joneses. Doing this risks overlooking the cultural nuances that help stabilize the customer experience in that area
Website translation and localization ensures that your end users in each new territory receive the same level of quality and a properly native user experience. However, many companies continue to bypass or overlook localization because of its perceived upfront costs. In actuality, you can build quite a powerful localization strategy for much less money than you may think. Here are some of the best practices that you can employ immediately.
The traditional method of expanding on the user experience is to first standardize that experience. To a certain extent, standardization is a very cost-effective way to duplicate an end user process and scale it to the point that it can be actively used in other territories.
However, standardization may not be an available strategy depending on how are you expect your outreach to go. For instance, if you are expanding from English-speaking countries into agents speaking countries, the language barrier may be too much for a standardized user experience to overcome. There are also many cultural differences to consider, including things like the order of items in a navigation bar and the placement of the media on the website.
Standardization may also limit your ability to properly coordinate and manage the user experience. This seems counterintuitive, because a standard user interface is usually central tenet in creating a scalable strategy. However, this is not the case in the digital space. There is no consideration for the diversity of the global market. Only localization gives you the opportunity to create the variance that is needed for a positive impact.
The solution here is templating, not standardization. Although you can have some standard backend functions that service the entirety of your infrastructure, the top level functionality and end user functions need to coincide with the technical and cultural norms of area being distributed to.
Investment Saves Money
Understanding your market is essential to creating a low-cost localization strategy. Your goal is to cut down on the ongoing expenses by frontloading all of your research. From the analytics you gather here, you have the ability to create highly effective buyer profiles and justify every hypothesis that you have about the customer journey.
With this information, the business strategies that you create will naturally better serve the interests of your target audience in that part of the world.
Improving Your Strategy
The most effective way to keep your localization strategy low-cost is to improve it continuously. What is the most effective way to do this?
Hire local people – as many as you possibly can
If you come from the West, then you are probably at the top of the food chain when it comes to currency exchange rates. Not only does your local population likely work for less, but they will also have the best ideas about how to create an accurate localized experience. You may even be able to turn the hiring process into a bit of good PR if you are savvy enough.
Make sure that your content is authentic and memorable to the locale
Are you involved in the popular culture that surrounds the area that you are trying to market to? Do you understand the latest trends and the slang terms that have people laughing and having fun? If you do not, then you should take some time to understand the colloquialisms and other nuances of local culture.
There are many ways to do this in the modern business environment. One of the easiest is to simply download some apps that are already localized to the area. Not only will they give you information, but you can copy the most effective parts of their marketing strategies to inform your own.
Give your campaign a unique flair
Although you are localizing to the area, you must not forget your own brand. Remember that you are bringing your company culture to the local culture. Find the overlap between the two and marry them.
When you have given your campaign a unique flair and studied the local pop-culture, your content will become much more authentic in the eyes of the local culture. Once this occurs, you do not have to spend a great deal of money on high production value. You can create viral content simply because you resonate with the people who you are selling to.
Localize your SEO just like you are localizing your content
Organic SEO is perhaps one of the best investments that you can make in a global expansion marketing strategy. The upfront cost can be overcome by a bit of sweat equity. The sweat equity will be used for keyword research and competitor analysis – both incredibly precise for localization when correctly administered.
Local SEO is different for each region, but not only because of the obvious differences in language. People in different parts of the world may appreciate different things about the same product. It is up to the marketer to understand exactly why an audience is buying a product and market to that need in that region.
It is important to understand how far you need to drill down into a region to get the localization that you need. Certain parts of the world have closer geographic ties than in others. For instance, states in the United States may provide a slightly larger pool of similar demographics than tribesmen in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Make sure that you do your research so that you understand the mix of demographics in an area before committing yourself to a certain scale of localization. Depending on the kind of product that you are selling, you may have to drill down into micro local levels and cater to a very specific audience to achieve the best results.
The most powerful and cost-effective localization strategies may differ in nuance depending on the regions they are attempting to access. However, the majority of them will share the characteristics listed above. Keep note of these best practices in order to create an effective localization strategy without breaking your budget.[:]