Online customers are four times more likely to buy from a website in their own language, so companies who have multilingual websites soon reap the rewards.
While the internet is a boon to international trade, many companies in English-speaking countries are failing to be forward-thinking by communicating internationally.
Localising websites entails adapting products and materials for a particular market and includes – but is not limited to – translating text into the markets’ relevant languages.
A fully localised website shows shows appreciation and respect towards a foreign culture and conveys that you are interested in your potential customers and their respective cultures. It likewise takes into account conventions and preferences specific to each country such as currencies, measurements and cultural differences.
The benefits of localisation are enormous and include penetrating overseas markets you most want to succeed in, increasing market share – and muscling out the competition. It also ensures you can be found in the most popular search engines in each specified market, country or language.
With English accounting for only just over 27% of website content, closely followed by Chinese with 22.6% with ‘other languages’ making up 17.8% – the opportunities for growing your business via localisation are unprecedented.
Seventy three per cent of all internet traffic is now from non-English speaking countries, with less than 30% of global internet users having English as their first language.
Reaching out to customers in multiple languages brings both short and long term ‘wins’. In addition to the immediate boost to sales, a multilingual website is excellent for testing new markets and opening new doors to international trade.
Summary of key tactics to achieve success
Localise your website – just a few pages will demonstrate serious intentions and improve your search engine ranking in the country you are targeting.
Always use a professional translation service – avoid being tempted to use a free machine translation which is not geared for translating marketing copy, which needs to be carefully crafted to stimulate interest and sell to readers.
Focus on core products and services – launching a selection of your bestselling products or services increases your chances of success in a new market.
Conduct multilingual keyword research – pinning down what customers are actually searching for and adapting your website and online advertising accordingly is critical to ensure your site is the one they browse and then buy from.
Measure results – As you would with your UK site. Visitor statistics are invaluable in evaluating your return on investment and deciding where to concentrate further resources.