What can your business do to attract international customers ?

In the era of globalisation and technical advancements, businesses and organisations have the wonderful prospect of approaching international consumers and expanding their market shares at a fairly low cost, giving a great ROI at the same time. One of the business ‘buzz-terms’ in the recent years has been ‘localised approach’. This theory focuses on approaching each market with a localised message, created for and directed at a specific target audience, which aims to result in higher conversions and sales. One of the key elements of such approach is language, and so translation agencies are nowadays in the centre of attention within the business environment.

What can your business do to attract international customers

In the old days, a translation company was only approached when absolutely necessary and incorporating translations within a company’s budget was seen as an unwanted necessity, rather than an investment. Today however things have changed. A rapidly growing number of business owners begin to appreciate the ROI translating their content can bring to their companies and as a result, translation providers are no longer considered as a burden, but instead a business partner and a go-to specialists when approaching foreign markets.  

Approaching a foreign market, although much more straightforward than even 20 years ago, is still a complicated task today. In order to successfully penetrate a new, foreign market, a business must prepare a detailed plan and ensure that steps are followed. Before such plan is prepared however, the initial step in an international business expansion should be understanding, in absolute detail, the target market and its audience. This includes not only knowing your potential competitors, pricing and market saturation, but also your target audience’s culture, language and factors driving their consumer behaviour.

Interestingly, a study had shown that over 50% of consumers asked feel more inclined to completing a purchase online if the information about a product/service is available to them in their native language. This statistic only shows how truly important translating your materials, website and documents can be in the long term and how it can directly affect your sales, especially for SMEs trading internationally using digital channels.

What should a business translate?

Considering the above statistics, translating the company’s website is essential, especially for organisations operating within the SME sector. First impressions matter, and as typically the company’s website will be the initial point of contact between the business and the potential customer, business owners must ensure that their websites are accurately translated into the target market’s native language. This includes translating not only the content, but also localising other website elements such as time or currency as these values are, similarly to the language, typically distinct and individual for each target market.

Translating other marketing material can also be extremely beneficial, especially if the company plans to have a physical presence in the foreign market. Brochures, leaflets and even business cards when translated can have a direct, positive impact on consumer behaviour and consequently your sales. Translating such materials can also be very valuable when approaching international business partners.

What about the legal papers?

Although translating your website and other marketing materials can have a direct impact on your consumers and sales, having translated the legal documents such as contracts, terms and conditions, warranties or product’s technical instructions can prove genuinely useful in the long run.

Of course, this is also something that will need to be incorporated into the translation budget, nonetheless, translating your legal documents and papers can prove to be key and save money in the long-term. Should a company encounter any legal issues, whether with customers or business partners, providing a translated version of their documents can work strongly in their favour.

Where to translate?

Choosing the right translation provider can be a difficult decision, especially for businesses with a large amount of materials to translate or those which have never worked with a translation agency before. There are many providers of professional translation services, some very general and some specialising in translating for a particular business field.

When choosing the right agency for your needs, one of the most important factors will be to ensure that the company is registered with the ATC (Association of translation agencies) – this guarantees that the provider is a professional and experienced agency and guarantees high quality of translations and that it follows latest industry standards.

Another element to consider is whether the work is provided by native, human translators. This can be especially significant when translating marketing or creative content, as then not only the language, but also additional elements such as culture are equally important in ensuring that the translation is suitable for the target audience. Such information should be provided on the agency’s website. If it isn’t, however, it’s important to check directly with the provider.

Agencies specialising in providing professional translation services should also be able to demonstrate previous projects they have translated, interpreted and worked on. If your content requires a specific sector knowledge, ask to see examples of translated materials which are similar to yours and ensure that your documents/materials will be conveyed by a linguist who has an in-depth knowledge in your particular business sector and experience in the area.

Understand their behaviours

Translation services are essential to any business approaching foreign markets and should always be incorporated into the budget and the overall expansion strategy. By working with an experienced translation agency, a business will be able to approach their potential customers in their native language and as shown by statistics, this can have a direct impact on sales and revenue.

Nonetheless, before translating your materials, it is essential to fully understand what drives the market and influences consumer behaviour.

Is your chosen market driven by price or quality? How saturated is it? What type of marketing messages work best and create a positive brand image? These are only some of the initial questions any company needs to answer before successfully approaching a foreign market.

Interestingly, some translation companies are also able to provide market research services, which looks into your chosen market in great detail from a variety of angles and then prepares recommendations, based on the findings.

As you can see, expanding abroad is a difficult process, which requires the business not only to fully understand the chosen market and consumers, but also to approach them in their native language, with campaigns which are culturally suitable and will have a positive impact on their consumer behavior. Building a strong and positive brand is key, especially when approaching new markets. By working with providers of translation services a business will be able to create campaigns targeted specifically at the chosen audience, that take into consideration a number of aspects, such as language, culture and socio-economic factors, which then increase the chances for international success.

 

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