If you’re thinking about approaching an overseas market using your website as the main means of communication you need to take a look at a range of things to ensure you create the right environment for your prospective client to either make a purchase or make contact to enquire about your products or services.
A lack of understanding about your target market you are looking at or a blithe approach expecting everything to work well in English can mean that your venture is bound to fail from the very outset.
So how do you go about looking at new markets and making what you currently have work well for them?
Each market you are considering is going to need a separate and distinct solution – you’ll need to make your visitor feel at home on your site, creating a familiar place they understand how to navigate and interact with. If you don’t do that they will quickly move away to a better option. It’s about much more than simply translating product descriptions.
Here are a few pointers to get you started:
Step 1. Know where your customers are coming from
It’s really important that you know where your customers are coming from. Use analytics tools – know which countries and which regions visitors are from so you can pin down with accuracy which markets are the best to approach and what they will need.
Step 2. Know what languages your customers speak
A visitor from the UK won’t necessarily have English as a mother tongue – use analytics information to determine language preferences from browser information and check that against regional data.
Step 3. Find out who is leaving your site
Once you have determined where your visitor traffic is coming from and what browser language people are using, you can then see which visitors are coming on to the site and taking a look, but then going away without any further interaction. These are the people that localisation can help capture.
Step 4. Determine which markets it would be best to look at
You’ll now know there is an interest in your products and services from certain locations based on the data you have recorded, so now you’ll need to make a choice about which locations to focus on for the next steps. There might be a wide range of countries or just a select few. It might be wise to trial one location you feel has a relatively good chance of success.
Step 5. Research the things which are important for localising a website
These are the areas to research for the target markets you have decided on – the areas which will make the most difference in creating a site which a visitor will feel is a natural place to browse and potentially buy from.
- Languages – get native speakers to determine keywords and translate content. Never use automated translation or a non-native speaker.
- Design – Understand what successful design looks like in your key markets. Which colours work well for your target country and what kind of layout and navigation system will a visitor expect. Pay attention to images – not every image is suitable for every market, for example religious imagery, wording or images of women may need adapting.
- Payment– Know which payment methods are the most popular and why. Find out how they work and implement them if possible. Which currencies do people use?
- Pricing– Find out what and how a customer from your target market would expect to pay.
- Regulations – Learn as much as possible about the specific rules and regulations for websites for your target market, especially tax and private data regulations.
Localising a website properly is much more involved than just translating the words – if you want to make a successful site which appeals to an overseas visitor they will need to feel at home and feel comfortable making a purchase or making contact.
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