How To Promote A Business Through Online Marketing
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Guest Post by Christian Arno:
Putting It Out There
How to promote a business through online marketing
There’s a wide world out there, and it is right at your fingertips. The internet has shortened the distances between consumers and competitors, and a cyber-stroll into the global village brings you to products and opportunities galore. The trick is then how to capitalize on this cornucopia of opportunity, before others do so before you.
To start with, you need to speak your customers’ language. While English may seem to reach far and wide, it has in fact reached only 28 percent of the global population and the remaining 72 percent expect you to speak to them in their own tongue. The first step towards this is creating localised domains translated into the language of each target market.
Domain is crucial as I, in .fr France, look for services in my own domain and language. This means you, advertising in .com America, hold little interest for me. If you venture into my virtual realm then you stand a much better chance of winning my custom.
And one size does not fit all. Resist the temptation to directly translate keywords and other key parts of your website. Language is a minefield and there are plenty of opportunities to come to grief on distorted nuances, or simply language-blind error.
Language aside, people react to colour and images in different ways, depending on their culture. Red can mean purity in the East (specifically India) and passion in the West; while white is the colour of brides for many, it can be the colour of mourning to others. Many cultures have their own colour connotations and knowing about them is all part of your research.
But these are just the building blocks. Once you have got beyond the basic features of language and colour you need to bear in mind that content and design can also ensnare the unwary and inflexible. Each localised website, in each different domain, will need to be tailored to local tastes and preferences, while still keeping some consistency in your branding.
Domain, language, colour and layout. These are all crucial steps to launching your website to an expanding market. But to take it the extra mile there are still more sophisticated ways to draw the readers in. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email campaigns, article creation and aggregation, and social media are all means to this end.
SEO is a key strategy for the businesses of today to gain their toe-hold in the internet. It is a hard and long path up the Google rankings, and taking it in multiple languages does not make it any easier. Multiple Search Engine Optimization (MSEO) is an emerging field that seeks to make the way a little smoother. It recognizes this fundamental principle, that optimizing SEO keywords across languages is not a simple matter of employing a dictionary. Mistranslation aside, popular search terms differ between languages, and even between countries which ostensibly speak the same language.
Researching these is an obvious step. A pick-up to an American is a Ute to an Australian and ignoring details like these can have serious effects on your SEO campaign in its different domains. Equally, a US company advertising car insurance, that wants to target French markets, could very easily translate ‘car insurance’ as ‘l’assurance automobile,’ a literal and legitimate rendering. However, a look on Google’s keyword tool would reveal that key search terms which will yield more results are ‘assurance auto’ or ‘assurance voiture.’ This simple step makes all the difference. And keep researching your keywords and descriptions, as these terms update themselves and your website needs to keep up.
Localization may seem a tedious business, but it does pay. 2007 research by the Localization Industry Standards Association showed that each dollar invested in website localization produced a $25 return. And that figure was up from $10 per dollar in 2001. Both localization and SEO will make all the difference to your marketing strategy. Quite apart from preventing linguistic or cultural gaffes, they will also maximize your visibility on foreign search engines.
About the author: Christian Arno is the Managing Director of Lingo24, an international provider of online translation services. Follow Christian on Twitter.