Key Steps to Expanding Your Business with Localization
Localization means targeting specific groups of local consumers in different locals that your own, learn how.
Advancement in technology has made it easier for businesses to venture into foreign markets around the world. However, succeeding in those markets depends on how a business packages itself to the local consumers.
You see, just because your business is doing well in your locality doesn’t mean that it will be accepted elsewhere. You must make the effort to localize your business to every market you enter. Simply put, you need to align it with the culture and the language of the people you are targeting if you are to win their hearts.
Localization when done properly allows you to gain traction in a market rapidly and makes your customers happy with a personalized shopping experience. In addition, it gives you a competitive edge and cements your commitment to that market creating a sense of trust.
If you are looking to use localization as a strategy to take your business global, here are the key steps to follow.
1. Identify specific target markets
The global market is a wider demographic that can’t be tackled in broad strokes. You need to narrow down to the specific markets that you want to target with your localization strategy. If you are already selling in other markets, you can look at your analytics to identify the markets that you are most accepted. Check your website for where much traffic is coming from. It will be easy to start with the markets that you are already popular and then move to others as you go.
If you haven’t ventured to the foreign markets yet, make a deep analysis of the markets out there. Look for the market where similar products or services are already selling.
2. Set up a team
Ideally, there are two ways to implement a localization strategy. You can opt to do it in-house or outsource a local partner. Working with a local partner gives you an advantage. This one has a deep understanding of the native language, culture, and beliefs, and can help you bypass the need for research on such things.
If you choose to do it in-house, the technicalities of a localization strategy require that you have a team in place to help you crunch them. Look at the expertise required and fill those positions.
Pro tip: If you are expanding to China, outsource to a reputable China PEO provider to help you set a local team. This organization has been helping businesses expand to this region through HR, tax, immigration, and legal support, with or without a legal entity in those countries.
3. Research the market
Once you have identified your markets and set up a team, the next logical step is to research that market. You can start by understanding the regulations and the certifications that you need to start selling. Next is to research on the culture and the specific languages of the market. This one has to be thorough since you don’t want to come out as offensive or insulting to the very people that you are targeting.
Analyze all the details including colors, images, shapes, and how they are perceived in that market. Look out for other technicalities such as the accepted payment methods, preferred packaging, and the like. Additionally, identify the language-whether formal or informal, and the right phrases to use.
Armed with the necessary information, now it is the time to apply it to your business. Start by localizing your website and marketing campaigns. This will include translating text to the specific local language and adding region-specific images, illustrations, graphs, and colors. Be keen on the specifics such as accents and accepted colloquialism.
It is also good to identify the sales channels that you will be using. This way, you can customize everything depending on the people using those channels for you to be more specific.
There have been cases where an attempt on localization has gone totally wrong for some brands. Before you become the next trending topic on the web or a laughing stock to the world, take your time to test your localized content. You can take surveys to identify how every detail sits in with the locals. Make the necessary changes if need be.
Once you are satisfied with everything, it is time to launch your business fully localized. Be prepared for the surge in numbers of the customers that will start coming in. You can start by aligning your sales and marketing team as well as your customer service personnel.
Most businesses view localization as a complex task and hence tend to shortcut it to just language translation. Sure, it can be time, effort, and money consuming. However, if you want your business to resonate better with the markets that you are expanding to, localization is an aspect you can’t afford to ignore.