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January 6, 2022

3 Multilingual Marketing Facts You Should Know!

According to the US Census Bureau, at least 350 languages are spoken in U.S. homes.   Further, the Common Sense Advisory reports that “monolingual websites fail to reach even a quarter of the world’s internet users.”  Their report also states that it takes 21 languages to reach 90% of the world’s online audience and at least 13 for a business to stay competitive.

This all means that English-only marketing can stunt your business’s growth both online and off.

Here are 3 things successful multilingual marketers understand:

(1) People shop in their native language.  If you’re reading this article as a native English-speaker, ask yourself, “when is the last time I shopped online in Spanish or German (or any other language)?” Answer - probably never! Multilingual marketers know that people prefer to buy in their native-language - and most will only search online for products and services in their native language. Even bilingual consumers will respond better to advertising in their mother-tongue. In a study about multilingual advertising published in the University of Chicago Press Journals, researchers found that "All else being equal, it is generally preferable to communicate with consumers using their own native language, as doing so should result in more emotional messages."

By communicating in a person’s mother-tongue, you can convey the idea that their culture and identity is important to you.  When you can make your prospective customer feel good about themselves after reading your message - that’s great marketing!  It also promotes trust, which is an essential emotion to motivate someone to buy.

(2) Multilingual staff are NOT professional translators. There is a difference between hiring a bilingual marketing specialist and hiring a professional translator.  An experienced marketing professional wouldn’t hire anyone who speaks English to create English-language advertising materials.  Same rules apply when producing multilingual marketing content.  Get a professional!

Overloading bilingual staff by asking them to take on complex translation and interpreting tasks they aren’t experienced performing can waste more time and money than it saves.  Not to mention, it’s can be bad for morale, no one likes to be paid one salary to do the job of two people.  If you utilize a bilingual employee who is not a trained, native-speaking professional translator - linguistic disasters can happen!

Don't believe us? Watch this video below.
After the video, read on about creating a multilingual marketing strategy.

(3) A multilingual strategy is KEY!  Thinking ahead and making a plan can really cut costs. It sounds obvious, but an unexpected cost will always feel expensive.  Consider what language (after English) is most common in the population you serve. Based on the answer, you can make a budget for securing internal and external resources in that language and phase in other languages as needed.

Depending on your goals (and budget), your multilingual marketing strategies may include:

  • creating bilingual surveys to develop new buyer personas,
  • finding the best keywords for SEO in a new language,
  • multilingual content marketing, translating product descriptions, or
  • identifying what social media channel are best for your new target language.

Control costs by phasing in new languages one by one.  This will also allow you to assess your operational needs, see what works best and adjust accordingly while you develop your multilingual resources.  Developing internal resources may include hiring multilingual staff, interns, volunteers, or reimbursing current staff for learning a language.  There are also many free resources for language learning.  Externally, a budget for hiring a professional translator to translate your materials is a must!  But, there has to be a strategy for multilingual content marketing.

To minimize the trial and error process, hire a language services provider that can also provide multilingual consulting to assist you with strategic guidance.  With the right plan in place, the revenue you generate from expanding your business will far exceed the cost paid for language services.

There's no doubt that multilingual marketing is an excellent way to grow your business. For many organizations, however, operating in one language is often due to cost considerations. Whether you are a first-time translation client or a seasoned international business, you have a budget and keeping costs low is always important.  

Need to increase your multilingual capacity? Contact Jamii!

At Jamii Transcreation & Language Partners (“Jamii”), we provide affordable, high-quality language services.  If you’re looking for multilingual support services, such as multilingual copywriters, consultants, transcreation or professional translators, we’re happy to support your work.