Localize Websites Strategically With Minimum Viable Content
Feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of pursuing a new global market? Is a mountain of content awaiting translation blocking your way? There’s a better, quicker way to localize websites. Read on to learn how identifying minimum viable content can lead to more rapid, cost-effective expansion.
Adapting Startup Launching Strategies for Global Marketing
Minimum Viable Content, or MVC, was born out of startup building strategies. In his book The Lean Startup, entrepreneur Eric Ries presented the concept of Minimum Viable Product—providing a pared-down, but effective product before going all in with a full version.
The concept allows companies to integrate user feedback, address issues, and make major adjustments easily. The same technique can be used by marketers—particularly those exploring new, global markets that require hefty localization and translation efforts.
Using MVC for website localization comes down to determining the minimum content required to both reach customers in a new market and present your services as a viable option.
It requires focusing your entire library of content down to the basics needed to introduce yourself, maintain your brand, and make sales.
The Benefits of Keeping Content to a Minimum
MVC forms the basis for a launch in a new market. Instead of translating thousands of pages before anything goes live, you start with your MVC and build over time. This will be a big money-saver as you invest in expansion.
And like it did for lean, product-testing startups, the concept allows you to have something of a test period.
Are your new customers hungry for blog posts? Then opt to translate more from your blog archive.
Is the new market ignoring blogs but in need of detailed help? Decide instead to translate materials from FAQ sections, manuals, and forum posts.
This approach allows you to make translation and content decisions in a very agile and personalized way for each market. As you expand to more and more languages, this agility becomes even more valuable and money-saving.
Simultrans estimates that for every 1,000-word reduction in monthly translation (maybe the equivalent of one press release or blog post), companies could reduce their annual localization costs by over $3,000.
But perhaps the biggest benefit to MVC is speed. Translating huge amounts of content (like your company’s entire online presence) is a big project requiring skilled professionals. By minimizing your translation needs, you minimize the time it takes to get in front of a new market.
This time-saving benefit is particularly valuable if you are trying to launch in multiple new markets at once, or if you are fighting an important deadline. MVC can help you get in front of new clients before end of year, or before a key competitor gets there first.
Determining Your Minimum Viable Content
Tech entrepreneur and Asian market expert Itai Damti recommends starting with a “wish list” of content and tasks required before you launch in a new region. Then, scale this list down to only 100 percent necessary materials and start from there.
To get started, you can ask yourself some important questions, including:
- What are your objectives in a new market?
- What materials will customers need before these objectives are met?
- What are key barriers to meeting these objectives and what content will help overcome them?
- What materials are required to attract traffic?
- What content is necessary to maintain brand integrity?
- What materials are necessary for legal reasons?
This last question is an important one—it is all too easy to forget about regulatory issues as you focus on brand marketing with minimal content. New markets may have different requirements and regulations. Make sure you are still meeting all legal standards while minimizing your content.
Using Testing and Experimenting to Stay Agile
According to Itai Damti, you should think of your MVC-powered expansion as an experiment. Expect to learn, adapt, and perfect as you go along—not all at once. Stay engaged with the new market and in-touch with its needs.
Try testing the water with social media, suggests the Content Marketing Institute. An exploratory social media post is a low-investment way to measure potential interest in a subject.
Is a tweet about your humanitarian efforts or manufacturing process causing excitement from users in a certain market? Are they replying, retweeting and engaging with you? Then you should consider making content on that subject available to these customers in their native language.
And remember—don’t go overboard. When minimizing content to create speedy, agile localization, it can be easy to go too far.
Always keep viability in mind. If your website is difficult to use, clunky, or too sparse, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. Watch out for complaints and traffic on certain pages to see what content might need expansion.