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How a Multilingual SEO Plan Benefits Your Marketing Efforts Abroad

Maintaining your company’s website ranking can be a difficult task and a constant challenge. You already know that maximizing your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is extremely important when it comes to gaining Internet visibility for your company, product or service. So, what happens when you decide to market your product overseas or to a multilingual audience? Will simply translating your website do the trick?

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Ultimately, that answer is no. While translating your website content is of course critical to ensure you connect with your multilingual audience, you will also need to consider a multilingual SEO plan to ensure you even reach that audience. After all, what good is a translated website if no one in your intended market is able to find it? In order for you to get a solid ROI, we’ve compiled a list of items to consider when updating your SEO strategy to take your brand global.

Get to know your multilingual audience to ensure SEO results

Your new market will certainly have an entirely different set of customs and culture than your U.S.-based or English-speaking audience. Choose keywords and phrases that you know they would use in search engines. To determine your keywords, figure out what is important to this consumer base.  What are their challenges and pain points? How can you help solve them? If you do not already know this new market inside and out, be sure to find someone who does. Skimping here could mean a particularly negative impact on your website traffic, and therefore, your bottom line.

Analyze competitors who have gone before you

Researching competitors’ success when connecting with the same audience you’re looking to reach is a great step to figuring out what works (and what doesn’t). While you don’t want to copy what a competitor has done, it is vital to understand best/worst practices in advance if the information is already available to you.

Use location settings to your advantage in your SEO strategy

When coming up with a new SEO strategy for foreign markets, don’t neglect to include the country, city, or even the region your new target market is in when deciding on keywords to pair with your product. People tend to use “near me” or city names in their search when trying to find a product they’d like to purchase or browse for online. Having the location information in your SEO setup will help your site appear more often search engines.

Figuring up a brand new SEO strategy for your international or non-English speaking market can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. Did you know we offer website audits? We’d be glad to take a look at yours and help create a strategy for your international growth! Feel free to reach out if you’d like to be in this one together.

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A Step-By-Step Plan: Marketing to Speakers of Other Languages

With 2019 in full swing, you’re likely considering new ways to market your business. Have you ever thought about reaching out to and marketing directly to speakers of languages other than English? Even if you only speak English, don’t worry. You don’t actually have to speak another language to effectively market to a demographic that does. You can market to this audience in a variety of ways, which can have a positive impact on your brand this year (and beyond!). Here are 5 steps for targeting your non-English speaking client base in 2019.

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1. Start with translating your website.

Your website is the best way to interact with customers who do not speak English. Customers will most likely start their online search for a product or service by searching for those with information available in their preferred or primary language. If your website and offerings are translated and localized on your website, your target market will feel confident in your ability to assist them, and they will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to tailor your content to them. Be sure to use a professional translator or agency to handle this. Errors caused by free, automated translation tools can be extreme and do real damage to your brand.

2. Consider multilingual SEO strategy.

While your site is undergoing translation, you’ll want to consider a multilingual Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. After all, it needs to be compatible with the terms your target audience is actually searching for! If your translated website content isn’t showing up in search results, the translation you’re investing in will certainly not give you the best bang for your buck. Analyze your audience and tailor your strategy to them. You’ll find that it often differs from what you’ve already created for your English-speaking customers. Work with your translation provider to ensure they know about your SEO strategy while creating your foreign-language website content.

3. Don’t forget about your local foreign-language market!

While online marketing is important, it is not the only way to reach your new audience. Partner with local businesses in your community, specifically those who already have an existing customer base in your target demographic. See if you can leave your business cards or brochures there as well. Don’t forget to translate and localize your hard-copy marketing content, too!

4. Consider reaching out with a translated targeted email campaign.

If you already send out email newsletters, consider translating them for your non-English-speaking readers. You may not have to translate everything within your newsletter, but if you know your customer's email address and preferred language/region, you can target your content specifically to that group! Email blasts in someone’s preferred language are more likely to drive traffic to your website and are a quick and easy way to stay in touch with those who have already decided they trust you enough to hand over their email address!

BONUS TIP #1! Don’t forget to ask for referrals or testimonials you can use in your marketing or on your website. Once you’ve driven more traffic there, it’s a great way for new and/or potential customers to see why working with you is such a wonderful option. Don’t worry about asking; most people love giving their opinion and will happily do so for you!

5. Remember to translate your print marketing materials.

Dedicate some advertising dollars to one or two of the most widely read publications in your area, ensuring the advertisements you place are localized for your non-English-speaking audience. You can direct customers to your website for more information, which will help drive traffic and deliver more information to your target audience.

BONUS TIP #2! Utilize interpreters as needed for your new customers.Once a new customer reaches out to you, make sure you have a way to communicate with them if you do not already speak their primary language. You can use over-the-phone interpreters for initial meetings or unscheduled calls, and look into requesting an on-site interpreter for client meetings or any interaction that involves contracts, providing more information, etc.

In short, keep an open mind when it comes to your marketing strategy to a foreign-language market. Like all strategies, it will take time to set the moving parts in place. But the growth you’ll see from marketing to a new demographic will be worth it!

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5 Tips for Creating Effective Print Marketing Materials For a Foreign Market

Now that you’ve decided to expand into a foreign market, creating properly localized and unique print marketing materials can really help you market your business successfully there. Whether the materials you create are print, digital or both, you know how important it is to gear it toward your target demographic and customer base. Here are a few tips to for creating the best possible print materials for a successful marketing campaign.

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  • Get to know your foreign-language consumers. Ask yourself, “What’s important to my customers and how can it be incorporated into our print materials?” Customs and preferences in your target foreign market may be different than what your U.S.-based customers experience, so be sure to take that into account. Also, a professional translation of your marketing content in the language your target audience primarily speaks is essential, even if English is prevalent in that country or region. There is plenty of research to support that consumers feel most comfortable consuming information in their primary language, so the translation piece of this marketing puzzle is critical.

  • · Select the right visuals for your foreign-market materials. What works in print marketing materials for your U.S.-based customers will not necessarily work for a foreign audience. Although it may be easier to just use the same images that you already chose for your U.S.-based customers, it’s important to choose visuals that fit seamlessly into your target market’s culture. Select images that represent them so that they connect and engage with your brand through your marketing! Remember, however, to be careful not to display images that portray cultural or gender stereotypes, as these might not be well-received.

  • Organization is key – optimize your selling points! As with any brochure, there should be a clear and clean flow of text and images that tell your business’ story. Make them as enticing as possible so that potential customers will feel engaged with your content. Use catchy headlines that are relevant to your target market and will “speak” to them. Remember, these headlines may be different than the ones you used for your U.S. consumers! Once you have their attention, show them how your business will benefit their work or lifestyle.

  • Choose relevant content for your foreign-language market. Share information that is both useful and concise. If readers see a lot of text immediately, they may not be inclined to read it all. White space is vital to maintain in your marketing visuals. Keep in mind that some text will be longer once translated, and some shorter, depending on the language. Spanish translations, for example, are often about 30% longer than their original English content, so be sure to consider this when deciding what to include and how your customers’ eyes will “travel” across the page.

  • Make it simple for them to respond to you! If potential customers are interested in your content, it’s important to be easy to contact or find, as most people won’t go out of their way to do so. They need to know what action to take next and how to reach you, whether it be to purchase your product or service, or to get more information. List your business name, phone number, website, and social media channels on the marketing materials for an easy connection. If you have someone who can help customers in their own language, make sure this is clear so they feel comfortable reaching out. If you don’t, not to worry. A telephonic interpreting service could be the answer.

Remember, every piece of literature you send out represents your business and leaves an impression on potential customers, so your goal is to make this impression a positive one from the start! If you are unsure how to effectively localize your brochures and other promotional materials, be sure to choose a professional company to help you with the process. This will help avoid potential blunders with content in unfamiliar foreign markets.

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4 Ways to Avoid Mistakes When Marketing to Foreign-Language Consumers

If you are interested in reaching new target markets abroad, or those right here in the U.S. who primarily speak a language other than English, you’ve likely considered translating some of your marketing content. But if you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry! Here are four questions you should ask yourself to avoid translation mistakes when marketing to a foreign-language consumer group.

4 Ways to Avoid Mistakes When Marketing to Foreign-Language Consumers

1. Will an automated translation work for your job?

Automated translations sound like a wonderful thing. They’re free, they’re instant, and they do a pretty great job... or do they? Not so fast. While free, automated translation tools can be semi-useful when it comes to some phrases, and can be handy when trying to get the gist of a statement or paragraph, they are not meant for the kind of professional translation your brand calls for.

Generally speaking, marketing materials contain idioms, colloquial language, or phrases with words that could have more than one potential meaning. Machines simply do not have the capabilities to translate 100% accurately or to understand the nuances of language. You’ve got one chance to make a positive first impression on your new target demographic, so make it a professional one and steer clear of those tempting automated tools.

2. When should you send off your document for translation?

Having your materials translated is an investment (and one that is certainly worthwhile if you’re reaching out to a new target demographic!). However, there are a few ways to save on this investment. Making multiple changes can be costly. Making changes mid-process can be inevitable at times, but waiting until you have the final version of a document ready for your translation provider will save you both time and money. Put this savings toward an investment in next quarter’s budget.

3. Should any of your brand’s terms and product names be left in English?  

You’ve spent a lot of time developing your brand and product names! And because it’s important for customers to recognize your brand, your business name, trademarked products and proper names that pertain to your business and/or industry should remain in the source language. In fact, many times, these terms are not commonly known in other languages and may just confuse your customers more. Save a list of trademarked names and terms that you wish to keep in English so that your translation vendor does not mistakenly attempt to translate these terms. Your provider should also let you know if there are any concerns about these terms in the target language.

4. Is localization an important step for my marketing project?

The localization process is a great way to take your translations a step further. Localization ensures that the language, images, layout and more are engaging for your target market, not considered offensive or inappropriate in any way (yikes!) and practical in terms of everyday customs and culture. The images and design of your materials are just as important as the text you send off for translation, so it’s important to make sure they convey your intended message to your new consumers.

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How Translation and Localization Can Save Your Brand Overseas

Creating a clever and successful marketing campaign can be challenging enough to do effectually in English. After all, marketing materials are often catchy and clever, using plays on words to get your message out in a way that effectively resonates and reaches your target audience. So, how can you make sure to overcome the challenges of translating your message to maintain these nuances of language?

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It is not enough to simply translate your materials word-for-word into another language. The translated content should have the same effect on your target audience as the original text has your English-speaking audience. Here are a couple of challenges companies may face when translating marketing materials.

· Keeping creativity in your slogan, tagline and advertising copy. Your slogan is important; it is likely one of the first things a customer sees and remembers about your company! A good slogan is catchy and easy to remember. And your translated slogan should be just as catchy or clever in the target language in order to captivate this audience in the same way.

The same can be said for all of your advertising copy, really. Marketing content often utilizes plays on words, metaphors, humor, idioms, and puns. A great translation will not be a word-for-word copy of your content. Instead, it should be an equivalent and acceptable rendition of the same humor and/or clever copy into the target language employing that language’s idioms and word plays. It should come across as naturally as possible to your target audience.

· Adapting your brand. Your brand is what makes you you. It makes you stand out from your competitors, and having a solid brand is key to winning over your audience. Your logo and imagery should be consistent in look and feel. However, there may be instances when you need to adapt some of your branding depending on the culture of the area where your marketing content will be received. This is handled via a process called localization. If your company uses a lot of red in its imagery, which can often signify passion and excitement in Western cultures, you may want to consider changing these hues when marketing in the Middle East, where red often evokes feelings of danger and caution.

You should also consider the target culture when choosing images for marketing campaigns and advertisements. You’ll want to consider what people in the target country or region find appealing (or offensive!) and make sure your content reflects that as well.

Although the process of translating your marketing materials can seem daunting, thankfully there are expert linguists who specialize in doing just that. Using a professional to handle your marketing translations will ensure you avoid potential blunders and snafus with translated content. A professional is available for every step of the process, including translating the materials in a way that renders your message clearly and naturally, and assisting you with localizing your content appropriately so that you can rest assured that your message is reaching the audience you desire in the way you originally intended. After all, your brand is on the line.

How Partnering with a Translation Agency Will Maximize Your Marketing Efforts

Translating your marketing content can have huge benefits for your company, especially if you have partnered with an agency that is well-suited for helping you meet your goals in foreign-language markets.  Here are a few tips for working with a translation agency when it comes to maximizing your marketing campaign efforts:

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1. Know your audience. As important as this is in marketing in general, it’s just as important in translation of marketing materials. Where does the ideal audience live and work? What dialect do they speak? Do a little homework on the group you want to reach so that you can provide this information to the agency you choose for your project.

2. Inquire about localization. Whether your content will be in print, on your website or part of a social media outreach plan, localization encompasses more than the translation of a text to reach a specific population. It incorporates the entire concept of the message via the terminology, language, images, colors, etc. used to be relevant to the audience in a specific region or locale. Localization allows you to avoid promoting content that might be offensive in another culture so that you can truly sell your brand well to consumers.

3. Ask about the translators assigned to your project. The translators who handle your marketing content should specialize in the type of translation you require. You wouldn’t want a medical translator who is a native speaker of Chilean Spanish to translate your site’s digital brochures meant for customers in Mexico City. It is perfectly acceptable to ask your project manager about a translator’s credentials so that you can feel confident the work is in good hands.

4. Don’t leave a translation request for the last minute. As soon as you know about the translation project and have the final document in hand, reach out to the translation agency so that the project manager can begin assembling the right team to handle your specific materials. Be up front about your preferred turn-around time on the project. Allow for adequate time to translate your content accurately and professionally.

5. Feel free to request the same team of linguists if you are pleased. If you are pleased with the work the agency has completed for you in the past for you, it is perfectly okay to ask that they utilize the same translators, editors and proofreaders that handled your previous projects. Agencies keep track of the teams it assigns for each project, and ensuring consistency can be as simple as maintaining the same team to work on projects that require similar terminology and context.

Translation Mistakes to Avoid When Marketing in a Foreign Language

If you are interested in reaching new target markets abroad, or those right here in the U.S. who primarily speak a language other than English, you’ve likely considered translating some of your marketing content. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry! Here are four translation mistakes to avoid when marketing to a foreign language consumer group.

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1. Using free translation tools 
In a world where everyone is used to receiving things within an instant, it’s easy to assume translations should be immediately accessible, too; we get it! While free automated translation tools can be okay to use when it comes to some phrases, and can be handy when trying to get the gist of a statement or paragraph, they are not meant for professional translation work.

Your marketing materials likely contain idioms, colloquial language, or phrases with words that could have more than one potential meaning. Machines simply do not have the capabilities to translate 100% accurately or to understand the nuances of language. When approaching a new target demographic, your materials will likely be their first impression of your company, so making it a positive and professional one is key.

2. Not finalizing your source text before sending it off for translation
Having your materials translated is an investment (and one that is certainly worthwhile if you’re reaching out to a new target demographic!). However, there’s no reason it needs to cost more than it has to! Making multiple changes can be costly. You won’t always be able to avoid making changes mid-process but when possible, try to have everything finalized in your source text before you send it off for translation so as to avoid extra costs for updates.

3. Translating names and terms that should be left in the source language
Never translate the name of your business, your trademarked products or proper names that pertain to your business and/or industry. Many times these terms are not commonly known in other languages and may just confuse your customers more. Keep a list of trademarked names and terms that you wish to keep in English so that your translation vendor does not mistakenly attempt to translate these terms.

4. Not localizing your materials
The localization process is a great way to take your translations a step further. Localization ensures that the language, images, layout and more, related to your brand and message, are engaging for your target markets and not offensive or inappropriate in any way. The images and design of your materials are just as important as the text you get translated.

Have you witnessed the consequences of one of these four translation mistakes? Do you have other tips on good practices for translation and localization of marketing materials? Let us know!

Gearing Up for the New Year: Do Your Translations Need Updates?

With a flip of the calendar, it’s time to begin gearing up for a brand new year. For many businesses, this also means the beginning of a new quarter, with new quarterly and annual plans and goals to achieve. New business initiatives are in the works and marketing campaigns are planned for the coming months. If these changes could potentially impact any previously translated materials, or materials you’d like to have translated in the future, now is a good time to revisit your strategy to reach all intended audiences.

Something to keep in mind is that you likely don't need to have everything retranslated if you’re just making updates. If you are simply updating a few paragraphs of an employee handbook, for example, you can supply your trusted translation vendor with the previous translation and the updates without having to worry about redoing the whole translation. It is important that your non-English speaking audience understands all updates to the policy in this case, as well, so the sooner these are translated and updated, the better.

It’s also not too early to begin thinking of the rest of your 2018 marketing strategies. If you decide to reach a broader audience than just those who speak English, it would be good to look into translating and localizing your marketing materials now. Many people try to make personal changes for themselves with the new year, and this time could easily be the best moment to develop new marketing strategies for your business. Having your marketing materials translated and localized is the best way to ensure you reach the broadest audience in 2018.

If your company is interested in updating any previously translated materials or new initiatives, we want to help make 2018 the best year for you. Please reach out with any questions you may have about the process. We will be glad to help!