Running a successful company is a challenging task; it takes a great deal of planning, advancements, and continuous development across practically all areas of the business just in order to stay relevant within a competitive niche. When intending on approaching international consumers and running the company abroad, things become even more problematic.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the aspects you should carefully consider when expanding your company internationally; from fully understanding your potential customers to carefully and professionally translating your documents and materials, allowing the consumers within the chosen foreign market to completely understand your content directly in their native language.
An in-depth consumer research
Being able to understand your consumers fully and entirely; their behaviors, different stimuli driving their purchasing choices, or even the socio-demographic aspects, which may influence their decision-making processes and affect how your brand is perceived, is absolutely essential when approaching a new, foreign market.
Even within your home market, understanding a potential customer and all of the aspects mentioned above is undeniably vital as allows your company to thrive and approach just the right people at the right time – letting you maximize your revenue. As cultures and purchasing stimuli differ drastically across the globe, conducting in-depth consumer research becomes even more significant when expanding your brand internationally.
Aspects such as religion, country’s political situation, disposable income, or common attitudes must be carefully assessed when entering a new, foreign country. Being able to understand these, and other similar socio-cultural and demographic aspects will allow your brand to approach international consumers successfully.
Similarly to understanding your potential customers, it is also extremely important to understand your potential competitors and their unique selling point.
Preparing detailed research, which covers aspects such as market saturation, competitor USPs, or their pricing strategy can be a truly valuable tool in your arsenal when expanding your brand internationally.
One of the best places to start analyzing the market and your potential competitors are the SWOT analysis. This approach allows you to look into the market both as a whole, and then break it down into smaller segments. By creating a detailed summary of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities as well as threats (SWOT) within the market, your organization will be able to tackle those early on and take full advantage of the new, international market.
Professionally translating your documents and content
A study called ‘Can’t read – won’t buy’ conducted a few years ago by the Common-Sense Advisory showed, that 4 in 5, or 80%, of European consumers, is more likely to finalize a purchase of a product or a service if they are able to read the information directly in their native language. Additionally, 1 in 4 of the respondents asked claimed to never, or very rarely, buy items if they cannot find information translated into their language or when the information is provided solely in English.
As you can see from the numbers mentioned above, professionally translating your documents and any other relevant, corporate materials can have an immensely positive effect on your potential customers and on how they perceive your brand.
Nowadays, in order to successfully approach foreign markets and international consumers, businesses and organizations must fully adapt their campaigns and content in order to tailor them specifically for the chosen country and consumers within it. Today, as globalization continues to progress, the once-popular ‘one-fits-all strategy is slowly becoming irrelevant and replaced by a more adapted and modern method, where each of the chosen markets is assessed and approached based on its individual criteria and principles – its native language being one of the most important ones. This is exactly why working with professional translation agencies can be so beneficial to any organization wanting to establish its presence internationally.
Although translation services are, or at least should be, an integral part of any international expansion plan, even today a number of business owners still do not fully understand just how the translation processes work, where to begin and where to find the most suitable language translations provider. Fortunately for anyone who wants to learn a little bit more, there are several high-quality, reputable resources available, such as this page entirely focused on translation services offering in-depth and comprehensive information, which give further insight into how translations actually work and what you should pay close attention to when translating your documents into another language.
What and where should you translate?
When you decide to take your company abroad and approach international consumers, translating your content should be at the very top of your ‘to do’ list. Nonetheless, with piles of different documents and hundreds of other materials, it can be somewhat difficult to decide, which content might actually be relevant within the new market and what needs translating and what doesn’t.
As a rule of thumb, regardless of whether your brand will be physically present abroad (e.g. a high street shop) or will trade solely online, translating your company’s website is a must. Generally speaking, your website will usually be the first point of contact between the brand and a potential customer. Allowing the visitor to comfortably read all information in their native language can be truly beneficial. When translating the website, it’s important to remember that, apart from the text, a number of other aspects might also need to be carefully adapted. Time, currency, or even images might need to be changed in order to be suitable for the target audience. In such a case, fortunately, a professional translation agency will usually take care of this.
Additional marketing materials, such as leaflets, business cards, or brochures should also be accurately converted into the market’s native language, as this will allow you to build a friendly and customer-focused international brand.
In some cases, translating legal documents; contracts, terms/conditions, or warranties might also be necessary. If you’re not entirely sure about which documents or files should be converted before approaching the foreign audience, it might be a good idea to approach a translation agency directly. Language providers have truly vast experience in working with similar projects and so, in theory, speaking with them might allow you to better understand how the processes actually work and which documents should be translated. In a way, you might get away with a free consultancy service!
This brings us to the next important question: where to find a reliable translation provider? In the United Kingdom, we can recognize two main types of translators: Freelance linguists as well as professional translation agencies.
Working with freelance linguists is, generally speaking, slightly cheaper than partnering with a language agency. Nonetheless, working with an experienced translation company comes with a number of additional benefits, such as faster turnaround times, more languages covered, or more specific sector expertise.
Whether you decide to work with a freelance linguist or a professional translation company, make sure to visit useful pages such as the CIOL (Chartered Institute of Linguists) or ATC (Association of Translation Companies) as this will allow you to learn a little bit more about your chosen supplier and decide, whether they are a good fit for your requirements and the type of content you need to convert into another language.
The future potential of the chosen market
Although the majority of the international expansions completed by the UK companies happen into other already established and relatively secure markets, some business owners have the ability to look much further into the future and decide to expand into markets, which have not boomed to their maximum potential quite just yet.
A number of markets in Africa, Asia, or South America (but also some European countries) are amongst the fastest growing and developing markets in the world. Visionary organizations decide to penetrate these sectors early on, with the hope that once the markets are more established and developed, they will be able to reap the fruits of an early, successful internationalization.
By looking into the country’s long-term perspective, plans, and goals as well as any direct or indirect factors, which may affect the course of the economy, you will be able to choose a market with the highest long-term potential, allowing you to build a strong and trustworthy brand before your competitors decide to follow your steps.