8 Localization Tips to Reach Your Target Audience

by | Jul 28, 2020

In today’s interconnected world, there is immense potential for your business to expand its market share beyond geographical boundaries and capture shoppers that have been previously inaccessible. But all of this depends on how well your business can localize and make it easy and intuitive for your target audience to find your products or services. So, if you want to ensure that your international marketing campaigns are successful, these eight localization tips will help keep you on task. 

Target Audience

1. Don’t Lose Your Message in Translation

Not all businesses succeed in a new market, and even some big names have floundered. For example:

  • Clairol introduced a curling iron in Germany branded as the Mist Stick, but, regrettably,  in German, the word mist means manure.
  • KFC’s finger-licking good tag line was translated into eat your fingers off in Chinese. Not what KFC had in mind!
  • Mercedes-Benz introduced its brand to the Chinese under the name Bensi, which, unfortunately, translates as rush to die. Not a good name if you want to sell an automobile!

The lesson here is to not let your brand name or message get lost in the translation. Pay attention to the local language and make sure your brand, tag line, or product name is translated so that it communicates the message you want. 

2. Be Mindful of Cultural Differences

Understand the local culture and make sure that your branding is in line with it. For example, a brand that regularly advertises with skimpily clad beautiful women may want to use a very different approach when expanding into an Islamic country where the culture is much more conservative. 

3. Craft an Easy to Understand Message

If you want your target customers to associate with your product, you need to communicate effectively with them. This means that your message needs to be easy to understand. The best way to accomplish this is to engage a native speaker of the local language who is in tune with the culture, will be aware of common phrases and terms used, and who will help you avoid translation blunders. 

4. Do Your Research

Perhaps the most important of these localization tips and the first step in your growth plan is meticulous research. You must determine if your products or services are suited for your target country? It’s not just words that are important. Certain colors and color combinations may work for one country and spell disaster in another. Dates and times should be presented to each audience in the format they are accustomed to seeing. 

  • Even in places where the primary language is the same, such as the UK and the US, there are significant differences in interpretation and usage of many words and phrases. 
  • Pay Attention to Payments – Your business is all about making money, so why ignore this fundamental aspect? You need to make the most popular local payment methods available to your potential new customers. Moreover, your users should be able to see prices in their own currency. If they don’t, they are far less likely to resort to a conversion table and you have probably lost the sale. 

5. Don’t Forget to Localize Your Mobile App

Many emerging markets have a high percentage of people who access the internet via smartphones. In fact, it is estimated that by 2025 almost three-quarters of the world’s internet users will use only their smartphones to access the world wide web. This presents a huge opportunity for your business to sell your products or services via mobile internet. 

6. Test Your Localization

Obviously, you need a localization tester who is fluent in the local language. However, this is not sufficient. A good localization tester will inform you if there are issues with the translation – and so much more. The tester should be instructed to look at every single part of your website and app and report back on any problems that are discovered. Maybe there are words or images that the local culture won’t understand or might even find offensive, or there might be text that doesn’t quite fit on the page. Basically, your tester should be good enough to catch all the localization problems that might have been overlooked the first time around.

7. Keep Up With New Trends

 Global trends can become out-of-date very quickly. Keep your eyes and ears open for the latest trends and events happening around the world. By staying current, you will be able to update your offerings and stay with the times. Continuing to provide information about trends that are no longer relevant can make your business look lazy and will do nothing for your bottom line. 

8. Get Regular Feedback

How do you know if your customers are satisfied with your business? You take feedback, of course. Feedback is one of the most essential of these localization tips. Ask your customers what they like or dislike about your website and your products or services. The more information you have, the easier it will be to make useful changes. You will be building up your business for success by coming across as a people-centric brand. 

Implement These Localization Tips and More with Localize

Getting localization right can be challenging, but your TMS doesn’t have to be. Localize provides seamless end-to-end localization solutions for thousands of websites, mobile apps, games, and businesses worldwide. Our advanced automation and technology enables you to quickly translate and publish content live on your website, add new languages, and work collaboratively with your team members. Contact us today