If you are selling a product or service online in a foreign-language target market, digital marketing channels and language versioning offer access to new customer contacts and sales opportunities.

Adding another language to your marketing requires strategic considerations. First, you need to:

  1. Identify your target group.
  2. Decide what language(s) will give you the best reach.
  3. Set KPIs to measure the performance of your language versions.

Identify your target group

  • Who is your ideal buyer profile in the target country?
  • Are there any significant differences compared with the buyer profile in your home market?
  • If there are differences, to what extent can content be tailored or recreated?
  • Are the buyers’ journeys the same in both language versions?
  • Does the content covering the buyer’s journey need to be adjusted to take into account local habits, behaviours or cultural considerations?

When you can answer these questions, you can determine to what extent your existing content can be used in its current version with translation, and how much of your content needs to be recreated to better suit the market.

Remember to examine your target audiences for differences in:

  • Culture
  • Location
  • Habits
  • Buying behaviour

Your international audience has different expectations, and is familiar with different versions, of a sales funnel. AB testing of your website is the best way to determine if you need to create alternative versions of your site for different markets to support your international expansion.

Decide what language(s) will expand your reach

Before adding a language to your website, you need to consider what the benefits of adding another language to your marketing campaign would be.

  • Is your site offered in an international business language with a high number of speakers all around the world, such as Chinese?
  • Should you offer your site in every language your product or service is offered in?
  • Should you focus on communicating in a language that is spoken and used mainly by your ideal target audience?

Typically local languages achieve higher conversion rates.

So, if your ideal target audience is made up of Hong Kongese, then publishing your site in  Cantonese is more likely to reach your target audience.

However, if your target markets include all of the Asia region, but you can only invest in one language version, then English would help you to maximize your reach, as it is most widely used as a common business language in the region.

AB testing to measure the performance of your language versions

Typically, a more focused approach to communication yields higher conversion rates. However, AB testing to measure the performance of your sites offered in different languages will help you to determine if such a marketing approach is valuable to your expansion and business success.

No two languages are the same, and not all content approaches work the same across all language versions and target audiences. Just as you track and measure the performance of your source content, you also need to measure how the language version performs.

  • Set realistic and attainable performance indicators
  • Collect your data so that you can measure your success
  • AB test different approaches and refine your content

Multilingual marketing is important to any expansion efforts, however, it is a marketing strategy that if not executed with care has the potential to harm your expansion efforts. Investing in professional translation services to reach your target audience is important because communication errors could cost your business vital sales and expansion into a global marketplace.