Customer Experience

5 Ways to Increase Conversions in International & Multilingual Markets

Effectively engaging multilingual customers requires a thoughtful approach to content, site design and localization.

Patrick Regan's avatar
Patrick Regan

February 19, 2020

4 MIN READ

Many companies use website traffic as a key metric for measuring business success, particularly in international markets. But traffic alone doesn’t tell the full story. Depending on a business’ goals, there are more important metrics to consider. For instance:

  • E-commerce sites live and die by conversion rates
  • Lead-gen sites are sabotaged by high bounce rates

Is your website seeing traffic from the right multilingual and global markets, but is failing to convert visitors into customers? Here are five reasons why that might be happening, and a few ways to address them.

Load Times and UI

Poor website performance is an immediate turn-offs for multilingual users. That’s because many international customers use smartphones as their only Internet-connected devices.

That means speedy page-load times are crucial for global constituents. Here’s why:

  • Telecom infrastructures in some global markets are less robust than others
  • Mobile bandwidth and data allowances vary widely between countries

If a market’s bandwidth is slower than what’s needed to effectively render your website, visitors won’t stick around. The stakes are high: Forty percent of consumers abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Eighty percent won’t buy from the site again if they were disappointed in its performance.

What’s the cure? Use design and development best practices, such as eliminating website plugins, compressing images and enabling browser caching. Keep your site’s layout simple, and its navigation intuitive, too.

2: Ask Your Audience

While helpful, the quantitative data provided by Google Analytics isn’t very good at telling you how you to improve your online CX. You need qualitative data for that sort of thing.

Collect this information through customer surveys. Reach out to your international prospects, existing customers, employees and business partners. They’ll share their concerns about your offerings or content.

3: Regarding Content

Creating relevant content requires a knowledge of your audience, their worldviews and needs. But did you know that—depending on where they live and the customs they practice—these nuances can vary in ways that impact your buyer’s journey?

Catering to a market’s unique cultural practices, holidays and local lingo can make the difference between losing and closing a sale.

Understanding these worldviews (and the business opportunities they bring) requires internal resources, or partnering with a vendor—such as a translation provider—that can help leverage this cultural fluency in appropriate ways.

4: The Importance of Language

A fast-loading, meticulously designed, content-rich website won’t generate great business results if it’s in a language customers can’t read.

English is no longer the lingua franca of the Internet, if it ever was. These days, customers in all markets expect to be engaged on their terms, in their preferred languages. Consider these common use cases that exclude multilingual customers:

  • Localized answers to customer support questions can’t be found on-site, which increases inbound phone and email support requests (which increases your operating costs)
  • Brand awareness drives customers to your URL, but only a monolingual experience awaits them (which alienates them and increases bounce rates)
  • A local distributor’s site refers an interested user to your website for more information, but the site isn’t available in their language (which derails the buyer’s journey)
  • In-market sales and marketing teams engage local customers with localized assets, but your website remains untranslated (which also impacts the customer experience)
  • Critical touchpoints within the customer journey (such as account management, payment information, shipping/returns data and more) are inaccessible

The solution: Work with an technically experienced translation vendor that can localize your website, secure login areas (such as portals for customers, employees and business partners), and your omnichannel, multimedia and mobile content.

5: A Fully Translated CX

Unfortunately, not all translation vendors are created equal. Many can’t localize online content with much accuracy or efficiency. The issue isn’t one of translation—it’s a matter of technology.

Most aspects of an online CX require superior technology that can reliably parse digital experiences, extract content (in any format) for linguists to translate, and seamlessly integrate the translated content into the localized site.

When vendors fail to fully separate a website’s content from its code, an on-site “mixed language” appears, which looks like:

  • Not all on-page text is translated, making critical content unreadable
  • Promotional graphics that include copy within the images remain untranslated
  • Single-page applications may display only some localized content, or not function at all
  • Important content for business partners, including service manuals and sales sheets, can’t be used at all

The most complex website components—such as single-page applications and dynamic content—present especially thorny challenges that most vendors simply can’t solve.

You need a superior solution that can handle this technical minefield … and, ideally, handles them without any effort required from you.

Last updated on February 19, 2020
Patrick Regan's avatar

About Patrick Regan

For more than 15 years, Patrick Regan has created win-win partnerships by matching his solutions to prospective customers’ needs and objectives. When he’s not working, he enjoys being a dad, the adventures of parenthood, and watching his favorite football team play on Saturdays. (Go Noles!)

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