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Genuine Engagement in Automated Marketing: How to Connect Authentically with Your Multilingual Audience

Marketing automation tools help businesses save time, money, and reach people quickly and easily. These tools can be extremely effective, as long as the automation does not come at the expense of the relationships you’ve built with your current and potential customers. Your consumers don’t like to feel like they’re just a number. And your multilingual audience is no exception.

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Here are 5 ways to make sure you are connecting authentically with your multilingual audience when using automated marketing tools.

  1. Send personalized content tailored to each individual when possible. Use your automated tools to your advantage on an individual level! If you have customers’ birthdays on file, send them a personalized message (email, direct mail, or both!) wishing them a happy birthday. You can also do this for subscriber or loyalty member anniversaries if your business offers this. You can offer a special limited-time discount to entice customers to reconnect with you for any occasion, but even a simple message lets your customers know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate that you took the time to reach out, bonus discount or not.

  2. Target your ads specifically based on where you are in the business-consumer relationship. Your relationship with your customers (both potential and existing) varies from person to person. While you don’t have to send out individualized ads for each person every time you begin a marketing campaign in order to continue building that relationship, you will at least want to make sure your message is tailored to how much of a relationship you’ve already built with them. Just as you speak differently to friends you’ve known for 20 years as opposed to someone you’ve just met at an event, the content you deliver to someone who has made multiple purchases will be quite different than how you market to those who are unfamiliar with your brand. It is essential to build real relationships with your automated campaigns.

  3. Localize your marketing content with your multilingual consumers in mind; don’t just reuse your English ads. The personalized content you create won’t be effective if your consumers don’t understand or engage with it! Content should be translated into the appropriate language for your audience, and the design and layout of your materials must be relevant.

  4. Ask engaging questions and connect with your audience when they reply. The beauty of automation tools is that you can schedule content like email campaigns, ads, and social media posts in advance. Create content that is engaging; ask questions that prompt people to respond. Since you were able to schedule these items in advance, this frees up time for your team to respond when a customer takes action. If someone leaves a comment on a social media post, tag them and reply -- in their language! This shows customers that your brand genuinely cares about responding and providing them with value.

  5. Offer support in the languages your customers speak. Nothing can be more disheartening for a consumer than having questions about a product or service, and being unable to get the information they need. If you include a phone number or email address in your marketing materials, have sufficient support available in those mediums in the language(s) your customers speak. If a customer clicks a link in your online ad, the page where it directs them should also be translated and localized. Taking these steps helps ensure there are no interruptions between the marketing campaign and the purchase your customer intends to make.

What to Do When You Have to Pick a Dialect for Your Translation

Translating content into multiple languages can be beneficial for your marketing efforts and business ventures. However, language translations cannot always utilize a one-size-fits-all approach. Just as there are a variety of English dialects depending on where you are located (think of English in the U.S. compared with English in the U.K.), many of the languages you choose for the translation of your content will have their own distinct dialects. That’s why it’s important to know who your audience is before beginning the translation process.

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Here are three common scenarios as it pertains to choosing a dialect for your translation needs.

Scenario 1: The audience is from a very distinct region. Some countries may speak the same language by name (French, for example), but the geographic location of your target audience could make a huge difference in the translation provider you choose. French spoken in Canada is quite different than French spoken in France, and French-Creole (common in Louisiana) is even more different still. Tell your translation provider ahead of time where your target market is located so that they can be sure to assemble the right team for your project.

Note: If you are creating content for audiences in both France and Canada, look for a provider than can provide you with the different translations to ensure each version is accurate for the intended audiences. Not only will there be differences in the terminology used for these audiences, but differences in punctuation will also come into play.

Scenario 2: You want to reach an audience that resides in multiple countries that share a common language, but you don’t have the budget to localize the content for each individual country. An example of this would be if you are looking to target customers within multiple countries in Latin America. In this case, you will likely want to use a more neutral Spanish that will be understood by those in each country. Even if some of the terms differ from one country to another, a more neutral or standard translation could still be quite effective, depending on your content.

Scenario 3: Your audience is from a specific area in the U.S. Sometimes, you only need to reach a group of people within a certain geographic region. If you are targeting a group of Punjabi speakers in New York, for example, they may speak the Punjabi dialect of India, as opposed to the Punjabi dialect of Pakistan. Research the people who live in the area you’re targeting so you can be sure you are requesting the correct dialect.

If you are ever unsure which dialect of a language your audience speaks, try not to guess. You can always work directly with your translation provider to determine the best fit for your language needs. Knowing where your target market is from or located not only saves you time, but this information also helps to avoid potential language issues stemming from a translation created for the wrong audience. After all, who wants to translate the same content twice if it can be avoided, right?

Four Reasons Your Multilingual Marketing Plan is Not Working (and What to Do About It!)

Marketing strategies are ever-evolving. The techniques that may have proven successful for your business five years -- or even six months! -- ago are not likely to work now. So it’s no great surprise that you may find yourself in a situation at some point when the plan you’ve put in place to market to your multilingual audience calls for some tweaking, too. Here are four common reasons your multilingual marketing plan might not be working and what to do about it.

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  1. Your content is not relevant to your target demographic. People often need to truly connect with content in order for it to be effective. That’s why it’s important to make sure your multilingual audience is receiving content meant just for them. If you are recycling the content you created for English-speaking consumers without taking the time to adapt it for a new audience, your message may not be reaching the intended consumers in the way you’d like. In fact, it could be off-putting instead!

  2. Your search engine optimization (SEO) is not geared toward your target audience. You can craft amazing marketing content with your target demographic in mind, but if you don’t tailor your SEO strategy to this multilingual consumer group as well, it won’t reach them. Get to know your new audience. How are they searching for information online? What is important to them? Shape your SEO strategy to fit your target market, instead of trying to make your target market fit into your current SEO strategy for English speakers.

  3. You’re making assumptions about your audience. Once you get to know your current consumer base and you feel good about your ability to market to them effectively, it is easy to assume that your multilingual audience will be similar. After all, if they like your brand, won’t they have similar habits? Maybe. But not necessarily. Make sure to invest in a bit of research to find out which social media platforms they use, whether they are receptive to email marketing campaigns, which marketing strategies are already working for competitors, etc. The information is out there; use it to your advantage when figuring out the best course of action to reach your multilingual consumers.

  4. You’re not investing in marketing to this group. If you’ve found an effective marketing plan to reach your English-speaking consumers, you’ve likely invested time, energy, and money into making sure your content reaches them effectively. You must do the same for your non-English speaking consumers. It’s simply not enough to try to reach a target group with organic reach alone. Set a marketing budget intended for your non-English-speaking consumers, too.

If something isn’t working, it’s okay to reevaluate your plan. Sometimes it takes a few (or more!) tries to get it right, and the ever-evolving world of marketing means you’ll likely have to tackle this a few different times or a few different ways. Just keep taking the time to research more about your audience, create a solid marketing plan based on that research, localize it for your target demographic, and then invest in and promote it. Companies that do this well are the ones that reach their multilingual audience best!

How to Market to a Multilingual Audience with Video Content

Over the past several years, social media video marketing has grown in popularity, showcasing how effective it can be to focus on this aspect of your marketing plan when deciding how best to reach a multilingual audience. There are a variety of options on social media platforms alone. Some of the biggest players are YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram. Each platform has its merits, depending on your overall goals, and the audience you’re targeting in your marketing efforts. So how do you begin?

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Which social media channels should you use to market to a multilingual audience?

The first step is to figure out on which platform(s) your target demographic is watching the majority of their videos. For example, the majority of Snapchat users are females between the ages of 18 and 24 in the U.S., followed by France and the United Kingdom. Instagram users are usually slightly older, with the majority of users under the age of 29, but with a large user base between the ages of 30 and 49. The largest demographic of users is still female, but 80% of Instagram users are based outside of the U.S., making it attractive for those who plan to market their products overseas.

Conversely, YouTube users are mostly male, with a growing population of users in the 35+ and 55+ age groups. YouTube videos span 76 different languages (from 88 different countries), and like Instagram, 80% of its users are outside of the U.S.

What are the key differences between the social media video platforms?

Once you’ve determined which platforms you’ll use to reach your target demographic, you need to know some of the key differences between the platforms so you can use them effectively.

Both Snapchat and Instagram feature short videos called “stories.” Once posted, these stories will disappear after 24 hours. Snapchat stories are 10 seconds long, and Instagram’s are 15. You can utilize stories to share a combination of videos and photos that your viewers will have access to for just 24 hours, which is why this platform is best used for sharing your brand’s personality with your viewers, or promoting engagement from your audience in a more time-sensitive way. Businesses can pay to sponsor and feature their stories, or utilize hashtags to help more users find them organically.

In addition to stories, Instagram offers minute-long video posts that can be placed in an account’s newsfeed, along with a connected IGTV channel for longer videos. These videos will stay in your feed and IGTV account forever, unless you manually delete them, so you can use these to further engage with your audience with content you wish to share long-term.

On YouTube, you can upload longer videos and keep them on your brand’s own channel. You can promote your videos on YouTube through sharing your videos on other social media platforms, encouraging viewers to like and subscribe to see new content when you post it.

For each of these social media networks, you can create accounts and channels specifically for your users who speak other languages. For example, if you are marketing to a French audience, you can create a channel that shares original content specifically for that group so that it is not missed within your English feed, and so that your English-speaking users aren’t confused by French content in the middle of your stories.

What are your next steps for successful video marketing with your multilingual audience?

Once you’ve figured out the best platforms to use and types of videos your brand can create for your new target audience, start posting! Be authentic, post content that showcases your personality, and start marketing to your new audience! There will likely be a lot of trial and error as you begin. You’ll quickly find what works and what doesn’t. That’s okay! Consistency is key on these platforms; stick with it!

What to Consider When Optimizing Your Multilingual SEO Strategy for Voice Search

Although voice searches have increased in popularity over the past several years, largely due to the rise of voice assistants like Siri, Google Home, and Alexa, they’ve actually been possible since 2008. While customers can search for a variety of topics using their voice — similarly to how they conduct a search via desktop — there are some key differences between the two search types that are prompting businesses to focus on an SEO strategy that also encompasses voices searches. Just as you optimize your SEO strategy for desktop searches, you’ll want to pay attention to the nuances of your customers’ voice search habits when looking to grow your web presence, especially among multilingual audiences.

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Here are a few ways to ensure you are optimizing your SEO strategy to ensure you are accounting for your multilingual audience’s voice search habits.

Consider the characteristics of a typical voice search

First and foremost, it is important to understand how a voice search is different than a desktop search. Knowing the types of searches your audience is performing through this medium will help you develop the right SEO strategy to respond to the queries they make.

Voice searches are typically more conversational and longer than desktop searches, since users do not have to go through the physical effort of typing the query. They are also often phrased as a question, since voice assistants seemingly respond to the person asking the question. What’s more, 22% of voice searches are performed so that users can find local information. Many mobile users are also on the go and need a quick response. They may never actually click on your website, as long as the search yields the information they need on the results page.

So, while a desktop user might search for “best dog groomer New York,” a voice search user may instead ask, “Which dog groomers are open now near me?”

Determine how to utilize the information to optimize your SEO strategy

Now that you know a little about the characteristics of a voice search, think about how your target audience speaks. What types of questions do they have about your products or services? Which languages do they speak? Which dialects? How might they phrase those questions in their primary language?

Once you get to know how your target audience speaks, make sure your website provides answers to these questions so that users can get the information they need on the go. If your website is translated into another language, search results should be displayed in the language detected in a voice search.  

In addition, keep your business listing up-to-date with your current hours, address, and phone number, and try to encourage positive reviews from customers. Whereas a desktop user may have more time to browse other websites of potential options, the customer who searched for “Which dog groomers are open now near me?” will likely never click on your website, but will, instead, look at the list of potential dog groomers and either call or visit the groomer based on proximity and ratings.

Bonus tip…

Check to see if voice search is already available for the language your target audience speaks. As of 2019, Google Assistant was the voice assistant with the largest number of languages it understands, conversing in over 30 languages to date. However, if the language your target audience speaks isn’t one of these 30, voice search traffic will not be as relevant…(yet!). Of course, it is still important to gather the data you need for when a target language is added, as the list of available languages is constantly growing.

How to Attract Chinese Real Estate Buyers

Chinese home buyers have led the pack in foreign sales for the past four straight years, and according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, Chinese buyers account for over 27% of all international home sales in the United States. Not only are Chinese buyers purchasing more often than any other international buyer, but they’re spending more as well. In 2016, the average purchase price for other foreign buyers was $477,462. The average purchase price for Chinese buyers was $936,615! And ~71% of those purchases were paid in cash. If your company is not already focusing on this demographic, it’s a great time to start. Here are a few ways you can appeal to the Chinese homebuyer.

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· Translate listings. A Chinese buyer will likely be using search terms in his/her native language. If your listings are already translated into Chinese, it will simplify the process for potential buyers and ensure your listings show up in more search results for them.

· Attract via social media. It’s important to note that the Chinese do not use traditional social media channels like Facebook and Twitter that we use here, due to strict Internet regulations in China. Instead they use apps like WeChat, and it’s likely they’ll prefer communicating directly within the app since it’s actually the primary way the Chinese connect these days. You can download this app now and create your professional profile to start promoting listings right away.

· Learn about Chinese culture. Take a few minutes to look into what is considered proper etiquette to a Chinese buyer. You can find a great list here. This will help you learn more about Chinese customs in order to make positive first impressions.

· Consider the language. You can, of course, hire an agent who is also fluent in Mandarin. However, this is not necessary. Even if buyers do not speak English, you can communicate with them by utilizing on-site or telephonic interpreting services.

· Be patient! These clients live in China, which means they are 12 to 15 hours ahead of realtors here in the U.S. Email and text communication may take 24 hours to complete, since each person is in an entirely different time zone. Be patient and know that building a proper relationship with this person may take some time, but if you are consistent, prompt and helpful, they are more likely choose you as their realtor when they decide to invest in a property.

If you’ve had success with Chinese buyers in your area, we’d love to hear success stories and your own pointers. Feel free to comment below and share them with us!

Localization Fails in International Markets: Don't Let This Be You!

Localization is the process of adapting a product to your target market’s cultural, technical, and linguistic requirements. Localizing your product and marketing strategy ensures your international audience is able to interact with your product effortlessly in a way that seems like it was created just for them. Having a professional team handle the localization process is crucial, as these 5 brands found out after their own localization blunders!

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1. Apple. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, the Apple II was localized for various European markets and Japan. In a race to launch before competitor IBM, Apple failed to localize their keyboard for European markets, and did not include umlauts, accents and other punctuation marks necessary to write in many European languages. They also neglected to translate their user manuals entirely into Japanese! IBM may have reached these markets more slowly, but their focus on proper localization meant they had greater success over Apple’s hastily handled global product release.

2. Pepsi. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Pepsi decided to go international. Their slogan at the time? “Come alive! You’re in the Pepsi generation!”. The campaign was a success in the West, but ran into some hitches when they tried to localize it for China and Germany. In China, it was mistranslated as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead!” and in Germany as “Rise from the grave with Pepsi!” Not exactly the slogan they were hoping for!

3. Honda. In 2001, this Japanese car manufacturer decided not to change the name of the Fitta when releasing the compact car in Sweden. Unfortunately for Honda, “fitta” is a vulgar word in Swedish, referring to a woman’s genitals. Yikes! Honda quickly made a change and decided to call the car the Honda Jazz in Europe and the Honda Fit in the U.S.

4. Parker Pens. In 1994, Parker Pens decided to market its pens to a Mexican audience. Their headline was “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” but the word for “embarrass” was mistranslated as “embarazar” which means “impregnate” in Spanish! The mistranslated ad read “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”. Oops!

5. Starbucks. In Italian, “latte” means “milk”, so Starbucks used the term to sell their café latte drink in their European and English-speaking markets. This worked well pretty much everywhere… except in Germany. In German, “latte” literally means “pole”, but is used as a slang term to mean “male erection”, so you can imagine the reaction when Starbucks began selling lattes in its German locations! The German people, however, took it mostly in good humor and Starbucks actually still includes the untranslated drink on its menu there even today!

To successfully launch a product globally, be sure you’ve got a professional team handling it for you. This will ensure you do not succumb to potentially disastrous errors for your company abroad (and it keep you off of lists like these!).

Specific Challenges for International Students and How to Overcome Them

When it comes to starting a career at a new college, all students have their own sets of challenges. International students, however, face a unique set. Not only are they beginning a new semester at an American university, but they are beginning this journey in an entirely new country. Here are a few of the challenges international students may face when they arrive on your campus.

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  • Culture shock. Coming to the United States from another country can be quite difficult for international students. They have to become accustomed to things like what foods we eat, how we dress, how to address their fellow students and professors, etc. Also, students may find themselves with more or less structure or leisure time than they would in their home countries, which can be quite an adjustment. These may seem like minor issues, but culture shock is real.
     
  • Academics. The academic world can be very different in the U.S. as well. Grades may be calculated differently here than back home, and they may not be used to the idea of having homework every day to complete after classes have finished.  There is also a larger focus on general education requirements in the U.S. than there are in other countries, so international students may be confused by having to take Gen. Ed. courses that are so far removed from what their major actually is.
     
  • Classroom structure. International students may not be used to having discussions in class, as in many countries, the professor leads lectures and students simply listen, only speaking when spoken to or asked a specific question. This means that international students may not be comfortable speaking up in classroom discussions and may need some extra encouragement to participate. Some professors may be more or less formal than what they are used to in their home country as well, meaning the student has to figure out the appropriate way to adjust to each individual class.
     
  • Language barriers. Even though international students have to pass an English proficiency exam to study in the U.S., this does not always mean adjusting to life in a completely English-speaking world will be easy. Students come to your campus from different parts of the country and will have differing accents, slang terms, and speak at different speeds.  Over time, this should get easier and easier for your international students, but there is certainly an adjustment period.
     
  • Homesickness. International students are usually excited to be here, but that does not mean they do not miss friends, family, and their way of life back home. For some, this can make the rest of the adjustments all the more difficult.

While you may not be able to necessarily relieve these issues for international students, understanding some of their unique challenges is key in being able to help them adjust to student life here in the U.S. more easily, making your university a more welcoming place for them to spend their semester. This, in turn, means that they are more likely to recommend your university to their peers back home.