9 Best Practices for Growing Online Sales Among Non-English Speaking Consumers
The dramatic growth of the Hispanic population in the U.S. has been well documented. There's also been a drift in the economic center of the global economy away from the U.S. Smart companies are taking advantage of these dynamics and finding new customers beyond their traditional markets.
With the internet's compelling economics and worldwide reach, much of this search for new customers is taking place online. For companies already struggling to keep up with the evolution of marketing channels (e.g., social media), growing online sales in multiple languages and markets can be daunting.
Here are nine strategies to attract new customers and better serve existing customers in other languages online:
1. If you have a call center, greet callers with the option to proceed in their chosen language. Not only does this streamline the process of connecting customers with a customer service representative able to assist them, it shows customers that you're committed to them. Mention that your website is available in their native language in your on-hold messaging, too.
2. Allow consumers to identify their language preference. Collect this data to ensure your outbound email and direct mail communications are in consumers’ preferred language.
3. Encourage and make it easy for consumers to tell their friends and family that your company speaks their language. There are many ways to accomplish this, but using Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites is ideal. Facebook is available in more than 100 languages and its membership includes more than 500 million international users.
4. Put links to translated websites in an intuitive, easy-to-see spot on your primary website. Don’t make the mistake of labeling it in a way that requires visitors to read English in order to know to click on it. The top right-hand corner is where most consumers expect to find this link.
5. Train store associates to use your translated websites to better serve non-English speaking customers.
6. Be proactive with the appropriate search engines for the markets and languages you're targeting. Both organic and paid search should outperform the equivalent campaigns on your English site.
7. Be sure your existing marketing spend drives non-English speakers to a channel designed to serve them. Seemingly obvious, this tip is often overlooked — even by companies spending millions of dollars marketing in other languages.
8. Develop a marketing program to promote your brand to non-English speakers. Tactics to consider include cooperative marketing with other entities that are well-positioned within the community you're trying to reach; email; direct mail; targeted mass media (e.g., TV, radio, print); and pay-per-click online advertising, which can be surprisingly cost effective in other languages.
9. Engage and test! Companies that solicit feedback from new customer segments learn to serve them better. Use A/B tests for all of your marketing tactics to learn over time and become more successful.