How Localisation Can Boost Your Conversion Rates

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You hear businesspeople say it all the time:

We live in a globalised world. Everything is connected.

And it’s true. Up to a point. But most people only think about what is happening near to them.

Intellectually, they might understand that they are part of one big global community. On a day-to-day level though, they communicate in their preferred language. They buy things using their local currency. And they do so amidst a culture that is familiar and normal to them.

It follows then, that when you present someone with a sales opportunity that isn’t quite in their language, that isn’t in the currency they expect and feels less than natural to them, they usually choose not to buy.

This is where localisation comes in as one of the most effective tools to boost your conversion rates.

What is localisation?

Localisation is the process of adapting your materials – be it your website, content, your app, or anything else – so that it seems perfectly natural to someone from your target audience.

Of course, a carefully judged translation of the text is a part of this. But simply translating the words of your English-language marketing campaign, for instance, isn’t all that localisation is about.

Because your English-language campaign was carefully targeted at the audience in question. You designed it to achieve maximum conversion. Using a one-size-fits-all approach to your international marketing is an easy way to shrink your conversion rates.

Instead, true localisation involves:

  1. Properly researching your new target audience or finding knowledgeable native specialists.
  2. Making sure you understand your local audience, their expectations and local norms.
  3. Adapting everything about what you say and how you say it so that your message is being truly and persuasively conveyed to them.

Why is localisation important?

English is probably still the dominant language on the web. But its lead is decreasing all the time. In the first decade of the 21st century, the volume of English-language content on the net grew by 281%.

That’s a lot. But it’s nothing compared with the 1826% growth of Russian-language content. Or the 2501% growth of Arabic-language content in the same timeframe.

Understanding the changing demographics and expectations of internet users is really key to comprehending why localisation is so important:

  • These days, if you want to reach 80% of the internet, you need to communicate in 12 languages
  • This is important, as 75% of consumers prefer to buy in their native language
  • And 92% of consumers want to buy from online stores displaying their local currency.

How localisation can boost your conversion rates

If you want to boost your conversion rates with audiences around the world, localisation is an unavoidable part of doing business.

Localising your marketing, website, and adapting every part of your international offering so that it meets the norms and expectations of diverse international communities takes careful planning and effort.

But the results in terms of the ways localisation will boost your conversion rates are always going to be worth it:

1) Increase your reach

The sheer additional volume of potential buyers you reach will have a serious effect on your sales figures.

Even adding one well-chosen language to localise into can hugely increase your conversion rates, if done correctly.

Of course, if you reach out to new markets with a poor-quality translation that shows a clear failure to engage with that market, you are shooting yourself in the foot before you even start.

Some of the biggest brands in the world have not bothered to try and thus expensively failed when it comes to their multilingual marketing strategies.

2) Speak to people in their native language

Even people who speak more than one language with a high degree of competence will prefer to browse or read casually in their native tongue.

When it comes to buying things, this is even more pronounced. The large amounts of research done on this topic shows an overwhelming number of people prefer to buy from sites in their native language. It also shows a high proportion of people will only buy from sites in their native language.

It’s all about establishing trust with your audience. Picture the scene for yourself. For example, you might understand a few words of Spanish. But would you buy something from a Spanish-language-only website where you weren’t sure precisely what you were buying and the currency was not one you were used to?

Probably not. And neither will your potential clients. Speak to people in their preferred language and you start to build a relationship based on trust.

3) Beat your competition

Are your competitors already reaching out to global markets? If not, this is the perfect opportunity to steal a march on them. If they are, what sort of quality is their localised content? Is it just straight-up translations of their English-language website?

This could also be a great opportunity for you to get ahead. Because proper localisation – that carefully adapts every part of your content to meet your audience’s expectations – will always be a far more effective and persuasive way to sell your goods and services than a direct translation.

By making the effort to reach out to international audiences, you automatically differentiate yourself from companies that only pay lip-service to international consumers.

When you communicate clearly and powerfully, meeting the cultural norms and expectations of each audience through localisation, you start to build the kind of brand loyalty that leads to increased sales and repeat business.

4) Attract the right sort of traffic to your website

Proper website localisation involves multilingual SEO research and optimisation. This ensures that consumers who are looking for what you are selling can find your website.

Then, because those people are looking for you and have found what they are looking for, you decrease your bounce rate (where searchers click away from your website very quickly, a negative ranking sign from Google’s point of view).

Appealing to interested, motivated buyers in more audiences around the world allows you to increase the quantity of relevant traffic to you.

In turn, that increased traffic, funnelled through your carefully optimised and localised site, boosts your conversion rates. According to most estimates, it does so by somewhere around 20% at minimum.

5) Close those sales

A customer is more likely to actually make that purchase when they feel they trust the site they are on. When they are on yours, it’s your job to make them feel comfortable enough to click that “buy now” button.

By presenting a situation where everything is a natural “fit” for your potential buyer’s expectations, you are giving yourself the greatest possible chance to close that sale:

  1. Products are clearly signposted, explained and promoted in the language they prefer.
  2. The sale can happen in the way they expect, using the currency they prefer.

Again, this involves more than simply translating the words that you use. Everything about the user experience of your site, the imagery used in your content and more should all be culturally natural and persuasive to the native eye.

There are several important factors involved in ensuring you do just that.

How to localise your international sales – 7 key tips

When you are adapting your marketing approach to sell internationally, there are a few vital things to bear in mind if you want to succeed:

1) Localise by region not language

Remember that while certain audiences may speak the same language or dialects of it, you need to consider the region you are targeting – not just the language spoken there.

Just think about any two countries that share a national language. Are they culturally identical?

Almost certainly not. Picture the US and the UK. Given small differences in spelling and dialect, American English and British English are almost exactly the same. Many readers may not even notice which of the two they are reading for extended periods.

But will your marketing campaign designed for a certain part of America convert if you transplant it to any part of the UK without adaption?

Probably not. You likely wouldn’t even transplant it to most other parts of the US if you really wanted to maximise your conversion rates.

The same is true in international marketing. Just because Brazil and Portugal share a language, it doesn’t mean you can count on the same cultural experiences and motivations in your audience. Localise by region.

2) Target the right groups and regions

Market research is, if anything, even more important when we are talking about dramatically different and diverse markets that can be on the other side of the world from each other.

How else will you know precisely how the cultures of Brazil and Portugal, for example, differ from each other if you don’t do the research?

Make sure you have spent the time needed to really understand your local market. Working with a local partner with local cultural expertise is always going to be of value here.

Do you know what your ideal customer would be like in your new target region? Do you know how many potential clients there are there? How about what cultural differences are vital to adapt to meet? Which would be useful to bear in mind? What are the buying tendencies and habits of local people?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you aren’t ready to start localising your content to sell there. This is usually where working with an experienced LSP (Language Service Provider) that uses native linguists comes in.

3) Always use multilingual SEO practices

We touched on multilingual SEO briefly above. But it’s worth reiterating why you cannot rely on direct translations of your English-language search terms and expect to get any results.

People in different regions – even different regions that theoretically speak the same language – may type different keywords when searching for the same thing.

If you don’t know that a British audience might look for “car repairs” and an American one “automobile repairs”, you are going to be missing out on a huge number of potential clients if you concentrate on the wrong key terms. You may well miss out on all of them.

And this simple example of the difference between linguistically similar regions doesn’t even touch on the dramatically different ways that someone who speaks French might search for vehicle repairs as opposed to someone who speaks Russian or Chinese.

A direct translation of “car repairs” simply will not work.

4) Use professional translators – not Google Translate

Professional translators who are natives of your target region will help you understand what you need to know about your new consumer base’s culture, expectations and behaviours. As well as the language that they speak.

Using a bilingual member of your own team is a bad idea as far as translating content you want to convert is concerned. But it’s nowhere near as bad as using generic automated translation tools like Google Translate.

Using automated tools like this is an easy way to fall on your face rather than put your best foot forward when entering a new market. You will make it obvious to your new audience that you don’t care about them and can’t be bothered to put in the effort to communicate with them properly.

5) Adapt your tone of voice

Using professional translators ensures you adapt what you are saying to meet the expectations of your target market while also retaining the essence of your overall marketing message.

The tone of voice you use may need to differ greatly when addressing different audiences. For instance, an American audience can withstand and may respond well to an in-your-face sales pitch. Other international audiences may be instantly turned off by such an approach.

Your goal should be to understand how local people shop, how their culture works, and how they view important aspects of both the commercial process and life in general.

Even when it might appear that this is a product that requires no introduction or adaptation, it or some part of your marketing done for it almost certainly does.

6) Consider every aspect

Localising your tone and the language you use is one thing. Considering every part of the product, marketing or website you want to localise is something else entirely. And it’s this latter you want to aim for if you really want to boost your conversion rates internationally.

For example, the imagery you use needs to be adapted to have local cultural relevance. You should translate all aspects of your e-commerce functionality. Concentrate not only on the currency you use but the local expectations of the sale process. Does your site match the common local practice?

Don’t just translate your product descriptions either. You need to localise your content everywhere it appears. In fact, even the places you might distribute your content might differ. Regions like Russia and China have their own preferred social media platforms. Simply posting on Facebook there may not get you the response you are looking for.

Localisation and boosting conversion rates

Done lazily, translating your marketing pitch can be counterproductive – revealing your hand as someone who isn’t truly committed to a certain region.

But done well, true localisation will give your conversion rates a huge boost when selling internationally. It is the key that will help you unlock both a massively expanded audience and a hefty uptick in your sales potential.

Are you planning to sell internationally? Start localising for your regional audiences the right way, with Kwintessential.

Contact us today for an obligation-free chat about how we can help you use localisation to boost your conversion rates.

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