Why You Need a Multilingual Marketing Strategy Simple Machines Marketing

Are you thinking about going global?  

If so, we’re assuming that you have a strong marketing strategy in place that’s served you well locally (or nationally), and you’re considering other ways to expand your business. And one way to do this is by implementing multilingual assets into your marketing arsenal. 

Let’s be clear – creating a multilingual marketing strategy is undoubtedly an undertaking. It requires detailed research, accurate translations, new outreach plans and more. But for companies that are ready to explore international markets, this process can offer returns in droves, including additional sales, new loyal customers and a competitive edge.  

Let’s take a closer look at how a multilingual strategy can help your business:  

Broaden Your Audience 

This one’s a no-brainer: Implementing a multilingual strategy can significantly broaden your audience. With multiple language options for your content, you’re opening up your products and services to a new sector of potential customers. This includes international leads as well as those who speak English as a second language in your country and would prefer to engage online in their native language. 

For example, while 60% of the world’s top websites are in English, only about 16% of people worldwide speak English. Creating additional translations of your website will let you reach a whole new audience you haven’t had before.  

Plus, additional language options can act as a stepping stone to being recognized as a worldwide name, not just a local company.  

Gain New Customers 

In 2020, CSA Research, an independent market research firm, published a study called “Can’t Read Won’t Buy,” which found that 40% of consumers won’t buy products on websites that aren’t in their native tongue. 66% may try to use online translators to decipher your content, but 73% want at least a product review in their preferred language. 

Without a well-executed multilingual strategy, you’re losing sales from international customers who found your English website inaccessible. Research says that 72% of consumers are more likely to buy a product in their own language. And in a real-life example, menswear company Ron Dorff increased sales by 70% after going international. 

But beyond sales, your website performance could be at risk as well. If potential leads can’t find translated content easily, they’ll likely leave just as soon as they came. This drives up your bounce rates and deprives your site of additional traffic. They also won’t have the chance to engage in other ways, like filling out a form submission, reading a blog or downloading resources. 

**As you’re implementing multilingual options on your website, remember to include content like gated pieces, forms, landing pages, etc. For example, say you have a product page in Spanish. A Spanish user could find this helpful but may still want additional information. If they click on a blog that’s still in English or can’t fill out a form in Spanish, it’s much less likely that they’ll convert, severely impacting the potential success of your strategy.  

Speaking of traffic… 

Boost Your SEO 

Multiple versions of your website in different languages can help your SEO ranking, thanks to additional international traffic. With thorough, grammatically correct translations of your website and additional content, you can build a search presence by answering the same queries your English speakers have – just in a different language. 

But a few additional steps will be necessary – here are a few to get you started:  

  • Search for and insert keywords that are commonly used in that language. Just because a keyword drives traffic in the US results doesn’t mean a direct translation will do the same in another country. For example, Americans use the word “catalog” while users in the UK often spell it “catalogue.” If you’re targeting British users, “catalog” would not be useful. It’s essential to test and research keywords to ensure they’re relevant and likely to be used in international searches. 
  • You have two choices in creating a multilingual version of your site: investing in a second domain or creating new URLs for each page. Getting a second domain can be pricey, so editing URLs for new language pages is common. As you’re doing this, make sure that each URL has a language prefix – for example, our client Dalmec’s Spanish language homepage has its normal URL plus /es at the end.
  • Don’t overlook backend settings, like title tags, URL names, meta descriptions, alt tags for your photos, etc. Changing your page’s title and translating body copy won’t be enough to start ranking for multilingual searches because the key factors that Google crawls for will still be in English.
  • Make it easy to find your translated pages. Personally, I’ll first look in the upper right-hand corner for a translated English version. You can choose to use icons, like small flags, or even a dropdown menu. Also, remember to list each language in their own language (ex. German wouldn’t be listed as German, it would be listed as Deutsch).

Create Brand Trust  

The key to building a loyal audience of repeat customers has changed over the last few years, especially since the pandemic. It’s proven that positive, personalized customer experiences have outpaced price and products as the most important factors when potential leads are considering a purchase. And research from ZenDesk found that three out of five consumers need exemplary customer service to start feeling loyal to a particular brand.  

Customer service doesn’t just look like responsive chat features or quickly remedying order issues. It also looks like offering services in multiple languages, so leads can feel more comfortable on your site than they might on others. Having multilingual information available will likely make customers feel more welcomed, creating brand trust with international leads (and establishing your company as an inclusive organization).  

Stay Competitive  

Think about your closest competitors. You know, the ones you track to see what new strategies they’re implementing, what services they offer and how they keep customers happy. 

If a user is down to choosing between you and your competitors, what makes you stand out? For people who speak English as a second language, having multilingual options could be the difference between you losing and winning a sale.  

According to PYMNTS, nearly half of top eCommerce websites in the US are multilingual, and those numbers are only growing. If your competitors have yet to invest in multilingual marketing assets, adding them to your arsenal can help you stay one step ahead.  

Getting Started 

While you can likely take inspiration from your current methods, building a multilingual strategy requires additional steps.  

First, even though you’re selling the same services or products, it’s still a new market. You’ll be targeting new customers who could potentially have different pain points, platforms they engage with, watering holes and more. This will likely require additional consumer research and asset testing.  

Plus, having a quality translator work on your website is crucial. Poor translations can be an instant turnoff, creating distrust and negatively impacting your brand. Not to mention, a low-quality translator will be less likely to represent your company’s products and services accurately. To ensure native speakers can easily understand and navigate your multilingual pages, we recommend investing in a professional translator. 

Tackling this process on your own can be daunting, but our team has successfully launched several multilingual websites for our clients. Going back to Dalmec, we designed a second version of their website on WordPress with detailed changes from image alt tags to translated submission forms to URL slugs. We also helped another client, ThreeKit, take advantage of HubSpot’s language modules to successfully create French, Italian and German versions of their website.  

We’re happy to help you build your international marketing strategy and assets. Contact Simple Machines today to get started going global!