This article was written by Derek Liddy firstname.lastname@example.org @derekliddy, Head of Digital Strategy with Continuum (a full service web agency that delivers digital strategy, web design and development and online marketing) for Enterprise Ireland’s Internet Marketing Unit.
It’s not uncommon to hear of frustrated exporters who have little to show by way of increased overseas website traffic/ sales despite having invested in producing multi-lingual website content. Why is this? Often it’s because the website’s content may have been translated but not actually localised. Localisation involves not only translating English content into a different language, but also factoring in the different in-country characteristics of your target international audiences. These can include: local language variations, for instance you should not choose French –France- to target the French speaking population of Canada, customs, standards, formats (such as date & time), regulations, business attitudes/requirements, technology requirements, local sample data etc. With a localised website that has been professionally done by qualified translators and tested by native speaker before launching, exporters can retain the Customer connection and the experience that your original website and content was designed to achieve.
However, localisation misconceptions continue to persist with many exporters feeling that merely translating textual content is sufficient to produce international website traffic and leads. Realistically however, if the local target audiences’ perspective isn’t fully factored into your new website, it heightens the probability of a negative user experience on your website which reflects badly on your brand and in turn adversely affects your website lead generating performance.
So, what are the best approaches to localising your website and what are the pitfalls to avoid?
Have a strategy: planning will help ensure a smooth localisation project and on-going successful communication with your international audiences. Don’t forget to allocate enough time in the project for localisation (it takes longer than you think since a translator can only do around 2,000 words per day). Enlist any partners or distributors you might have in the different countries and involve them in the review part of the website early on so they can offer feedback. Get quotes that reflect the entire project, from translation & revision to compiling & testing, to assist you in assigning a realistic budget. Decide if you have enough manpower to do some of the task in house or if it is more cost effective to outsource the entire localisation project to a service provider. It’s crucial to define your target audiences and their particular characteristics and needs. Plan for what happens after your localised website goes live – estimate how often your English content will change and what kind of process is needed to create a suitably amended localised version in a timely manner. Ensure that the service provider you choose uses the latest tools and technologies in Translation Memory. This will allow for your project to be localised more effectively by being, more consistent, faster and cheaper with each future update.
Consider social media and online marketing: search engine marketing is best considered as early as possible in the localisation project. If you are producing a standalone website that is completely localised, consider using a local country domain e.g. .de or .nl. Alternatively, if your translated content sits in a specific section within your overall site then consider sub-folders e.g. www.mycompany.com/de. Look to attain listings on local search and directories. Try and ascertain the most likely page your international audiences will land on when arriving at your website and make sure this landing page is tailored to their specific needs and characteristics. Validate which social networks are relevant in your target countries, for example – there are many countries where for local reasons, there are more relevant alternatives to Facebook and YouTube.
Strive for brand consistency: create a brand style guide that all project stakeholders can use as reference during the project to ensure a consistent brand experience across all your international pages. Also, to avoid any chance of misinterpretation, it’s a good idea to create a glossary of important terms on your website so all your translators are in sync.
Use standardised file formats: using industry standard content formats such as HTML, XML, XLIFF will help ensure you can export/import content from/to your website easily. This streamlines the two way flow of content between you and your translators saving time and money.
Design with your overseas end-user firmly in mind: ensure any new localised website has content correctly prioritised based on the particular needs of the local audience you are targeting. At a more granular design level, ensurepages can scale to incorporate the potentially different language requirements e.g. longer navigation headings. Consider how you will handle partly translated sections of your site as it’s best to flag the user in advance if a link brings them to a section that is not going to be in their language. Where possible, avoid text in images (e.g. homepage banners) as this is costly to maintain if the original English text subsequently changes.
Research local regulations: factor in local regulations, legal and compliance stipulations e.g. privacy laws.
Translate your content: ensureyou source professional resources to translate your content. While your overseas distributors may look like suitable candidates for undertaking this work, they may not interpret and then translate your messages correctly. Additionally, just because they are bi-lingual it doesn’t unfortunately make them an effective translator. Also, be aware of the potential inaccuracies in using machine translation tools like Google translate. Inaccurate content has the potential to have a negative impact from commercial, brand perception and search engine ranking perspectives.
Don’t forget to test your localised web site before it goes live. Engage the services of a professional localisation company so they can perform quality checks in terms of linguistic testing and functionality testing.
In summary, your international target audiences have come to expect that the websites they visit should be tailored to them and their language and it should not read like a translation but a web site created in their own language. This is a challenge for exporters who want to ensure a consistent perception of their brand in overseas markets but also need to keep a watchful eye on resources and project budgets. However, think about it this way – you’ve no doubt invested considerable energy and money in building your brand to date, why would you now take the chance of diluting or confusing your key messages when expanding your business abroad? Exporters who have adopted a best practice approach to localisation by using professional localisation service providers will experience the rewards; messages that truly connect with target audiences as intended, raising of positive international brand awareness and ultimately the driving of better qualified online leads.
EnterpriseIreland is hosting a half day workshop and networking event on “FX & Limiting the Risk of International Trade”. Please note there is no charge to Client’s for attending this event.
This topic will examine how you can partner with your bank to internationalise your business, exploring how and when to engage with a financial institutions to avail of the various methods / financial instruments an exporting SME can use to mitigate risks associated with international trade such as Foreign exchange, letters of Credit, Invoice Discounting, Credit insurance, Performance bonds, etc.
The main speaker for this event will be Gerry Ennis – Head of Global Trade Finance at Ulster Bank. Gerry has over 40 years experience dealing with International trade.
In addition there will be a presentation on how invoice financing can be used to fund overseas sales.
The CFO Forum provides everyone an opportunity to discuss any current issues facing their company e.g. How to access new markets, recruitment issues/costs, lean manufacturing etc. If there is a particular topic that you would like discussed amongst your peers please let us know when completing the registration form.
To register your attendance at this event, please click on the following hyperlink or copy and paste it into your browser.
Enterprise Ireland has two Cloud focused workshops within the Excel @ Export Selling Series.
Cloud Sales & Marketing, Tuesday 15 October 2013
Cloud Computing is continuing to build massive momentum in global marketplaces. It brings many benefits but also brings new and different business and operational models that need to be implemented for a Cloud company to be successful. This one day Workshop with follow up implementation sessions will enable software and Cloud Computing companies to understand and implement the optimal Cloud Sales and Marketing functions for their business.
For more information and to register, please go to:
Designed for the CEO, the CFO and optionally the Head of Sales & Marketing functions, companies will be brought up to speed with current best practices and practical examples of how Cloud Financial Metrics should be built and operated in Cloud companies, and how they differ from historic financial metrics and measurement. Participants will be provided with the tools and support needed to ensure that the can implement the optimal Financial Metrics and measurement systems for strategically and tactically operating their business.
For more information and to register, please go to:
Enterprise Ireland is a Sponsor of Web Summit 2013 and will host a Stand at the event on the 30th and 31st October at the RDS in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.
Enterprise Ireland’s main focus will be to support the 80+ EI client companies participating at the event. A number of our overseas offices are bringing 40+ potential customers/partners and investors who are specifically interested in meeting with EI client companies.
* * * See Profiles on EI client companies at Web Summit www.enterprise-ireland.com/EIwebsummit
Our overseas entrepreneurship team (Lorcan O’Sullivan, David Scanlon, Peter Lennox, Naghmeh Reilly) will be busy meeting with overseas entrepreneurs interested in setting up in Ireland. Click here to find out more about events planned http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/WebSummit.html
We will be organising a number of events during the week. These events include:
Tuesday 29th October
* Announcement of the successful applicants from the Digital Content Competitive Start Fundcall and launch of new SPRINT Programme for these companies.
A 2 hour lean workshop will follow for companies participating on SPRINT given by US Entrepreneur Michael Geer. Michael Geer is a Techstars mentor, a Board Advisor to several startups, teaches popular SkillShare classes on user acquisition and leads a social good for-profit meet-up in NYC. Michael has also been a contributor to EI’s iGAP programme and has recently started a new venture as Founder of CauseCart – focusing on allowing users to raise funds for their chosen cause without donating any of their own time or money (launching soon)
* GamesTalk CEO Roundtable
Enterprise Ireland & Games Ireland will host senior Executives from both the Chinese and Canadian Games Industry who will be in Dublin for the Web Summit.
– Jason Della Rocha, CEO, Execution Labs
– Charles Chiang & Charles Yeh – Intergrafx
– Mikael Leinonmen, CEO, My!Gamez
– Irving Ho, Co-Founder, XMG Studio
– David Bowles – Delta Partners
This 2hr Panel and Q&A session is intended for company CEO’s and Business Directors.
Topics for discussion include: Funding, Monitisation, & Marketing; Distribution and Discoverability; Selling Games in China; Scaling your Business & Operations. Click here to Register
* Morning: A tour of Dublin’s accelerator start-up incubation scene for our overseas visitors including visiting the Digital Depot, Launchpad, Wayra and Google Foundry.
* Afternoon: Approx 150+ one-to-one meetings arranged with our clientbase and potential customers/partners and investors at the Herbert Park Hotel, Ballsbridge.
Wednesday 30th & Thursday 31st October
* EI Stand: promoting Irish companies at the event, meeting with overseas entrepreneurs who are interested in starting in Ireland and talking to early stage companies and promoters who want to know about EI High Potential Start Up Dept and the companies we work with.
* Participating at Leaders Lunch promoting female entrepreneurs.
* EI speakers and client companies participating on panel talks:
Pat Phelan, Trustev
Liam Ryan, Get Health
Cathal Furey, Fan Footage
Paul Young, Cartoon Saloon
Trevor Parsons, Logentries
Cathal Gaffney, BrownBag Films
Iain McDonald, Skillspages
Lisa Vaughan, Manager, Enterprise Ireland
Friday 1st November
* 11am – a startup tour of Dublin in conjunction with Dublin City Council aimed at overseas entrepreneurs to promote Dublin as a start up location. Visiting some of the main tech attractions in Dublin. This tour is hosted by Enterprise-Ireland and Dublin City Council and will include visits to Wayra, Launchpad and Google. Register at http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/WebSummit.html
‘Startup Express’ from Cork Trustev, VoxPro and PCH International are organising a special ‘Startup Express’ chartered train service from Cork, to the RDS at 4.00pm on Tuesday, Oct 29th. Full details are at www.startupexpress.net
A host of activities are planned onboard – a hardware carriage, speakers carriage and a startup carriage. There are a host of Irish and US mentors on board, including a team from Techstars, the world’s largest incubator network who are going to prep all the companies on their pitching and presenting skills. Microsoft is on board showing off their latest hardware as well as running an onboard pitching competition with some great prizes. There will be a number of prominent US and UK venture capital firms on board, as well as journalists from the international tech press.
In all there will be 180+ entrepreneurs on board.
Any EI companies or associated individuals interested in travelling, please contact email@example.com
ESB Spark of Genius Competition
The ESB Spark of Genius Competition at Web Summit 2013 will see 30 Irish companies battle it out to win the title of Ireland’s best startup. The finalists will come face-to-face with a panel of judges made up of investors, journalists and established entrepreneurs. Entrants will be judged on the uniqueness of their idea, their level of development thus far, and their potential for future growth. Two rounds of pitching will take place on 30th October, with the winning starting taking a grand prize of €25,000 cash (plus a significant fund of services).
Dublin Beta | WebSummit Edition
One of the fringe events that will run alongside The Dublin WebSummit, featuring 14 innovative startups showcasing their wears. Dublin Beta – October 29 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Visit www.websummit.net for full details on agendas, speakers, events and for regular updates on Web Summit 2013
This event is aimed at helping SMEs (from all sectors) assess the potential of the Cloud for business growth and will focus on:
- supporting you in developing /delivering the right cloud approach for YOUR busines
- practical advice from people who have been where you are now
- Contracts and Security expertise to keep you, your business and your customers safe in the cloud
- using the NSAI Adopting the Cloud Workbook brought to you by the people who wrote it
- Small clinic groups that allow you to ask YOUR questions – start shaping your strategy as you work your way through each of the expert-led clinic sessions
There is no charge for EI clients attending this event and you can register with the IIA by phone on 01-5424154.
Nine leading ERP products will be pitted against each other over two days at the 3rd ERP HEADtoHEAD™ event taking place on 16th/17th October in the Carlton Hotel, Dublin Airport. Each product will be demonstrated using a single script, allowing for a true like-for-like comparison.
The event is aimed at organisations that are planning to upgrade or replace their ERP systems. This is an ideal opportunity for senior finance or IT executives and members of their ERP selection teams to efficiently review the leading ERP products and to learn how to manage their selection process so that risk is reduced and benefits are maximised.
“If you are budgeting for or about to start an ERP software replacement or upgrade project this event should not be missed. It is a unique opportunity to make an efficient apples-to-apples comparison of some of the leading ERP products based on a defined script, not a series of generic sales presentations. The event will also provide opportunities to network and compare experiences with other organisations also planning to implement ERP”, commented Sean Jackson, Managing Director of Lumenia, the leading ERP consultants.
Products from leading ERP vendors, including SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Epicor, IFS, Access and CORE will be demonstrated. In addition, each vendor will have an individual demonstration stand, where specific project requirements can be discussed in between presentations.
Attendees have the option to attend for one or two days. Each product will be presented once each day, with presentations taking place in three parallel streams. Special discounts apply for early bird booking and for more than two attendees registering per company.
This event will be facilitated by Lumenia, Europe’s leading independent ERP consulting organisation. Lumenia has managed over 100 ERP projects and will share project experiences and ERP selection and implementation knowledge during the event.
If your company produces or has access to large quantities of data and is faced with significant technical challenges, a targeted Big Data Research Project could be for you.
Data is the raw material of our information age. Companies across many sectors are looking at Big Data – from financial services to fighting cancer, from telecommunications to traffic congestion, from entertainment to energy supply and from media to manufacturing.
It is estimated that data collected and generated by companies and governments is growing by approximately 40% per year. Global companies that smartly leverage this data have created significant value; estimates suggest 4% higher productivity, 6% higher profitability, and up to 50% greater market share.
The Irish Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2013 has identified “Big Data” as one of the areas where Ireland has distinct advantages compared to other countries. The Government believes our skills base and research capability in ICT has the potential to reap substantial benefits in terms of jobs and growth from the global expansion of the “Big Data” sector.
Ireland has been and continues to invest heavily in research capability that services Big Data needs. Just some examples the research capabilities include:
• The INSIGHT Centre – The National Centre for Data Analytics
• CeADAR – Centre for Applied Data Analytics Research
• ICHEC – The Irish Centre for High-End Computing
• TSSG – Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG)
• DERI - Digital Enterprise Research Institute
Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Partnership Programme can provide up to 80% of the cost of a research project, to work with the research groups named above and others in Irish research institutions, on a Big Data project defined by your company, to help your company. Projects funded through this call could serve as examples of the potential of this technology area and encourage further collaborations.
Big Data – Next Steps for your company
To discuss how a Big Data project could transform you business, please complete the Big Data Call for Expression of Interest. Closing date for Expression of Interest by companies is Friday 27th September, 2013.
For more information please click here or contact:
B2C online marketing is often undertaken with a view to making an immediate sale. The typical B2B sales cycle is much longer. B2B prospects often require more in-depth information and the company providing the product/service is frequently seen as being higher in importance. B2B marketing can be as much about profiling the company as it selling the product/service.
However, selling to businesses via online channels is getting harder. The behaviour of B2B buyers is changing; they are getting more sophisticated and are finding new ways to gather information online. Buyers are now only looking for information when they have a specific need making it harder to get your message to them.
Unless you have unlimited budgets or time to invest, it’s more important than ever to approach B2B online lead generation the right way in order to get your message heard and have the greatest chance of success. Yet many companies still rush straight into executing online activities without deciding on their most important target audiences, the right messaging and the optimal channels to communicate through.
What this means is that to maximise your chance of success, you need to take a structured approach to planning, executing and measuring online B2B lead generation. Entire books have been written on the subject however the following high level steps represent a good foundation in my opinion:
1. Identify and prioritise your audience(s)
Create a list of your target audiences. It’s often helpful to divide your audiences into sub-segments based on behaviour/status (e.g. average order size, existing/new customers) company type/location characteristics (e.g. geography, sector, size etc.) or a combination of traits. Prioritise your segments in terms of their value to your business and identify the products/services that these audiences are most interested in. Segmenting will help you to communicate in a more tailored fashion and better connect with your target customers in a more individual way. Needless to say, for overseas target Customers this also means effectively localising your site or landing pages to suit their market/language/customs. Finally, look at where you can find and influence these customers. What types of sites does your target audiences use and/or who currently influences your consumers online – knowing this helps you identify where you will need to have a strong presence.
2. Decide on your message(s)
For your top target customer segments, identify the online value proposition that you need to communicate. By value proposition I mean putting yourself in your audience’s shoes and answering the question “why should I buy from this company?”. Research how your B2B competitors are communicating and sense check your own messaging to make sure your company is standing out.
3. Decide on tactics and plan results
Only when you’re clear on your messaging and target segments should you consider the specific tactics you should use to reach out, connect and start driving business leads. Organic search, social media, content marketing, email and your own website are often the most effective B2B tactics however you should consider the full spectrum including paid search advertising, lead nurturing, niche display advertising.
Not all tactics will yield short term results so it’s important to be realistic about timing of your return and have a spread of activities. For example, organic search will often be a medium to long term play (especially within highly competitive landscapes) but paid search can complement this in the interim period.
Overall, it’s becoming increasingly clear that well written and relevant content will be the cornerstone of most lead generation activities. B2B buyers are increasingly choosing to only pay attention when they have an immediate requirement. Hence it’s becoming more important than ever to communicate in a helpful manner with your target audiences by giving valuable (non-sales) information that they will read and appreciate even when they don’t actively have a business requirement.
4. Refine your message to suit the channel
Even though you may have a tailored B2B selling proposition for each of your audiences, you will still benefit from refining this again to suit the channel you are using. Consider the environment in which your targets will be viewing your message and customise it accordingly. For example, in paid search the main objective is not to sell your product/service there and then, it is to get the viewer from the search results screen to your landing page where you can better outline your selling proposition. In this instance, AdWords is a one way communication channel so choose wording that grabs attention and interest, promises something unique and invites further investigation. However, in content marketing (where you provide valuable free information that genuinely helps inform your audiences) you may be joining a conversation within a 3rd party website like a LinkedIn group which requires you to use helpful language that naturally weaves into an existing conversation.
5. Measure and optimise
For all B2B lead generation tactics, approach them with a good understanding of the key traits that make the tactic most effective. Consider initially partnering with 3rd party specialists to fully understand how to optimise and effectively execute each online lead generation tactic. Use analytics and KPIs on an on-going basis to understand what’s working and what could work better. Importantly, use analytics to better understand which channels are contributing to the sale (e.g. maybe your prospects initially find you via paid search but finally buy from you after organic searches). With a lack of resources often being the most common barrier for B2B lead generation, figure out what activities can be completed effectively in-house and what can be outsourced cost effectively (e.g. content creation). Lead generation isn’t free so it’s important to nurture leads when you get them. If you don’t already have a CRM it might be an idea to investigate some of the inexpensive (and even free) SAAS solutions available. Consider integrating your CRM with your analytics to get an even better understand of prospect behaviour and use this information to optimise your B2B lead generation approaches.
Have you considered the importance of localisation when creating your export marketing plans?
While the internet can offer unparalleled opportunities for export marketing, choosing the correct digital channel mix can have a huge effect on the success of your marketing efforts. Organic and paid search are each effective in their own right and are most effective when used in conjunction with each other. But while using the traditional SEO route of being found through localisation can be costly and slow to yield conversion Pay Per Click Advertising(PPC) can offer a quick and cost effective way to break into or test new export markets.
Focus Your Campaigns
Focusing your efforts on one or two target markets is usually the best way to commence your campaign. It is important to do some in depth research to make sure your products or services have genuine appeal in your selected markets and don’t forget there may be other variables that may come into play such as:
Do you offer shipping to the targeted country or area and is it cost effective
Do you understand the local tax rules and regulations
Do you have support staff who can speak the language of the area you are targeting should issues arise
It’s not all about Google
While Google is by far the most dominant search engine in the world and particularly dominant in Ireland with over 90% of market share, this can be quite a different story for your selected export market. In China, the search engine Baidu has 78.3% market share and is considered crucial for any business breaking into that vast emerging market. In Russia Yandex is the most commonly used search engine while in the Czech Republic Seznam is nearly as popular as Google.
PPC rules and rates can change between different search engines and being aware of these can have significant effects on ROI. For example countries where local search engines enjoy a significant market share may offer a cheaper alternative to Google.
Choosing The Correct Keywords Culture, search habits, language and dialect variations are all issues that need to be taken into account when choosing keywords for export PPC campaigns. Simply translating your keywords may not be sufficient. What works in one language is not always successful in another. Even different territories speaking the same language can use different search terms for the same item.
Employing a native translator or PPC practitioner might seem like an expensive investment but it is one that could significantly increase ROI over the long term.
Refine Your Copy Creating catchy ad copy that converts can be difficult enough in your native language and although it may be tempting to use machine translation this can leave ad copy looking stilted, unprofessional and can have a hugely negative impact on click through rates due to a lack of trust by searchers. Once again it is probably best to opt for professional translation or employ a native PPC practitioner to rewrite your ad copy taking into account the local culture, language or dialect.
Monitor your Results Like any PPC campaign monitoring each ad for impressions, CTRs and ultimately conversions is essential to increase your ROI. Issues like time difference if you are scheduling ads, seasonal and cultural difference combined with movements in currency exchange rates can all have an effect on the success of your export Pay Per Click campaign and need to be managed accordingly.
Sessions at this year’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) provided insight into Microsoft’s company strategy highlighting the four ‘megatrends’, including the cloud, social, mobility and big data.
Cloud: Cloud computing isn’t new, but it’s becoming increasingly popular as software vendors like Microsoft develop secure and powerful platforms for hosting cloud software and services for companies of all sizes. With software and services in the cloud, users can benefit from a pay as you go model, helping keep operating and IT costs low while improving the overall flow of business.
Social: Social applications for businesses help expand their reach. With the popularity of social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, social is the way of the future…or should we say, the way of the NOW!
Mobility: Mobility gives companies the flexibility to work anywhere and at any time. With access to software and services through mobile devices, people can be more productive while adopting a new way of doing business, business of convenience.
Big Data: Big data is many times misunderstood by companies. Many believe it’s the accumulation of a lot of data…and for good reason, but what big data actually means is business insight. What is your data telling you and how can you use that data to improve your profitability while improving everyday business operations? Your software and services should help you achieve this realization at your company.