What Is Localized Content, Why Is It Needed, and How to Work With It
Creating a large business with any medium means that you can open up new horizons, including expanding the geography of the audience. If you have ever thought about going to the international level and working with other countries, this article may be very useful, since your company will have difficult work on all fronts, including SEO issues.
Let’s say you sell a certain product/service in Los Angeles. You have worked hard to optimize the content and the appearance of the site, you are constantly working to improve the user experience, and you are doing a million more tasks to increase turnover and improve the quality of customer interaction. You want to keep going and want to try a new market in different geography. Do you think that everything that you have already built is suitable for the Chinese consumer? Most likely, some kind of phased and thoughtful integration into the new audience will be required. One of the important parts of the integration will be content localization.
What Is Localized Content?
Content localization is the process of adapting existing content to the cultural expectations of the client whose territory you want to cover.
It may seem that translation is enough for localization. People are the same everywhere. The translation is not enough. You have to take into account absolutely all the nuances, from the peculiarities of the language and cultural values to the mentality in general.
Fun situations for telling friends but killer for brand reputation. These are stories of how large companies entered the markets of Asia and other countries. Here is a prime example of the importance of content localization.
In 1928, the Coca-Cola Company entered the Chinese market for the first time and faced the problem of transliteration. It is not easy to translate a brand name into hieroglyphs when each hieroglyph has its own meaning. The name of the brand was consonant with approximately the following translation: “female horse fastened with wax”. It’s very deplorable for a business to waste time and money in a situation like this. The company had to go through a lot of signs that were consonant with the sounds of “ko”, “ka”, and “la” before finding a compromise.
The Pepsi brand slogan “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” was translated in Taiwan as “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead.” This is not an accurate translation, although the general mood is preserved.
The Scandinavian manufacturer of vacuum cleaners Electrolux used the phrase “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux” during its advertising campaign in the USA. They wanted to say that the vacuum cleaner absorbs well. You probably understand what the final interpretation was.
The American slogan of Salem cigarettes “Salem-Feeling Free” was translated into Japanese as: “When smoking Salem, you feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty”.
In China, the slogan of Kentucky Fried Chicken “finger-lickin’ good” was translated as “eat your fingers off”. This distorted the meaning, adding some gray hairs to the company’s management.
There are lots of such examples and they are funny only when you have not encountered them personally. Cultural differences and language barriers can play a cruel joke and cause not only the loss of finances, but also closed paths to business globalization. One of the most important tasks in localization is building a competent localization marketing strategy.
What Does a Localized Marketing Strategy Consist Of?
1. Study of the competitive environment
Before presenting your product/service to a new market, study your competitors. If you have a unique business, someone might already be doing something similar. Look at the sites of these companies, how they interact with users, study their content, positioning, approach to sales and promotion in general. This will help you better understand the market and avoid many problems. After all, it is better to learn from other people’s mistakes. Read the related article – SEO Competitive Analysis.
2. Formulation of a message that is understandable for a new audience
When playing in foreign territory, local rules should be considered. The first impression is usually memorable, so try not to spoil it. Clearly formulate for yourself and to your audience, what you can offer and what pains/problems/requests of a potential client it will help to solve. Don’t forget about the cultural characteristics of each individual country. Familiarize yourself with traditions and customs that help you better understand the mentality of people and their needs.
3. Building trust with the audience
If you think that a brand name will be enough to gain the attention of a new audience in a foreign country, you are wrong. For example, if you leave your website in English without translation, because it is an international language, it will play against your authority in the eyes of users. Work hard to create a positive impression and user experience.
4. Localization of existing content
See what content on your site can be adapted to a new audience and which should be discarded. It is better to create content from scratch for the needs of a specific audience.
Start translating and adapting. Don’t rely on your language skills, get expert support. If several languages are spoken in the country, it is necessary to determine the prevailing one and rely on it.
Please note that it is best to work with localized translators for the region where you are planning to sell. This is necessary so as not to be mistaken with dialects and other linguistic features that the native speaker living, for example, in the United States, may not know. After all, your task is not just to translate the text but localize the meaning.
5. New pages on social networks
It is a normal world practice for brands to maintain separate pages on social networks for each country. This requires additional costs and efforts, but it provides many new opportunities, such as accurate targeting, the ability to conduct promotions on local holidays, the native language for users, etc.
For example, Ikea has more than 10 Instagram accounts for the countries they sell in. Here are some examples:
Based on these examples, you can track how localization is happening. You need to walk through the pages and compare them.
Content Localization at All Stages of the Customer Journey
It’s not enough to create a good localization marketing strategy. You may also need to make it work for you. To achieve these goals, localization will be required at each stage of the customer journey. We suggest that you familiarize yourself with the process of how this happens.
Any process of buying a product or service begins with familiarization. When entering a new market, your main task is to make your brand recognizable and show it to as many people as possible. What role does localization play here? All you need is to present the product in the context of a new market. Choose suitable formats, study the audience. At this stage, it will also be appropriate to study the competitive landscape.
2. Analysis and reflection
As soon as the client has got acquainted with the product, they will conduct small research to find answers to all their questions. This analysis will be done online, so make sure you have a Q&A section on your site, as well as customer testimonials that can guide your final purchase decision. These sections must be available in the user’s native language.
3. Making a decision
The decision to make a purchase can be overshadowed by technical problems. If the buying process is too complicated, the user can abandon this idea and look for a similar product from competitors, with a more understandable payment and receipt system. To prevent this from happening, create special instructions that will be simple and easy to understand for the user. It is a good idea to have a support service that you can turn to for help. Take the language and working hours of the service employees into account in case of a large time difference.
After the purchase was made, it is important that the customer comes back to you again. This can be facilitated by a positive user experience, as well as great next purchase offers or other types of rewards. While you are earning a reputation in a new market, you need to try to please people so that they recommend you to their friends. Nothing works better than reviews and user experience of the person you trust. Encourage customer reviews and be considerate of every customer. Read the related article – Buzz Marketing.
Think about localizing content in advance, long before you start conquering foreign markets. If your business has a tendency towards globalization, it would be wise to do this at the stage of creating or updating the site, since the development of content templates for different needs and language environments can make life much easier.
If you are faced with the issue of localization later, do not give up and do not let it take its course. Follow the recommendations and advice given in this article. Remember that one localized language is not enough. Focus on a systematic approach.