Today’s online world offers business globalization at an incomparable speed, cost, flexibility, scalability and profitability compared to all other routes to market. The international internet business model is a paradigm change, where successful globalization is achieved through localization. Cumulative online local successes, market by market, delivers global success, hence the “glocal” mantra. Successful corporates seeking to grow their businesses globally are leveraging this optimal online route, local market by local market, and gaining their global success on an unprecedented scale. Without borders, the internet offers companies across all sectors, opportunities to internationalize. There are some outstanding well published, even infamous, examples, including Amazon and Uber. However much glocalization is a no-brainer, getting it right is tough, demanding high levels of both online technical skill sets, coupled and with local market understanding. So let’s get you started on your glocal (global/local) program today.
Online localization is all about website localization and digital marketing, market by market. This means fully customized websites for each target market. Each country specific online presence must be relentlessly focused on and adapted for your local profiled target audiences, so the site(s) must be translated, easy to engage, do business and transact with from a local perspective. It’s all about an excellent Local User Experience (LUX). Many studies on LUX are concerned with the use of native language for local website presence. The obvious conclusion is that users prefer sites in their mother tongue. Put the other way round, users will avoid sites that are not in their native language, defaulting to a 2nd or even 3rd language of questionable competence, when forced to. Take this further: target prospects will spend less time as visitors, be less engaged, buy less product/service or most probably nothing at all and refrain from using sales/after sales support.
One example is the Common Sense Advisory study, which tells us that >75% of multilingual consumers preferred to buy products in their native language. Further, >55% say they will only buy online when the website is in their native language. This figure goes to >95% when dealing with the big international languages. Those English, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, German etc. mother tongue speakers see no reason at all to search, find, visit and engage with non-native language sites, implying “If you cannot be bothered to build and market a website for my business, I’ll go elsewhere”. And there are lots of online native sites choices to go to! Many smaller languages groups, say Swedish or Malay native speakers, have probably acquired a 2nd or even 3rd language and understand that to get the best of the web, they must get on-board with foreign languages, probably English or Chinese websites.
There are two stages to successful glocalization, with several little steps in between. First of all, build your online presence in your target markets. Each country has specific search engines. Search engines are different in each market, even if it is the same service provider (could even be Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask, Baidu or Yandex). The algorithms are country specific, prioritizing local registration, hosting and content (language…) and search for local users! Registration is all about the domain names, those Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) or even a whole new recently extended Top Level Domains (TLDs), now available including: Geographic, Generic, Community, Brands and International Domain Names (IDNs). In-market search engines privilege localized use of country or even city specific URLs: so that is .cn and .cn.com when in China, .jp for Japan, .de for Germany, .mx for Mexico, .co.uk for the United Kingdom etc. and we can now get down to city level examples include: .New York, .London, .Paris or .HongKong, there is no end to the localization. Then we need to get the content management system (CMS) hosting sorted. Local in-market hosting is again identified and privileged by the search engines, so you can provide your local user better data access (up and download) speeds, above all where users are on mobile devices and steaming video and transacting online. Getting back to content, we already mentioned that local language allows relevant keyword search, but so are the images and all information and downloads on your local site. Market by market, keyword research and implementation is critical to a successful local presence. This is where your digital technie and in-market business developer converge, each deploying their skills to ensure your targeted online audience finds you when searching.
Now market your online presence in your target markets. Localized online presence enables local search engine optimization and social media marketing through the relevant platforms. This again may take us to the well-known international actors: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instragram as well as various more local players: Qzone, Weibo and WeChat. As local traffic builds, the LUX drives engagement delivering followers and leads, creating communities wherein the brand is developed internationally, adding awareness, credibility, trust, experience, protection, promotion and value. From a direct business perspective there is market knowledge, with opportunities to sell to businesses (B2B) and consumers (B2C), business growth, reports and analytics, and return on investment (ROI).
The digital tool kits available today take you glocal like no other go-to market development format. There are many companies that have successfully walked this road. Studies show that businesses with an international online presence are growing faster and more profitably. At ibt partners we help many of these companies. We are often asked by companies where do we start. I like the words of Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
So step one, is determining your priority international markets in which you wish to grow your business, and step two is contacting us at ibt partners. We have walked this online road before and together we will take the next steps to get you successfully glocal.