Taking your first steps into a new market is an exciting challenge that offers enormous opportunities as well as risks that you need to work to reduce. You know your home market inside out and it is just as important that you know your new market in the same detail, so that from day one you are communicating with the right people in the right way. One barrier you may have to overcome is the issue of whether or not to translate all of the content on your website for this initial push into this new market.
This creates a question that many businesses face – how do you approach marketing in a new market without having a fully translated site?
The Catch 22 of translating content
The easiest option, and one often taken by businesses is to use the English speaking website to target these countries. It’s true that for a lot of B2B markets English is the business language, which leads people to believe this is a good fix for the issue.
However, when you consider that one of the first steps in becoming a successful business in a new market is to gain brand awareness and visibility, using an English website to target people where English isn’t the first language raises a number of issues.
From a search engine perspective you want to gain visibility for your site to build brand awareness when people in-market are searching for terms relating to your business. This is done in the same way as it is in English speaking marketing, with relevancy for local search terms being generated alongside content which talks about these key themes.
If your website is solely in English you won’t be able to create this relevancy in the search engines because the terms people are searching in their local language won’t appear on your website.
The best first step for your content
If you are unable to translate your full website as you launch into a new market there is a good first step method you can take to save on this initial localisation outlay. Look at creating a few core pages, localised into the correct language. This will enable you to have a folder on your website dedicated to the language and country you are targeting with a localised version of your homepage and a number of core pages, such as your top service pages and a contact page. So without too great an investment you will create relevancy and brand awareness in your chosen country.
What you will have is a site structure similar this below:
New language site (French)
Content strategy that builds brand awareness
From these pages you can provide links to other pages on your website which will go through to the English content. When you create these links ensure that you signpost to visitors that the content on these links in English to ensure users are fully aware of the change in language on the site.
This will enable you to take the first step into a new market with a limited outlay initially. Once you have begun gaining some brand awareness and business you can localise the rest of your site for the new market.