Why You Need to Localize Your Small Business
There’s a lot of buzz about localization of late. If you’re paying attention to what is being said, you’ll hear that large businesses around the globe are localizing to meet consumer demand.
They tailor specific offers, products and messages to the personal tastes of consumers in different parts of the world.
If your target audience of buyers live in Spain for example, it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to use a mobile app or read a website that is in English. If you have customers who live in the Southern hemisphere, your car ice scraper products won’t resonate with them in the middle of the summer.
What is Localization?
It’s important that you understand that localization is completely different from translation. Translating your company website into a variety of languages (if that’s wise for your business) is the necessary first step. But it is not enough. Particularly when you consider you are competing with multinational businesses and local companies in foreign markets that have made deep inroads.
The French spoken in Montreal is very different from the dialect spoken in the streets of Paris. Translate your website into one French version for all French-speaking consumers and you’ll fail in your localisation efforts. An Argentine reading about summer clothes in winter, described using words regional to Mexico will not become a customer of yours. It would be similar to the experience of hearing an Irishman tell a story in a cafe. If you’ve ever had that happen to you, you’ll know what I mean.
The one thing you don’t want to do is craft a message that people have a hard time understanding – you want one that speaks to them in their local tongue. You’d want to know that the images and colors that resonate in the U.S. may be badly looked down upon, or badly interpreted in India. Taboos are easy to make and plenty of brand names have made dire localization mistakes.
Don’t be one of them. It’s not only seasons, languages and dialects that aren’t the same. Dates, measures and weights are displayed differently depending on where you are in the world, and legislation and currencies vary. Localization encompasses much more than just words.
Why is It Important to Your Small Business?
The Internet has completely lifted barriers to new markets. If you’re not looking to localize your business website or mobile app to the international markets, then perhaps you should consider that the U.S. makes up only 8.7% of all Internet consumers worldwide, with China and India making up 50.2% of all Internet users. Which means you are leaving plenty of money on the table if you don’t localize to other global markets.
But if you don’t have a sizable budget, don’t work with international clients and aren’t looking to – why is localization important to your small business anyway? Because localization will help you reel in more users. Let’s pretend you are only doing business in the United States. Your consumer demographic changes greatly from one region of the country to the next. Taking into account your buyer persona, you’ll know that a young male lawyer in New York doesn’t speak or think the same way as a Work-at-Home mother in Texas.
Even if your buyers use and speak the same vocabulary, you can be certain that they celebrate different religious or state holidays, and are subject to different legislation and climates. So tailor your message to local target audiences by localizing landing pages that will make the user instantly think – this business is for me.
Search Engine Optimization
Localization is important in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When you have your website content optimized for Google without keyword stuffing, your SERP ranking will rise. How is this? Because search is tailored to the local use of language. This means that Indian consumers looking for a leisure experience in Los Angeles, will not use the word “vacation.”
Indian people go on “holiday” and if your website doesn’t feature the word, your business won’t show up. Location is also a vital factor at present – if you’re doing business in New York, but you’re located in Houston, having a local office, local landing page, or local phone number will all boost your SERP ranking.
Depending on the size of your target audience, a complete localization of your website could be a big undertaking. So begin by focusing on the small, but important details in the regions where you operate in, and develop from there. Watch your conversion rate go up, your SERP ranking increase and your reputation fly high. Get local.
The Potential for Localization in India
Top global brands are increasingly localizing their devices and software to the massive Indian market. Gionee, Intex, Lava and Samsung are incorporating keypads that cater to 21 regional languages of India, thus doing a lot to penetrate the Indian mobile market.
About 80 percent of Indians are non-English literate and speak any one of the 22 official regional languages of India, which include Gujarati, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu and more.
An IAMAI report has determined that India is home to 353 million Internet consumers as of June 2015. The number of Indian Internet users who are accessing the web using their local language is increasing by 47 percent from year to year and has totaled 127 million in June 2015. This is due to greater masses of the rural population in India using smartphones.
In addition, 47 percent of urban Indian users access the web in their native tongue. This proves that localization is a smart choice for Indian businesses targeting all swathes of the population, from urban to semi-urban to rural users. Moreover, according to the IAMAI report, the number of native language Internet users is expanding much faster than English language Internet consumers.
These encouraging statistics explains why MSME’s, Startups and Entrepreneurial businesses that are targeting the Indian market are localizing in order to grow in various cities and rural areas of India. The only way to turn bountiful profits in these areas is to adopt strategic localisation.
Indeed, the potential of the newfound mobile and Internet industry that is localized to the native languages of India is massive and a veritable gold mine. Don’t miss out. Localize your website or app today.
Denise Recalde is a Content Writer at translation and localisation services provider, Day Translations, with eleven years of experience under her belt. She has worked on writing projects that range from business to nutritional health to beauty and fashion. Bilingual and a world traveler, she has been to 14 countries and spent about one-half of her life in the US and the other half in Argentina.
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