Mastering Digital Marketing with Translation and Localization
The global digital age is here and now, not just some distant science fiction dream.
You can settle for a small portion of the domestic markets and spend your marketing life constantly fighting your competitors if you so desire. Or if you prefer, you can reach out and grab the world by the tail and take it for a wild ride, culminating in marketing success.
The choice is yours to make, but in order to make a realistic choice, it is necessary to have all of the information you need to make a wise and informed decision.
Localization, globalization and internationalization are all key components of a successful digital marketing campaign. The basic proponents of these concepts will help you begin to expand your online influence. The perfection of localization, globalization and internationalization strategies should put you at the top of the markets and the search engine results page.
Yes, we have all heard that content is king, though in reality, information is king would be a more accurate and appropriate statement. The content is little more than an enunciation of the knowledge to be imparted to the audience.
Write content that provides the information your readers are looking for, and they will come … but only if they can find your content to begin with. Herein lies the first and perhaps the biggest challenge.
More than likely, all of your competitors already have the very same information that you possess. Your peers already have all of the same (or better) digital marketing research tools that you have. You may have the capacity to generate loads of content, but again, it is very likely that at least some of your competitors have entire teams putting out a steady stream of new and constantly updated content.
So should you just give up and quit? Do you allow all of your digital marketing dreams to be dashed? Or would it perhaps be more prudent and beneficial to figure out how to work smarter, without always having to work harder? To focus on areas and tactics and markets that your competitors are missing? What if you knew how to open up new markets with little or even no competition?
Digital Marketing and Translation
Translation is not merely the exchange of a word for its counterpart in another language. If translation services were that simple, all of those WordPress plug-ins and machine translations would be fine. The fact is, these translations are still severely lacking because all they can provide is a literal and exact translation.
So what is wrong with that? Translation, like language, is very subtle and nuanced. Many words have no literal translation. Many words have numerous meanings and require context in order to be properly translated. Good translations involve an exchange of ideas, information and the complete context of the conversation being translated, occasionally, despite the lexical content.
Yeah. Great. Right? But what does any of that have to do with successful digital marketing campaigns and getting traffic to the website? What are the only two ways to get people to your website?
You can create paid traffic through advertising campaigns and other costly SEM tactics, or you can increase the organic search traffic to your website by using content marketing tools, video marketing, social media marketing and other areas that require time and resources to maintain.
Let us have a quick look at a paid advertising campaign with a relatively inexpensive rate, say one US dollar per click on the Google ads. You want to get these people right into your sales funnel, so your primary focus is probably a landing page. According to a report on the Alexa Blog, across all industries, the average conversion rate is 2.9%.
At these rates, it will cost you approximately one hundred dollars to generate three leads or to make three sales. If those are not immediately netting more than thirty-three US dollars each sale, you have a negative cash flow or are losing money, at least in the opening phase of your operations.
If you are not marketing items that create a continual return, or long-term clients, you are ultimately going to lose money no matter how much traffic you generate. Conversely though, how much is your time worth? Time is literally the only commodity that can never be replaced. Once a moment in time is gone, it will never be gotten back.
Time is of the essence. This is a common phrase, even in many legal contracts. However, you also need to remember that SEO is not a one-time affair that you can win, reach the number one spot on the search engine results page and ride your success to glory. Even if you do reach the number one spot on the serp, your competitors will only work all the harder to unseat you from that position.
SEO is an ongoing and constant effort. What is it worth to make the front page of the SERP, only to get knocked back down again the very next day or even within the same week? This is why, for some people at least, it is ultimately cheaper to pay for traffic than it is to engage in a constant (and costly) struggle to continually win “free” organic traffic.
Yeah. Great. Right? But what does any of that have to do with translation? You need to remember that the number one commodity on the internet is information. This is true whether you are marketing informational products or selling physical items or even services.
How do you convert people on your landing pages? By providing them with the information that they need in a language they will understand. Ultimately however, it is much more involved than this, as it means establishing an emotional and personal relationship with each of the people who need your product or service. This is accomplished using a process known as localization.
Successful Globalization With Localization
Did you ever wonder why some professional copywriters could command literally millions of dollars for a single sales page? Did you ever read a sales page and feel compelled to purchase the product, even if you had no money to purchase it with?
The secret to successful copywriting according to Shopify, despite many lies to the contrary, is localization. In this case, the focus of the localization is on a specific subset of people, ideally, those whose problems will be solved by the product or service being marketed in the sales page.
Translation services will almost always be the heart of localization strategies, but think of it more along the lines of translation on steroids. Localization is about learning enough about the target demographic so that you know more about them than the neighbors they grew up with know.
If you are really good, at the end of the day, you will know and understand your target demographic better than they know themselves. Localization includes having an in-depth and personal understanding of your audience.
You should know about their culture, understanding what their sources of pride are and any social or cultural taboos. You should understand their localized geographic vernacular in addition to knowing about generational references within that specific demographic.
You need to know the local culture and any local hotspots or other localized references that will allow you to form a close, personal and emotional bond with your target market.
Two plus two is equals to four, but only if you put two and two together. As was previously noted, we live in a global, digital world and you are still reading, so probably have a strong desire to grab the world by the tail and go for that wild and successful ride across the globe.
Globalization, also sometimes known as internationalization or i18n, is how translation and localization are put together to extend your influence and reach across the global divide. Why would you need such an expansive sphere of influence?
An April 20 article from the BBC reports that English is the most common language on the internet, followed by Chinese, Spanish and Arabic. Despite this, roughly 98% of the content on the internet is in only twelve languages total, with more than half of that being in English alone.
“Take Wikipedia, for example, where more than 80% of articles come from Europe and North America. A similar thing happens with 75% of the web’s top-level domains, from .com to .org, which comes from the same two regions.”
In short, if you are sticking to English, you are going to compete in the most densely inundated realm of the internet. Website translations, video translations and other similar translation services can quickly shoot you to the top of the SERP or search engine results page in numerous languages, often with little to no direct competition.
The actual levels of competition of course, will vary depending on what you are marketing, and who you are marketing to at the same time. Still, if your products or services will solve the problems for people in other locations, there is no reason not to reach out to those markets.
Video translations are an amazingly inexpensive and effective method for implementing globalization through the use of localization strategies for effective video marketing campaigns. Tencent Video is the Chinese version of YouTube and is one of the most popular websites in China. YouTube however, is the second most popular website on the internet, lagging behind only Google.
YouTube is however, banned in China which is important to note. Video translations from English to Chinese may not serve you overly well in your video marketing campaign on YouTube, but may still work on the Tencent Video website.
Since video marketing now even exceeds blogging as the most efficient way to spread information, video marketing is an important part of any successful digital marketing campaign. A surprisingly large number of users also watch videos with the audio turned off.
Subtitles may be just as easy to create as closed caption files but are not the most effective for video marketing. Why? Subtitles are hardcoded into the video files and closed captioning files or srt files are not. Srt files however are indexed by the search engines. What does that mean for you?
That means that your videos will now rank better for a lot more relevant keywords and receive a subsequent increase in organic traffic. Add in the use of video translation services and your videos will rank for more keywords in more languages, many of which will have very little competition, or at least substantially lower levels of competition.
YouTube does offer automated closed captioning for videos, but it is notoriously inaccurate and can leave your audience feeling somewhat confused or even misled. Professional video translations or professional transcription services are generally a preferable solution.
However, you should also know and remember that the video translation gives you a starting point for multi-purposing all of your content to a multilingual audience. How?
Translation, Localization and Multipurpose Digital Marketing
Multi-purposing content means using what is effectively the same content across different marketing mediums. Translation services will help to increase your ability to expand into the international markets. Localization services allow you to tweak all of that translated content to create a more personal and emotional connection with the extended markets.
Mind you, as you extend your digital marketing campaigns into more foreign markets, you may also want to consider using website translation services to ensure that you have a sufficient means of capturing and keeping your extended audience. Again though, the website translation should provide you with the opportunity to multi-purpose even more of your digital marketing content and get it out in front of a much wider, more diverse, and hopefully an even more profitable market.
The website content translation can serve as the basis for podcasts in both the native language and the languages the website translation has used. The video translation can be used as a script for creating slideshows or other visual content formats.
Audio transcription files from podcasts can be translated and used as multilingual website content, or even as foreign language podcasts using voice-over artists or even remote interpreters.
Localization services should also be used during the translation process, focusing on directing all of the translated content more directly. References to physical locations in the native domestic markets can be changed to physical locations in the areas where the native speakers are from.
Expressions may not be literally translated, but can be replaced with more localized translations of similar expressions that convey the same meaning. A reference for a barbecue may work great in some locations but not in others. Take the time to do enough research, or again, look for a translation company that focuses on localization services and get to know the culture.
Is your audience looking for pepperoni pizzas or vegan pizzas? Is their favorite hangout different than your local favorite hotspot?
The integration of the localization strategies in conjunction with the translation services will not only allow you to place your content into more media formats and get it in front of more people but to retain that personal touch, no matter what international markets you approach.
It really is as simple as one, globalization; two, localization; and three, translation.