Do you want to expand your reach, boost your profits, and take your business to a new level? If you want to reach customers around the globe, you need to devise a market strategy that attracts people who live in your region of choice.
What is localization?
To localize a business or website is to adapt it in line with the needs of a specified geographical market. A successfully localized product or service fits with the cultural norms of the country or region.
For instance, if you have an online store with product names and descriptions written in English, you may make a new version that is translated into Russian so that the store is appealing to consumers living in Russia.
Localizing your marketing strategy entails re-examining your existing approach with the aim of attracting customers in a new area.
Here are a few ways to adapt your marketing strategy when breaking into a fresh market:
Make sure your company name, tagline, and products are appropriate for your audience:
To save embarrassment, double-check that your business and brand names do not cause offense in your customers’ native language. You should also make sure that people in the area will be able to pronounce your product names, slogans, and other keywords.
You should also be sensitive to local laws. Offending your target market will damage your reputation, but inadvertently breaking the law by publishing or promoting content classed as obscene by the local authorities could have serious legal consequences.
Take time to research local traditions and superstitions:
Every nation has a host of cultural associations and quirks that make it easy to inadvertently undermine your own efforts. Even large companies have made mistakes in this regard.
For example, an international manufacturer of golf balls who produced balls sold in packs of four made a blunder when they tried to expand their market to Japan. In Japanese, the word “Four” sounds like “Death,” and consumers dislike the idea of buying packs containing four items. Had the company been willing to undertake some research, this error could have been avoided.
Get feedback from people with first-hand knowledge of the region:
Before marketing a product or service, check that there is adequate demand. If no one wants to buy from you, all your marketing efforts will be wasted.
Do not assume that people in other countries will want your products just because they are popular at home. Ask friends and colleagues who live there for help, or consult with an international advertising agency to make sure you are on the right track.
Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. Have they successfully broken into your target market? If so, what did they do? If not, how could you learn from their mistakes? Read international trade journals and learn from accounts of other people who have taken their businesses global.
Choose your social media platforms with care:
Social media preferences vary by country. Find out where your audience likes to spend time online, and direct your advertising efforts accordingly. For instance, the most popular social networking platform in Russia is VKontakte, not Facebook as some people would assume.
Run location-based advertisements on social media sites, and be prepared to tweak them as you gain insight into user behavior. For instance, you should ask yourself whether they are attracting enough visitors to your site. If so, what do they do and how long do they stay?
Work with a native speaker to ensure that your messages make sense. Even if your adverts only use a few words, there is still potential for confusion.
Remember that seasons and holidays vary around the globe. For instance, Christmas is associated with cold weather in many countries, but some places are usually hot in December. You will need to plan your marketing campaigns to reflect local events and seasonal changes.
Change your advertisements to better reflect your target market:
In general, people are more inclined to buy a product if the promotional material suggests that their peers like it.
When targeting people of a specific ethnic background, try to use images that resonate with your audience. This may require using new stock images or re-shooting advertisements. If possible, use images created by a local individual or agency.
Optimize your web content for your market’s preferred search engines:
If you live and work in the U.S., you may think that everyone uses Google. However, this isn’t the case. To tap into new markets, you need to discover how your audience uses the internet and then leverage their favorite sites.
For example, the most popular search engine in China is Baidu. If you don’t speak the native language, you will have to work with a translator to optimize your site for Chinese traffic because Baidu’s webmaster interface is written in Chinese.
Get reviews from local consumers and promote them in your marketing materials:
Positive reviews from real consumers are always an asset. However, consumers are more likely to trust a testimonial or story if it’s written by someone from the same country.
Ask a few of your customers to give you some feedback and (with their permission) publish their words on your website or social media. Include their name and a profile photo to reassure your target audience that the testimonial is genuine.
Consider influencer marketing:
Partner with well-established brands and influencers to introduce your company to the market. For example, you could approach a popular Instagram or blogging personality from your country of choice and ask them to promote your products and services.
In some cases, you will have to pay, but some influencers are happy to provide honest reviews and publicity in exchange for free samples. This tactic is particularly helpful when you are starting to build a following on social media.
Make sure your translated content is perfect:
Three-quarters of consumers prefer to buy from a site written in their native language, so be sure to adapt your web presence to your market.
Amateurish translation will undermine your brand and irritate your target audience. Unless you are fluent in your customers’ language, outsource the task to a professional translator. Use a specialist service such as The Word Point.
Do not use automated translation websites or plugins, as the nuances of your message will become lost along the way. There is no substitute for human translation.
Talk about your values and vision, not just your products and services:
Of course, your primary objective when localizing your strategy will be to cater to the needs of a specific population. However, regardless of background or location, most people are keener to build a relationship with a brand that showcases its human side.
What does this mean in practice? Regardless of your audience’s background, they will appreciate the chance to see you as a unique business that wants to solve a problem or simply make the world a brighter place. Be sure to publish your brand’s story on your website, and include photos alongside founder biographies.
You need to take a comprehensive approach when localizing your marketing strategy. Take a critical look at your brand, and consider whether your businesses practices meet the needs of your target audience. Making the changes outlined above can be costly and time-consuming, but the returns can be well worth the effort.