Imagine you are traveling in a faraway country, outside of your comfort zone. You are enjoying the sights and sounds and smells, but you know you are a stranger in a strange land.
Then, you hear someone speaking your native language. Immediately, you turn to see who it is, and you smile, because you feel at home with this person who knows your language.
How Will Translation Help My Conversion Rate?
Our native language can affect our behavior and influence our purchasing habits. Indeed, language has been proven to affect our behavior considerably.
In research published in the Harvard Business Review, it was found that 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language. This means that, by providing a site in only one language, you automatically are ruling out a huge potential client base.
The research also found that 72.4% of consumers would be more likely to buy a product using information in their own language. With so many products available, consumers increasingly are undertaking their own internet-based research before committing to a purchase. If your product information isn’t in their native language, chances are they won’t buy it.
In fact, 56.2% of the consumers in the study said the ability to obtain information in their own language is even more important than price. Thus, while price reduction is an obvious tactic in a competitive market, the use of language may have a bigger impact than you might think.
Another report, published by the European Commission, revealed that 90% of internet users in the EU always visited a website in their own language, when given a choice of languages. In today’s competitive world, no business can afford to ignore the possibility of adding 90% of a country’s internet users to their sales figures!
Start Small with One Language
You don’t need to do everything at once to improve your site’s conversion rate with language. Start with just one language. To identify which language is most likely to bring the highest return on investment, find out where your site’s traffic comes from, using the Audience tab in Google Analytics.
If a country that uses another language is a major traffic generator, then translating to that country’s language is the logical thing to do. You will be building on your site’s existing potential and maximizing its appeal to clients in that country.
For example, if people from France already visit your site, why not approach them in French? It will increase the likelihood that they will complete a purchase, and, as mentioned above, they might even be willing to pay extra.
If Google Analytics shows that most of your traffic comes from a country where your native language is the primary language, consider translating to a widely spoken secondary language in that country. For example, in addition to English, Spanish is widely spoken in the U.S., and French is widely spoken in Canada.
Use Google Analytics to find out where your site’s traffic comes from.
5 Simple Steps to Improve Conversion Rate with Language
With the selected target language in hand, you probably are looking at your site and feeling intimidated. The thought of full website localization can do that to a person. However, I’m here to tell you that implementing just a few small steps can be instrumental in improving your site’s conversion rate significantly.
#1 Localize the Live Chat
Live chat is a conversion promoter in itself, as it offers a human touch in the digital sphere, and immediate support. This is essential for those clients who have a question relating to a product or service that, if unanswered by the site, might cause them to turn away.
You easily can increase the popularity of the live chat tool on your site by translating the invitation to chat into additional languages. Simply put, when people are approached in their own language, they are more likely to respond.
Some more-advanced live chat services even offer a simultaneous translation. That way, the entire chat is conducted in the client’s language, which is translated into the language of the support person on the other side. This system ensures that the client is able to receive the information they need in a clear and understandable format, delivered instantly through the live chat tool.
There is a simultaneous translation feature in the live chat service offered by Zopim
#2 Translate Your Site’s Most Popular Pages
Rather than translating your entire site right away, use Google Analytics to discover which of your site’s pages have the most unique views, and translate only those pages. By filtering out those pages that don’t contribute to conversion, you are left with a clear map as to which pages to translate first.
For example, many of our website’s pages are dedicated to our global team of translators. Popular as they are, they make almost no contribution to converting clients, and, thus, have little value in terms of conversion rate.
#3 Translate the Usual Suspects
If you don’t have proper analytics tracking in place, you can use another method to select the pages for which you should prioritize translation. Likely contenders include pages that provide the client with important information on products and their prices, answer the client’s questions, help to allay any uncertainties, and increase the client’s trust in the company and its products.
The pages most like to fall within these categories are:
- Home page
- Products and packages page
- About us page
- Frequently asked questions page
- Contact us page
You also should consider translating the site’s funnel pages, where the purchase of goods or services actually takes place. However, as funnels are sometimes built in a quite complicated manner, it may not be the easiest thing to do.
#4 Adjust Prices
Providing potential clients with the option to choose their country of origin and their preferred currency can do wonders for a site’s conversion rate. Automatic recognition of a visitor’s IP address can be used to achieve this.
Then, clients will have easy access to prices in their own currency. Without this, many clients will need to go elsewhere to check the current exchange rate and calculate the site’s prices for themselves. Needless to say, many will find it easier to patronize another company’s site that already lists products in their own currency.
As well as listing prices in the client’s own currency, outlining shipping costs and any additional taxes or fees in that currency will be beneficial. Making this extra effort will ensure that the client has access to the total cost in their own currency.
Asos has it right. Users can choose either another currency on the English site or an entirely translated version of the site.
When I chose to move to the Italian site, the currency automatically changed to Euros.
#5 Personalize Your Email Marketing
The importance of targeting in email marketing already is crystal clear. However, many businesses fail to see the potential of going a little further and writing targeted marketing emails in the recipient’s native language.
This is perhaps the easiest and fastest step you can take when experimenting with the effect of translation on conversion rates. I encourage you to try it at least once in order to assess the impact it has on marketing email open and click-through rates.
SEO Aspects to Consider
When turning your site multilingual, some important SEO aspects must be taken into consideration, in order to keep the traffic flowing:
- Choosing the right web structure is essential. Possibilities include:
- Country level domain (www.domain.uk)
- Country-based sub domain (uk.domain.com)
- Language-based sub domain (en.domain.com)
- Country-based directory (www.domain.com/uk)
- Language-based directory (www.domain.com/en).
The biggest advantage to country level domain is that the site gains a local identity. This may help with both local search engines (google.uk) and credibility in the minds of potential clients. However, when using a directory, a site will enjoy the SEO credentials it already has.
If you do choose the country level domain option, make sure to consider using a local IP address.
- Not all words are born equal, so it’s important to ensure that keywords are optimized in every language. The Google AdWords Keyword Tool is a great help with languages.
- Bear in mind the SEO value of meta-tags as well. Site translation should ensure that all components are incorporated.
- Plan your marketing efforts for the newly translated content. SEO promotion has different norms in every country, so make sure to conduct your research. The best approach is to consult local experts regarding content marketing, link building, and social media tactics in each country.
For those looking to dig deeper into this aspect of site translation, I would highly recommend Gianluca Fiorelli’s article on International SEO.
Using a potential client’s native language can help the user feel at home when traveling to your website. Your brand and products instantly become more familiar, even before he or she reads anything about what you have to say (or sell).
Why not choose one step from the list above and give it a try today? I’ll be happy to hear about your experiences and results. Good Luck!
About the Author: Gal Nissani is the Marketing Manager of Tomedes Smart Human Translations, a global company that provides translation and localization services to major Fortune 500 companies, international enterprises, and small businesses. You can contact her on Linkedin.