How Big Companies Market in Foreign Languages

What can we learn from reputable companies about marketing in foreign languages?
More and more American retailers open a Spanish version of their e-commerce websites to attract more Hispanic customers. Here are just a couple of examples: Barnes & Noble and Toyota.

And mind you: They do this not for foreigners, but for Spanish-speaking Americans, who are actually bilingual and could very well use the English sites (!)

Why do popular retailers do this? Well, they are huge companies with expensive marketing departments, and thus they know what to do to improve sales.

They decide to spend money on websites for Hispanics, as their marketing research showed the possibility to earn more if they provided bilingual American population with the chance to read the merchandise descriptions in their mother’s language.

We do not know their budgets for translating and maintaining the Spanish business branches of course. We only hear that their Spanish website texts are not the same as on the original English sites, as they account for some differences that targeting the Spanish-speaking population requires.  (If you know both English and Spanish, check it for yourself.)

Here we also have to look at another aspect of selling to people speaking a foreign language, which we call cultural adjustment if they live in the same country, or it is rather called localization if done for a foreign country. It includes many things – cultural, historical, geographical, and linguistic too.

The first items that come to mind in connection with real estate, would be measurements of the lengths (feet or meters, miles or kilometers?), squares (square feet or square meters, acres or hectares?), and temperatures (Fahrenheit or Celsius?).

We do not even talk here about the truly international businesses, such as Amazon, for example, that have many sites in many foreign languages.

Do the above mentioned reputable American retailers ever use any free online translation for their sites in other languages? No way! Why? Because they are really serious about making profitable sales to the prospects they target!

An example of marketing in many foreign languages from the real estate industry: Sotheby’s International Realty translates (by human translators only!) their luxury properties English descriptions into 15 languages to attract the foreign buyers from all over the world to their listings.

If you want to market your real estate properties to people who speak other languages than English (or other than your own language, generally speaking), and you really want their business, these are the suits to follow to look professional in your marketing efforts and eventually get sales.

On the internet there is no actual difference between a big guy and a little guy nowadays, so look like the marketing expert to the foreign visitors of your online presentation, while taking care of their information needs, and they will buy your properties.

 A summary: Market to the foreign buyers in their own foreign language and cultural environment if you want to sell to them, as big companies do.

Copyright © 2016 by Olga Kellen
All Rights Reserved
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