A global expansion strategy will enable your business to reach new markets, enhancing your brand’s reputation and creating new revenue. However, as with all marketing strategies, it must be based on a lot of thinking and analysis to ensure the most effective plan is in place. One of the most important parts of your global strategy should be localisation.
What is Localisation and Why is it Important for your Business?
For a successful global market strategy, you need to ‘think global, act local’. This means finding the right balance between centralising and localising your digital marketing strategy.
Localisation is the process of adapting your content and brand messaging in new countries, addressing the differences in culture, social norms, and language that will allow you to make a meaningful connection with your local audiences.
Creating a localised approach will ultimately help your business target your audience more efficiently, engage with them better, and ultimately increase return on investment.
Localisation Does Not Equal Translation
It is tempting to use the same strategy across all markets and take the ads content in its original form and translate it word-for-word. However, not considering idioms, slangs, and other cultural nuances in your expansion strategy can lead to ad copy sounding unnatural and incomprehensible to the intended audiences. In addition to this, companies that rely solely on machine translation open themselves up to potential failure every time they do so.
One example of this was Parker Pen. As they expanded to Mexico, they translated their slogan into Spanish without giving it too much thought. ‘Embarrass’ and ‘Embarazada’ do sound and look similar so it was probably assumed that these words had the same meaning. However, ‘embarazada’ means ‘impregnate’ in Spanish. ‘It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you’ was embarrassingly translated to ‘It won’t leak in your pocket and impregnate you’.
Building a Winning Localisation Strategy
To ensure you do not make the same mistakes as those above, here are a few recommendations on how to create a successful localised approach to ensure you are set up for success.
1. Understand Your Target Audience
The first step is to understand your target audience. This includes understanding preferences, behaviour, and cultural norms. For example, in some countries, consumers may prefer to shop in physical stores, therefore focusing on driving traffic to stores with ad-hoc campaigns will bring you more footfall. In others cases, online shopping is more prevalent, so the focus should be on the implementation of campaigns with sales objectives. By understanding these differences, you can tailor your messaging and targeting to each market.
H&M has a great example of a localised marketing campaign that truly understands the regional audience they were targeting. They created a campaign that focused on the interests and lifestyle habits of their local audience in Amsterdam, allowing them to tap into a new market by offering solutions to their environmental concerns. They also replicated this success in Peru by using a localised version of the same ad with the native language used within the copy and video.
2. Use Local Keywords
Using local keywords is crucial when creating a localised paid media strategy. By using the right keywords, you can ensure that your ads appear in search results for relevant searches. For example, if you’re targeting consumers in Japan, you may want to use keywords in Japanese rather than English to ensure that your ads are visible to your target audience.
Even within markets that speak the same language such as the US & UK, local keywords are still extremely important. Take footwear brands for example:
|Search Term||Search Volume – US||Search Volume – UK|
By not localising your campaigns to each market, even within the same language, you are potentially missing out on a high level of both visibility and conversions.
- Tailor Your Messaging
When creating ads for different markets, it’s important to tailor the messaging to each audience. This means using the appropriate language, tone, and cultural references that resonate with the target audience.
Sportswear brand Nike created a campaign that used New York as the backdrop, appealing to New Yorkers with their “Own the Floor” campaign that epitomised the essence of what it means to live in a city that’s one big stage. They combined classic locations such as the subway, laundromats, and pizzerias with local talent to connect with their target audience, demonstrating an understanding of their lifestyles and deepening the feeling of connection.
3. Use Local Platforms
Different markets may have their own preferred social media and advertising platforms. For example:
- In China, Baidu and WeChat are the dominant search and social media platforms
- In Russia, VKontakte is more popular
- Yahoo is the main Search Engine in Japan
By using local platforms, you can reach your target audience more effectively and efficiently.
4. Localise Your Landing Pages
Finally, it’s important to localise your website’s landing pages to ensure that they’re relevant to each market. This includes translating your content into the appropriate language, using local currency and measurements, and tailoring your messaging to each audience. By localising your landing pages, you can improve your conversion rates and ultimately increase your ROI.
One example of a successful localised paid media strategy was Airbnb’s “First Night on Us” campaign, which targeted specific cities and neighbourhoods with unique experiences. The campaign included localised landing pages, social media ads, and influencer partnerships.
Specifically, through advertising on Pinterest, Airbnb created boards to showcase its unique properties and experiences, and launched a campaign in France to build awareness in domestic travel. Domestic travel was a powerful trend on Pinterest after the pandemic, where Pinners were increasingly attracted to the concept of the ‘staycations’ (i.e., holidays at home). Airbnb’s Pinterest campaign was a success, helping the brand reach more than 4.2 million users in just four weeks. Furthermore, a Brand Lift Study, showed that Airbnb had increased awareness of their “First Night on Us” offer by +16%.
With a tailor-made strategy that combined ads and organic content, advertising on Pinterest helped to boost brand exposure and improve visibility by combining organic content and adverts, reaching a broader target group every week via highly targeted video ads.
In conclusion, creating a localised approach for a global paid media strategy is essential for any business that wants to expand its reach and increase its user engagement. By understanding the target audience, using local keywords, tailoring the messaging, using local platforms, and localising your landing pages, it’s possible to create ads that resonate with your audience and drive results.
If you’re looking for help to shape your global and local paid media strategy, GA Agency is an international digital marketing agency ready to assist you with all your digital marketing needs. Get in touch for a free consultation and find out how we can help take your business to the next level.