But that’s easier said than done. Making a company relevant around the world isn’t just about translating your site into different languages. You have to localize content for each group to make your site the best it can be. That might mean an overhaul of your website, as well as blogs and social media.
It’s a big task, certainly. But with the right research, writers, words, and tools, you can expand your company all over the world.
Step 1: Know Your Audience
Do you really know who you’re marketing to?
There are two parts to this question: Who currently makes up your audience? And who do you want to be part of your audience?
Who’s In Your Audience Now?
To find out who’s currently going to your site, you need Google Analytics, or a similar app that will gather location analytics on your website. Google Analytics works on any website. It’ll use their IP addresses to tell you where they are from. You can use this data to see which countries and cities your website is most popular in (city data isn’t very reliable, though). Here’s a guide that tells you how to do this. You can use this information to localize content based on what you research about a country.
It’ll also tell you which languages your viewers use for their web browsers. The interface is pretty cryptic, so here’s a guide on how to understand it. This will be a crucial resource when you need to know what languages to translate your site into.
Who Do You Want to Be In Your Audience?
To answer this question, you need to conduct thorough research on your product or service.
What other companies around the world are doing the same thing as you? Who are those companies marketing to? What benefits does your product or service provide? What kind of people would gain most from those benefits? Where are these people located?
You may have already answered these questions when you did initial target audience research. To expand your research globally, you’re going to need to think about the culture in different countries, including:
- Societal values
- Gender roles
- Race relations
- Wealth and status
- Standard of living
- Climate and weather
Think about how culture affects a population’s spending habits, for example. Which societies are comfortable spending money on non-essentials, and which stick to necessities? Which societies chase the latest and greatest new technologies, and which prefer well-established tools and methods? Which societies feel comfortable or uncomfortable taking out a loan?
All of the answers to these money questions are heavily influenced by culture. If you want to produce great global content for your website, you should be influenced by your target audience’s culture, too!
Step 2: Create Globally Relevant Content
Now that you know your audience, you need to make awesome content! But who’s going to write the content? And what should it be about?
Some topics, for example the core features of your product or service, will be universally relevant to your audience. Identify the features that are essentially the same from place to place, and write web pages and blog posts that display this information in a snazzy way. Then use an organized, versatile, collaborative service like Wordbee’s translation management system to translate and localize your content.
Other topics will require more customization for your specific target audiences. For this, you’ll want to hire native speakers for each market. They’ll not only be able to write content using the right words and phrases, but they can also tell you if something will be weird, offensive, or irrelevant to the people who might read the content.
To find writers, there are websites where you can find freelancers.
You can use the market research you conducted on your current and target audiences to craft content.
For web pages, you’ll need to answer the question, what will people want to know about your product? Choose your top features wisely, and remember that the answer to this question will probably be different for different target audiences.
For blogs and articles, you can write posts that go into more depth about specific features of what you’re trying to promote. But don’t be afraid to talk about more than just your own company and product. Figure out what topics are adjacent to your product. For example, here at Wordbee, our service is translation and localization. But besides those topics, we write blog posts about multilingual marketing, global commerce, travel, and more.
Obviously, you won’t want to stray too far from what your organization actually does. But blogs help drive traffic to your website and can help create leads by putting fresh content on search engines like Google, so even a blog that’s vaguely related to your topic will likely do a lot of good for your site.
To properly draw traffic from search engines, you’ll need to conduct search engine optimization (SEO) that takes into account language and localization. We wrote a blog recently that will help you translate and localize with SEO in mind.
Step 3: Make Your Website Multilingual
So you’ve got your content. How do you display it? Should you create one website that has the option to change the language settings? Or should you create multiple sites, each in a different language?
I’ll answer this question with another question: How can you make your website as easy as possible for your audience to find?
One Domain, Multiple Languages
If your brand name will be the same globally, don’t make different audiences go to different domains. Even if each region’s content is a little different, keep it all under one domain name so people won’t get lost or go to someone else’s site.
No matter what page they land on, make it easy to switch languages. A drop-down menu in an obvious place is a classy way to go.
Flags are another way people show what different languages a website is available in. But as this site points out, and I agree, flags represent countries, not languages. In most countries, a large number of languages are spoken. Also, people often speak the same language in different countries: For example, French obviously comes from France, but French is also widely spoken in Canada’s Quebec and Senegal, among others.
Just to put a threshold on it, let’s say if the content will be over 50% the same, one domain with multiple languages under it is the right choice.
Multiple Domains, Multiple Languages
You’ll want to make different sites for different regions if the text will be very different depending on location.
If your company’s name varies by region, you’ll need different websites, because otherwise people can’t find you. For example, what’s called Mr. Clean in America is mostly just translated from place to place. But in the UK, it’s called Flash because Mr. Clean was already a product there.
It may also be easier to have an entirely different site if you plan to write completely separate web pages and blog posts. For example, if your Spanish site has a menu listing the different services it provides in Spain, but you don’t provide those services in France, you may want to direct people to seperate websites.
Back to Step 1: Continue Monitoring Analytics
Your analytics research shouldn’t stop when you’ve created your great global marketing strategy. Continue learning where your viewers are and what languages they’re fluent in to continue to tailor your website to their needs. After all, culture is always changing, so your audiences change, too.
I hope you finished this article feeling confident about expanding your website globally, but please remember you don’t have to do it alone. Wordbee is here to collaborate with you to localize your content in the best way possible!