Competition is always fierce, no matter what industry you’re in. That’s particularly true if you’re trying to build an international company, breaking into new markets globally. How do you beat out the local competition to establish yourself? The answer is a carefully crafted localization strategy; to become a successful international brand, you need to think globally but act locally. This is especially important when trying to achieve long-lasting success as a company.
Finding a global marketing strategy that has a good balance between localization and standardization can be difficult for many companies. In fact, many make the mistake of trying to use a single, standard approach regardless of the region they’re targeting; after all, if it works, why fix it? Unfortunately, no matter how appealing this tactic is, it’ll most likely fail; it’s neither personalized, nor does it target the locals in a way that appeals to them.
You can’t have localization without personalization; it’s what allows a company to meet its customers’ needs. This aspect is the way brands retain their audience and their consumers’ loyalty. In addition, companies can expect to see an increase in who uses its products and services. It’s essential to speak with members of your audience in a way that resonates with them so that you can build a strong relationship between you and your customers. However, it’s essential to know that translation and localization aren’t the same things. Language is only a portion of a good localization strategy.
In this article, we’re going to review:
- What a localization strategy is.
- Why you need an excellent localization strategy for new regions.
- How to improve your strategy’s efficacy.
- How you can benefit from professional localization and multilingual content services.
What Is a Localization Strategy?
A company’s localization strategy is its plan to adapt its content and messages to new markets that predominantly use a different language to the original material. To create the right approach, brands need to consider the languages used in that area, the culture, customers’ behavior, and the social norms of the locals.
Having a good localization strategy makes your marketing campaigns and content more relatable to a new audience. The latest market you’re entering should feel like your brand has made materials that look and feel like they were made specifically for them. The native language, religion, or culture of this audience shouldn’t be something that stops you from creating content that speaks to them. So, there are a few things you should include in your localization strategy:
- International yet localized SEO.
- Understanding culture and societal norms.
- Local purchasing habits.
- Languages spoken.
Amazon does this in a brilliant way. Each page is localized and adapted to appeal to the habits and preferences of the native audience. Below are a few pages to showcase how they adapted the website with an on-point localization strategy.
Each individual page uses a localized design style, personalized offers, and a native language. To compete with local businesses, you’ll need to adapt your content in a similarly personalized and localized way.
Why Do You Need a Localization Strategy?
A company that has a well-balanced localization strategy provides customers with a great experience and maintains its brand identity with messaging catered to various audiences around the globe. Creating a good plan allows a company to grow without alienating new markets. This means audience members will feel a connection and a familiarity with your brand.
Now that you know what a localization strategy is and how it can help you, where do you start?
How to Improve Your Localization Strategy for 2022
We have four main tips on how to plan and create a top-tier localization strategy. Take a look at these aspects to improve your brand’s reach in 2022:
- Make your content natively local.
- Learn from local audiences.
- Understand local competition.
- Adapt your strategy for each new market.
Make Your Content Natively Local
Language is a significant part of our everyday lives, and it’s no different for your localization strategy. Having multilingual content on your website and social media accounts helps you communicate with new markets in a way that’ll appeal to the local audience.
There are many options to translate your content. You’ll be able to find websites that provide this service, some of which use AI tools to perform the editing. While it may work, it misses many of the nuances of a language. On the other hand, companies can go a more traditional route by getting a person to read through your content and translate it into your desired language.
The best way to get your ideas and messaging to feel authentic to a new market is to get a native speaker. They’ll be able to add nuances and idioms that only locals will know. Simply adapting content from one language to another doesn’t add any cultural norms, and can make your localization strategy completely miss the mark.
Having a few grammatical errors isn’t the best thing, but ignoring localization and offending the audience you’re trying to attract is far worse. That’s why it’s important to mix both machine and human translations to help ensure that your message comes across the way you want it to.
Using a computer for the first step in translation provides you with a starting point. Not only can a machine do this quickly, but it’ll also save you money and your native translator time. The person you work with will only have to make necessary changes to perfect the information to meet your needs.
Another thing to consider is translating imagery. It’s not all about the words you use to have better localization. For example, when it’s winter in North America, it’s Summer in Oceania, you’ll want to have images reflecting this difference during the Christmas season. Making sure your content pays attention to details, no matter how small shows that you’re thinking about the local audience. This will gain you favor in the eyes of the locals. After figuring out the localized content, it’s essential to look into multilingual marketing SEO. Doing this allows for your target audience to find the translated work from your brand.
Learn from Local Audiences
You need to understand the market you want to enter to create an effective localization strategy. If you don’t think ahead before starting a marketing campaign, the results can be disastrous. It would be best if you got to know the people you’ll be working with because failing to do so can result in damage to your brand’s reputation and offending your target audience.
Some of the things you’ll need to look into are cultural nuances and imagery. For example, snakes are a sign of deceit in some cultures, while in others, they can be a sign of transformation. So, the first thing you should do is consumer-focused research.
When you decide on a market you want to enter, look into the opportunity available to your company within it. One of the best ways to do this is to have a member of your team physically work in the location you’re looking into. This will allow your company to understand the values and needs of locals.
It’s vital that you work with a local expert so you’ll receive accurate localized feedback and experiences. These partners can help you to answer these critical questions to improve your localization strategy:
- What is the demand for your content, products, or services?
- What is your competition in the area? Are there similar product providers? Do others supply the same content you do?
- What are the purchasing habits of people in the country?
- What key cultural differences do you need to keep in mind?
It’s important to consider that it’s not always a big thing that can change how locals perceive your message. Like we mentioned earlier, it can be the depiction of a particular animal or even the color of your brand’s logo that may offend people.
Probably the most crucial part of your localization strategy is who your target audience is and their expectations. It provides you with the structure for your whole marketing campaign, so ensure you consider local feedback.
Understand Local Competition
When the market you want to enter is oversaturated, many companies think there is no room for them. However, this isn’t always the case; in fact, a lot of competition can mean it’s a strong market with many opportunities. That said, it also means you’ll need to stand out in a creative and eye-catching way.
You can do this by offering products and services your competitors don’t, essentially filling in the gap that the locals want from brands that haven’t been filled yet. Your localization strategy can also give you an edge; allowing you to approach potential customers, visitors, or buyers in a unique, personalized way.
Closing the gap doesn’t always mean developing a new line of products just to win consumers’ favor. Easier, faster, and less expensive options can include reliable processes such as quick shipping and an effective customer support team. Changes like these aren’t difficult to add to your company, and they’ll build trust between you and your audience.
Having people buy from a global brand instead of a competitor depends on that customer’s experience buying from that company. If a local business has become complacent in some areas, you can fill the need and win over potential local shoppers.
Another step you can take to give yourself an advantage over your competition is to emphasize and adapt your brand’s values to the market. If locals can connect with your company’s views, values, and message, they’ll continue to show an interest in what you have to offer.
Being authentic is what sells no matter what global market you’re looking to enter. So, find your brand’s identity and style of engagement to stand out from the competition in your new market.
Adapt Your Strategy for Each New Market
Depending on the market you’re trying to enter, you’ll need to use a different approach to be successful. This change can include the tone and language of your message; sometimes, this will result in a dramatic difference. Even though this can be a lot of work, it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Use the consumer research you did to learn about any cultural differences, events, and taboos to consider. Keep these things in mind when you’re creating your localization process. A successful marketing campaign needs to use correct features that target an audience without alienating them.
For instance, consider social media; 70% of companies create content on these sites to engage with customers while promoting their brand. It’s quickly become one of the most valuable marketing techniques. However, it’s not enough to have one social media account for all the markets you’re working in.
Consider having country-specific profiles to get involved with locals. For example, take a look at China; it doesn’t have the same social networks as western countries. WeChat is the biggest social platform in the country, and is considered the equivalent of Facebook, while Sina Weibo is the country’s version of Twitter. There’s also Douyin, replacing TikTok, and Bilibili, the “Chinese YouTube.” You’ll need someone well-versed in these platforms to help craft your strategy for a Chinese market.Having successful social media accounts takes more than just setting up a profile. Although, yes, updating your followers’ promotional offers is helpful, it isn’t enough. Whoever updates your social media accounts needs to engage with customers and share relevant information. An excellent example of this is Wendy’s Twitter account.
Using Professional Localization Services to Get Results
Adding these tips to your localization strategy will help you to expand across several international markets quickly. However, the key is to find great localization and translation services that will adapt your content to a specific need. Remember, it isn’t just about the words your brand uses. Pay attention to the background, colors, animals, and anything else that could offend your potential customers.
It’s vital to test your localization strategy to determine if what you’re currently doing will work in the new market. Once you do the research and understand the locals better, you can implement changes to gain their favor. Additionally, remember that it takes time to build trust in a new market. Even with the best localization strategy, success won’t happen overnight. Overall, you should keep the following points in mind when you work on a plan:
- Work with local experts to do consumer-focused research to understand your potential audience better.
- Use native speakers when translating your content.
- Fill the gap in crowded markets by adding valuable services.
- Engage with the local community in offline spaces and social media.