June 27, 2022

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How to Leverage the Language of Global Marketing to Expand Internationally

Wendy M. Pease, an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member in Boston, is president of Rapport International, specializing in multilingual communications, providing language translation and interpretation services that are accurate and culturally appropriate. We asked Wendy about the role language plays in global marketing strategy. Here’s what she shared:

When looking at ways to expand your business, does it make sense to go global? The answer is yes–expanding to international markets helps companies grow, increases buying power, and diversifies market opportunities. It better prepares the company to weather changes in the domestic economy. It can result in higher revenues, increased profits, a diverse customer base, and improved stability. Yet there are some challenges to overcome– especially for women.

Before the pandemic, global expansion almost always meant international travel. This presented obstacles for all entrepreneurs, and especially for women. Gender bias in some countries historically made business expansion difficult for women, and international travel can upset the delicate work-life balance entrepreneurs of both sexes strive to maintain.

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated global e-commerce and opportunities. The world is conducting business remotely with far more success than anticipated. This shift to business by the internet presents tremendous global opportunities for women, as it effectively levels the playing field.

Conducting business on the internet removes the complications of gender, race, religion, color, and lifestyle, simplifying transactions down to the principles of supply and demand. This opens more doors for growth and enables entrepreneurs to study potential markets and the buyer’s journey from the comfort of their own office.

Inbound Marketing Is The Key For International Expansion

So, how can you accomplish successful international expansion? First, identify your target market, then develop an inbound marketing strategy.

This entails providing all the information your target consumers need on your website, so consumers can find you and research the answers to their initial questions on their own.

As I wrote in The Language of Global Marketing: Translate Your Domestic Strategies into International Sales and Profits, with a defined inbound strategy, well-written content, and social media outreach, you can bring qualified leads to you instead of continually searching for new leads. You can become an exporter by thoughtfully developing a global inbound marketing plan.

A pivotal part of your global inbound marketing strategy will be to translate important information from your website into your target consumer’s native language.

Even if your target consumers are multilingual, most prefer to buy from sites that provide information in their native language. In “Speak to Global Customers in Their Own Language,” author Nataly Kelly references a Common Sense Advisory survey of 2,430 web consumers in eight countries:

  • 72.1 percent of consumers spend most or all their time on websites in their own language.
  • 72.4 percent of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language.
  • 56.2 percent of consumers said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.

Accessing product information in their native language was more important than price for over half of consumers surveyed. To maximize your company’s potential in another market, translate your inbound marketing content to the native language of your target market.

How to Develop Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

The first step is to select a market that aligns with your company goals and marketing strategy. Choose one country, one language, and develop a multilingual marketing strategy that defines your goals and prepares you to connect with prospective buyers.

Your multilingual marketing strategy should answer the following questions:

  • What materials will you translate?
  • What technology is in use or needed?
  • What are the processes for procuring translation and document management?
  • Who will provide the translation?
  • How will you assess the quality of the translation?

Once you create the plan and process for the first country, you can replicate it when you’re ready to expand into additional markets. Keep in mind that when it comes to language translation, quality counts. A professional translator understands the target language and culture and can adapt your message to connect with your target consumer.

You might believe that your business is too small to get involved with exporting–but consider this: When you leverage the power of the internet, it doesn’t matter if your company is large or small. The key is to shift your focus from outbound to inbound marketing–and bring buyers to you.

The evolution of internet commerce diminishes the influence of gender bias, leveling the playing field for women and presenting untapped global markets for expansion. By translating inbound marketing content to engage and inform target consumers, women can capitalize on the potential for success in global ecommerce, no international travel required.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.