Welcome to the second part of our guide to optimize the marketing localization process (from design to texting to coding). In case you missed the first part you can catch up easily here. Now, without further ado, let’s get back to optimizing!
8. Choose the right marketing localization strategy
The international marketing environment is all about diversity. You’ll have to deal with different cultures, legal systems and speed of economic development. Success in one market doesn’t always guarantee global sales. Customers are different wherever you go, and so are their purchasing habits. So, if you want to get ahead of your competitors (both local and global), you’ll need to modify your marketing language to resonate with a higher number of users.
You can go about marketing localization in a couple of ways. Either develop a standard global marketing strategy to use all over the world (not recommended), or come up with a customized strategy for each new market. While standardizing your marketing efforts will save you costs in the short term, you run the risk of not connecting with your target market. This is especially risky when you consider expanding your business to diverse markets, like China or Russia.
A standard marketing campaign will have in different results, depending on the country, as people don’t respond to the same stimulus in the same way. One of the most well-known brands to try standard marketing campaigns is Coca Cola. But even they had to switch from global to local to increase their market share in some countries.
Adapting your marketing strategy to local standards (marketing localization) will help potential customers identify themselves with your brand. The trick is to build every local message in line with your brand image. Create a style guide for all your local marketing specialists. McDonalds, for example, manages to maintain a unique global image, while at the same time localizing their marketing efforts. They’ve diversified their marketing message, products and even recipes to gain a greater global foothold.
Marketing localization is more efficient, because it allows you to keep up with your local competitors. Don’t forget they have the advantage of knowing how to tailor their messages to reach their audience. Your initial costs will be higher, in terms of research, design and development, but get the message right, and your investment will pay off. There’s nothing worse than launching a perfectly localized website or app, only to have it fly under the radar due to poor marketing localization.
9. Work on your app’s name
If you’re localizing an app for different markets, you’ll have to consider changing its name when you launch into new markets. That can be hard, especially when you’ve invested a lot in your app’s current name. Coming up with a new one may not be what you had in mind when you decided to go global. But just because your name has positive connotations in one country, doesn’t mean it will work everywhere.
If your product has an invented name, it may be easier to launch in almost any new market just the way it is. As long as you check that the name (or pronunciation of it) don’t have any negative meanings in your target market. But if your app name actually means something – like “Jogging” or “Pregnancy,” you’ll either have to come up with a new one, or opt for name translation.
Either way, research well before choosing a name that may easily create confusion or unwanted situations. The list of companies to fail at localization is long. In many cases, lack of research is the main culprit. Nokia failed to research their market before launching their Lumia phones line. They found themselves selling a product with a name that means “prostitute” in Spanish slang!
Most Apps usually have short names, composed of one or two easy to pronounce words that explain the object and functionality of the product. Try to remain authentic but clear at the same time. And, make sure the name is not already registered by another developer, in any country you’re looking to localize for. It’s never a pleasant experience to find out after weeks invested in creating logos and slogans that your name’s been already taken!
10. There’s no marketing localization strategy without visuals
90% of the information that reaches our brains is visual. So, you need great images to sell, no matter what countries you localize for. By optimizing visuals, you can grab your audiences’ attention easier. Which is exactly what you need in any store, from Google Play to your online shopping site.
Because they influence users emotionally, strong images will increase your number of downloads and sales. They will encourage more engagement and get users to spend more time in your app or on your website. So, for better results, make sure you localize all your visuals.
Don’t expect Asians to react to photos you’ve used in your European marketing campaign. People can’t identify themselves with something they don’t understand, so pick photos and videos that you can easily integrate in your local messages. Avoid religious symbols and anything that might be offensive.
Review your screenshots as well. If you’re selling a localized version of your product, make sure your customers see it right from the beginning. Otherwise, you risk losing potential users unimpressed by untranslated texts or irrelevant maps or images.
11. Hire local ASO/ SEO experts
Content optimization is important, especially when you’re focusing on marketing localization. Titles, slogans, descriptions, texts; you should make most of all of them to increase your ranking in app stores and search engines.
Apple doesn’t search app descriptions, so don’t waste time integrating keywords if you only localize for the App Store. Google Play, on the other hand does. So, you should optimize your app description to obtain a better ranking. A word of warning, though. Keyword stuffing won’t bring you success. Write a captivating description, for people, not for search engines. If you’re localizing for countries with hundreds of Android app stores, like China, you should consider each store’s policy when writing your texts. This way, you’ll get the maximum advantage from every character you use.
Whether it comes to ASO (App Store Optimization) or SEO (Search Engine Optimization), for your additional content, website or blog, work with local experts for optimum results. Translating keywords is not enough, because language dynamics vary and sometimes people give different meanings to words. Find the keywords your target market uses to search in each country and integrate them to optimize your content. Then examine traffic, edit and adjust your keywords if necessary, and periodically analyze the results.
Ignoring the competition is bad for business, so take time to check what keywords your direct competitors use to attract audiences. Local developers know the market better than you do, so getting some inspiration from them could prove invaluable, especially when you’re entering a new country.
Your additional content should also be optimized, so your product is easy to find by search engines. Note that not all internet users go to Google when looking for something online. So, be sure to optimize for Bing and Yahoo as well. And if you’re launching in Russia or China, get ready to learn more about Yandex and Baidu, the popular search engines in these countries. This may seem like new stuff if you’ve only worked with Google by now, but it’s nothing a local expert can’t do.
12. Local content beats a standard global strategy
When carrying out your marketing localization, you must also think about what content you’re going to use. Having great marketing content is essential when you’re looking to capture market share, as it will help you build brand awareness.
It’s not just about sending a message in the right language, but about reaching real people using a voice your potential customers can understand. The best strategy if you’re looking for optimization is a mix of translated and localized. You can’t just come up with original content for each country if you want to stay within the budget. But you can’t reduce your content marketing strategy to translations and some adapted slogans either.
How much should you translate? It all depends on revenues and cost-efficiency. Analyze each market individually and decide based on their specific characteristics. Translating English content into other European languages helps, but this strategy won’t pay off in China. People there have almost no interest in products that aren’t directly related to their country.
Introducing local content allows you to target messages, so don’t just consider costs when deciding between translations and localized content. Try to see the entire picture before deciding for one way or another. And don’t be afraid to change strategy if you don’t get the results you wanted.
13. Adapt prices to local markets
A full marketing localization process implies adapting prices too. Succeeding in emerging markets is about adapting your product to local requirements. What may seem like an affordable app in the US or in Northern Europe can easily be seen as too expensive in Eastern Europe or South America. Things get even harder when a local competitor provides a similar product for less or, in some cases, free.
If you’re exclusively making and selling iOS apps, you may not encounter these difficulties, as generally Apple users tend to spend more. Android users, on the other hand, are more careful when purchasing apps. So, adjusting prices can help you increase downloads and sales.
You can create a simplified version of your app that potential clients can test free of charge, if you’re planning to launch in a country where people aren’t willing to spend much on mobile apps. Or, you can adapt your price to include discounts. No one can refuse a bargain! This way you’ll also create interest for your app in people who couldn’t usually afford your products.
14. Go social
Social media is still the key towards reaching huge audiences, so take advantage of their potential to connect with your public. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, each of these channels can be a great source of new customers.
Social media can help you build a human image for your brand, because it allows you to connect directly with your users and create a community around your product. You can attract more traffic, increase brand awareness and even reward your users for purchasing your products. This is the best way to get positive reviews. Which means a higher ranking in the app store and search engines alike.
Social media also gives you the opportunity to improve your customer service, based on direct feedback from your users. But you need to pay attention to what people write about you. Always respond promptly to messages and never let negative feedback go unnoticed. If you’re responsible for a client’s complaint, contact them directly and apologize, or provide solutions to their problem. Bad reviews spread like wildfire and can harm your company’s reputation.
As you need to keep costs under control, don’t invest the same amount of resources into all social media channels. Analyze each market and prioritize depending on local trends. Facebook is one safe way to gain visibility almost everywhere, whereas Twitter is less popular in some European countries. Consider a YouTube channel or a Google+ account instead.
A particular exception to the rule is China, where “traditional” social media are not even present. The Chinese prefer their local networks and you should adapt to their habits if you want to be seen. WeChat is the most popular social media in China, with over 800 million users, so it’s a good starting point for your marketing localization strategy.
15. Test and ask for local feedback
Testing is essential before launching an app. Use local A/B testing teams to get relevant feedback and make all changes before publishing your app in stores. This is the only way to provide an optimum user experience.
If you don’t factor in time for running tests and fixing bugs and translation errors, you’ll lose more clients than you can afford. Your marketing localization efforts will be worthless if your product doesn’t meet expectations. You only have one chance to make a first impression, so don’t risk an entire launch campaign because just to meet a deadline.
16. Improve continuously
Globalization has brought more opportunities, but with it, more competition. That means if you aren’t serving up what your users are expecting, the competition is just one click away. App markets may be different from one country to another, but they share two characteristics: they’re dynamic and crowded. Millions of apps are downloaded in app stores and a few hundred new products launched every day.
Standing out from the competition is hard work and implies continuous work. Updates, new features, and improved versions to keep up with the latest technologies. You need to stay one step ahead if you want to hold your own with the competition.
Optimizing the full marketing localization process may seem overwhelming, but it’s a continuous process with a certain amount of trial and error. Keep track of your movements in each local market, recycle what you can to reduce costs, and encourage your local teams to communicate to improve your global and local strategy. Remember, the work you put in to get results today will come back to you tenfold in increased sales, global market share and greater brand recognition.