When you hear about web localization, whether it’s been carried out well or otherwise, it’s from large brands like Coca-Cola or Nike. However, you can launch an international small business and stand a chance of success if you harness the power of localizing websites.
You’ll just need top localization services to make sure your product and marketing will land in the new region. Below, we’ll look at website localization tips, social media outreach, and how to find the best agency to help with your needs.
How Global Website Localization Process Works
First, let’s go into the basics of localization. What is the concept of localization? Localization is the process of making sure a product or message will fit in with a foreign market in the most complete and natural manner possible. The actual translation of the text is a key part of the localization process but far from all of it.
How do I localize my website? According to localization services provider Tomedes, global website localization best practices normally involve following a detailed process that incorporates:
- Updating all formats and symbols to fit local requirements, from phone numbers and addresses to dates and currency symbols
- Making sure thx`e layout fits with the new language, such as if text now reads right to left instead of left to right, or vertically instead of horizontally
- Updating graphics to reflect the new language or updating photos to fit with local demographics and regional landmarks
- Making sure services and products fit with local regulations, such as cookie notifications or privacy policies
- Keeping all content in line with what is considered culturally appropriate
As you can see, all parts of a website must be taken into account to match local consumer habits and cultural preferences. For example, there are cases when companies need to redesign the layout of their home page when entering the Asian market.
In certain Asian regions, consumers prefer many images upfront with product descriptions. However, in the West, consumers usually like a clean home page layout with minimal but targeted content about the company. They often come with videos or one large image to evoke a certain mood from their audience. This is where working with a website localization service can help, since it’s important for businesses to know other markets on such a deep level.
Types of marketing web localization
Marketing your content on your website, social media, and campaigns is important to reach more international audiences. However, there are different processes that you should apply depending on the content type to make it more effective. There are three types of marketing web localization that marketers should consider:
- Marketing localization is the most common approach that marketers use. This is the process of translating the contents and adapting them to the demographics and culture of a locale. This works for website copies, FAQs, and brochures.
- Transcreation needs some help from professional marketing transcreator in reinventing and recreating branded content that are already working well. Examples of these contents are product names, taglines, slogans, landing pages, and campaign ads.
- In-country copywriting is when content creators are given the freedom to create content from scratch to make it suitable for their target audience. It is ideal when new contents are highly preferred on your target locations.
By adopting the right localization approach for your business, you can avoid unnecessary tasks while ensuring your success.
International Small Business SEO
One key part of launching a small business in a new region is using international SEO. SEO involves optimizing a website so that it can be recognized appropriately by search engines. International SEO involves optimizing a website so that search engines know which countries you’re targeting and in which languages. It sounds complicated, but it’s actually a natural part of the localization process. For instance, if you want a website to show in a foreign region you would:
- Use a URL structure that is native to the country or region you are targeting. In the UK, for example, it’s common to use .co.uk or .uk structures.
- Use language tags in the HTML coding to tell search engines which language you’re in.
- Have the website content in the language that’s used in the region you wish to target.
You might also try hosting your website on a local IP. You could link to local content and build links from local resources. You’ll need to look up which search engines are used locally (as not every region prefers or even uses Google) and target those.
Social Media Outreach Tips for International Small Businesses
Another way to launch your international small business is to connect with local people on social media. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Research which social media platforms are the most popular in the region you wish to work in. For instance, China uses Renren instead of Facebook.
- Be familiar with the posting structure of each platform and its best practices. Instagram, for example, is focused on photos, while Twitter uses shorter posts and Facebook can work well for longer posts.
- You will have to translate your social media posts. Facebook accounts with 10,000+ followers saw the most clicks per post when they posted 31-60 times monthly, which means plenty of translation as part of your outreach process. Since this is an ongoing expense, be sure to include translation costs in your marketing budget.
- It’s important to make sure your social media posts are undergoing a professional level of translation. Social media is a very casual format, and as such must connect with followers in a way that feels native and never forced or clumsy. A poor translation can sound like a textbook, come across as out of touch with the local culture or, in the worst-case scenario, simply not make sense. 38.59% of social media users unfollow brands due to offensive or inappropriate posts, so it pays to take care.
Social media offers a large impact on small businesses. It is a wonderful platform to get in touch with new customers for your international small business. Since you have a smaller budget than larger companies, and most likely don’t have a physical presence in the community, social media marketing can be the ideal way to connect with new consumers.
How to Find the Best Agency for Your International Small Business Needs
With how complex localization can be, you might want to work with professional localization services. Follow the steps below to find the best website localization services:
- Conduct a thorough online search for the best localization services. You might also ask around your professional contacts to see if anyone has used a localization service that they would be happy to recommend.
- Create a shortlist of companies that might be good to work with.
- Look at independent online reviews to get an idea of each company.
- Review each website to see which looks most professional, thorough and competent.
- Assess the background of your shortlisted localization services companies carefully. You might find they have samples of past work or client testimonials on their website, or they can provide them to you.
Start your international small business efforts off on the right foot by finding the best website localization services possible.
Localization is an important part of marketing strategy when expanding your small business in the international market. It helps businesses connect and leave a great impact to their target audiences by adapting to their language and culture. By following the tips and understanding the considerations we mentioned, you are not far off on your success.
Sabrina Par is a Legal Management major and a professional copywriter interested in business marketing, management, and languages.