5 Localization Do’s and Don’ts
How to save time and money when building a multilingual website
How to choose the right languages for your multilingual website
Localization: a combination of language, marketing and psychology
Your organization is in the process of entering a new foreign market. The local culture in the new target country plays a major role in this. In order to understand why (local) language is so important to global marketing success, we’ll first dive into the definitions of the two concepts of marketing and language, and the psychology behind them.
Marketing and overlap with other fields
When we use the term marketing, we're talking about all the activities your organization performs to promote the sale of products or services. In your marketing strategy, it’s essential to focus on the needs of your target audience.
This also means that we directly enter into other fields, such as (marketing) psychology, sociology and economics. Therefore, we need to ask the following questions: What drives your target group to buy or not buy? What does the daily life of your customers look like? What triggers and stimulates them? What do they have to spend?
Language and language psychology
In order to reach customers, we use (in addition to images) both spoken and written (local) language as a means of conveying our message. Here we also find an overlap with psychology: language psychology. This is a branch of science that investigates psychological aspects of language use. Whether the language you use – and therefore your message – reaches your target audience also depends on origin, age and environment.
To put it simply: you approach a Finn differently than you do a Korean and a Nigerian differently than a Texan. Each country has its own traditions, beliefs and associations. If you want your new target group to truly understand your message, it’s essential to take the local culture into account. And that goes beyond mere translation.
Local language in international marketing strategy
It may seem obvious, but the devil is in the details! Focusing on the needs of your target group is first and foremost, even in a foreign market. The success of your international marketing strategy depends on full customization to connect and resonate with new potential customers, with images as well as spoken and written text. We call this localization.
Localizing different marketing tools
Entering a new foreign market involves a number of factors. In this blog, we’ll limit ourselves to marketing activities and focus on language and marketing psychology. Below is a list of marketing activities to include in your localization strategy:
Entering a new market means conducting research among new potential customers. Because of their local culture, they may have different needs than what you expect from your existing customers. Why did they previously choose a competitor? Why should they choose your organization and keep coming back?
You will of course have your online store translated. To ensure it’s properly done to the minutest detail, it’s highly recommended to hire a native speaker from a reputable translation agency.
But it's wise to think beyond that. Do you recall the embarrassing translations in online stores from large marketplaces with wrong sizes and strange words? Exactly. That's what you don't want. It gives an unprofessional first impression, which equates to easily losing your first chance with your new target audience. This can be prevented with localization and language and marketing psychology.
You probably have enough written content in the form of blogs or whitepapers published on the current version(s) of your website. But after translation, is it still easily understood and relevant to your new target audience or do you need to provide new content that’s more in tune to the local market? Good to take a moment and (have) everything checked for language and marketing psychology.
Social media is the easiest marketing activity to redirect because you probably already have plenty of visuals you can reuse. However, it's important to adapt accompanying texts to new customers, match visuals properly and apply language and marketing psychology. A good example is the use of models. For the Chinese market you shouldn't use European-looking models. And in the Middle East there’s a different standard for depicting women.
Just like in the country where you currently operate, you want to target advertising to reach a specific audience by using Google Ads (or a local equivalent). Again, language and marketing psychology is key. Customer research also plays a role here: the better the customer research, the more targeted your online advertising. Also consider increasing your local findability by having an online business card with Google My Business (or a local equivalent).
Speak the local language of your new international customers
In every (international) marketing activity you deploy, language is one of the most important components. If you want your target audience to understand your message, then make sure you speak the local language of your new international customers well, both offline and online.
Want to know more about localization? Then request the e-book Localization – The key to global marketing success now.