The first order of business of an organization trying to reach a target market globally is to first research were your markets are, what they look for , how they look for it and what makes them tick and what impulses them to buy your product.
In my target market, which is the US Hispanic market and which most research indicates that this group is the most active in social media channels and internet use, the study, which was done by Nielsen back in 2011, suggests that when an ad is in English only it does get views, but the same ad in Spanish the recall of the same ad bumps by 30%. The same result happened during internet use.
The ultimate lesson here is that regardless of acculturation and language proficiency, when you connect via culture or language, there is a far more response rate. So language despite acculturation is still important to this group.
Hispanics overall search the internet in both languages; the only thing that differs is what they search for; their interests and their needs.
Per the Nielsen study their primary searches are: Hair care, baby products and health and beauty.
If Latinos outpace in internet and social media use, how then do you reach and connect with them?
For the Hispanic market it is not only language but cultural connection
In the same study, it was determined through interviews” They wanted more things that reminded them of home” by focusing more on diverse foods and improving customer experience.Therefore, localization (adapting the web text, usability and cultural references catered to to your client’s best experience and conversion.
WEB OPTIMIZATION, TRANSLATION, AND LOCALIZATION FOR THE HISPANIC CONSUMER
Web localization is more than just translating content. Everything from color, design structure, language, sentence order (yes, not all languages read left to right) and even flags (to designate a multilingual site and language capabilities) are important factors when designing a website. It involves structure, order, images, specific phrases and numbers.
- First and foremost the thing to consider is what Hispanic group you are targeting. Just translating into Spanish won’t do. What is appropriate in one country it is not in another. Also, as it refers to food items, one thing does not mean the same across cultures.
- It should be noted however, that far more Hispanics stream video and shows on their devices and that they research anything before they buy (online and onsite) so make all your searches mobile friendly. Hispanics are more likely (37%) to search information online prior to any purchase and are more likely to shop online.
- Making websites mobile friendly and and easily to access is important.
- They are very brand loyal and shop from companies that speak to their needs and preferences and, yes their culture. If you have a presence in social media, they are more likely to shop from there (pages apps, so the ability to have both (apps or pages is imperative).
Per the study at the Integer Group the primary source for Hispanic shopping is the mobile device far more than PC’s and shopping in essence becomes a family affair.
Ultimately, Hispanics are prone to research first, locate and engage with the product online via social media (emphasis apps) and then most often buy the product at the store to feel, look and see the product they are buying
- Hispanics as the study suggests are more likely to buy when they are recommended or advised by a family or peer to buy a certain products and actually are personally involved during the back to school shopping for their kids or family members.
Now that you have localized the website for your target t market, the question is how do you optimize your site for the Hispanic consumer?
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION TECHNIQUES TO LOCALIZE YOUR WEBSITE
- One of the tactics would be to combine Spanish and English keywords based on the industry and interests that you want to target. Sometimes the Spanish keyword may not have that much competition or again may not rank as much but generating enough keywords in Spanish will make you rank and since there is little competition for them.
- Research the target market and the keywords they use. Just translating into Spanish won’t do. Hispanics come from different countries in Latin- America, and the Caribbean. Terminology is different in each country and what it means in one country may not be in another. Research carefully. This is the localization aspect of the project.
- Research can be done by state where there are densely Hispanic populations, by zip code (concentrate on demographics), geo-location (mapping) and if you are targeting the younger Hispanic mobile search is key by implementing QR codes ( for price comparisons) and using geo-location you are more likely to be found through sites like Yelp.
When you want to have a presence in the international market, other than a group within your borders, there are other factors that may seem simple and obvious but very important that may break or make the deal.
Mashable explains how to beautifully succeed in Website Localization. It has great pointers but as a translator some can be a bit tricky to implement. One of them is the company’s tagline. Some of them do not translate well and others do not make sense at all. However, keeping the company’s brand is imperative and recognizable so they have localized other factors in the website to make it user friendly and in accordance to cultural norms and tastes.
- Within your brand image and logo incorporate images that are recognizable to the user and culture.
- Flags- Normally are placed on the top margin to indicate the language translated to and from and can toggle to read both content.
- Colors- In a global brand they keep the logo and color intact, you still want to keep that uniform. However, other color schemes may differ by culture. Use carefully because even color symbolize different things
- CONTENT PLACEMENT
- Does your audience want a clean, accessible, easy to navigate website or are they seeking content information and visual aids
For example, Amazon has localized its websites for international markets in Europe, Canada and Japan and not only are they localized by language but by desired marketing and product specification. Yet, when it comes to the Latin market, it does not have a localized website for the Latino group; it does carry products in Spanish such as music and books but the site itself in in English.
In Globalization Partners international” Website Globalization and E-Business U.S. Hispanic Market – In Depth , they gave an excellent example of how companies are targeting this group. ESPN Deportes has targeted the Latino group with this group’s favorite sport: soccer. The following is an example of how this company has segmented and localized to each Latino group
- TRANSLATING CONTENT
- When to translate and when to keep it original. It depends. If your slogan o tagline can translate, then do so There may be examples that this may work and there are others where they choose to remain in the original language. In my case , many clients choose not to translate to keep brand image.
- Other website content of course but keeping in line with the target market and incorporating ideas that are important to them.
Finally, the obvious but generally overlooked.
- Date and time difference
- Color and Currency
Looks simple enough yet, there are so many things to consider. Overall, you have to know your market inside out to make a connection.
You don’t translate words, you translate culture.