Kick-start guide to building an international audience without feeling overwhelmed
You’ve decided to target an international audience to grow your business and you’re confident your fabulous products and services will be as much of a success in other countries as they are in your own.
To achieve that, you want to provide your copy and content in other languages to give all your customers the same great experience. Splendid.
Now the question is where to start.
Should you just go ahead and get your website translated into a few other languages? Which ones?
Is there anything else to keep in mind?
And is there a way to do this without putting in extra hours at the weekends?
No worries. This handy kick-start guide will help you get the ball rolling in a structured way without feeling overwhelmed. It will show you step by step how to proceed and what to keep in mind, keeping things simple and busy-schedule friendly.
Step 1: Decide which countries to target
Don’t try to conquer the whole world all at once. You could be running the risk of investing in target countries that don’t bring you the return you were hoping for. Instead, strategically decide what country or countries to target.
And what’s the most important factor when deciding this?
You guessed it: Your existing customers.
Start your selection process by checking out your Google Analytics, Instagram Insights and Facebook Statistics, for example. What countries are your visitors from apart from your own?
Then, think about other previous touchpoints with customers from abroad. Maybe you’ve been approached directly by customers from abroad in the past. Or you have Google reviews or social media comments from people from other parts of the world.
Maybe customers have even specifically asked if and when your products and services will be available in a certain language. Involve those things in your decision-making process.
To make the transition to being a global player extra smooth, you could start with only one country and see how things develop. A good choice would be the one that performs best in your Google Analytics apart from your own country.
Step 2: Decide on a translator
As soon as you know what countries you want to target, it’s time to decide on a translator. Before you invest time in directionless Google research, check out this article about how to find a freelance translator.
It will help you with your decision making and explain what to look out for if you haven’t worked with translators before.
Step 3: Get your offer translated
This next step consists of strategizing and deciding what parts of your copy should be translated.
So that customers who don’t speak your language can buy from you, concentrate on these essential elements of your copy and content for translation first:
- The order process on your website, from adding to their basket to check-out and payment.
- Automated emails such as registration confirmation, order confirmation, delivery status, feedback forms.
- Anything else that’s essential for customers who don’t speak your language to make a purchase.
If the above is up and running you can gradually translate other parts of your content such as your blog, newsletter and social media channels. But don’t worry about this too much right now, it can wait until later.
Step 4: Get help with customer care in your new language(s)
Customer service is important. It shouldn’t stop at the border of a country.
But you’re probably wondering how you’re going to help your customers if you don’t speak their language.
Let’s keep things simple: Why not get a virtual assistant on board who speaks the language(s) of your new target countries to help you with communication? He or she could be in charge of responding to customers via e-mail and answering any queries submitted via contact forms or direct messages.
By making sure your potential new customers abroad get all their questions answered, you show that your business is trustworthy and make them more likely to hit that purchase button – which will enhance growth of your international audience. Yay!
Step 5: Spread the word
Now that you’re super prepared for your new customers abroad, it’s time to spread the word. Here are a few suggestions to get yourself into the right creative marketing mindset:
- Announce the big news with a post or series of posts on your social media channels
- Make a special offer for your new audience
- Create a competition on social media for followers from your new target country
- Use hashtags in the language of your new target country/countries
- Run an ad campaign on your social media channels in the language(s) of your new target country/countries
Tip: Remember to always make it all about your customers.
With the excitement that comes with offering your products and services to a whole new audience, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “I, me, my, we, our”. Look out for those words and change the perspective to let your new customer take centre stage.
So, instead of saying “we are proud to now offer our products in x languages”, say “you can now shop on our website in your language”, or something along those lines.
With this kick-start guide to building an international audience you’ll be able to impress more people with the great products and services you have to offer, broaden your customer base, and create a more profitable business – without investing much more time.
Because maybe you’ve already noticed: These steps are either outsourced (to translators and VAs) or just need to be done once, with relatively small effort involved. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it?
But before you start dreaming of how you’re going to spend all the free time you thought you’d be working on breaking into your new market, grab a cup of coffee and start with step one today.
And if Germany is one of your new target countries and you want a shortcut for step two, feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.