August 30, 2016 Last Updated 9:54 am

Generate more online sales with localized social posts and optimized global sites

Guest column: Charles Whiteman, senior vice president of client services at MotionPoint discusses how companies are finding new customers and revenue streams by expanding into emerging markets online

Smart companies are finding new customers and new revenue streams by expanding into emerging markets online. A critical first step to wooing these global consumers is to serve them with websites translated in their preferred languages.

But my company’s experience suggests that these translated sites, while important, will only deliver a certain amount of success on their own. To achieve sustained success in emerging online markets, companies must also leverage the power of locally-preferred social networks, and optimize a user’s on-site experience to maximize conversion rates.


Engage Global Customers On Their Preferred Social Networks

Just as in their primary (often English-speaking) markets, companies that ignore regional social networks will blow critical opportunities to engage global customers and generate meaningful referral traffic to their localized websites.

Global social network adoption will continue to grow in the years ahead. In just four years, 25% more people will be connected to a social network—that’s nearly three billion people. Nearly half of the top 10 most popular social networks serve primarily Chinese and Asian consumers. And nearly 85% of American-made Facebook’s users live outside the U.S.

Mobile users in Asia-Pacific emerging markets are leading the world in this adoption. But social reigns supreme in mature markets, too. In Japan, for instance, nearly 60% of the country’s entire population is on social networks.

To capitalize on this worldwide phenomenon, expanding companies should translate their social media posts. This best practice boosts brand discoverability in overseas markets, fosters brand trust, and encourages global consumers to champion products to friends and family.

My company translates companies’ social media content (and other social elements such as Facebook Open Graph metadata) for global markets. Our experience indicates this localized social content generates more traffic and conversions on translated global sites.

For instance, when we helped one client integrated its Chinese website’s functionality with popular Chinese social networks WeChat, Weibo and QQ, the company saw immediate and remarkable results. Within three months, about one-third of the site’s referral traffic hailed from these social networks. More than 10% of its total traffic (not just referral traffic) was powered by social media, generating 10% of all site revenue. These metrics have been increasing ever since.

Translating content for Facebook company pages gets results, too. We recently helped a UK e-retailer reach new Japanese customers by translating its posts for that market. Since then, thousands of Japanese users have commented and shared their own posts on the page. Referral traffic immediately increased, and remains high.


On-Site Optimizations Boost Conversion Rates

But generating referral traffic to a translated site won’t create higher conversion rates if that site doesn’t engage with global consumers. That’s why optimizing the user experience to meet your new customers’ expectations is so important.

An example: We helped translate and launch a client’s website to serve the Chinese market. After it went live, we recommended increasing the size of the site’s Chinese body copy to deliver a more reader-friendly experience.

The client agreed. The change took mere minutes to implement, but the immediate results were powerful: pages-per-visit increased by nearly 25%, conversion rates rose 300% and bounce rates dropped precipitously.

Localized conversion rate optimization is also quite effective. Most companies conduct A/B tests and analyze the performance of their primary-market websites. The should do the same for their global sites, too. This helps discover online performance gaps in emerging markets, and leads to improvements of the localized site’s conversion funnel.

Using this strategy, we’ve helped clients optimize product assortments for target markets (which increased conversion rates by around 65%), and crafted nuanced, more persuasive translations within checkout flows (leading to nearly 20% boosts in conversion rates).

Charles-Whiteman-240As your company expands into new online markets, make sure to invest effort into understanding how your global consumers share content and shop—or engage a globalization solutions provider that has this understanding.

By serving these customers in their channels and languages of choice, you’ll wildly improve your company’s changes of sustained success in markets around the globe.

Charles Whiteman is senior vice president of client services at MotionPoint Corporation, the world’s #1 enterprise localization platform.

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