How to Attract and Retain Customers Around the World? Translate Your Website.

Technology company Smartling (USA) has polled more than 150 marketers to gauge the current state of multilingual marketing. Participants’ responses painted a picture of where the majority of organizations stand in terms of targeting prospects and customers who don’t speak English as their native language – both in and outside of the U.S. – and it isn’t pretty. Given that every company with a website is effectively a global company by default, consider these results:

  • 48 percent of marketers say they have no budget at all for translation outside of the U.S., while 59 percent of respondents do not have any money allocated to reach multilingual audiences within the U.S.

  • More than half of all respondents (nearly 53 percent) are either not translating at all or are only translating into one language.

  • The majority of marketers (86 percent) admit that they generate U.S.-centric content and then translate it for a particular market. Only 14 percent of organizations create original content, and employ local / native marketers in the countries where they are seeking to expand their business. This despite the fact that 13 languages together cover 90 percent of today’s online spending power.

  • Among the companies that are translating, a few still rely on machine translation (8.6 percent); many rely on human translators (42.1 percent); 14.5 percent use both; and others are beginning to use translation management software (4.6 percent). 

The key takeaway here is that the majority of marketers are not properly engaging multilingual audiences in and outside of the U.S even when they know that personalized experiences are crucial to customer acquisition and retention. 

Making matters worse, of those marketers who are trying to reach global audiences, the majority are neglecting localization (adding cultural nuance) and transcreation (creating entirely new content for the right cultural fit) in the translation process. Customers today, demand a personalized experience, and they are extremely sensitive to failed or halfhearted attempts at it. Standard translation of a brand’s U.S.-centric content used to be good enough to attract new global customers and increase revenues. But today, companies must do more to win customers’ trust, business and loyalty.

Native Brand Experiences Lead to Global Growth

The most significant population growth and increases in purchasing power are occurring in parts of the world where English is either not spoken, or is not the preferred language. Additionally, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the U.S. Now more than ever, brands are increasingly doing business in international regions outside of their home market. And, to compete in a very competitive global marketplace there’s only one way to stand out from the crowd: Make your content relevant and meaningful to the end user. And, marketers are missing the boat, as evidenced by the fact that almost half of survey respondents report that five percent or less of their customer base is located outside of the U.S.

Brands that want to attract and retain customers all over the world need to emphasize relevancy in their marketing efforts. And, this means delivering native brand experiences that go beyond traditional translation and resonate with people in any language, across all cultures and in every market. It means communicating in local dialects and considering regional idiosyncrasies. It means taking into account points of cultural sensitivity, and taking an appropriate and respectful approach to all communications. And, it entails knowing your target audiences’ customs and traditions. At every touchpoint, prospects and customers should feel like you are speaking directly to them.

There are four key elements to building native brand experiences:

1. Meeting expectations – Customers are looking for brands that make it easy and enjoyable for them to engage with and buy from. Creating content that is clear, simple and accessible is critical to capturing their attention, especially in non-native markets.

2. Providing context – Word-for-word translations are often unnatural, inaccurate and error-prone, and, worst of all, they lack context. Cultural nuances, use of local dialects and awareness of the “voice” of specific demographics in a given market provide the context that makes or breaks audience engagement.

3. Prioritizing cultural sensitivity – Every community around the world follows specific traditions, conventions and regulations that together make up their culture. A brand committed to being fluent everywhere understands and respects each and every one of them.

4. Delivering content that resonates – Creating native brand experiences means learning what makes customers tick in specific markets and regions around the world and delivering exactly what they want in a way that resonates with them and inspires them to take action.
Familiarity is foundational to comfort, connection and trust. To truly engage with customers outside of your home market, you must provide them with personalized experiences that adhere to the conventions of their language and culture. Brands that view their global content strategy as a growth strategy and deliver authentic native brand experiences will attract and retain customers around the world, and achieve a more dominant global position. 

Source: Martechadvisor