Combined with strategic planning, bilingual sites are sources of great expansion opportunities

Have you ever thought that having a bilingual website can be a great expansion strategy for your brand?

When we look at the transformations that globalization has brought about, we immediately think of the ease of traveling from one country to another and about immigration, which has been growing day by day and globally.

In Brazil alone, from 2010 to 2019 there was a 23.9% growth in the number of immigrants with a postgraduate, master’s, or doctorate degree (Data from the Ministry of Justice of Brazil).

Another very important aspect of globalization is the evolution of the transport of goods, which has facilitated the expansion of companies whose focus is to sell in places far from their headquarters and factories – nationally and internationally.

Therefore, having a bilingual website nowadays is an excellent marketing strategy, as not everyone who visits or moves to a certain country speaks the local language. In addition, companies will enlarge their chance 

of selling abroad.

As I’ve lived in at least five European countries of different languages, I can say there’s a significant difficulty finding companies that provide bilingual information. However, when I look for a service/product and find competing companies, I always choose the one that has information online in English, Spanish or Italian, as examples.

Obviously, a bilingual website is a guarantee for foreign customers who will have more reliability in the company’s service or product.

If you’re convinced of the necessity of having a bilingual website, or if you’re still researching to find out whether it is worth it to invest in this project, here are some tips on what to research to make a decision based on data:

REGION – Search for the number of immigrants in your region (or target region) and see what is the main language they speak. 

As a marketing communications strategist, I would say that in general English is always the best option, as most people choose it as a second language. However, in some cases, such as in Brazil, maybe Spanish is a better option, as the country is surrounded by Spanish speakers.

CUSTOMERS – Consider the nationality of your current customers and targets. Understand that foreigners will prefer the company that provides information in their language. This is an efficient loyalty strategy.

PRODUCT AND PURCHASE POWER – Consider the product sold x the purchasing power of your target audience. As the return on investment (ROI) is crucial to a company’s vitality, the business owner should be aware that putting a bilingual website up and running may not bring any return. You have to be realistic. While I would encourage the entrepreneur to expect future opportunities, they may not happen. Still, I consider this to be a worthwhile investment.

OPPORTUNITIES – Consider future partners and business opportunities “Business to Business”. What is their language?

A company has more customers than just buyers. For instance, there are suppliers, investors, the community, partners, just to mention some of its related relationships usually called stakeholders. 

Other more specific aspects should be studied case by case, however, some very common questions asked by companies that are studying the possibility of putting a bilingual website online are:

AUTOMATIC TRANSLATION

“But what if I use Google to translate?” ,

someone might ask.

Google translator is getting better every day. I can say, without fear, that for simple translations, Google is many times better than a human. However, for a more technical language, Google is not the best solution.

Generally speaking, consider avoiding using machine translation on your website because it could negatively compromise you with the customer. In addition, the information on the website can be used against the company itself, so be cautious with the information displayed there.

Besides it, the user can choose to translate their website using translation plugins such as Google Translate itself, making the translation not your company’s responsibility, but theirs.

So, if you decide to translate your website, do it professionally and manually.

BILINGUAL SERVICE

“But it doesn’t make sense to have a bilingual website if I don’t have anyone who speaks English in my company”,

someone might say.

There are numerous possibilities in the market when it comes to customer service:

  1. Foreigners who find clear and objective explanations of the product or service (online or offline) are already loyal. Consider that your competitors probably don’t have bilingual employees working for them either. Therefore, investing in a website will get you ahead.
  2. If you insist on having a bilingual service, how about outsourcing it?

You don’t need to have an employee who speaks the language, but you can opt for an outsourced professional and train him/her. This professional, after being well-trained and about your company, could be available part-time or, at least, a few hours a week just to return contact from foreign clients when necessary.

The possibilities of expanding a business that becomes bilingual are unimaginable. If you want to grow, serve foreign immigrants or tourists, and actively sell in countries whose language is different from yours, think carefully and invest in a bilingual website!

Leave a Reply