The Internet is a borderless medium, which means your website can reach potential buyers from around the world. Many of these buyers will want to purchase your products… if your content speaks to them.
Each marketing strategy must be adapted to reach different market segments. The same is true for buyers in different countries. It’s not just about translating into multiple languages – it’s about tailoring everything from the photos and layout to the products you highlight.
If you want your website to gain traction in international markets, here are five strategies you need to start adopting.
Localize your text for different countries and markets
Adapting website text requires much more than just doing a word-for-word translation into the target language. It requires understanding what consumers in your target marketing want and what messages will resonate with them. It’s not just about adapting your text to the language – it’s about adapting it to the culture.
A literal translation often means the nuances and the power of your original content are lost. A joke or a cultural reference made in America may not elicit the same response in a Korean market. By adapting portions of your text to reflect the linguistic and cultural norms of your target market, you build a deeper connection and increase the chances of turning a visitor into a customer.
Customize your product listings and landing pages
Some products may be universally beloved, but more often than not, buyers in different countries are searching for different products. Even if they want the same product, they may look for different types of details about it. Keep both of these things in mind as you adapt your website.
If you already sell to a specific country, analyze buying patterns and compare them to your primary market. If you find the target country buys from different product categories, or different items from the same category, adapt your landing pages to highlight the most popular items.
Don’t forget to adapt how you highlight these products as well. Product descriptions contain both creative and technical elements – both must be tailored to the target market. Clothing sizes and furniture dimensions will be in inches in the U.S. – everywhere else, they’ll be in centimeters. Distances are calculated in miles or kilometers, depending on your target market. Product pages and descriptions should appear as if they were originally created in the target language. Make sure yours appear that way as well.
Develop an international SEO strategy
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about optimizing your website for search engines, so your site appears on the front page (which generates more clicks). We often talk about ranking high on Google, but that’s not the only search engine out there. In China, many web users turn to Baidu, while Yandex is the primary search engine in Russia. That’s why it’s so important to have an SEO strategy for multiple search engines, not just Google.
Your SEO strategy requires an understanding of the algorithms of the most widely used search engine(s) in each country, as well as the keywords buyers in those markets use. Both will vary from one search engine to another, and from country to country, but by crafting a strategy for each individual market, you’ll rank high in all of them.
Tailor your layout and design to cultural standards
A picture is worth a thousand words. The right picture on your site can drive traffic and sales. The wrong picture can do just the opposite. So can the wrong colors, page layouts, or photos. When adapting your website text, make sure to adapt your visual assets as well.
Understand what is and isn’t acceptable in your target market. For instance, green means money or spring in the U.S. but it’s a funeral color in Malaysia. A thumbs up means things are great in most places, but it’s an offensive gesture in Iran. Photos, videos and infographics need to adhere to your target country’s sensibilities, focusing on what’s appropriate and eliminating what isn’t.
Your website’s layout need to follow suit. Users don’t navigate websites in the same fashion everywhere – for instance, content that’s read left to right calls for a very different design than text that’s read right to left. Several eye tracking studies have shown that important information must be placed in different areas of the page depending on where in the world your page is being viewed. Your most important page elements need to appear where visitors will see them.
Adapt videos to increase their visibility
The visual aspects (colors, photographs, etc.) mentioned in the previous point also apply to your videos. In fact, they’re even more vital, as video is the most viral medium in much of the world. Videos transmit a lot of information in a short period of time, and they’re more likely to be shared by viewers, so a video that speaks to your target market will do wonders for your brand.
Edit visual elements (where possible) to adapt to cultural norms and preferences. Audio matters, too. Choose culturally relevant music for the background, and add subtitles or dubbing so your target market can follow dialogue or voiceovers.
To succeed in a global marketplace, your strategy needs to appeal to each of your local markets. Follow the localization tips above and your site will gain visitors and customers wherever you want to find them.
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