With the global e-commerce industry set to reach 4.5 trillion USD by 2021, it’s no wonder that companies are wanting to get a piece of the pie. Although digitalisation is helping to close the gap between us here in Europe and Australia, for example, language still represents something of a barrier. With only 27% of Internet users actually speaking English, it’s no wonder that localisation has become more important than ever.

Choose where you target wisely

There are numerous reasons as to why companies decide to localise in the first place, but if you don’t choose your language wisely, you could end up spending more than you eventually get back. Before you choose where to target, you need to make sure you do your market research. Take Germany and Denmark, for example. PPC works amazingly in Denmark, but Germans hate it. Even though you’d assume neighbouring countries would like similar things, there are so many cases where this couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you’ve done your market research and are still unsure where to target, you can turn to your marketing department or sales team for help. Your sales team will know where your products are popular, and could even put you in touch with clients to see if translation would make their lives easier (and if they think it would help your brand in their country). Your marketing department will be able to take a look at analytics and other metrics, which you could use to make an informed decision. Just make sure you’re looking for countries where you’re already popular, but sales are relatively low. A lack of localisation has actually been linked to basket abandonment in Internet purchases, so adding a new language could make the world of difference.

Make sure your translations get ample TLC

Let’s be honest, no website looks perfect the first time around. It takes a team of copywriters, web developers, graphic designers plus an awful lot of hard work to get your site to where you want it to be. And it’s this level of work that needs to go into every language you translate.

Before you start, make sure you have a style guide and a brand manual so that your brand has a unified voice across all the different languages you’re going to be working in. This will help your localisation team write as if they were you, so it gives the feeling that everything’s been done in-house.

If you’re not sure what to include, you can always ask – translation providers regularly help clients create personalised style guides.

Avoid cutting corners

We can’t reiterate this point enough. If you’ve seen those pictures of funny Chinese translations floating around social media, you’ll see what we mean. While these are funny, in all seriousness, they also have the power to damage your brand.  This is why you need qualified translators who are experienced in helping clients meet their translation-related KPIs.

Create a brief – set KPIs and marketing goals

If you’re just starting out on your international journey, marketing goals and KPIs may not be the main focus. But, if you think of them now, you’ll make your job easier in the long run. What you need to do is create a brief stating your expansion goals. Let your localisation provider know whether you’re looking to increase conversions, or simply aiming for brand awareness. This will help your localisation team find the right way to translate your call to actions, and help them decide if they’re going for a “salesy” tone, or rather something more informative.

This is obviously just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making sure your translation investments turn into ROI. It’s such an important topic, though, so if you’d like some friendly advice, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help kick-start your international plans!