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  • Su Guillory

How You Can Localize Your Small Business

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

There’s been a lot of talk about localization lately. If you’re following the buzz words, you’ll know that big businesses around the world are localizing to meet consumer needs. They design products, offers and messages to appeal to the personal tastes of customers in different regional areas.

If your prospective buyers live in France for example, it stands to reason that they don’t want to read a website or download a mobile app worded in English. If you have customers who live in the Southern hemisphere, your summer T-shirts aren’t going to be a real hit when they’re scraping ice off their cars.

How You Can Localize Your Small Business

What is Localization?

As you’ve probably already glimpsed by now, localization is not the same as translation. Translating your company website into different languages (if that’s pertinent to your business) is a great first step. But it isn’t enough. Especially as you’re competing with local businesses in foreign markets and global companies doing a better job than you.

The Spanish spoken in Barcelona isn’t the same as that used in the streets of Buenos Aires. Translate your site into one Spanish version for all Spanish-speaking customers and you’ll fail to localize to anyone. A Colombian reading about winter clothes in summer, described using vocabulary regional to Spain will not become a converted client. It would probably be something like listening to an Irishman tell an anecdote in a bar. If you’ve ever been in that position, you’ll know what I mean.

The last thing you want is to go all out and create a message that people barely understand – you want one that resonates with them in their native tongue, on a local level. You want to know that the colors and images that work in the US may be prohibited, or give off the wrong message in India. Cultural taboos are easy to commit and many a household name has belly-flopped into the waters of localization.

Don’t join them. It’s not only languages, dialects and seasons that are different. Weights, dates and measures aren’t displayed the same all around the world, and currencies and legislation are different. Localization takes into account so much more than just words.

Why Does It Matter to Your Small Business?

The internet has given us access to new markets like never before. If you’re not planning for your business or mobile app to be internationally popular, then perhaps you should bear in mind that the US makes up just 8.9% of all internet users globally. Which means that there’s a pretty large potential market out there for your product.

But, if you don’t have a large budget, don’t deal with international clients and aren’t planning to – why does localization matter to your small business? Because localization will help you attract and retain more customers. Let’s say you only do business in the US. Your customer demographic varies greatly from one part of the country to the next. Keeping your buyer persona in mind, you’ll already know that a teenager in California doesn’t think or speak the same way as a Stay-at-Home Mom in New England.

Even if your customers accept and understand the same vocabulary, you can be sure that they celebrate different state or religious holidays, and experience different climates and legislation. So target your message to local audiences by using localized landing pages that will make your customer think – this company’s for me.

Search Engine Optimization

Localization is extremely valuable in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When you have your local content optimized for search engines without keyword stuffing, your SERP will increase. How so? Because search is becoming increasingly local. Which means that British customers looking for a vacation experience in Orlando, will not use the word “vacation.”

Brits go on “holiday” and if your content doesn’t reflect that, your hotel won’t appear. Location is also an important factor these days, so if you’re doing business in Seattle, but you’re based in New York, having a local landing page, local phone number, or local office will all increase your ranking.

Depending on the scope of your client base, full localization of your website could be an enormous project. So start by paying attention to small, but significant details in the places where you do most business, and roll out from there. Watch your conversion rate increase, your ranking go up and your credibility soar. Get local.

Christina Comben is a freelance copywriter and Content Manager at translation and localization services provider, Day Translations. She specializes in B2B website content, marketing materials, article writing, content optimization and blogging. Multilingual and qualified to MBA level, Christina has produced investor guides and economic reports in developing countries for Spanish newspaper ABC. You can connect with Christina via her website, through Twitter or LinkedIn.


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