Are You Making Multilingual Content Marketing Strategy Mistakes?
Expanding your customer base is vital to business growth, but how much of an impact does your multilingual content marketing strategy have on potential profits? Whether you’re just beginning to explore the international market or you’ve hit a wall, here are five mistakes to avoid when developing your multilingual content.
1. Ignoring Native Language Preferences
In the international market, if you’re not communicating with your client base in their native language, you’re potentially missing out on a huge segment of the market. Namely, you’re missing out on an influx of profits.
A study by Common Sense Advisory found that over 24 countries, 204 million Spanish-speaking customers have a total spending power of $3.5 trillion. If your market includes any of those 24 Spanish fluent countries, how much profit is your business missing out on by only marketing in English?
Apart from those 24 Spanish-speaking countries, 21 total languages reach 90 percent of the worldwide online audience, according to Common Sense Advisory’s report. By marketing solely in English, your marketing strategy is bypassing a massive potential customer base.
A multilingual approach can increase profits, and create more effective relationships with multilingual customers.
2. Neglecting to Translate Appropriately
We have all heard the myth about the Chevy Nova failing to sell in the Hispanic market due to its name translating as “no go” in Spanish. While this myth has no merit, and the Nova did sell quite well in all markets, this is a reminder to marketing departments everywhere to keep local language and culture in mind when promoting products.
After all, decades later and marketers everywhere are still laughing at the person who came up with “Nova” because of the pervasiveness of the myth.
For smaller companies, a language-based marketing snafu may drive away customers. After all, marketing is meant to address the needs of the customer. By failing to translate your marketing messages appropriately, you run the risk of offending, or at the very least, confusing, your customer base.
For example, consider Coors’ flop of a Spanish campaign where their slogan “turn it loose” translated into a slang phrase for a not-so-pleasant bodily function. Had Coors retained a Spanish-speaking marketer, a more robust multilingual content marketing strategy could have saved them money!
3. Not Hiring Local Talent
Along with ensuring that translated content conveys the proper meaning, working with native speakers of each language you market in will develop trust with the client base.
For social media accounts and websites for international markets, hiring on a social media savvy local who understands the language and the customs of the area can create a relatable online persona.
As a landing page and conversion marketing platform for marketers, Unbounce has a unique perspective on retaining local talent for international markets. The company specifically advises hiring a marketer who either lives in the region you’re targeting or was originally from that area.
Onboarding a bilingual (or multilingual) marketing professional or company helps streamline the process of prioritizing location-based content.
4. Copying and Pasting Content
Even with an effective marketing strategy and a talented team of multilingual social media gurus, if you’re not utilizing your existing content in new markets, you’re missing out. However, it’s not enough to copy, translate, and paste every blog post or marketing campaign.
The key to repurposing content in a new language, or languages, is integrating not only nuances of the written word, but cultural references and terms that are familiar to readers.
Communicating with customers in their native tongue is effective when done right, and when done incorrectly, it only serves to drive customers away.
Unbounce recommends centering your multilingual content marketing strategy around eyeballing your current content, seeing what’s most popular, and subsequently adapting it for new international markets. Translating content is the first step, but localizing is vital too.
5. Avoiding Market Research
Before you dive into translating and adapting content for an emerging market, you first must identify that market. Rather than arbitrarily choose a market that seems to be lucrative, it pays to examine your existing business model first.
You may already be attracting international users, but lose them when it comes time to make a sale. As Common Sense Advisory’s report Can’t Read, Won’t Buy summarizes, customers prefer their native language when making purchasing decisions.
Only offering content in one language, the customer’s second, poses a slight inconvenience to their comfort on your website. It also drives them elsewhere, to a company that understands this need to feel fully informed, by way of their native tongue.
Armed with this knowledge, Business2Community then suggests narrowing down your target market, choosing social media channels, and localizing content. This will involve research into the culture and language of your target region, as well as finding the right strategies for content adaptation and translation.
But don’t get ahead of yourself—expanding into an international market is not a simple step, although it does pay off when done correctly and with preparation.