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Take Your Online Presence Global: Five Foreign-Language Online Marketing Tips

by Christian Arno  |  
November 4, 2011

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Five tips for effective global digital marketing
  • Why businesses should embrace foreign-language online marketing

Many marketers have embraced the motto Think Global, Act Local in their efforts to reach the remotest corners of an increasingly globalized world. Are you one of them? If so, you're on the right track.

With the exponential rise of the multilingual Web in recent years, that strategy is more timely and effective than ever. Numerous businesses have experienced massive growth as a result of something as simple as... Web optimization.

For example, JRS Consulting, a marketing and management consulting company, had an impressive 95% ROI on its painstakingly localized French website, and 15% of its revenue now comes from France.

And Skyscanner, an airline flight price-comparison website, turned truly global after localizing its website into 23 languages. The overseas markets now account for 70% of the site's revenue. The Russian version of the site was received with such enthusiasm that the number of its users rose from 30,000 to 1 million in 18 months.

Multilingual digital marketing is the perfect way for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to maximize their profit and achieve considerable search engine prominence while minimizing costs.

Most online searches are carried out in languages other than English, and the use of Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish, is rapidly increasing. The Web is no longer English-centric. Global consumer demand for website localization has grown, too: 85% of online buyers now require information in their own language. A 2010 Internet World Stats report found that Arabic online use increased a whopping 2,500% over the previous 10 years.

And last year's introduction of URLs with non-Latin characters opened the Internet to an even more diverse global community.

Naturally, since foreign-language search engine optimization (SEO) is a relatively recent phenomenon, businesses find it easier and cheaper to achieve search-engine prominence in foreign language searches rather than the heavily saturated English Web. And don't underestimate being at the top of the search rankings in any language; Chitika Research reported that 35% of all traffic goes to the much-coveted Top 1 Google search spot (double the traffic of the second-ranked website).

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Christian Arno is the founder and managing director of Lingo24, a leading translation, website localization, and Internet marketing provider. Follow Christian on Twitter: @l24ca.

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  • by PolarGuy Fri Nov 4, 2011 via web

    All this generic talk about how to take your site global is sweet, but how about the meat and potatoes of it all. Where do we find someone capable of doing translations that are accurate, modern and inexpensive? What translation software works the best and costs the least? How can you find proof readers to review your online information and verify that what you have written doesn't sound stupid in a foreign language? Going global sounds like fun and games, but the logistics are time consuming and outrageously expensive.

  • by Kelly Tirman Fri Nov 4, 2011 via web

    One important thing to point out. Prior to marketing your product globally, back up and ask yourself if your business model works for the targeted country. Corporations like Walmart have been smart enough to understand that they may need to not only localize their marketing but they might have to also localize the business model to meet the needs of the local target audience.

    I also agree with @PolarGuy. This post would have been more helpful if you linked to some "meat and potatoes". From expereince I can tell you this is not that easy and it is not inexpensive - especially if you are looking to do it right.

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