The modern world is increasingly global and borders no longer get in the way to the extent they once did. But global commerce does not happen automatically.

It is still necessary to reach out and build bridges with customers in other markets.

Considering language preferences is a key way to achieve this. On today’s edition of the blog, we thought we would take a look at how you can do just that.

The Pitfalls on Monolingual Messaging

When companies develop their online presence, English often takes prime position.

It is common for brands to believe that a sharp and professional homepage or webshop in the English language is all it takes to attract potential customers from all four corners of the globe.

That may well have been true in the early days of the internet when choice was limited. But in recent years, the online landscape has evolved and developed into something else entirely.

Big players like Amazon, AirBnB and IKEA have led the way in creating localised, multilingual websites that are specially designed for speakers of a particular language.

In many cases these websites are not only available in flawlessly executed native language, but they also draw on local slang and wordplay, and they feature graphics specifically designed for the target market.

This has shaped consumer behaviour and expectations. Users have become used to content that speaks their language and will quickly click away from what doesn’t.

Studies have shown that 72% of consumers now spend most of their time online browsing websites in their own language and 56% of users considered information in their own language to be just as important as price.

Put simply:

Users are more likely to part with their cash if the vendor speaks their language.

Knowing and understanding this is one thing – but, what next? How can we cross these linguistic borders and build more bridges?

Three Steps to Build More Bridges

Here are three things you can do to cater to your customers’ language preferences and build your brand across markets.

One: Use Localisation to its Full Potential

Localisation is something we have discussed plenty on the blog.

Put simply, it means going beyond a word-for-word approach to translation and crafting a text with the end user in mind.

Certain aspects of localisation may be considered necessary if the text is to serve its purpose. For example, units of measurement need to be converted and culturally sensitive references might need to be reworked.

But localisation is more than just that. It is also an opportunity to really connect with your target audience by finding a tone of voice that hits home for them.

When combined with search engine optimisation and the latest market research, localisation allows us to tick all the right boxes and build both rapport and a sense of trust with customers not just at home but in markets all over the world.

What this looks like in practice is language that’s tongue-in-cheek and on trend. It might be something which plays on a particular idiom or expression, especially one that is gaining in popularity, or even better – language which directly references recent pop culture phenomena.

In short, it’s about creating lively content that feels native and familiar rather than churning out wooden sentences that feel like they were meant for somebody else.

Two: Get Active on Social Media

Another way in which the online landscape is changing is the shift from the search bar to social media.

While in the past, customers typically set out purposefully to find a particular product using a search engine like Google, nowadays many customers spend their money on products and services they encounter on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or TikTok.

According to the 2021 Sprout Social Index, 86% of users who follow a brand on social media would be more likely to choose that company over one of their competitors. Naturally users are also more likely to follow brands and profiles who speak their own language.

In other words, it’s important not only to strike the right tone, but also to reach your customers where they’re at – and to use language tailored for the platform and demographic in each individual market.

Three: Partner with an Expert

As you can see, taking full advantage of the cross-border possibilities out there is not as simple as knocking together a few lines in English and hitting publish.

You need to localise, consider SEO, span numerous platforms and speak multiple languages.

As you may likely have already guessed, this is not something you can do on your own. Catering to language preferences and building bridges takes a whole team comprised of experts in every last market you want to reach.

At COMUNICA, we work with native linguists who have a profound understanding of their target culture. They know what idioms and metaphors to use for each demographic and they have years of experience crafting quality and targeted texts.

Not only that, we also have an SEO expert in our team who can provide crucial insights into keywords and market trends. All with the aim of building strong and durable bridges that will stand the test of time.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you to cater to your customers’ preferred language needs and build bridges into different markets, get in touch today for a commitment-free chat about the possibilities.