Steps to ensure your success across borders.
Your website is your brand’s best international representative. It can reach consumers from any country at any time, and can help you close sales in markets you didn’t even know you had. But in order to maximise its benefits, you have to make sure your website is internationally friendly. If your goal is to reach native English-speaking markets, there are some factors you should keep in mind.
Directly from our native English marketing team at The Noise Lab, here are some pointers to help you increase your website’s reach into the native English-speaking market:
Perfect your copy
The advent of automatic translators has undoubtedly been positive overall. Online programs like Google Translate allow companies to easily communicate with foreign markets with little to no additional investment. However, they have not reached anywhere near the level of precision necessary to be effective with native English-speaking audiences. English speakers are used to their language being the lingua franca for the world wide web, which means they have less tolerance than other audiences for typos or confusing translations. Copy that is incorrectly translated will not only fail to sell your product, but can actively deter potential customers. If you’re going to invest in professional translation or transcreation services, consider using them to create your English copy. After all, by having your website in English, you will be able to effectively engage ¼ of the world’s population, so it’s worth getting the copy just right.
In addition to expecting easy access to all sorts of websites, native English speakers are also accustomed to concise and well-developed marketing copy. In general, English is a more succinct language than Spanish, with sentences 20% shorter on average than their Spanish equivalents. Native English speakers expect snappy, clear and clever language that speaks directly to them as individuals. They want short phrases that use evocative language. They want text that is well organised and easy to skim. They want copy that addresses them as people. Copy that is non-specific, verbose or convoluted will not engage a native English speaker. Achieving these objectives can be difficult, so we recommend opting for transcreation over translation services in order to perfect the tone and content.
Communicate critical information clearly
The US, the UK, Australia and other large English-speaking markets can be classified as low-context cultures—cultures that expect things to be explicitly spelled out, with a low tolerance for ambiguity. Spain, by contrast, is a high-context culture, where instructions are not always clear and people figure out what they have to do based on the context. To adapt your website for English-speaking markets, you have to make your important text obvious. Instructions, calls to action, and contact information should be bolded, highlighted, or stand out aesthetically in some other way. Instructions should be very clear, and should detail precisely what the consumer has to do. Contact information must be functioning and current, and your website should provide various ways for customers to reach your company (i.e. an email address, comment section on website, telephone number, different social media accounts). Be ready to respond quickly to these clients’ concerns, as they are used to quick and thorough responses to their inquiries.
Choose your images with intention
In most native English-speaking markets, high-speed internet connections are common. Marketers have taken advantage of this, and often embed videos, animations, rotating images, and other moving media. Consumers in these regions have come to expect this, and may feel under-stimulated by websites that exclusively use traditional images.
In addition to considering the different formats of your website’s media, you should also think about your media’s content. English-speaking cultures are on the whole much more individualistic, rather than collective, which means consumers tend to connect with images that portray one person or one person in focus in front of a blurred background of a group. So, unless your company sells family or group-based products (i.e. board games, food products for family meals, etc.), incorporate media that shows individuals.
The next step is to ensure you choose the right individuals for your brand. You want to use images of people that feel familiar to your audience. Because the primary English-speaking markets are highly diverse, consumers are accustomed to different groups being represented in advertising. They want to see diversity reflected in the brands they buy. Using images of various groups can communicate that your brand is progressive and inclusive, while using images of people from only one ethnic group can negatively affect the perception of your brand.
Multiple scientific studies have shown that colour has deeply ingrained cultural meanings and associations. In the US and the UK, for example, yellow represents happiness, while red represents love. Purple, however, represents luxury in the UK but low-cost products in the US. Figure out the associations your target audience has with different colours and be mindful when transcreating your website.
It is important to keep in mind that the US and UK audiences expect consistency in colour branding. They want to see the same colour patterns and fonts extended throughout your website in the text, logos, banners, and images. Once you’ve settled on fonts and colours, create a template to help you be consistent across your pages.
Your website is key to communicating your message across borders. So, get a team of native English marketers on board and connect effectively with your new market.