For many global brands, the language of choice is English. Whether this is the native tongue of the company’s home country or not, choosing to communicate via the world’s most widely-spoken language makes sense for many reasons.
Greater reach, more applicability in pop culture, and so on — there are legitimate reasons English is so popular for brands.
However, by creating content in only one language, brands also risk alienating many consumers and hindering their own growth. After all, a study by Common Sense Advisory found that 72.4% of consumers said they’d be more likely to buy a product if it offered information in their own language.
For consumers to trust brands and give them their business, they need to feel comfortable and secure. And while many consumers speak or at least understand English, when given the choice between a second language and their native language, they’ll understandably prefer the latter.
That’s where localization comes in. Now, there are different understandings of what “localization” truly is. Some go straight to “localization marketing”, which is a strategy used by digital marketers to scale growth by providing localized content.
Others think of “marketing localization”, which is more of a process of translating a customer experience from one language to another — everything from written content to images to certain UX elements.
While both have their place in a global brand’s marketing strategy, this article will focus more on localization marketing — what it is, if it’s right for your brand, and some tips to try it out. Let’s dig in.
What is Localization Marketing, and How Does it Help Brands?
Localization marketing is a strategy that marketers use to generate demand, encourage growth, and improve the user experience for local markets.
On a smaller scale, it includes the act of creating a new website (or subdomain) for content fully translated from the brand’s global language into each market’s local language. Blog posts, website copy, knowledge centers, email campaigns — all relevant copy is translated by native speakers.
The goal of this process is to create content that subsections of your target audience will better understand and connect with. Case in point? 90% of internet users said that — when given a choice of languages — they always visited a website in their own language
On a larger scale, localization marketing also includes creating new, unique content in the languages of each individual market your brand occupies. By producing content that’s not only in a consumer’s native language but also uses their cultural reference points, brands can forge deeper connections with customers.
Is Localization Marketing Right for Your Brand?
While localization marketing is a great strategy for brands to incorporate into their larger marketing strategy, you do need to consider the time and effort involved. Whether or not localization marketing is a good idea for your brand depends on a few factors.
First, consider how many unique markets you currently serve, as well as any plans for expansion. There’s a big difference between creating localized content for 3 markets or for 15.
You should also consider the size of your marketing team. How many content creators do you have? Do they have the time and expertise to ensure that a localization project will run smoothly?
While localization marketing is a great way for smaller companies to increase demand and grow, you also need to consider if it’s a scalable strategy as your brand expands. Furthermore, if creating localized content becomes an integral part of your overall marketing strategy, it makes sense to hire extra content creators for this exact purpose.
Finally, consider how important each market is for your brand. Does it make sense to invest time and money into localizing content for every one of your markets? Or just the bigger, more successful ones?
By considering all these factors, you’ll be able to get a good idea of whether or not your brand is suited for localization marketing.
3 Tips to Encourage Successful Localization Marketing
If localization marketing seems like a strategy you’d like to try out, we have a few tips you can employ to get ahead.
1. Be Circumspect Before Committing
Before committing to a localization marketing strategy, you need to figure out the time, effort, and budget you’ll be able to allot to it. While localizing marketing content is a large part of the process, don’t forget that other teams and departments will be affected by this strategy. You need to decide early on how far-reaching this strategy will be.
After all, how odd would it be to browse a website in your native language only to contact the help chat and have to switch to a completely different language? If you’re going to fully commit to a localization marketing strategy, you need to consider necessary changes for teams like Customer Service and Product.
Will your help chat and knowledge center be localized as well? How about your products and services? Make sure you approach this strategy with caution, as it can quickly spiral out of control if you don’t set boundaries early on.
A brand that does a fantastic job of utilizing localization marketing is the Nordic delivery platform Wolt. Their approach is to be an international company and a local business — meaning each market they serve has its own team running the day-to-day operations and app. Plus, all content is translated and localized, which allows this brand to have an authentic, local feel in every country it serves.
2. Hire A Localization Manager
For a better chance at success, brands that choose to go all-in with localization marketing should consider hiring a localization manager. This person would be responsible for the entire process and the contact point for everyone involved.
From hiring new content creators or translators to aligning teams and rendezvousing with other managers, a localization manager takes some pressure off the CMO by dealing with and managing the daily work.
Ideally, a good localization manager understands that localizing content is about more than just the mere translation of words. High-quality localization takes a much more holistic approach — considering everything from cultural differences to market-specific UX preferences to systems of measurement.
Essentially, it’s vital that brands interested in fully committing to localization marketing understand the magnitude and importance of this process. Hiring a localization manager is a smart move and increases your chances of success.
3. Consider Adapting More Than Just Content
While translating and adapting content is an integral part of localization marketing, it’s not the end-all-be-all. Some brands go as far as to diversify their product offerings as well.
Making changes to your products or services may seem like a huge commitment, and, for many brands, it is. But if the goal is to fully localize your brand, then tweaking your products and services to fit different locations’ needs may be necessary as well.
But, to figure out what consumers from different markets want and need from your brand, you need access to advanced consumer data and insights. While a tool like Google Analytics can provide helpful insights, it may not be equipped to deliver the level of detail and nuance you’ll need to make such big decisions.
Instead, we recommend using brand monitoring, which provides brands with reliable, accurate consumer data. With the ability to use customized KPIs and specify your exact target audiences and locations, the data brand tracking tools deliver makes it possible to build an intelligent, well-developed localization marketing strategy.
Localization marketing isn’t for everyone. Some brands are right to avoid it — as they don’t possess the resources or personnel required to make it a success.
But, for brands that are able to commit the time, money, and effort required — localization marketing is a great way to scale, increase exposure, and connect with new audiences. And for those that want to give it a go, make sure to first choose the right brand tracking software.