Localization Marketing Strategy 101:
Before we dive deep into this article, let us explain what it even means. Can't you scale your marketing strategy and gain new customers worldwide? While it is true that the world is fully connected and global, putting a local audience first is crucial. Localization will help you align with a local audience no matter the market you want to enter.
Localization is much more than converting content word for word from one language to another. It means adapting your whole marketing strategy to a local audience. To expand this a bit further, when we talk about localizing your marketing materials, this can mean:
- Translating your content to the native language of the local market
- Using the most common and popular communication channels in a targeted market.
- Set up your eCommerce to show prices in the local currency.
- Tweaking your visuals and branding design to fit in the cultural context.
- Change the style and layouts of your material to match your target audience's purchasing preferences.
- Changing dates, phone numbers, and measurement units in locally accepted formats.
- Ensuring your marketing campaigns comply with local regulations.
Localization thus includes everything from your messaging, and graphics, to communication channels and design.
Why bother with localization?
Selling generic products for mass audiences is long gone. With eCommerce growing rapidly, and similar platforms such as Amazon are getting more traffic than ever, personalisation is the key to success. Everyone can get anything they want without even leaving their home.
This abundance of choices has led to massive competition among global firms. Customers don't want to buy generic products from whatever brands. They want to align with a brand and brand value they buy from. To be successful, you want to connect with your customer on a deeper level.
You can see big emotional connections between buyers and top-performing global brands like Tesla, Apple, Patagonia, and others.
Localizing your marketing strategy is a perfect step toward curating a deep connection with your customers. Consumers' questionnaire shows that more than 76% of all internet users prefer buying products with information in their local language. They go even further and see the information in the local language as more important than the price. 40% of survey respondents say they will never buy from a page in a foreign language.
How to set up a localization strategy?
Start with the market research
Doing market research before entering a new foreign market is unavoidable. To be successful, you need to understand the target market as well as your local one. This means you have to research:
- Market regulations and law.
- Most common marketing channels and communication style the local audience use.
- Culture, demographics, and religion of the local audience.
- Purchasing power and behaviour of the local audience.
- The language the local audience in the new market speaks.
- Their likes, dislikes, and challenges they are facing.
Understanding all this will allow you to adjust your marketing efforts to the local audience. Localized content will help you build trust, and credibility, and will thus persuade the consumer to buy your products.
When entering a new lucrative market you are not likely to be alone. There will be a ton of competition with already established brands and brands. Analyze those brands and benchmark your localization strategy based on what works for them.
Benchmark top brands with an outstanding localization strategy
Let's go over some great examples in practice. A few of the best brands localizing their content are:
The page is available in more than 320 languages making it one of the most localized websites in the world. With over 5.5 billion monthly visits, Wikipedia takes localization seriously. The company created a Content translation tool that helps volunteers translate articles and spread knowledge. All translations are user generated.
Available in 90 countries and 56 languages, Tinder is getting more than 120 million monthly visits. Just like Wikipedia, Tinder doesn't change graphics and visuals. The languages change but the design stays the same. What makes Tinder stand out is the app’s newest feature translating users' messages. Users can now chat in their language and the MT engine will automatically translate the text.
Everyone heard about Tripadvisor before. A popular travel guidance platform that receives around 390 monthly visits. The website is available in 28 languages and provides travel guides and reviews for rentals around the world. What makes Tripadvisor great is that website is not the only thing translated, but so are reviews and travel guides. Users can even choose between the same languages that have different variants. Users can choose between Mexican Spanish and European Spanish.
Coca-Cola is one of the most recognized if even not the most recognizable beverages in the world. To quote the company website:
"More than 1.9 billion servings of our drinks are enjoyed in more than 200 countries each day."
When browsing through different countries' Coca-Cola websites you can see that not only the text is translated. Each website has slightly different visuals that fit into the cultural context. While the design changes, the logo, and the name stay the same in every market.
Last but not least is Netflix. A subscription-based streaming service is available in 190 countries around the world. What made Netflix take off was its understanding of different audiences. Every one of 220 million subscribers get delivered the content that reason with their cultural context and country. To reach an even bigger audience, Netflix provides subtitles and dubs to create a great user experience for as many people as possible. The platform even takes into account the preferences when it comes to subs and dubs. Countries like Germany and Japan are prioritizing dubbed content as these audiences are known to prefer this over subtitles.
Adapt your marketing content
As you can see, localization is not just a fancy word for translation. If you want that your marketing material converts, you will have to put in the work! As you saw in the examples of good practices, you will have to adjust your content to the local audience.
To successfully localize your marketing efforts you will have to:
1. Research a local audience, their interest, purchasing behavior, and most popular communication channels.
2. Once you understand your audience you can start adapting your content. Some audiences will respond well to sleek and humorous messaging, while others will align with more formal messaging. This varies both from culture to culture as well as from industry to industry.
3. Localizing your Google, and other ads won't be enough. To build trust and gain credibility, we recommend localizing your whole brand experience. A good tip is to start with your website since it is usually the first impression you give to potential customers.
The problem is that translating every tiny bit of your content can be time-consuming. You can end up spending more time translating than building your business. We suggest two tools that can help you speed up the process. For Webflow users we recommend Linguana. A multi-language SaaS that helps you automate website translation in more than 189 languages. Another tool is Weglot. SaaS that automates website translation and specializes in platforms like WordPress.
4. If you want your content to pop, you have to adjust your visuals. Your graphics will usually be the first thing your audience sees. You have to make sure not to only capture attention, but pursue them by digging deeper and becoming a customer. Different graphics will be more appealing in different cultures. If you want your brand to go global, your whole brand image will have to align with a new audience. This involves everything from choosing a color palette and using symbols, to staying consistent with the local norms.
Connect on a deeper level
If you want to go that extra step in connecting on a deeper level, there are a few things you can do to improve your strategy even more.
Drive your marketing efforts with the help of local influencers and celebrities. Influencer Marketing Hub reports that this market is expected to grow to $16.4B this year! The number of companies offering influencer marketing services grew by 26% in 2021. It is more than clear that this is a lucrative market, and a local influencer can do wonders in helping you gain trust and credibility.
Another strategy is to incorporate local slang and internal jokes into your communication. Don't act like another global firm but as a friendly local business. Coca-Cola did. a great job with their Share a Coke campaign. Putting local names on the bottles gave a special meaning to sharing Coke with your local friends and family.
Last but not least is featuring local holidays in your marketing campaigns. Different cultures emphasize different big holidays. While Thanksgiving and Christmas are by far the most important US holidays, Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday in China. Other big holidays around the world worth writing down are Hanukkah, Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, Easter, Diwali, etc. Set up special campaigns and don't miss those big important days. Not only will this make a great impression on your users, but holidays are also times when consumers spend the most!
Creating a localization marketing strategy can kick off your global diversification. Aligning your brand with the local culture will help you build trust and credibility. A big part of big brands' global success is simply adapting a brand, product, or service for a specific local context. Amazon, Notion, Netflix, and Spotify are just a few examples of such brands. Read how Spotify create a game plan for each country they enter.
While localization or translation seems like a pretty straightforward process, it can be overwhelming. Translating all your content manually can be time-consuming and expensive. If you don't have a budget to work with established translation providers, maintaining quality and accuracy can be an even bigger pain. This is why SaaS as Linguana can be a good fit for you. It helps automate your translation process so you can focus on growing your business! Linguana helps you localize your website in more than 189 languages without risking your SEO score. You only pay for what you use and avoid costly and rigid collaboration with traditional translation providers.