The development of online marketing, as well as the proliferation of low-quality blogs, means that there is a wealth of information available to marketers about how to really reach a global audience.
However, not all of the tips, tricks or hacks are as valuable as bloggers would have you believe. We’ve put together a list of some of the advice that we think you can safely ignore.
Myth 1: You don’t have to adapt content for other English-speaking markets
While English-fluent markets share a common language, they also use English in different ways to search, engage, or interpret content.
Localizing content for other English-speaking markets is not limited to changing “ize” to “ise,” or “trunk” to “boot.” You also need to understand buyer behaviour in the region, who your customer would be and how they might use your product or service differently.
Ignoring linguistic and cultural differences between English-speaking markets can seriously limit your growth potential. Customers in Malta might not identify with your customer base in the UK, so your content might need to be tweaked if you intend on reaching both markets.
Understanding geography is also important. If you are making a winter pitch to a market, make sure its the right season where you are rolling out your campaign. Summer in New Zealand is winter in Ireland.
Myth 2: What works well in one market will work well in another
If you have an incredibly successful domestic campaign, you may find it falls flat when you take it to another market, especially if all you do is translate it. Every market has its own nuances. These need to be taken into account for your message to have meaning.
Learning what types of content people are engaging with in various regions is also important. For example, in country A, people might be searching for peer-reviewed papers, in country B they might be interested in antidotes, while in country C they might want plain language explanations of technical documents.
Social media, eCommerce, and search platform usage can also differ significantly by market. Your global marketing strategy needs to take that into account. Which platforms you use – and how you adapt your content for each market – will depend on the local market. Your industry, your positioning, the competition, and the demographics of your target audience all play into translation and localization strategy.
You need to research your intended market and test your content in each region. A/B testing and monitoring engagement rates will ensure that you know if your changes are reaching your audience.
Myth 3: You have to translate all your content
Quality content is more important than quantity, but relevance also matters. While translating your site is easy and cost-effective, it does not offer the nuance that good copy that is culturally sensitive offers.
You should translate and localize the key content that is most likely to resonate with your in-market audience and expand your content from there. You likely need a local content creator who understands your brand message and how to deliver that same message in a local voice.
Myth 4: Translating content is all you need to be successful in-market
There is a powerful case for translation when it comes to boosting international engagement. According to research, a majority of international consumers prefer to make purchase decisions in their own language, regardless of their English proficiency.
However, successful content marketing isn’t just understandable; it inspires the reader to take action. A direct translation of content shows that the copy was not written with your in-market audience in mind. Translated content can be off-putting to international consumers (especially in more competitive markets). Just like your domestic audience, your international prospects expect an experience tailored to their language, culture, and needs. If your in-market competition is doing a better job of that, your ROI will suffer.
By paying attention to the little things you can create a great brand experience.
- How are you establishing trust with your target market(s)?
- Do they have the information they need to take the desired action?
- How easy is it for users to take that action?
- And is your web content optimized for in-country search so your international customers can find it?
Myth 5: Translation management software must be part of your global marketing strategy
There’s a right time for translation management systems (TMS) as part of your localization strategy, and for many companies, that isn’t at the beginning of their global marketing journey.
TMS tools are tech solutions for complex language workflow. They facilitate high-volume translation, with quick and simple website localization solutions.
They’re not, on the whole, great at supporting modern digital marketing best practice. In-market SEO, locale-specific UX and page content, dynamic content, and adaptable website structures that scale at the local level can be misread.
Many companies experience unforeseen administrative overheads in adjusting their process to TMS software, and websites (and by extension, digital strategy) can be limited by how these tools are designed. Achieving ROI on TMS solutions is about having a strong strategy to drive the selection process. Evaluate TMS solutions as you would any other component of your marketing tech stack.
- How will it add value to your current setup?
- How will it interact with and complement the tools you’re already using?
- Will it limit or accelerate your growth as your marketing strategy evolves past pure linguistic needs?
Consider if TMS software is really the solution that your business is seeking before committing to an expensive annual subscription that could force you to have to make many adjustments to your existing systems.
Developing a successful global marketing strategy – one that truly engages your international audiences and drives long-term results – requires the same planning and consideration as your domestic strategy. If you understand the power of language and harness it in the markets you want to enter, you can ensure a successful campaign and ROI.