You’ve decided to expand your business activities across borders. The next step is to identify and engage your target market in your new regions. Your marketing materials worked wonders at home, so they should work abroad too, right?
Not so fast.
Many marketers assume they can simply translate their existing marketing materials to capture similar targets in different locations. But this ignores the cultural and linguistic differences between regions.
In a global marketplace, consumers have their pick of brands. However, they still strongly prefer brands that appeal to their native culture and language. If you make a surface-level attempt to engage—with basic translation or a copy/pasted marketing campaign—you won’t effectively influence consumer behavior. That leads to poor ROI when you may already be stretching resources thin.
The solution is to create a multilingual marketing strategy
Multilingual marketing manages the localization of your existing content and the creation of new region-specific content, enabling you to communicate more effectively in diverse markets. It aligns the meaning behind your message and the persona of your brand with the cultural nuances of your market to maximize engagement, trust and conversions.
Below, we’ll introduce multilingual marketing and explain why fully localizing your marketing materials is so important, especially in today’s digital global economy. You’ll also learn how to initiate a successful multilingual marketing campaign regardless of your target region. Remember, unique content and localized materials are key.
What is Multilingual Marketing?
Multilingual marketing is the process of creating and adapting marketing campaigns to resonate with diverse audiences worldwide.
This approach goes beyond direct translation of content. It fully localizes your marketing materials to account for the cultural nuances, consumer behavior and local trends of different regions. It can also involve creating unique content for each market, using native-tongue copywriters.
Another critical aspect of multilingual marketing is ensuring your message and brand persona are consistent across languages and cultures. Consistency is incredibly important to maintaining your brand’s identity, and hiring random freelance translators in a variety of languages threatens its coherence.
It’s also important to create entirely new content tailored to the specific cultural context of each target market. This is especially critical on social media platforms and your region-specific blog.
Going beyond words, multilingual marketing considers every aspect of marketing communication, from the imagery used in advertisements to the channels used for marketing outreach.
By addressing the linguistic and cultural diversity of global markets, fully localized multilingual marketing enhances your global presence, improves customer engagement, and increases sales and revenue in international markets.
Basic Translation vs. Full Localization for Multilingual Marketing
What makes multilingual marketing different from translation?
In basic or AI translation, your content is simply converted from one language to another. This process often overlooks the cultural context and nuances that influence how your message is received by different audiences. It’s all about the words—not the target market.
Multilingual marketing localization considers the market itself, going beyond words on a page (or a post, or an ad). Multilingual marketing materials are fully localized, meaning the content’s tone, style and context are adjusted to align with the local culture and consumer behavior.
Localization involves making both basic adjustments (such as converting currencies) and complex creative changes to achieve a consistent impact when communicating with diverse audiences.
So, is fully localized content superior to basic translated content?
Not in all cases. For example, basic translation is often a smart and affordable option for internal communications and technical content.
Basic translation is also far preferable to no translation at all. 87% of global consumers will not buy from an English-only website, so if you plan to expand on a budget, basic translation is still a smart option. This is especially true if you manage a small business and only need to translate your website and a few emails.
However, for marketing materials, fully localized content is the superior option. This is because marketing content is intended to engage audiences emotionally and convey nuanced messages. This requires a higher level of translation that combines creative translation (known as transcreation), localization and marketing expertise.
The Benefits of Fully Localized Marketing Content
In short, fully localized content engages more consumers, generates more traffic and leads to higher conversions. Even partial localization will hone your message and increase trust among consumers, making your campaigns much more effective and boosting ROI.
Here are a few more no-brainer reasons to fully localize your marketing content.
Full localization allows your brand to effectively penetrate new markets by addressing the specific needs, preferences and expectations of local consumers. When you work with a multilingual marketing agency like Wolfestone Group, this process can easily be repeated and adapted in multiple regions, enabling you to scale efficiently.
When your marketing content resonates culturally and linguistically with your audience, it builds a deeper level of trust and reliability. Consumers are more likely to engage with a brand that “speaks their language” (both literally and figuratively), leading to stronger customer relationships and brand loyalty.
Make More Sales
The facts are clear. Localized content significantly enhances the customer experience. Customers prefer to buy from localized sites, click on localized ads and engage with localized social media content. This leads to higher customer satisfaction, increased engagement and ultimately, more sales and revenue for your business.
Gain a Competitive Advantage
Full localization gives your brand a significant edge in global and local markets. It allows you to compete with local, established brands as well as global competitors fighting for a share of the market. And of course, it gives you a major advantage over competitors who are relying on basic translation.
The Advantages of Creating Unique Multilingual Content
Using native-tongue copywriters and editors (or generative AI) to create unique multilingual content is an essential part of any successful international marketing strategy. It offers a number of benefits, including:
Improved user experience: When users can access your content in their native language, they are more likely to have a positive experience on your website, app, blog, or social media profile.
Increased engagement: Unique multilingual content is more likely to engage users and keep them coming back for more.
Better SEO performance: Search engines, like Google, are increasingly prioritizing multilingual content. This is because they want to provide their users with the most relevant results, regardless of their language. By creating unique multilingual content, you can improve your website's ranking in search results and reach a wider audience.
Boosted sales and conversions: Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to buy products and services from websites that offer content in their native language.
- Enhanced brand reputation: Creating unique multilingual content shows that you are committed to serving your global audience, helping you establish trust and global authority.
Building a Successful Multilingual Marketing Strategy
Developing a multilingual marketing strategy takes a lot of planning—but it’s much easier if you work with a professional multilingual marketing agency like Wolfestone Group. If you choose to adapt your marketing materials on your own, the following are the most important bases to cover.
The first step in your multilingual marketing strategy is to translate and localize your website. Your website is where you convert traffic, so it doesn’t make sense to use multilingual marketing materials to funnel traffic to a non-localized website. It’s clear that global shoppers don’t buy from English-only websites, so your traffic will not convert.
Begin by translating your money pages, homepage, product pages, checkout pages, about us and contact pages. Bottom-of-funnel pages where traffic converts are the most important. Even small issues with these pages, such as non-converted currency, can result in plummeting conversions.
Next, move on to your blog posts and press releases. These are still important pages, so don’t neglect them for too long. Just make sure to give the most love (and priority) to your landing pages and evergreen content.
Social Media and Translation
Recent research has found that nearly 80% of businesses translate their websites into foreign languages. But only about 23% translate their social media materials.
While social media translation is more intensive—requiring daily and sometimes rapid translations to keep up with trends—it’s also one of the most effective ways to engage and build regional customer bases from abroad. Translation and localization may cost you, but it’s much more affordable (and less risky to consistency) than hiring a foreign social media manager, especially if you don’t speak the target language.
Because so few brands are doing it, social media translation offers your brand the opportunity to swoop in and capture leads on platforms with little competition.
Localized Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing offers sky-high ROI compared to most other marketing activities, and that remains true in foreign markets. 73% of marketers in Europe rated email marketing ROI as “excellent” or “good.” And, Latin America has the highest open rates in the world at over 23%.
You have to translate your CRM emails anyway (thank you’s, order confirmations, abandoned carts, etc.), so you might as well localize your email campaigns as well. Then, you can start developing lead magnets and collecting leads as soon as possible.
Once you’ve localized your existing email campaigns, work with your multilingual marketing team to create new campaigns based on the local culture and traditions.
For example, a Sweetest Day sale won’t go down well in South America, where the holiday is not celebrated. But a Carnival promotion might spike your CTR.
Branded and Advertising Transcreation
The highest level of multilingual marketing translation is called transcreation. This is a creative translation service that prioritizes the meaning of your message as a whole over the literal meaning of the words on the page. This type of translation is necessary for your most engaging customer-facing materials, such as ads.
For example, in your native ad, a man might give a blooming flower to a woman on a cold winter’s day. But in other cultures, this emotional event might fall flat. The lack of impact may be due to a different climate or the cultural significance behind a particular type of flower (a red rose might evoke feelings of love and passion in America, but it means economic prosperity and wealth in China).
Taking these cultural nuances into consideration, transcreation linguists adapt your marketing materials to send a consistent message across regions. They may change the content of your material greatly in order to convey the same meaning
One real-life example of transcreation is Apple’s varying slogans for the iPod shuffle, a tiny MP3 player. Each region got a very different slogan—but each conveyed the same meaning to its target audience. Take a look:
- English slogan: “Small talk”
- European Spanish slogan: “Ya sabe hablar” (Already knows how to talk).
- French slogan: “Donnez-liu de la voix” (Let him speak)
- Canadian French slogan: “Petit parleur, grand faiseur” (Says little, does much)
Notice how cultural nuances are connected more closely to region than language—thus Apple’s decision to create separate slogans for European and Canadian French speakers.
Every language has its own separate search results online—and its own algorithm for ranking content. The English internet is the biggest, but just because your pages rank on Google’s English results pages doesn't mean they will perform on the Spanish, German, or Japanese results pages.
It’s also worth remembering that China, the world’s largest consumer market, doesn’t use Google at all.
Multilingual SEO is absolutely essential for driving organic traffic to your localized website and blog posts. Without it, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle to establish your brand in a new market. Unfortunately, many marketers don’t have access to SEO specialists who are able to optimize in one foreign language, let alone multiple languages.
In these cases, it is very beneficial to work with a multilingual marketing agency like Wolfestone Group. Our in-house SEO team will optimize your content to rank in nearly any language as part of the translation and localization process.
Wolfestone Group: Comprehensive Multilingual Marketing Services
Wolfestone Group is an award-winning linguistics agency for businesses. For nearly two decades, we’ve specialized in multilingual marketing solutions in over 220 language pairs.
Our multilingual marketing team is made up of experienced marketers and certified linguists who work together to translate more than just your words—we ensure your message is consistent and compelling across the globe and across media.
At Woflestone Group, we can cover 100% of your multilingual marketing needs under one roof and on one invoice. This includes:
- Translation and localization for your website, blog, social media and more
- Access to native-tongue copywriters, editors, proofreaders, and translators
- Unique content creation
- Transcreation for ads and branded content
- Email marketing translation and localization
- Multilingual SEO in every major language
- Voiceover and dubbing for video content
- Subtitles and captioning
Wolfestone Group offers a range of additional linguistic services, such as language training for your staff, interpreting, AI-assisted translation and much more. And every translation comes backed by the industry’s most rigorous accuracy standards.
Partnering with Wolfestone Group for your multilingual marketing needs is having a polyglot global marketing team on call. It’s no wonder that brands like Google, HSBC and J.P. Morgan trust Wolfestone Group with their localization needs.
You don’t need to hire a team of translators and global marketers to expand into new markets and grow your brand. With Wolfestone Group, you can launch impactful marketing campaigns around the globe affordably and confidently.
Contact Wolfestone Group today for a free consultation. Learn how our multilingual marketing team can be your global growth partner.