Localization has never been a booming trend, but rather a slowly building norm among successful organizations. Localizing your product or your marketing campaigns is a lengthy and often costly process, but it’s also immensely rewarding from a financial standpoint. Marketing efforts that are well-localized allow businesses to grow their influence in new markets and drive customer loyalty.
In this article, we’ll look into how and why you should localize your marketing campaigns so that you can boost your conversions and engage your existing and potential customers. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Before looking into the tips to efficiently localize your ads and marketing campaigns in general, it’s essential to understand how localization differs from translation since the two can appear confusing to the naked eye. While both appear to transpose words from one language to another to recreate meaning, there is an essential difference between the two.
Translation focuses predominantly on recreating meaning, by abiding by universal linguistic standards. Translators are mostly preoccupied with faithfully translating the meaning of a text and by following a canonic method. So, to some extent, we can assert that translation is more preoccupied with linguistic standards.
Localization, however, is much more people-oriented or even culture-oriented. A localized text recreates meaning by using cultural and regional elements, in order to cater to a particular culture or part of a country. For instance, here’s a list of countries where Dutch is an official language:
- Sint Maarten
Let’s say a company wanted to adapt their marketing materials to every single one of these countries, would traditional Dutch necessarily do the trick? How well would a marketing message crafted for people living in Amsterdam cater to people living in South American Suriname?
There is a colossal number of cultural and geographic variables between these countries — religions, climate, ethics, humor, and a broad spectrum of other factors that, to some extent, change the language of a particular region. This is why businesses need to look into localizing their marketing materials rather than just translate them.
There is now a growing body of research that underlines the importance of localization when it comes to businesses trying to expand their influence overseas. Several years ago, Harvard Business Review published a revealing article that indicates how prone non-English speakers to make purchases in their languages exclusively. Here are some central points that the piece navigates:
- Over 70 percent of users use predominantly sites in their own language.
- Over 70 percent of users state they almost always prefer to purchase products presented and advertised in their native language.
- Over 55 percent of respondents consider price less important than linguistic accessibility.
Essential Marketing Localization Tips
Now that we’ve covered the basics of localization, let’s look into the essential tips that will help you boost your marketing campaign conversions.
1. Work with natives
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of working with a native speaker because nothing qualifies you to know the culture better than coming from a particular region.
Working with native professionals will ensure that your product will be adequately localized. Poorly localized products tend to perform very poorly on app markets.
It’s also essential to consider working with local editors. People who will be working refining and retouching your copy. They also need to have a proper understanding of the regional peculiarities of the target language. This can be done by hiring an in-house localization team or outsourcing the project. Many translation and localization agencies like PickWriters typically hire exclusively native translation and localization experts.
2. Mind your language
Carefully analyzing the vocabulary of your target audience is an essential factor when it comes to localization. The engagement and the overall success of your marketing materials partly depend on how its worded. Stylistically assimilating your language with the people who your product is for.
For example, if you’re an extreme sports accessories vendor, it’s pretty much useless to opt for formalities and linguistic canons. It’s probably best to adopt a more youthful and passionate language that is also niche-specific.
3. Explore cultural elements
Carefully inserting cultural elements and symbols is a surefire way to integrate into a market, yet this step, as simple as it sounds, is very risky. A poorly researched use of a cultural symbol may result in a backlash, which would defeat the purpose of the marketing campaign.
Here’s an example of explored cultural elements in their advert crafted for the Israeli market.
4. Consider localizing your brand
Some businesses choose to adapt their brand name or logo to certain markets, in order to enter markets much faster and easier. Every person experiences reality through a very dense prism, and culture its central component.
Therefore, when localizing your brand’s appearance in a specific country, you need to align your business with the local standards. This is why you might want to look into making some changes to the colors, fonts, images, and overall design, but at the same time, keep faithful to the original design.
5. Have a focus group
An essential component of a successful localization project is localization testing. You may have worked with a native localization expert. You may also have worked with a native editor. It’s then essential if your product does the trick with a group of locals.
6. Have a knowledge base
In order to facilitate the successful localization of your future marketing products, make sure to create a knowledge base that would exemplify examples of good and bad localizations, to better describe the voice, tone, and style you’re after. This will provide the linguists with sufficient reference points to recreate your brand voice with less time expenditure.
7. Keep an eye on the KPIs
Essentially, every business can establish its own way of measuring the success of their localization project. Here are a few examples of what metrics you can use to define the success of your localization process:
- Total number of acquired customers in the new target market
- The visitor conversion rate in a new market
- Overall traffic volume
- Market share percentage over time
- The total return on localization investment
Localization is a crucial part of your market strategy, so it should always be grounded in research and analytics. Make sure you use a tool to generate comprehensive reports so see the results of your localization efforts and adjust your strategy with data-driven decisions that maximize ROI.
There’s no doubt localization is a complex and demanding project that demands considerable time and budget investments, but when done right, it will provide you with significant returns.
Once you’ve started to implement your well-researched strategy, don’t forget to track localization efforts to see if you’re getting positive ROI from them. The best way to do that is to look at conversion rates. If cross-cultural localization was done right and you managed to convey your brand’s vision in a creative and culturally appropriate manner, then results won’t be late to appear and you will notice a growth in conversions.
If you apply at least a few of the tips we mentioned above, you’ll see great improvement on the rate at which foreign markets engage with your advertising efforts.
Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she had found herself as a freelance writer. Kristin runs her own FlyWriting blog.