The International Language Of Market Research
Written by Lingo24
The fact that the global economy has stuttered to a standstill shouldn’t mean that companies’ growth initiatives should grind to a halt too. Now is the time for businesses to react to the new economic conditions by proactively seeking out new opportunities in the international arena.
But the desire to adapt and grow in testing times needs to be backed by the right tools. It can be easy to panic and throw a lot of money at a ‘solution’ without really knowing what the outcome will be.
But why do that, when you can spend a little money researching the market first, then a little more money executing the plan on a grander scale once you’re confident it’s a winner?
The internet is now the first port of call for most consumers when shopping for a new service or product, so the key to growing both domestically and internationally is in what a business does with its website.
Website localization is a cost-effective way of tapping into new markets. The majority of the internet is written in English, yet more than half the total online searches made are in languages other than English, so there is an obvious gap there.
So, how can businesses globalise through website localisation? Well, you have to first establish a need for your service in a particular country. A good way of doing this is to check out the local competition. If there are similar organizations there already, that’s a good sign, as it demonstrates a genuine demand.
The next step is to look at the competition and see what they offer – or, more importantly, what they don’t. You can then arrive on the scene and exploit any gaps. But you must be wary of market saturation – too much competition can mean that it’s very difficult to make inroads into new markets.
Once you have established that demand does exist, research key search terms as used by local internet users. Google and Yahoo have some very handy free tools that identify the most commonly used search phrases in the desired foreign market.
For multilingual marketers, it can be tempting to translate key search terms from English directly into the target language – but this can be counterproductive.
For example, ‘car insurance’ is one of the highest ranking key search terms in the UK for those who – not surprisingly – are seeking to buy car insurance. A literal (and correct) translation of this into French would be ‘l’assurance automobile’.
However, a little research into the key search terms actually used in French search engines would reveal that people tend to use variations of the full terms, such as ‘assurance auto’ or ‘assurance voiture’. By conducting a little online market research, a major problem can be averted.
The researched key phrases should then be incorporated into a professionally translated website to organically optimise its position in foreign search engines.
To help the process along you can also use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising such as Google AdWords, which helps drive traffic to your site through a ‘sponsored link’. The beauty of PPC is it allows you to set your own budget in advance and you can gauge its efficacy without splashing huge sums of cash, so the risk really is minimal.
The upshot of this is it’s possible to rise rapidly in foreign search engine rankings, simply because the saturation in other languages is nowhere near what it is in English.
Lingo24 is a global translation company that also specializes in website localization. It has over 100 employees based in the UK, Panama, Romania, China and New Zealand, and a network of 4,000 translators.
Its projected turnover for 2009 is £3.7m.