Without localization, your marketing campaign is already a failure.

Why?

No matter how much time, effort, and creativity you’ve put in your marketing campaign, targeting a single territory is a waste of potential. And, if you take your business seriously, expanding it and hitting the international market should be your priority, whether you operate a startup or are already well-networked B2B-wise.

To help you reach new markets, you need to localize your marketing campaign. Translation and localization industry is massive, with millions of people working to help businesses expand to the international scale.

You may think that there’s no need in spending tons of money on a translator to hit the foreign marketing, and that’s where you’re wrong. Localization is not the same as translation and exists primarily to help you better understand the target audience from a foreign country.

If you’re still hesitant, here’s what the stats have to say:

  • 87% of people claim that they won’t buy from a website they don’t understand. So, if your website and your product cater mostly to the English-speaking community, there’s a fat chance that your business will be successful in the international market;
  • The same stats claim that 95% of online shoppers will only use websites that have their native language. This statement is true about the shoppers from China, which is the most desirable, and yet hard-to-crack market. Having your marketing campaign localized will give you a chance to hit the market you desire and outperform your competitors.

Numbers don’t convince you? Take a look at this.

Benefits of Marketing Campaign Localization

  • You deliver a clear and concise message. Localization helps you make sure that your product hits the market, being culturally and linguistically appropriate. By localizing your marketing campaigns, you make sure that your product is well-represented and understood by the target locale.
  • You get the opportunity to increase sales. If you want to skyrocket retention and boost your revenue, localizing your marketing campaigns is a must.
  • Your business gains a competitive advantage. There’s a really small chance that your business is the only one on the market. And even if it is, you’ll have competitors quicker than you think. Outrun them by localizing your marketing campaigns and going international.

Localization is a great benefit for your business, introducing to you many new opportunities, as you hit the international marketing. Now, let’s take a look at some steps you should take to localize your marketing campaigns.

Marketing Campaign Localization Guide

Step #1: Differentiate Localization from Translation

Before you start preparing everything to localize your marketing campaign, you should understand the difference between the notion of localization and the notion of translation.

When translating, you transform a message from one language to another. The aim is for the target audience to understand what they read, meaning that a translator should use his skill to make a message sound as original as possible to the target audience. Essentially, a translator’s task is to cater to wide audiences that are native in the target language he or she translates to.

When performing localization, a translator caters to a more specific audience. For instance, localization can be done in Canadian English or Brazilian Portuguese instead of the standard English and Portuguese, etc. Besides, localization means formatting the numbers, dates and other culture-specific aspects according to the requirements of the target language, whilst it is not always a requirement for translation. Localization is more sensitive to the local culture, thus catering to a specific audience that is native to this culture.

Thus, localization goes beyond translation, making texts more culture-specific and targeted.

Step #2: Research Potential Markets

Market research is an integral part of developing a business plan. It is also an important step in developing a marketing campaign. This step will identify, which markets you would like to explore, consequently helping you figure out, which languages will be used for localization.

According to Entrepreneur, there are 4 major aspects to consider, when doing market research:

  • Determine the key points of your research. What do you need to know about potential markets? Do you know the target markets well enough, or there are some things to consider? Explore as much information as possible and make sure that all the questions are answered;
  • Make your findings the priority. As soon as you get all the answers, prioritize them, make them those central points your marketing campaign will be targeted at.
  • Consider surveying the target audience. An important step in researching potential markets is getting to know the target audience. Survey them to ask what their market lacks and how your product could be useful to them.
  • Don’t skip web analytics and social media data. Social channels provide marketers with valuable social data that can be used when doing research on potential markets.

Researching potential markets is a labor-intensive and time-consuming task, but it’s absolutely necessary for the successful marketing campaign and its localization. To help you visualize everything that should be kept in mind while researching potential markets, you can use this chart:

Marketing Campaign Localization

Step #3: Hire Local Talent

When planning to do the localization of your marketing campaigns, always opt for hiring a local translator, who’s a native speaker of the target language.

International translation agencies have a rule of providing their clients only with translators who are native in the target language of translation. It is explained by the fact that major translation agencies follow the mother tongue principle.

Normally, a translator should be native in the target language of translation to make sure that the text is translated appropriately. The American Translators Association claims that a translator’s mother tongue is ideally the only language that he or she can translate to.

Although the mother tongue principle is often considered a myth and you can potentially hire a translator, who’s not native but very good target language speaker, always opt for local talent. A translator who lives in the area you want to reach in your next marketing campaign will be aware of everything that is characteristic of culture and people living in this area. That’s exactly what you need if you want your marketing campaigns to be successful – a person, who will help your business fit in the target culture.  

Step #4: Introduce Localized Social and Web Pages

Localizing social media pages and your website should be on your priority list when developing marketing campaigns.

With social media, the common “one language fits all” approach is not the option if you want to go global. According to stats, over 88% of companies are now marketing on social media, with major players like McDonald’s, H&M and Zara already having localized social media pages. IKEA is also a good example of localizing social media pages. Their localized Instagram accounts include languages like Dutch, Russian, Polish, Arabian, Chinese, French and many others:

Marketing Campaign Localization

Image credit: Instagram

Localizing social media pages is an essential step in implementing marketing campaigns. This way you’ll be able to introduce your product to the new audience and communicate with them directly. But if your primary sales channel is your website, it needs localization too, if you plan to open your brand to a certain market. One of the most well-localized retail websites is Aliexpress, with over 30 languages and currencies available:

Marketing Campaign Localization

Website localization is an absolute necessity if you plan on introducing your product to foreign audiences. It guarantees the positive shopping experience for the target audience, which is essential for the success of your marketing campaigns.

Step #5: Local Marketing Placement Matters

You cannot avoid marketing placement (more known as product placement) when implementing your marketing campaign. The same rule goes for an international marketing campaign, and localization is an essential part of it.

Product placement is less popular, compared to social media marketing and digital marketing strategies. You can see how the investments in product placement vary in different countries and in different years:

Marketing Campaign Localization

Image credit: Statista

Yet, it’s a perfect strategy that brings great results, when it comes to conquering new markets. However, it’s also a rather expensive strategy to implement, meaning that you will have to cooperate with movie directors or TV show producers to get your product in their creations, and this is only one example of how a product can be placed.

Embedded marketing is a highly versatile strategy, yet it is very cost-intensive. So, if you’re just a startup or a young company looking for ways to explore new markets, embedded marketing is not the best option.

Step #6: Work with Local Influencers

However, the best option for young entrepreneurs may be collaborating with local influencers to help introduce the product to the new market. According to the stats, 86% of people support influencer marketing, naming it a reliable and useful source of information.

Influencer marketing is a new realm for entrepreneurs. It is also a quick way to reach new audiences. And, if you plan to explore new markets, working with the influencers who are native to them will bring you many benefits.

However, here are some things you must remember when collaborating with local influencers:

  • A local influencer already has a massive audience they will introduce you to. So before you offer them the work to promote your product, interview the influencer about the peculiarities of the market and what they deem important to do in order to impress the target audience;
  • In general, when hiring an influencer, remember that they will become your business partner. In terms of localization, you rely on their knowledge of the market and their audience.
  • Choose a micro-influencer for collaboration. Stats claim people trust them more and they charge less, which is important if you’re a young company or a startup.

Step #7: Avoid Partial Localization – Go All In

Lastly, if you plan to have a successful marketing campaign on the global market, every part of it should be localized. Go all in: localize every social media platform you use, as well as your website and even your customer support. You should introduce yourself to the new market like a champion, leaving no space for your competitors.

Partial localization is one of the mistakes you can make when localizing your marketing campaigns. Here are some more mistakes and pitfalls to avoid:

  • Incomplete market research can lead to potential problems with implementing your marketing campaign. If you cannot do it yourself, hire a local team of market researchers to help you understand the target market better;
  • All visuals should be localized as well. Any images or videos you place on your localized social media pages should be discussed with the translator to avoid any tabooed aspects;
  • Introducing localized customer support is a must as well. If you plan on working with new markets on a steady basis, your new audience needs professional help in case any issues occur.

Wrapping Up

Introducing your business to the new markets should be a priority in your business plan. If it is, localization in unavoidable. Treat it as an essential part of your marketing campaign, follow this guide to bring your business to the success it deserves.

About the Author

Bridgette Hernandez is a Master in Anthropology who is interested in writing and is planning to publish her own book in the near future. Now she is a content editor at TrustMyPaper. She works with professional writing companies such as GrabMyEssay and Studicus as a writer. The texts she writes are always informative, based on a qualitative research but nevertheless pleasant to read.

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