Going into 2017, your website is and should be the core of your digital marketing efforts. It’s an opportunity to share information about your product or service, establish a brand identity, generate leads, and guide your audience throughout the buyer’s journey.
Of course, when your business operates internationally, that opportunity can quickly turn into a problem. Even the best brand websites won’t succeed if the content is not accurate, clear, or doe snot reflect the brand you’ve worked hard to establish. When that’s the case, given the central importance of your website, your marketing efforts can fall flat.
That’s what makes translating your website effectively such a crucial task. If you don’t get this channel right, even the best marketing strategy might not succeed. Stunning and convincing ads will not succeed if they lead to a site that does not accurately reflect your value proposition. To prevent that from happening, here are 6 indications that your website translation needs help.
1) Your Google Rankings Drop
As an established business, you probably have an established search engine optimization strategy that ensures your website is ranked highly in relevant searches. If the same thing doesn’t happen on the international version of your website, or if you see your rankings on that version drop over time, it may be time to take a closer look at the content.
Google ranks websites according to their relevance and credibility. Simply translating each word on your website directly is not enough; instead, you need to make sure that the new text actually adheres to Google’s local guidelines.
That, in turn, necessitates keyword research for the language into which you are translating your website. Find the terms and phrases your international audience searches for, in order to develop an online presence that is actually relevant to their searches. The more relevant your website in its new language, the more highly it will rank on search engines over time.
2) Your Bounce Rates Increase
A common term in digital marketing and web design, bounce rate describes the percentage of visitors who leave your website after only viewing a single page. In other words, the first page on which they land did not convince them about your brand’s value and relevance enough to keep browsing.
Ideally, your bounce rate for native and foreign visitors on each version of your website should be relatively similar. If the metric is considerably higher for international audiences, you might want to consider an examination of your translation. In that case, your foreign visitors likely don’t understand your brand’s value as quickly and effectively as they could, requiring more relevant and direct content.
3) Your Value Proposition is Unclear
What exactly can your business offer to your current and prospective customers? You should always look to communicate your value proposition as clearly and succinctly as possible, making it visible for your visitors as soon as they enter your website.
Neglecting to do so does not necessarily lead to bounces. But it will lead to a higher degree of confusion that will ultimately result in less convincing content.
To find out whether your translated website effectively communicates that value proposition, conduct surveys and focus groups among your visitors and ask them to tell you exactly what they think your brand can offer. Their answers’ consistency with your intended focus tells you all you need to know about how your translated web content can improve.
4) Your Conversion Rates are Below Average
In 2016, and going into 2017, websites are far more than online billboards that tell audiences about your brand. They invite next steps, from signing up for more information to becoming a customer on the spot.
The majority of your audience won’t immediately take this intended step. But a significant number will, and determining whether your conversion rates are in line with industry averages can go a long way toward understanding whether your website is as convincing as it could be.
A number of studies have benchmarked conversion rates in different industries. Study these insights, and determine where your own analytics fall within that framework. If it’s below average, your translated content may need some work.
5) Topical Questions at the Sale
Sometimes, you can spot errors in your translated website retroactively and in a more indirect fashion. Your sales agents will likely receive questions about the product or service at the point of purchase. The questions they get can inform you on whether the research they’ve done lines up with your core product.
For example, you may sell steel parts to German automakers. If your German website does not communicate the composition of your parts effectively, you will get questions about that aspect at the point of sale and through customer interactions. Adjust your content, and these questions (along with cognitive dissonance) will decrease.
6) You’re Using Automated Translation Services
Using automated software to translate your website is a grievous mistake for your marketing outreach in an international market. As we’ve detailed in a previous blog post, automated software does not account for any of the nuances that become so crucial in marketing and website translations.
Direct translations of the exact same words, for example, have very different underlying meanings. The color white stands for innocence in Western culture, but death in Chinese. Mist, an English word describing a light fog, actually stands for animal manure in German.
Automated software will not pick up on those nuances, and the consequences could be dramatic. Only a professional translation of your website can account for them, ensuring that your digital presence communicates your intended message effectively to your target audience.
Optimizing Your Website Translation
Any of these indicators could point toward needing an overhaul of your international website. But of course, you also need to find a partner that can help you actually improve your translated website. For help in that regard, and more information on how we can help you turn your website content into an international conversion machine, contact us.