Reaching new audiences is always a big challenge for many businesses. You have to readjust your marketing strategies, invest in extensive research about the target audiences, and sometimes repackage your products and services to appeal to the new market. All that gets trickier if the target audiences have a different language and a different culture from your existing audiences. This is particularly the case for businesses with operations in many countries, or local companies operating in multilingual communities. This article explores five simple tips on how you can reach new audiences in new languages.
1. Work with a translation service
You will need to translate some of your social media and web content to sell your products or services to the new audiences in a language they understand. For that, ensure that you work with reputable translation services as opposed to using online translation tools or inexperienced, cheap translators. Even if one of your employees speaks two languages but isn’t a qualified translator, don’t make the mistake of tasking them with the responsibility of translating your content. You need people with outstanding linguistic skills, accurate terminology, industry-specific training, and experience in the dominant culture in the target region. Quality translation also needs to flow in a writing style and slang that the intended audience relates with. Remember that people can speak the same language but have different slangs and dialects (e.g., Saudi Arabia vs. UAE Arabic is different).
2. Localize your content
Translation will not achieve much unless the entire marketing strategy is localized for the target audience. Your adverts should revolve around local cultural angles, e.g., local holidays, standards, currencies, and customs. For example, a Chinese audience might not relate to your content if you quote prices in US dollars instead of Yuans. A British audience will not understand your measurements if they are in imperial instead of metric units.
Localization also means using formats for dates as per the target audience’s preferences, having local addresses and phone numbers, and fulfilling all local legal marketing requirements. It means researching the trendiest keywords and optimizing them for your web content.
3. Geo-target your visuals
If you have gotten this far in business, you know how compelling visuals are in bringing online traffic to your website. Visual elements such as images and videos are shareable on social media, so they bring social media users to your site. Other features such as infographics, pie charts, and graphs break down your static content, makes it readable by visitors, and that increases retention and conversions. The colors and themes you use on the website also determine how visitors from a given region perceive your brand.
Some visuals can be liked in one culture or region and still be a total turnoff in another culture, so you need to be careful with how you use them on your site. Also, if your visuals aren’t geo-targeted for the locations where your audiences live, no matter how awesome they could be, the audience might not relate to them. Include local flags on your site, images of local sports teams’ logos, and photos of happy local customers on your website. As for the infographics you use, ensure that they capture all demographics within the target community.
4. Know the right platforms to target
There isn’t a single social platform that is universally accepted or popular. You need to research about which platforms your target audiences spend most of their time on. That is where you should concentrate your efforts on. For example, you will easily reach American audiences on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, but you cannot rely on those platforms to bring in Chinese audiences. You have to focus on Chinese platforms such as Sina Weibo, Youku, and Renren.
For a multilingual audience, you may have to double post on the same platforms but in different languages. If you have customers in France and the US, for example, you will need to create separate Facebook or Twitter posts for each language. If you are targeting a bilingual audience, Canada, for example, double posting might not be a good idea. Just decide which language between French and English to post in.
5. Follow local news
Pay attention to what is happening around the new market and use it to your advantage. If there is a political event within the community you are targeting, you need to know how to craft a message that is politically neutral or friendly to your target group. For example, when targeting Japanese and South Korean customers, you need to be careful not to appear like you are warming up towards one of the two geopolitical rivals.
A well-thought-out business expansion plan eliminates the risk of improper use of language, limiting your international success. Before you start thinking about language, therefore, think about your growth plan and how you will satisfy the new market once you appeal to it through language.