Multilingual Marketing in 2019: Challenges and Considerations

O8 International Marketing

Expanding your company’s reach beyond the borders of your own country of operations is one of those business goals that is often considered but seldom attempted, mostly because of the very real challenges faced when engaging in multilingual marketing.

International marketing is no easy task, after all. It requires a significant investment of both budget and time. Simply populating a new website by quickly using a web translator on all your existing content will not give you the desired results – not even if your website already enjoys a lot of traffic from different countries and you manage to redirect it to these newly created language pages.  Ineffective translations are problematic at best, and they will send your bounce rate rocketing.

If your company is serious about multicultural marketing, then a well-planned strategy is necessary, one that takes under consideration all the major multilingual challenges waiting just over that digital horizon.

In fact, the very first obstacle you face before you even start is one most marketers fail to weigh:

 

“Is my business ready for international marketing?”

Multicultural marketing is not for everyone. In order to consider expanding your reach beyond the boundaries of your own country, you should probably make sure your efforts at home are already at their best. If your current efforts are not working or there is room for improvement, then there should be reason to question whether you will be successful tapping into more unknown markets.

[Is your current digital marketing strategy giving you optimal results? Make sure you have taken all the vital components necessary for success under consideration.]

If you feel your company is ready to explore new digital landscapes and current data backs that idea up, then go for it. The potential for increased traffic is tremendous if your team has a firm grasp on things. Just make sure you have a comprehensive multilingual marketing strategy in place, and prepare for all the challenges ahead.

 

So, What Kind of Multilingual Marketing Challenges Can Your Company Expect to Face Once You Choose to Go Global?

 

A new and unknown audience

Every country is its own world, with its own microcosms of idiosyncrasies, expectations and cultural philosophies. This means your marketing approach should not be the same with these new audiences as it is with your current ones.

What might pass as humor in one country, for example, could easily be misinterpreted as offensive in another.

What a group of prospective clients expects from a company in terms of customer service in Asia, where a lot of weight is placed on protocol and ceremony, might differ enormously in the western hemisphere, where a more jovial and informal interaction is expected and common.

The color red in the United States conveys passion, in Asian countries joy, but in the Middle East it is used as a warning, to beg caution.

These differences might seem small and inconsequential, but they play a very important role when breaking into these new markets. Carrying out extensive research into the culture of new audiences prior to starting with targeted marketing efforts is imperative for success.

 

Effective transcreation

Transcreation is a term used by marketers to describe the proper translation of work across different cultures Every piece of content has a message, and simply doing word-for-word translation might impact the way the ideas are conveyed. This means that the words or images may need to change somewhat with consideration to specific cultural expectations, while keeping the context intact. Mastering this very fine balance will be key to the success of any cross-cultural efforts.

 

Choosing the right way to distribute and promote content

Once you understand your new audience and know what you want to tell them, you need to research the best way to have that information reach them. The diversity of channels and platforms available to marketers makes it easier to target specific groups based on demographic criteria, so it simply becomes a matter of picking the right medium.

Social media is not as prevalent in every country in the world, for example, which is something the strategy needs to weigh in terms of investment. Likewise, each platform has its own set of demographics within different countries, segmenting audiences by factors such as age.

The right research can reveal useful insights that can and should shape the digital marketing plan. Taking time to investigate the way audiences in the target country or language group interact with the web will be crucial for the success of the international marketing work.

 

Understanding international SEO

Ranking higher for organic search is often one of the main goals of any marketer. In terms of multilingual marketing, international search engine optimization (SEO) is just as important part to the strategy as it is when working locally.

While on the surface it may seem the same as regular SEO, there are some elemental differences that should be understood before venturing into content creation (or transcreation).

 

Moz’ guide to international SEO is a very useful resource to get a firm grasp on the basics, especially if you want to learn about specific HTML tags that will direct traffic appropriately and avoid any possible penalties for duplicate content.

Leveraging tags in order to drive traffic to language-specific websites is one of the cornerstones of effective multilingual marketing, as it caters directly to visitors and what is probably a likely preference for their native language.

SEO experts such as Neil Patel have streamlined the process of implementing an international SEO strategy for multilingual content, with the kind of results that prove that not only is this a viable point of interest when executing market expansion, but a necessary one.

 

Choosing the right people for the job

The same way there are marketers whose strength lies in specific areas of work, making the entire professional field diverse and complementary, there are those who have a knack for the kind of tasks necessary for successful multicultural marketing.

Finding the right people for the job can be a complicated challenge. For one, effective transcreation requires professionals with a native-level mastery of the language. Anything less than fluency could have a negative impact on the generation of content and undermine the entire effort, even from the start.

One solution is to outsource the entire project to a third-party agency with the experience and skills necessary to successfully access multicultural markets. This option is cost-effective, with the potential to provide optimal results in less time and at a fraction of the cost. Alternatively, your company could choose to handle everything in-house, but that will require a greater investment of both time and money to ensure you have the best possible people on board for the work. In the end, the decision is yours, but remember that whichever path you choose, it should be done so after careful consideration of all variables.

 

A useful consideration worth noting is that there is technology out there designed to help when structuring multilingual websites. Some of the more widely used content management systems have integrated features that can help in the creation of a multilingual website architecture, though the benefits come with challenges of their own.

 

International marketing is a highly desired operational aim for any business because of the huge impact it will have on the company if successful. Increased traffic and the expansion of the brand to service a completely new demographic can translate to a boost in profits. It is understandable to face the decision with some trepidation given the potential weight on finances and the future of the company, but it does not need to be a daunting prospect. With enough preparation, your multilingual marketing efforts can open up new, unexplored paths that will spell a brighter future for your endeavors.

 

If the idea of multilingual marketing and its challenges gives you pause, feel free to reach out to us for a chat so we can help ease your concerns, and tell you how we can help make this goal a reality for you and your business.

 

 

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Drupal SEO Series: Increase Your Conversion Rates With These Pro Marketing Tips

Drupal SEO Series

Now that more consumers than ever are going online to get information about products and services, search engines have become the new gatekeeper, your website the new storefront and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) something akin to a next generation salesman. To reach online audiences, you not only need to sell what you do, but make it easy for people to find you. The good news: there are many proven techniques and online tools that you can capitalize on now, and we’re going to go through 7 key SEO strategies in this blog post:

  1. Why Relevance Matters
  2. Anticipating Customer Needs
  3. Social Media’s Impact On SEO
  4. The 7-Second Rule
  5. Optimizing Your Drupal Site For Google
  6. Landing Pages
  7. Preventing SEO Problems

Drupal websites already give the organizations that use them an edge over the competition because of their built-in SEO tools, such as faster pages, an advanced taxonomy and tagging system, superior naming conventions and many accessibility features. These tools help increase your page ranking on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP): the page you see after entering text into a browser when conducting an organic search. Most organic searches today use Google’s search engine and, as we discuss below, Drupal makes available several modules to simplify integration with Google services, such as Google Translate and Google Analytics.

In this blog post, we’re going to go over some foundational and more advanced SEO approaches to help your organization stay ahead of the curve and become an online authority in your field.

1. Why Relevance Matters

Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo rank content based on an evolving set of criteria. So webmasters and marketers need to be nimble in order to keep pace with the ever-changing SEO landscape. That said, one of the most important things to bear in mind when thinking about strategies to optimize your website content is: relevance. This cannot be understated. The days of keyword stuffing are over. Google’s web crawlers have grown wise to many black hat practice and spammy pages are getting pushed way down the SERP list.

Tip 1#:

Find a key phrase or a selection of keywords that accurately represent your brand and that aren’t used by so many other sites that yours gets lost in the noise. Long-tail keywords can be especially useful here when you’re working on distinguishing your brand and capturing a niche market.

Tip#2:

Google’s indexing robots look for keywords used frequently in blocks of content that contain full sentences and proper grammar for the given language. So repeat your key phrase and keywords throughout your site, but do so using quality, focused content on landing pages, blog posts, customer reviews, etc. And don’t overuse keywords, as that can hurt your ranking.

Tip #3:

Relevant keywords and long-tail keywords can only go so far if your content isn’t up to snuff. Spend time filling your site with quality content – whether in the form of information about your product or service, blog posts, feature stories, press material and landing pages that link to your main site. Readers may find your page because of your exceptional SEO strategies, but they won’t stay long if they don’t find what they’re looking for. And because Google favors websites with fewer bounce rates – more on this in the next section – having quality content can have a significant impact on your page ranking.

2. Anticipating Customer Needs

Quality content is essential for SEO and converting customers. You increase your chances of both when you remove hurdles that could prevent customers from making the next click along their path to a purchasing decision. But, what’s the best way to strategize the flow of content on your site?

Here’s where having a firm grasp of your audience is particularly useful. Ask yourself:

  • What kind of content does your audience need at each stage of their decision-making process?
  • How can you walk you customer down the path to conversion?
  • Are there other mediums you can use to diversify your content, such as blogs, videos, audio, social media, etc.?

Let’s say, for example, that you sell ice cream and you know the vast majority of your customers just want to buy ice cream when they visit your site. You might try:

  • Having information about how to buy your product front-and-center on your homepage,
  • Featuring testimonials from happy customers below your main body content and
  • Including videos about making toppings for ice cream in a sidebar.

Once a visitor moves onto purchasing your ice cream, you could then include information about the ice cream accessories your company also sells.

Google looks at bounce rates when determining its SERP ranking. So if someone goes to your site, then almost immediately clicks the back button on his or her web browser and clicks on a another result on the search results page, Google might assume that your website doesn’t contain quality content and could lower your SERP ranking. The simple solution? Fill your site with quality, relevant content that meets your audience’s needs throughout their decision-making process.

3. Social Media’s Impact on SEO

Organizations wanting to boost your SEO should consider incorporating social media networks into your portfolio. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. can help you reach your targeted audience and increase the likelihood of organic search hits.

To give you a sense of just how big social networking sites have become, in early 2017 Facebook had upwards of 1.86 billion monthly active users. Similarly, WhatsApp had 1 billion, Instagram had 600 million and Twitter had 317 million. According to Statista, social media users worldwide almost doubled from 1.22 billion in 2011 to over 2.3 billion in 2016. And that number, they predict, will increase to over 2.9 billion by 2020.   

But what does this have to do with SEO? Simply put, getting your content on Facebook can increase your search page ranking. That’s because, as of 2010, Google crawlers started indexing Facebook posts and adding them to their SERPs. They did the same for Twitter posts in 2011. So diversify your content!

Think of it this way, if your organization has a Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat account, you’ve just increased the number of pages that can be used to engage your audience. Make these into authoritative pages and link them to your website and you’ve just increased your site’s SEO. It’s that simple.

4. The 7-Second Rule

A good test to see if you’re content is going to succeed is the 7-second rule. When you visit your site, if you can’t see the most important information about your company in 7 seconds, you’re going to lose customers. The reality is that the human attention span dropped to 8 seconds in 2015 (from 12 seconds in 2000). Because of that, your website needs to give your audience the information it needs before they click away to the next shiny object.

Although it’s not clear if visitor time, or the time people spend on your website, improves your SERP ranking on Google, what we do know is that anything you can do to edge your site above the competition, while staying true to your brand and company goals, is probably not a bad idea. Optimizing your website for increased visitor time could do a lot to increase your bottom line when visitors become invested in your brand and start sharing information about your amazing organization and opening their checkbooks to support what you do.

Some important questions to ask when assessing your website’s readability:

  • Is your biggest selling feature front-and-center?
  • Does the information provided clearly explain what your organization does and the benefit to customers?
  • Is important information easy to read off mobile and desktop screens?
  • Does your messaging use clear and engaging language?
  • Does your sidebar, header and footer content entice your visitors to get more information?

Try this out…

Ask someone who doesn’t know your brand to look at your homepage for a maximum of 7 seconds and then describe your organization and your value proposition in a few sentences. If they get it wrong, you know you have some more work to do. If they get it right, give them a high five.

5. Optimizing You Drupal Site For Google

Google is currently the top-ranked search engine globally. This means that being at the top of your SEO game will, for the most part, require playing by Google’s rules.

Here’s what you should know…

Each year, Google changes its search algorithm: the criteria Google’s web crawlers use to index and rank pages, somewhere between 500 to 600 times. Most of these changes will be minor tweaks that shouldn’t affect how your website’s pages are indexed and where you land on Google’s results page. However, sometimes Google rolls out major changes that can have a big impact on how it ranks websites and the order it lists them on the results page, which can greatly impact the visibility of your site and your click-through rate. For example, Google’s AdWords update of 2016 saw right-column ads replaced with four top block ads for many commercial searches, which pushed down organic search results lower on the results page. Also in 2016, Google updated its mobile-friendly ranking to further reward websites with mobile first or responsive design, and further penalize sites that lacked a mobile-friendly platform.

Why does Drupal excel?

Drupal 8’s built-in mobile- and tablet-friendly responsive design makes it a leader in the CMS field. Here are a few other ways Drupal sites are optimally positioned to meet Google’s search algorithm:

  • Fully responsive design in core (Drupal 8 only)
  • Built-in page translation with Content Translation to reach broader audiences (Drupal 8 only)
  • Drupal SEO Checklist creates a to-do list of modules and tasks to amp up your website’s SEO capabilities
  • Drupal SEO Tools gives you a dashboard filled with SEO information and tips tailored to meet your SEO needs
  • Fix any URL/link problems with Global Redirect, Link Checker, Pathauto and Path Redirect 
  • Drupal knows the importance of optimizing for Google and is compatible with Google Analytics, integrate that with Google Search Console for even more SEO power
  • Send a sitemap of your website directly to search engines with XML Sitemap
  • The H1 and H2 tags on your taxonomy term page are extremely important for SEO; Taxonomy Title lets you control your titles

 

[Choosing the right CMS is vital in terms of how your website will perform. For a more in-depth analysis of how to go about making this decision, please visit our post Choosing the Best CMS for Your Website]

 

Word to the wise…

In early 2017, Google started cracking down on sites that have aggressive pop-ups and interstitials, such as advertisements or information request pages that appear before a website’s homepage, because they believe this could negatively impact a mobile user’s experience. Google penalizes pages with aggressive pop-ups by pushing them down the SERP ranking. Don’t get caught with aggressive interstitial-itis! For the sake of your page ranking, get familiar with Google’s guidelines for interstitials.

6. Landing Pages

Landing pages, or pages with information that has a targeted focus, give you the ability to make maximum use of long-tail keywords and individual keywords that Google’s indexing robots look for when ranking pages. By tailoring your landing page keywords towards a specific audience, you increase the likelihood that your site will be placed near the top of the list for organic searches using these terms. In addition, pages that optimize the experience of your visitors get fewer bounces and, as mentioned in Section 2 of this blog, that’s a good thing for your SERP ranking.

Landing pages should have a clear, focused message and call to action. While sometimes used as a jumping point to another webpage, such as your organization’s main page, you’ll improve your SEO if you give your audience a complete experience on the landing page. There’s a chance that the person visiting your landing page hasn’t made their purchasing decision already, so providing information about other products or services they might be interested in can also increase your conversion rate.

7. Preventing SEO Problems

Lastly, it’s important to get a customized solution to meet your SEO goals. You could be faced with a world of problems and endless headaches if your Drupal website isn’t designed to fit the requirements of the platform. Drupal is a powerful, versatile CMS with endless opportunities to connect you with effective SEO tools and functionality. Working with a development team that does it right the first time can dramatically increase your chance of success.  

Need help optimizing your Drupal site? Contact Origin Eight for a free consultation: 612-276-5880 or leave details on our contact page

Simple Steps To A Social Media Strategy

Social Media Icons

Social media is an indispensable marketing/communications tool for organizations that want to build their businesses and get to the next level. It has become the primary channel to find, and connect with users/customers, and, far beyond that, it can bring you closer to the customer for more personal interaction, helping you build and extend your relationship over the long term. 

The rise of social media platforms have been nothing short of phenomenal, with traditional advertising rapidly replaced by social media marketing, which can be more far reaching, timely and personal. With a low barrier to entry, social media provides new opportunities to connect and deliver your message, and can be an inexpensive advertising/promotion tool. 

However, social media campaigns do require skill, and a well-thought-out strategy needs to be in place. Also, they need an interactive and responsive approach with dedicated resources and the right level of management/oversight that is appropriate for your organization.

In order to set up a campaign, you can follow these steps:

1.    Clarify your objectives

What do you want your social media campaign to achieve? This can be as simple as increasing sales or less measurable goals that relate to visibility and branding. Either way, without goals there can be no measurement, and, of course, ask yourself if social media is the most effective method to achieve these goals and whether it provides the best ROI. 

To provide more direction and simplify your goal, you can tie your objective to the broad categories of visibility/awareness, sales or loyalty.

Additionally, this a good place to consider your company mission and how you position and differentiate yourself.  This can be used as an anchoring platform to inform all your social media messaging. 

If you are able to convey a unique benefit for your target audience, that too can be used to attract and retain users.

2.    Determine your audience

The more focused and narrow your target segment, the better you can serve their needs by creating content that resonates with them, focusing on their issues and needs, speaking their language, and positioning yourself as the expert, go-to source.

Another factor in determining whom you must reach depends on your objectives. In order to meet objectives, you must choose those social media channels your audience frequents, and decide on appropriate messaging. 

This step requires some primary research and can be called the listening phase as you are discovering your audience location and habits.

3.    Integration with wider marketing objectives/plans

Make sure that your social media strategy is inline with the rest of your Internet strategy, website goals and inbound/outbound marketing initiatives. You should adhere to the principles of integrated marketing communications for maximum impact and efficiency.

Quite often you can use your website to funnel users and motivate actionable events, such as filling out contact forms or requesting more information. 

4.    Allocate resources and integrate into culture

An effective social media strategy requires an investment of time and resources. You must assign qualified individuals to spend the time it takes to support your chosen channels and create content that helps your organization deliver branding and marketing messages. This requires planning, and is an important function as these individuals are representing the company in a public setting and must be able to do so with professionalism, tact and with the ideals of customer service. 

Be sure that your social media efforts do not operate in a silo because it needs to be owned by the entire organization and embraced in the culture. Let your team know how they can support your strategy.

5.    Tactics, tools and implementation

Your social media commitment is likely to grow as you find more and better channels to use, so it is best to explore tools that increase the efficiency of your workflow. Social media tools and services abound now and there are more than ever. They can assist with the planning, timing and monitoring of campaigns, and can help you manage resources.

6.    Monitor and measure, and experiment

Crunch the numbers and see if you are meeting your goals.  This can be as simplistic as counting the increase in followers to your channels or more advanced analytics that help you to calculate improvement in engagement. 

Is campaign improving traffic to your website and specifically to those areas that you designate as being important action items that can be tracked?

Selecting social media channels requires some research and analysis to discover the places where your customers/clients congregate and communicate. 

Also, you must be prepared to try something new.  Sometimes you can get unexpectedly good results, but, at the same time, if a campaign fails to get traction after a reasonable amount of time, then it is best to reallocate your resources to maintain a high level of ROI. 

In the age of accountability, it is essential to embrace a results based approach and put into place only goals that can be measured. 

Set a reasonable time-frame to evaluate (probably a minimum of two months) progress, and identify any changes that are required. Thereafter, schedule regular reviews with the management team, so that everyone is onboard and is invested in the strategy.

The holy grail of successful social media strategy is engagement, personalization and relevancy, and to achieve that you must be prepared for the shifting landscape that is social media. Create a roadmap to build and sustain the right channels methodically and organically over time, but build in flexibility, so that you can adapt as things evolve. 

If you require help setting up a social media strategy, contact us. We look forward to hearing from you. Call 612-278-5880 or leave details on our Contact page.

10 Tips For Creating Great Landing Pages

10 Tips For Creating Stellar Landing Pages

Landing pages are typically standalone web pages designed to funnel visitors to other pages or for lead generation. Your clients/customers may come to these pages from myriad sources including ads, social media or other marketing channels.

The relevant definition of a landing page will vary depending on industry and your business goal, but all stellar landing pages have a few common elements. They are distinct from general web pages in that they should be targeted at a specific customer profile, and they should be designed to drive a certain action. This narrow focus is useful because it allows you to present a clean, easy-to-digest offer to your customers.

With this in mind, we offer the following best practice tips for landing page success:

1. Tune your page for your specific customer. You are fundamentally designing an experience for this person. With that in mind you can craft the most appropriate message to get your desired response.

2. Simplicity in design is paramount. Clean pages with easy to read text and an easy to digest offer will keep the attention of your visitors. In some cases though there might be a need for more in-depth information where it is expected or desired by the visitor.

3. Design the page to encourage a conversion event—be it completing a form, calling your organization by phone, engaging in a chat widget conversation, downloading a whitepaper, subscribing to a newsletter or making a purchase. This factor is crucial in determining your ROI.

4. Make your forms short. Just request the info that you need and no more. This will increase your conversion rate, but may not give you the highest quality leads, so you will need to gauge that according to your target audience.  

5. Limit the number of external web links on the page. Distracting links can sidetrack your visitor, so be judicious with the number and destination of links. Removing main menu and footer links is a strategic step in modeling a decision-making flowchart for visitors.

6. Send traffic to dedicated pages that reinforce the offer. Traffic going to the home page is akin to starting at square one for the visitor—this can upset momentum, and lose prospects. Elaborate on the offer and add more persuasive content with reasons to convert.

7. Create separate landing pages depending on the source. Your different channels will determine the landing page content and any subsequent target pages can be optimized for that channel. This helps with testing and measurability.

8. Test your landing pages. A/B Testing different pages can help you find the sweet spot. Understand statistical significance to be sure that your tests mean what you think they mean. Measure by setting conversion goals in Google Analytics and keep track of key metrics such as live chat connections, email newsletter subscriptions and forms completed.

9. Plan your follow-up response. Whether this is a simple phone call in reply to a form or a sophisticated email campaign designed for converting customers, a proactive approach is required to make this a seamless and “natural” step in the communication process. Also, any response should be timely and appropriate to the offer. It is also your opportunity to extend the conversation.

10. This step can’t be understated—always subscribe to white hat SEO practices. Gaming the system can only be a temporary win and penalties from search engines can be draconian and negatively impact your business in the long term. Keep abreast of the “rules” as they change regularly as search engines become more sophisticated.

**

There are many other considerations for creating a powerful landing page strategy for your organization, but following these basic tips will put you on the right path. Landing page optimization never ends, so be prepared to make continual refinements to achieve pages that are more targeted, relevant and persuasive over time.

If you need additional help, we are ready. ORIGIN EIGHT offers complete landing page support services that you can benefit from immediately, from a basic audit of existing pages to a dedicated custom campaign crafted just for your organization.

Contact us for a free, no-risk consultation 1-888-316-3471 or (612) 276-5880