May 29th, 2009
by Pamela Sherman
Our team of marketers at WMT is a pretty diverse and fun group, in areas of specialty as well as cultural heritage. I think it’s one of our greatest attributes. Not only does it enrich our work environment; but, it also helps clients as they prepare to enter a diverse and international marketplace.
Recently, I’ve discovered an increasing number of companies who are attracting an international market. When reviewing their website analytics, we notice some overseas niches that show potential for expansion.
If your product makes sense for an international audience, you have greater opportunities with today’s web outreach. But, like any business growth, it’s wise to do research and strategic planning to prevent mishaps, and achieve the results you need and desire. Prepare your operational systems for product fulfillment and pricing. Be sure you research the international markets that have the greatest potential and plan your target marketing accordingly. Also, take a look at your website’s communication and design, while determining whether you need new pages, etc.
The following are some web statistics to heighten your awareness of the international market, gathered from OBAN Multilingual Research:
LOCAL LANGUAGE POWER: Users are three times more likely to buy online when addressed in their local language.
GERMANY / UK / FRANCE: German nationals generate nearly 20% of all Internet usage in the European Union, followed by 15% in the UK, and 13% in France.
JAPAN: More than half of Internet users in Japan access the web via a mobile devise.
INDIA: Online shoppers in just one year, have increased from 11.9 million to 19.1 million in India.
CHINA: Chinese users conduct the second largest number of searches worldwide.
ASIA: In Asia, business to consumer online travel sales has increased by 49.5% between 2006-2007.
ITALY: Search in Italy went up by 58% in 2007.
ARABIC SPEAKING: The number of Arabic speaking Internet users increased nearly ten-fold in the last seven years (2000-2007).
*The majority of internet users today are non-native English speakers.*
*70% of “search” worldwide is not in English*
The following are some basic tips for website design for international markets:
1) Make each web page easy to read and easy on the eye. Be clear in vocabulary, sentences, and enhance with pictures.
2) Align vocabulary with the language of the target market, tapping multiple cultures (that’s in the U.S. and overseas).
3) Make it easy for those whose first language is not English, by using: Short Paragraphs, Short Sentences, Titles and Subtitles, Headings and Subheadings, Consistent Vocabulary. (Don’t use two many synonyms for the same item in your website, e.g.: Gadget and Widget)
4) Be careful with your use of industry words –those in particular with a double meaning when translated.