Moving your business into new cultural markets is never easy. If your target audience happens to have a different language or culture, your job becomes even harder. Merely translating your website won’t do the trick—you need to go the extra mile.
In this article, we’ll discuss three key considerations to help move your business into new cultural markets. First, let’s talk about the importance of localization.
Why It’s Important to Fully Localize Your Website for New Markets
Anyone can translate a website (as long as you know multiple languages), but localization involves a lot more work. Each market comes with a unique history and culture that you need to consider. Adapting your business with those specific factors in mind is what localization is all about.
Let’s say, for example, that you run an online store. You’ve found success domestically so you decide that it’s time to start accepting international orders. That comes with a significant set of challenges, including website translation, shipping considerations, customer support expansion, and offering new payment gateways that can process foreign currencies.
It’s easy to get so caught up in these challenges that you forget about localization entirely. This can lead to a confusing user experience (UX) for international customers. For this example, you may overlook the importance of adapting navigation and button placement so that they make sense in Right-to-Left (RTL) languages.
It can also be beneficial to update images to feature local cities, cuisine, or other culturally specific details. In short, localization means making your website fit into your new target audience’s existing knowledge and experience of the world so they feel comfortable interacting with it.
How to Move Your Business Into New Cultural Markets (3 Key Considerations)
The first thing that we need to talk about when it comes to moving into a new market is translation, assuming you plan to expand to countries with different languages. Even if that’s not the case, you might still want to adapt your website’s content to capture local idioms, word choice, and spelling, so let’s start there.
1. Ensure That Your Translations Are Accurate
If you want shoppers to spend money on your business, then you need to build trust and make that process as easy as possible for them. When it comes to targeting customers in other countries, that means ensuring that your translations are impeccable.
Unfortunately, machine translation is not a magic solution. Although platforms such as Google Translate have improved significantly in recent years, they’re far from perfect. While you might not spot glaring errors in your translations, locals that speak those languages certainly will.
Translation issues can erode confidence in your brand and products. That’s why, for the vast majority of cases, we recommend that you invest in professional translation services if you want to move your business into new cultural markets.
Professional translation can be expensive, but it’s a long-term investment that can pay off quickly. Not only will experts translate your content properly, but they should also understand local nuances and when to make necessary changes to the language of your site due to cultural idiosyncrasies.
2. Adapt Your Prices to Local Markets
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to moving a business into a new market is adapting your pricing strategy. Your domestic customers might be willing to pay $50 for your product, whereas in other markets buyers may only go as high as $30 or $40. There are a lot of reasons why that might happen, including:
- Differences in purchasing power between markets
- Existing competitors in your new target market that offer similar products or services at lower price points
- Cultural differences between your target customers in each market
- Demand for the products or services you provide in other markets
Many businesses implement unique pricing strategies for different regions. Take Adobe, for example. It’s the best-known name when it comes to graphic design software and its products come at a premium.
A graphic designer in the U.S. might be willing to pay $50 or so per month to gain access to the entire Creative Cloud suite of apps, but users in other markets might not. Adobe understands that and offers adjusted pricing options by country:
In the example above, you can see the prices Adobe charges Argentinian customers. While the Creative Cloud suite costs around $50 per month in the U.S., it sells for approximately $30 per month in Argentina.
In any case, it’s essential that you understand what the demand for your business might be in any market you plan to expand into. That should include an analysis of differences in purchasing power so you can determine if it’s financially viable to offer your products at full price or not.
3. Update Your Marketing Strategy
Marketing is a key aspect that you need to consider when expanding your business. Simply put, promotional materials that work for one audience might not have the same success rate with others due to language barriers, cultural differences, or even the climate. Your summer sale probably won’t appeal to those in countries currently experiencing winter, for instance.
If you market your business using online ads, then you know how incredibly targeted most of them are these days. Using Facebook ads, for example, means you can focus in on almost any audience you want, in any market:
When you expand into new markets, you’ll also need to launch new marketing campaigns that focus on your target customers in those locations. That means, at the very least, translating your campaigns or creating new ones that reflect the cultural nuances of your new audience.
However, marketing copy isn’t the only issue that you have to consider to appeal to a new audience. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is also critical for most modern businesses. If customers in new markets can’t find your website, then you might as well not exist.
Adding new languages to your site goes a long way towards making your SEO strategy international. However, there are also other tips you can keep in mind, such as buying local Top-Level Domain (TLD) variations, researching keyword variations in other languages, and more.
Ultimately, you want customers in new cultural markets to be able to find out about your brand as easily as possible. If you can overcome cultural barriers and convince them that your products are worth their while, then your business will be well on its way to success.
With online businesses, it becomes much easier to offer products and services on an international scale. However, you can’t expect customers from other markets to buy from you without making any effort to adapt to their cultures. This includes providing accurate translations, adjusting your pricing, and updating your marketing materials.
Do you have any questions about how to bring your business into new markets? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.