Globalization is here to stay, and communication is the key to connecting with new customers on a global basis. Although English is known as the “international language of business”, a company can only really open up all doors of opportunity when it accommodates all the needs of its international clientele, and this includes communicating with customers in their first language.
If your online company is looking to do business in a country with a population whose predominant language is something other than English, it is vital that you write internet marketing content in that country’s official language. Doing this not only reaches out to potential customers who don’t speak English, it also shows the customer that you are serious about earning their business.
It is not good enough to simply use a translator to convert your already-existing material into a different language. We’ve all heard about the disastrous Kentucky Fried Chicken advertisement in China. When literally translated, “finger-lickin’ good” means “eat your fingers off” in Chinese; a perfect example of why you must do more to ensure you are sending the right message to your international customers.
Here are four easy ways to guarantee you won’t make the same mistake as KFC.
Someone may be fluent in a language, but not be familiar with a country’s unique use of the language. The best way to explain this is to consider how different Great Britain and the United States are in their use of the English language. For example, in Great Britain, the word “pants” is often used to refer to men’s underwear. When you hire a fluent speaker, make sure they have spent time in the country you are looking to do business in. That way they will know which phrases and words are appropriate for the population you are targeting, avoiding any confusion or ambiguity.
In the 1970s, advertisers in the United States started creating marketing content using the word “groovy” (the new, hip way to say “cool”), because it made their product seem more relevant to the times. Products are still marketed using common words and phrases, because they fit your product or service in with popular culture, creating a meaningful connection with customers. Just make sure your new, fluent-speaking employee provides you with the correct words and phrases used in the country.
If an online business that is similar to yours is already established in the country, research the content on their website to see what is working (or not working) for them. This allows you to see what you need to do differently to stand out from your competition, while also giving you the opportunity to find out what customers are already responding to.
If your company can afford it, plan a few business trips to the country you want to do business in and completely immerse your group in the culture. Eat the food, see the sights, visit the neighborhoods, drive the roads…become educated in everything. Ask questions and take note of the country’s consumer-spending habits and trends. After all, you can’t effectively market a product or service to a group of people until you know exactly who those people are and what they want.
This is a guest post by education writer Barbara Jolie. Barbara is passionate about education and studying online. When not writing and thinking about all things education, Barbara is busy planning her next vacation and caring for her pet cat and bird. You can reach her at email@example.com.