7 Tips to Truly Connect With Customers Wherever You Do Business
You’ve set up a great eCommerce website and you’ve made a name for yourself locally. Given the impressive growth in online retail, especially internationally, you’re probably tempted to expand. That means it’s time to look at translated versions of your web-shop, targeted at Germany or France, for instance. Be careful, though: when you simply translate your existing content, without putting in any extra effort, you will miss out on a lot of revenue. You should take into account that your audience is different in every country, with different expectations, frames of reference and preferences. This means that you should serve every audience in its own unique way. In this blog, we will give you 7 tips to truly connect with your web-shop customers wherever you decide to expand your business.
1. Research your audience
Don’t get carried away: research who your international audience is before you unleash a translation agency on your entire website. Find out how German and Dutch audiences differ, for example. Would your German customers prefer to be addressed with Sie or du? What do they look for? You can find very useful analyses online. If your budget allows it and you want to go big, you can also hire a marketeer specialized in your target market. And, of course, it is always a good idea to look at localized versions of your competitors’ websites.
2. Have high-quality content on your most important pages
While this will probably seem obvious, it really is vital. If your home page and other high-traffic pages don’t appeal to your target audience (“Awkward phrasing…” or “Such a boring website!”), you might lose these people forever. Aim for creative translations that feel like they were written in the local vernacular. Or even better: choose transcreation. This is a combination of translation and copywriting. Such high-quality content comes at a price, but the investment will pay off handsomely.
3. Adapt relevant elements to the local context
For content like product information and FAQ’s, a ‘regular’ translation tends to suffice. For this type of material, you could even opt for automated or machine translation, followed by an editing step by a translation professional. This is a great way to save some money. You do, however, need to make sure that elements such as clothing and shoe sizes, weights, measurements and – of course! – currencies are adapted to those used in your target market. Some of these can even be done automatically!
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4. Use more channels than just your website
Obviously, you’re not only using your website to engage with your (potential) customers. You post on social media, contribute to relevant platforms (such as popular sports, car or fashion websites) and respond to reviews. If you want to develop your engagement abroad, that means you will also need to turn to these other channels, preferably with original content. Modern audiences have come to expect this. Working with an online marketeer or copywriter specialized in your new market will typically deliver significant results.
5. Post catchy video content in your audience’s language
Video content is still growing in popularity and is particularly effective at fostering a relationship with your customers. Do you have any video’s on your website or on YouTube (instructions for installation or customer case studies, for instance)? Your customers abroad will appreciate some professional, well-polished subtitles. It would be even better to record some new video’s featuring people from the country you are trying to conquer. Success guaranteed!
6. Respond to customer queries in their own language
Consumers really appreciate it if you respond to their emails, chats or reviews in their own language. Hiring a customer service agent native in their language would be ideal, but there are other solutions that allow you to respond in almost any language in close to real-time (for chat) or within a couple of hours (for email), within sacrificing accuracy or legibility. Avoid using Google Translate for this, as it tends to look lazy and the risks of awkward errors are just too big.
7. Create a style guide for every market
It is advisable to document how you want to address your customers in each market. In the translation business, such documents are typically called style guides. These are used to document your company tone of voice (serious or more playful), how certain slogans and key concepts are translated, how you approach specific types of content, etc. You can also include the things we discussed above. A style guide can be a great asset, both for your own employees and for any external translators and copywriters. Style guides are one of the best ways to ensure consistency in your public-facing communication.
As you can see, it takes a lot to turn your translated web-shop into a resounding success. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Scriptware Translations has the knowledge and tools to help you with most of these challenges. Not only can we deliver your translations, but we can also advise you about your target audiences, put you in touch with local marketeers and create a solid style guide for you. Interested? Set up an appointment to get to know us a little better or download our white paper about eCommerce translation.
International eCommerce is booming. But how does it work, launching your web-shop in a foreign market? What do you need to do and what are the pitfalls? Download our white paper and find out how a smart approach all but guarantees your success.