The world is slowly becoming a global village, and businesses centered on growth have their eyes set on the opportunities a global market presents. However, succeeding in those markets takes much more than just placing your products or services in the market.
In order to move from a business that is merely selling products in foreign markets to a successful business set for growth, you need to align your business in a way that resonates with the people in those markets.
Customers trust and build loyalty with a business that they can identify with. They want to be spoken to in a language they understand and experience a journey they’re familiar with.
You can only achieve this with the right localization strategy. So, how do you go about it? Here, I'll outline some proven tips for building a successful localization strategy for your product or business. But first, let's explore what localization means.
What is a localization strategy?
In the context of marketing, we use the term "localization" to refer to the process of adapting a product or service to fit the cultural, societal, and linguistic preferences of a specific geographical market.
Importantly, this goes beyond merely translating content into the local language. Instead, it involves considering local customs, traditions, consumer habits, regulations, and market-specific needs and expectations. All told, the ultimate goal of localization is to make a product or service appear as if it has been originally created for the targeted locale, thus facilitating market penetration and acceptance.
Localization is a vital element of an international product marketing strategy since it helps to ensure that a product or service is accessible and appealing to a global audience. So, how do you create a localization strategy that achieves these ends? Let's take a closer look.
How to create a localized marketing strategy: five key steps
Don’t ignore the locals
As a foreigner, understanding the local culture of the market you’re venturing into can be an uphill task. Importing experts from your home country won’t cut it either. Cultures differ hugely; something that’s accepted in your culture can be offensive in another. You need the eye of a native if you are to capture cultural nuances.
As you plan to recruit expertise, remember to save some of the positions for the locals. Of course, setting up a local team can be daunting. You can bypass this by hiring a local agent to help you with staffing.
For instance, if you’re expanding in Singapore, you can hire and manage the new workforce through a Singapore employer of record from a reputable global PEO company. Such organizations help businesses expand to this region compliantly, whether they have a legal entity or not.
Gather knowledge of the market
Market dynamics also differ from one region to another; each market is unique in terms of customers’ pain points, alternative products, among others. Always seek to understand the dynamics of every market you’re targeting.
Ask yourself: What pain points are target customers looking to fulfill with your products? What are the alternative products to your products in those markets? What experience are customers looking for?
Go beyond translation
Localization has often been mistaken for translation. Most businesses capitalize on translating the language on their websites, marketing campaigns, labeling, and the like.
To appeal to the locals, you need to take your strategy beyond just translating your content. Go above and beyond to align other aspects such as the visuals, images, illustrations, and colors with the culture of the people. You might also need to rethink packaging, pricing, and payment methods.
If you want to fully optimize your website, you have to also think about search engines. For instance, if you’re competing for local services, such as dentistry or gyms, you need local SEO to optimize your website to target local keywords for the services you offer. Top rankings on the search engines will drive traffic to your website and help conversions.
Also, think about your brand proposition; how does your logo, brand name, slogans, and entire brand identity resonate with your target audience?
Conduct market research on what’s accepted in these aspects. That’s how you will be able to create a localization strategy that is fully accepted and resonates with the people.
Participate in the community
People tend to respond positively to a community-focused business. If you want to cement your presence in a market, you must be willing to show the people you truly belong there and have their best interests at heart.
A good way to do this is by participating in community events. Commit to sponsoring events, or offer your expertise whenever needed. If a need arises in the community, be on the frontline to give a corporate donation if you’re in the position to do so, but most importantly, let these gestures come from a point of generosity. People can tell when you’re putting on a show and contributing for the sake of it, and your efforts will go down the drain.
Use relevant platforms
The use of technology usage and social dynamics varies, depending on location. For example, while you might come from a place where a large percentage of people use computers and mobile phones, this may not be the case elsewhere. Therefore, you need to understand how the behaviors of people differ depending on location; this’ll help you identify how to channel your efforts.
Social media is critical in modern business structure. However, there is not a single social media platform that is globally accepted. Research the most used platform in the target market so you can meet the people where they are.
The right localization strategy boils down to not leaving any stone unturned within your target markets. A minute error within your strategy can serve as a deal-breaker, hence why you must make sure every aspect of your business sits well with the people in every market that you want to penetrate.