There is no set procedure when it comes to launching an International localised website. Your budget, web framework and marketing objectives can all play an equal role in restricting the work you wanted to complete pre-launch. Therefore a crucial step in your localisation strategy is to review how well the developed site fits into its new surroundings – before you fully commit to launching it.
There is increasing evidence that marketers focus intently on planning their localised website and promoting it via online channels. However in between these phases there is an important step – capturing a panoramic view of your new surroundings. This article urges you not to jump straight into your marketing campaigns but to first learn how well positioned your website is in the local environment.
Invest In Usability Testing
You wouldn’t launch a brand new product without gauging customers feedback first and the same should be said for your international website. Before you make your new multilingual site universally accessible you need to understand what your target market think.
Information needs to be assembled on items like content readability, website navigation and design. There is a range of qualitative and quantitative tools on the market which can help you achieve this, with some of the successful ones being Intuition HQ, Juicy Studio: Readability Test and Websort. For a multilingual launch online feedback boxes and face-to-face focus groups provide a professional means of collating this useful information.
At this stage, your principle objective should be to understand what your target market thinks about your new website. Even if similar feedback has been collected internally, it’s worth noting that people involved in the development project are likely to hold a bias view of how the site performs.
Pinpoint The Top Local Competitors
Competitor analysis is the cornerstone of successful business strategy. And it’s even more important when entering new markets as you’re arrival may even trigger competitors to act disruptively. Before you progress with marketing you first need to understand your rivals standing within the marketplace and how they are publicizing their own services.
Your first port of call should be to appraise the websites of your competitors, do they offer any extra functionality and how have they approached the content process. Successful competitors are likely to have a good understanding of their customer base and tailor content to their chosen demographics meticulously. Any insights picked up from this exercise are likely to be very valuable and be easily transferred into your own web content strategy.
Subsequently a review of their marketing campaigns is also needed, are there any trends across the range of competitors? You may already have a pre-determined idea of what future marketing activity will look like, but if none of the competition is investing in Pay-Per-Click then perhaps PPC isn’t the way to go. The basic premise is simple, the more information you can gather on what is working for your key rivals the better your chances are of creating an integrated marketing strategy.
Create Content & Brand Guidelines
The more websites or sub-domains you create the more responsibility has to be shared across your teams. If this is the case and you have new personnel working on your localised website, it’s incredibly useful to have guidelines in place for the new members of your team.
When it comes to creating and marketing content for websites knowing your core brand messages is vitally important. Creating shared content & brand guidelines is an easy way to approach this problem. If you own a luxury brand then employees need to know how best to present the company name and also how this transfers into the culture of your new target market.
The same applies for social media usage, once messages are propelled onto the internet they are there to stay and can be picked up by anybody. Therefore creating guidelines on how best to script creative messages, approach new customers and respond to online criticism is a sensible tactic. Not only will this keep your messages consistent but it may also help safeguard your brand.
After investing a considerable amount of time and capital into your new multilingual site, it can be incredibly tempting to make the site live and begin stockpiling the leads. However, in this instance fortune favours the conservative. First impressions count in the business World and before your arrival is fully broadcasted to your new market you need to be sure your website is presenting your brand in the best possible light.
About the author:
Emma Bertouche works for Capita Translation and Interpreting, a translations company that specialise in website localisation and multilingual web content creation. If you have any questions about this topic they would be happy to help advise you on all aspects of web localisation.