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.
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.
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:
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.
Over the last 10 years, VMworld has gone from 1,600 attendees to over 21,000 as the virtualization and data centre industry has grown. After receiving numerous enquiries about this conference, EI for the first time will be offering a subsidized package to attend VMworld.
VMworld offers attendees informative Breakout Sessions and Hands-on Lab training, plus access to a wealth of technology partners to discuss virtualization best practices, building a private cloud, leveraging the public cloud, managing desktops as a service, virtualizing enterprise applications and more. For more information please visit VMworld to find everything you need to know about the event.
To find out more information about this offer please contact:
This article was written by Robbie Sexton, Dara Creative for Enterprise Ireland’s Internet Marketing Unit
What exactly is a cookie?
Cookies are small items of code that are placed on a user’s computer by a website enabling it to function properly. Cookies allow website operators to determine how users browse their sites and are necessary for the operators of more advanced sites with log-in areas or some ecommerce sites. Cookies can also be used to monitor users behaviour across the internet and this can be used for the purpose of targeting advertisements – yes that banner advert that follows you around the internet for weeks on end!
How does the EU Cookie Law affect Irish website owners?
So what is the easiest way to comply with the law?
On first entry to the website a clearly visible pop up window should be displayed informing the user that cookies will be used.
The user then has the choice to proceed to browse the website regularly (consenting) or to get more information about cookie usage on the website. This should be done by clicking on a clearly displayed link in the pop up window.
To comply with the law there needs to be an opt out function so users can choose to browse the website without these cookies being placed on their computer.
Will this law really be enforced?
In December 2012 the Data Protection Commissioner wrote to over 80 companies including Government departments, 2FM and Ryanair warning them that they had 21 days to comply with the new regulations.
Signalling their intent to enforce this law more strongly in 2013, Deputy Commissioner Gary Davis stated “We will be obliged to take enforcement action where websites fail to engage with us and meet their legal obligations. However, we expect that this will not be necessary as compliance is straightforward for most websites.”
Have you noticed how briefly and compellingly the best online brands are describing themselves these days? Facebook, Zynga, Toggl, Evernote — visit their sites and you’ll be greeted with concise statements that should be an inspiration to you as you develop your own messaging.
Try this: how do you respond when a potential customer or even just an acquaintance asks, “what do you do?” If you find it difficult to answer this question succinctly, it could be an indication that your messaging needs work. The problem comes most to the fore when you’re trying to develop the words for your website homepage, including your website titles. Clear messaging is vital for all your marketing, but nowhere moreso than for your online marketing.
Messaging isn’t just for marketers. If you are in senior management at your company, it’s core to your mission. Miller Mattson correctly describes messaging as “a key part of your company’s marketing infrastructure.” Messaging is simply a concise and memorable description of the value you bring to customers: it should be worded carefully and in such a way that listeners instantly grasp what benefits they’ll see from working with you, and ideally they should feel inspired to get in touch with you.
That’s a lot to ask for a few sentences, but your messaging can have long, short, and very short (think Twitter-length) versions. The shortest versions are ideal for your website, while longer ones will come in useful in everything from HR advertisements to tender documents. Remember, this is core, descriptive information that should serve you online, in print or even in person when speaking to targets, so it’s well worth investing the time to get it right…and it will take some time.
Here are four things to keep in mind as you develop your messaging:
1. Take the customer’s perspective
What is your company really good at? There’s no one more qualified to answer this question than your existing, loyal customers. Interview them to understand why they chose you over the competition, how they see you as different from other providers in the market, and the competencies you offer that they cherish most. The answers customers give you might surprise you, and may differ significantly from what you thought your key strengths were. This primary research will allow you to take the customer’s perspective, letting you make the best start on your messaging development.
A great example of customer-focussed messaging is the text on the homepage of Toggl.com, an online time tracker popular with freelancers and consultants. Toggl.com simply states, “Insanely simple time tracking. Toggl kills timesheets.” That’s messaging that makes it clear the people behind Toggl understand the frustration its potential customers have probably experienced in using other solutions.
2. What are the actual words customers use to describe you?
There’s a well-worn anecdote about a customer who wanted to buy a jumper on an e-commerce website which didn’t use the word “jumper”. This is a perfect example of a messaging quandary in microcosm. Think of how many different words people use to describe that item of clothing – gansy, jumper, pullover, sweater… there are probably others. You must always ask yourself whether you are using your customers’ own words to describe your company and your products. If you’re selling “unified communications services” but your target buyers are actually googling for “videoconferencing”, your messaging must take account of that. Tools like Google’s free Keyword Research Tool can be helpful, but there’s really no substitute for directly interviewing your own customers.
3. Have you properly localised your content for international markets?
Native speakers and in-country experts will be invaluable as you create foreign-language versions of your online marketing materials for overseas locations – a cute YouTube video that works for the German market may fall flat in Asia. If you can’t find a reliable resource locally to advise you on suitable localised content, Ireland’s diaspora can be helpful: use LinkedIn.com to source Irish marketing experts working abroad, either freelance or as part of agencies, who can help quality-check the communications you intend to roll out in international markets.
4. What devices are customers using to read your website?
There’s no point in developing great messaging if your target market can’t access it. You may have heard about the need for websites to offer “responsive design,” which simply means that your website effortlessly reformats itself to be easily read on a mobile phone, tablet or other non-PC device. Research from Accenture shows 77% of internet users in Ireland are using a mobile device, such as a tablet, to access the web. This trend isn’t unique to Ireland: other key international markets such as Brazil, South Africa and Russia also favour mobile internet access. Speak to your web developer to ensure visibility and usability of your website on mobile devices; website development tools like WordPress offer a number of responsive themes for developing a web presence.
A final thought about developing your messaging: remember that the rise of social media has changed the marketing landscape, and target customers now demand clear, jargon-free descriptions of what your company does. Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation is probably one of the best books about the need to ‘keep it real’ in marketing. As Joel notes, fluffy marketing speak doesn’t cut it today. Customers expect that your company will speak in a real voice, not least because they just can’t spare the time to figure out what your densely-worded marketing materials mean; they’ll simply find themselves drawn to a more plain-speaking competitor.
Sheila Averbuch is a former business journalist and managing director for the content services agency ENNClick .
Guest blog from Paula Connor, Digital Marketing Manager, Dara Creative.
Enterprise Ireland work with many clients who are exporting to develop and implement their digital marketing strategies to help them expand globally. One of the main methods that can be used is email marketing.
Recent research from the Marketing Institute of Ireland into email marketing revealed that 84% of businesses surveyed consider it an important or very important component of their overall marketing strategy. The study also revealed “80% of respondents expect that spend on email marketing will either stay the same (42.7%) or increase (37.1%) over the next 12 months. This reflects the positive sentiments being shown towards email by Irish marketers today”.
But why are these businesses so keen?
Let’s examine the benefits of email marketing for exporting your business and hear from Auxilion who recently worked with Dara Creative and are seeing great success from their email marketing campaigns.
Benefits of Email Marketing for Exporters:
It drives sales - pushing the customer to buy your product through strong calls to action. And you can send a message to a huge database of people all at once.
Showcases your brand powerfully – it builds brand awareness, maintains customer relationships and encourages loyalty as well as repeat business.
It will drive traffic to your website through strong calls to action and it nurtures leads (helps encourage prospects become customers).
Cost effective - there’s a great return on investment with the initial cost of sending a campaign only $5 and then 1 cent per recipient. Your company doesn’t need to have a local office to get in touch with prospects in any country.
Instantly trackable results - your email marketing software will allow you to see clicks from customers based all over the world in real time. Don’t forget email is also viral – it’s so easy for people to forward your message on to others, spreading your message further than you could alone.
Send in any timezone - Take full control over when your subscribers will receive your campaigns.
Integrates with your online marketing strategy - you can include links to your social media and blog posts. You can also offer your customers reasons to return to you as a trusted expert by prompting them to avail of white paper downloads. Don’t forget customers will often do research online before picking up the phone or coming into your business to buy in person and email marketing will trigger this process.
You can personalise the content you send out – The more information you collect, the more messages can be tailored and personalised. Email also has the ability to segment, meaning you can split people off into smaller targeted lists.
Likewise it’s easy to build up a strong database and keep your database up to date - manage your unsubscribes / bouncebacks. Opt in and Opt out facilities mean you will have a very targeted database, people who are genuinely interested in your offer.
You can run A/B Split testing - test different headlines and different email designs and content to see which is more effective for each market you are targeting. You don’t get to do that with a traditional print ad for example!
Export Client Success with Email Marketing
Auxilion is an Irish company delivering outsourced IT Support Services, Customer Support Services and Project Support Services for companies across Ireland, the UK and the globe. They are a cloud computing support spin-out from I.T. Alliance Group and have been using email marketing since the launch of their newly designed website with great success. Auxilion have initially targeted the Irish and UK markets and email marketing is helping them by driving traffic to their website and with their business development.
This email marketing campaign was particularly successful with a conversion rate of 10% into genuine leads that the sales team can exploit.
The team at Auxilion are delighted with the results they are seeing so far as a result of their email marketing efforts:
“With email marketing consultancy services from Dara Creative, we have generated a number of great sales leads into targeted accounts for our Virtual Service Desk and IT support service solutions. We have benefited from skills transfer from their team of email marketing experts, helping us to leverage this low-cost marketing tool to full effect in 2013.”
– John Paul O’Keeffe, Marketing Specialist, Auxilion
If you are a client company of Enterprise Ireland and are interested in getting more information on our eMarketing Support, please contact your Development Advisor.
The Second National Conference on Cloud Computing and Commerce (NC4) is a free national conference on cloud computing and commerce taking place on Tuesday, 16th April at Dublin City University. The conference comprises three sessions, 8 tracks and a plenary featuring presentations and panel discussions from over 30 business leaders and experts on cloud computing. Attendees are welcome to register for individual tracks and/or the plenary.
The conference is organised by Techspectations and the Irish Centre for Cloud Computing and Commerce both located at DCU Business School. The event brings together industry and academic experts to discuss how cloud technologies can address business problems and drive value. NC4 is designed to raise further awareness of the role that cloud computing can play in helping to drive economic growth, support job creation and to deliver savings and efficiencies in the public and private sector in Ireland.