Your marketing budget for localizing your website will expand according to how many countries you want to target and the number of different languages involved. However, if you are just starting out in international marketing, you don’t need to contemplate a large localization project involving, let’s say, a dozen different languages. It’s best to start small, go slowly, and identify your prospective customer base in just one, or only two or three countries. Therefore, your first step should be to determine in which country or countries your product or service will likely be most successful, and start there. Here are some tips to help you identify your best international target market.
Research, Research, Research
You need to thoroughly analyze any country that you think should show great potential for your product or service. And, bear in mind that even the big global players, like McDonald’s, have sometimes found it necessary to close down or decrease their presence in some countries. Sometimes companies find there is not sufficient market demand for their offerings or it’s too arduous to comply with burdensome local legislation. So, deciding to jump feet first into a foreign marketplace without proper research is, to put it mildly, highly unadvisable. Big international players such as McDonald’s can absorb the cost of localization blunders, but will you be able to?
Be Specific in Your Research
Your research has to come up with something called your international buyer persona. You do this by conducting specific research in each geographic region you want to target. To provide an oversimplified example, merely relying on generic data about an entire continent is not good enough. For instance, coming up with a one-size-fits-all plan for Europe won’t be much use. And, it’s not just a question of language. The French people, for example, are different from the Spaniards, and the Spanish have an entirely different culture from the Germans. So, if your initial target is wide (e.g., Europe) you’ll need to narrow it down and assess the possible demand for your product by country. If you discover that there seems to be great potential in one country, then start out there.
Ask Some Essential Questions
The success of your website localization project will depend on how well you manage the planning stage. Try to obtain the answers to a few basic questions in each specific international target market, for example:
- Is there interest in your kind of product or service?
- Is the market for your product growing, and at what rate?
- How many competitors will you have?
- Can local consumers afford your product?
- What are the buying preferences of your targeted audience?
- Will the cost of transportation and customer support be worth it?
- Is your potential market worth the cost of website localization?
The Bottom Line
If you are fortunate enough to have the time and resources, you may decide to carry out your market research first hand by visiting the country of your international target market. If not, you could choose to work with a local consultant. Your aim should be to figure out how to reach the highest number of potential customers while keeping within your localization budget. But all marketing and financial indicators should be factored in when deciding which markets to approach. For instance, if you look at the number of internet users in China, that country obviously has enormous potential. But plain numbers won’t be relevant if you don’t stand much chance of selling your product there.
Localizing Your Website
Once you’ve chosen your international target market, don’t waste all that valuable research time and expense by trying to cut corners when it comes to translating and localizing your content. You need people on board who understand what makes your targeted customers tick. First-class translators will be able to translate and localize your message so that local people will identify with it. Localize is a Translation Management Service (TMS) that will enable your team, including your expert translators, to work well together. Contact us today to see how we can help to ensure that your localization project in your chosen country is a success.