This article originally appeared in Startups Magazine and has been republished with permission.
Companies that sell across borders have higher revenues, higher profits, higher valuations, and better defend their domestic market. Buyers from around the world can access your website from wherever they are, so it’s time to optimize and make your site accessible for non-English speakers.
A common misbelief is that English is the global language. Research clearly shows that it is not. CSA Research and Gallup do research on translation preferences. Consistently, their research shows that bilingual people prefer to read content in their own language:
- 90% prefer to spend time on a site in their native language,
- 72% will spend more time on a site in their language, and
- 56% will spend MORE money on a site in their language.
- After the sale, 75% will not buy again if post-sales support is not provided in their language.
The research is clear. By providing just a little translation on your site, you can attract visitors from all over the world.
Not all translation is equal. For your website and SEO, make sure to hire a professional translation company to avoid mistakes, message confusion, insults, and gibberish. Definitely avoid Google Translate and the plugin for your website. Take my word for it – you need quality.
Considerations for Successful Translation
Once you decide on a high-quality translation provider, here are additional considerations to make sure your efforts bring positive results.
- Think GLOBAL from the start – many start-ups forget that not all people will want to buy in English. We’ve seen many companies develop technology not easily adapted to other languages. By thinking globally from the start, your transition to global growth will be easier.
- Align your multilingual strategy with your company strategy – by doing so, your team knows what products and services you aim to sell in each market. With a clear strategy, you can set goals and track successes to know what works for future markets.
- Think of your buyer’s journey – from your social media posts to your website to your service delivery, you want to provide accurately translated content for all stages of the buyer’s journey – for attracting, engaging, and delighting your buyers.
- Spend time on your keywords – you research and carefully pick what keywords and search phrases to optimize. Translation of these terms is not a simple one word or phrase translation. Ask the translator to provide any words that people in the new target market might search to find you. Then look at the statistics on each word and test them to find out what works best for you.
- Provide equal access to support – if your buyers want to chat or speak with you, consider how to connect with them in their language. Chatbots are simple – once you develop the script in English, translating it is easy. Telephone interpreting services can offer immediate, around-the-clock access to an interpreter over the phone for over 200 languages. Instead of having to hire for each language, your current team can access an interpreter within 20 seconds to facilitate the conversation.
Just Do It!
As host of “The Global Marketing Show” podcast, I’ve had the opportunity to interview many experienced global marketing professionals. “Stay Curious” is the recurring theme that drives success in cross-border expansion. Curiosity about your buyers’ desires, customs, language, and interests will lead you to successful outcomes, no matter where you go, virtually or in real life. So take the plunge and DO IT!