We’ve all been there. You’re shopping on an international site, and you find a product that looks perfect, but the accompanying description is ambiguous or inconsistent, and the return policy is unclear on shipping costs, so you’re not confident enough to make a purchase.
Clearly the seller hasn’t understood their audience’s needs. And the result is a potential customer that can’t understand them. Both sides miss out.
Understandably, accessible content – in all its forms – is what underpins today’s customer journey. It’s what drives awareness, consideration, sales and, ultimately, customer loyalty. If a consumer is willing to hand over their hand-earned cash, then they want to have trust in your brand – and product – before they do. It’s only natural. However to foster trust, you need to facilitate understanding between you and your customer.
There are three areas that, if mastered, can ensure your content delivers powerful, meaningful experiences between you and your customers.
The power of language
Global profitability comes from local impact, which is ultimately achieved by making an emotional connection. It’s a common misconception that you can connect with the majority of customers in English. In reality, it takes 14 languages to reach about 90 per cent of online audiences, according to the Common Sense Advisory. Therefore, language must be prioritised over all else. But understanding requires more than linguistics. A “cut and paste” approach will serve little else than drive basic interaction, nor will a geo-centric point of view.
Instead, companies should develop individualised, culturally appropriate content, distributed in a personalised fashion for each market. This is backed up by a study of Fortune 500 companies, which revealed that those with localized content are two times more likely to increase profit.
Developments in technology have not only significantly improved the viability of providing well-translated and localized content in an appropriate time frame and cost effectively, but also the tailored delivery of this content. Automated workflows, which manage content from creation, through to translation, review and delivery; translation memory, which stores content to avoid the need for repeat translations; and terminology management, which guarantees consistent use of specific phrases and industry-specific language, can all help overcome the language barrier and develop deeper emotional connections with customers.
Once language and localization have been achieved businesses can move onto the second stage – personalization to the individual. This is crucial for businesses that want to establish themselves as an effective player within that market globally. Providing the content that matters to your customers most, at the moment they need it most, is key to demonstrating an awareness of their preferences, and making sure they choose you instead of the wealth of other providers on the global stage.
Providing thousands of customers with an individualised selection of choices tailored to them requires technology, such as machine learning. This technology employs algorithms to predict where people will find value, based on past purchases, language and location, so that brands can provide a direct link between the customer’s personal interests and the products and services they offer.
Don’t be scared of complexity
As you might imagine, one of the most significant challenges involved in publishing global content is scale. Operating across multiple countries, in multiple languages, on multiple platforms, and managing the relationship between global and local content creators, is no easy task. It involves orchestrating thousands of systems, processes and people.
However there are a range of technologies and services that help. Combining content management systems, human intelligence and machine learning enables companies to overcome the traditional challenges involved in delivering content at this scale.
Businesses are now able to deliver mutual understanding with localised content, in the right language, to the right person, at the right time. And organisations can do all of this while reducing the complexity and cost involved. This ultimately results in the consumer understanding the business, moving their way through the journey – a core concern for all modern companies; since the faster a customer transitions from a prospect to purchaser, the earlier a mutual relationship can develop.
Arjen works as a Product Marketing Director at SDL in the Web Content Management and Digital Experience space. He combines a passion for technology and communications with a background in computer engineering and marketing. Arjen has worked at a series of international B2B software vendors and has over 20 years of expertise in turning technology jargon into messaging and clear propositions that relate to business outcome.