7 things you should know about marketing localization

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Are you in marketing? Are you in localization? Are you looking to grow globally? Whatever your answer, you’ll want to be sure you know what to focus on when it comes to marketing localization, especially in relation to your business website and related pages online.

Understanding the basics can do wonders for your global strategy, so here are seven key aspects about marketing localization that will help you get there.

How to bring traffic to your pages

There’s a whole art to SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, which is the process of trying to get your web page to rank as high up as possible in search engine results (like Google). For example, when someone searches for “Microsoft Teams”, you’d expect the first result that comes up to be “Microsoft Teams” and not another conference call service.

There are a few things to take into account when it comes to SEO, including title tags and meta descriptions, on-page keywords, backlinks, page load time, and having a responsive design. Most people think about Google when talking about SEO, but other search engines, like Baidu (China), Yandex (Russia), or YouTube (video), matter too, especially when you’re taking a global approach.

Another thing to consider is the difference between the standard terminology established within an organization or industry, and what people actually use when searching online. SEO should focus on keywords that people use to find what they want online.

Localization is another aspect that comes into play with SEO. Keywords and search results will vary across markets, so part of the SEO process involves understanding the differences between markets, and how these are reflected in search behavior. This isn’t just evident in different markets with different languages, it also applies to different variants of the same language. For example, some keywords may perform well in US English, but not as well in UK English, so make sure your SEO factors in all these nuances in your localized pages.

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The goal of a marketing page is to bring in as many visitors as possible and take them through what’s called “the funnel” or the customer journey.

The top of the funnel involves making visitors aware of your product or service. They may not be searching for your product specifically (i.e. they could be searching for “video conferencing service” instead of “Microsoft Teams”) so you can’t expect them to buy at this stage. The goal is simply to provide them with information about your product.

Once they are aware, the customer goes further down the funnel and hopefully starts thinking about buying the product. If your messaging and product resonate with them, then they will continue down the funnel and eventually become a consumer of your product.

What you want your visitors to do

It’s important that you’re clear about what you want visitors to do once they're on your page. It could be a specific call to action (CTA) like clicking a buy button, filling out a form to contact your sales team, or downloading an app.

Depending on where your visitors are on their customer journey, you might want to have several different types of pages to make sure they’re engaging with the relevant content and CTAs.

Some pages are very SEO-centered in that the main goal is to drive traffic to your site. Other pages are conversion-focused, where it is very clear that you want people to take a specific action.

Make sure you know which type of page to use at each stage and that you know exactly what you want them to do.

Are your visitors doing what you want them to do?

Knowing whether your pages are getting results is vital. For this, you need to measure what your visitors are actually doing on your pages. Luckily, web metrics make it very easy to collect the data you need to determine how well your localized pages are performing.

First, you need to make sure that the data is separated by markets so you can isolate how people are behaving in each of your different locales. Then, you want to measure key metrics like visits, bounce rates (when someone comes to your page and doesn’t do anything), engagement/clicks (how many people are clicking on different sections of your page), purchases, trials (how many people are registering for a trial period), sign-ins (how many people are logging into their account if your product is subscription-based), sign-ups (new registrations for your service), downloads, and so on.

You can also look at heatmaps, like the one below, to see how people are moving around your website. You can see how many people are stopping at certain elements on a page, how many people are clicking on them, and you get as granular as you like.

Quantitative data isn’t enough

These insights into customer behavior are great at providing you with data on what’s happening, but it doesn’t always explain why it’s happening. You might see that people are not engaging on a certain page, but you need to know why to be able to correct any issues.

This is where qualitative types of data come in. You can obtain valuable information about customers’ behaviors and motivations with usability studies, user interviews, and user surveys. Qualitative data can be harder to get and might involve having to get a group of people together, observe them, and ask them questions. This can take up quite a bit of your budget, but the findings can be so revealing that it will make it worth your while.

User surveys are very easy to set up but be careful not to overuse them as they don’t always give you an accurate representation of how users really feel and act.

A/B tests are key

A/B tests are one of the most useful tools you can have in your marketing arsenal. Such experiments consist of testing two options, mostly identical, except for one difference, which is a change that you’re testing out. You can then see which of the two variants is most successful in impacting user behavior.

The idea is you show a certain percentage of page visitors the altered version and the rest the control page with no changes.

You start with a hypothesis: how does a given metric get affected if you make a specific change. Let’s say you modify the purchase rate – then you can see by what percentage point the change affects visitor behavior.

You can go beyond the A/B test and do an A/B/C test with more than one variant. However, you need to be careful to control the variables, so you know what changes are causing any differences in visitor behavior.

What’s clear is that the more you do A/B testing, the more you will learn about your visitors.

Fit in culturally: Localize specific page elements

When you look at a marketing page, you want to be sure every component of the page is adapted to each market.

Regarding the text, you might want to consider transcreation over translation. Marketing texts are always more creative, so it’s worth thinking about localization as a process of rewriting or refocusing the message as opposed to a translation. Remember that the text was originally written for a specific market and that it may not be as relatable for people from other countries or cultures. Similarly, you might want to advertise certain elements of your product differently across markets or highlight certain features in one market and not others.

Whatever you decide, you should know that the translation quality, when it comes to the marketing copy, should be higher than in other areas. This is why it’s important to have quality assurance mechanisms in place, like having reviewers as well as translators, and asking for feedback from native speakers whenever possible.

Localization goes beyond adapting text and language elements – you also need to think about specific page elements like images and video.

Visual assets are key in marketing so make sure that your images are suitable across all your markets. If they’re not, you need to change them to fit each market. For example, pictures of people with tattoos may not be well received in the Japanese market, so any tattoos would have to be digitally removed from existing images or replaced altogether with market-specific images.

Other issues to take into account when it comes to images and video are people showing too much skin, which is not appropriate in many places like the Middle East. You also want to be careful with hand gestures and avoid any religious symbols to make sure you’re not offending certain groups.

All these cultural aspects play a huge role in how your brand comes across and how effective you are at engaging your global audiences, so make sure they’re always incorporated into your localization and marketing efforts.

Take your marketing pages to the next level

Ready to put these tips and tricks into practice in your international markets? You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference just a few tweaks to your localized marketing pages can make, so give some of these a go and let us know how you get on!

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