It doesn’t matter how small your business is, it can still be global.
For example, if you’re marketing in English, millions of people all over the world can understand you. And whether you’re based in Australia, the UK, the US, Canada, India or Singapore, you are already global.
And having a well-established global business basically means having a well-established local business in many countries.
3 reasons to make your brand local
1) You can optimize your budget more reasonably. A local approach can help you focus on countries that will bring you more revenue. Sometimes it may be the case that your traffic comes from one country while your actual revenue comes from another.
2) People are more likely to respond in their native language. The truth is that people are more open to communication and sharing their opinion when they’re reached out to in their native language. And localization is a way to overcome language barriers.
3) Cultural traditions, tastes and preferences differ everywhere. Turkey and China don’t celebrate Christmas, so it’s best not to send them your Seasons Greetings newsletter. People in Israel work on Sundays, and are out of the office on Fridays. Graphics and visuals in Arabic countries can’t feature women – IKEA had a bad PR experience with this.
These are just few examples of the numerous cultural differences that you have to take into account if you want to target various countries. By paying attention to local cultures and traditions, brands can avoid costly mistakes, find local peculiarities, and get the most of out of them.
Ways to go local
Now that we’ve defined why a brand needs to go local, I’ll give some tips on exactly how to do this.
Pay special attention to content localization. If you’re posting the same content on different website pages, make sure you use hreflang tags to inform Google that this is not duplicate content, and these pages are intended for different countries.
According to the most recent report by SEMrush, hreflang conflicts within a page source code in 58% of 20,000 multilingual websites that have been analyzed. You can check that you’ve implemented the hreflang tag correctly with the international SEO report in the SEMrush Site Audit tool.
A page’s color choices, images, fonts, and the position of its graphics – it all matters and impacts the way people perceive your brand.
Keep in mind that Hebrew and Arabic sites need a totally different layout.
- Text direction
- “Previous” and “Next” buttons should be reversed
- The site’s entire layout should be flipped
- Bold, italic and underlined fonts could cause trouble
On social media
To ensure you’re not wasting your time on social platforms that your audience doesn’t actively use, you need to understand which exact networks are popular in your region.
You can do this with the help of BuzzSumo. Choose your targeted language and type in your keywords. Then take a look at how many times you’ve been shared on each social media platform. If you’re getting more shares on one particular platform, you definitely need to focus on it:
Connect with experts
Once you’ve localized your website’s pages and set up social media accounts, it’s time to connect with experts. I’d recommend reaching out to those who seem to already have enough influence in the market, but also have time for you.
Why would experts want to connect with you? If you are localizing your brand, you already have a global audience. But while you are trying to go local, many local experts would like to go global. This is a perfect win-win situation.
There are several tools that allow you to analyze local audiences and find relevant experts and opinion leaders. I’d recommend Audiense for finding Twitter profiles. And I also love Klear, which works with Twitter as well as LinkedIn, and allows you to create influencer lists based on location and topic.
You can also use the SEMrush Social Media tool and its feature mentioners to track who mentions you on social media and filter them by number of followers. Thus you can find influencers with large audiences, who are already familiar with your brand and probably ready to cooperate:
How do you work with these experts?
You can start with supporting their activities. Let’s say an expert hosts a webinar. You can watch the recording, pick out a great quote and share it with a link on social, tagging the expert in the post. We’ve had great luck with this technique, especially in Australia.
Step 2 is to organize your own activities – like webinars, blab chats, Twitter chats, roundtable posts – and invite experts to contribute and participate. Experts usually get a lot of requests, so make sure to stand out. Or save their time by creating the content yourself.
Participating in live events, like conferences and meetups, is more effective when you know enough experts and have participated in enough online events. Otherwise you risk ending up standing at your booth surrounded by strangers and random people who just walk by. And once you know people, they’ll be more excited to meet you in person and chat with you.
Next, think about localized swag, but not in a way where you take branded umbrellas to the UK and beer mugs to Germany. For example, if you’re planning a summer event, sunglasses would be an awesome and useful gift. Also, take into account that different countries have different preferences.
The last pillar of localization is PR. Constantly monitor what’s happening in your target markets. Check if there are any holidays and events that might not be directly related to your niche, but still concern your audience.
If you are a travel company, this can be news about political and economical situations in your most popular travel destinations, currency rates, car’s fuel consumption comparison and so on. Journalists are hungry for information and fresh ideas, and if you give them a new perspective, they’ll be willing to work with you.
To summarize it: communicate, reach out, share your knowledge, and be social and engaging. By giving your attention to people, you’ll get trust and respect in return.
Guest Author: Olga Andrienko is the Head of Global Marketing at SEMrush. Olga specialises in conversion and relationship marketing and has built one of the strongest communities in the SEO industry using social media. Together with her team, Olga has made social media an integral part of the marketing mix at SEMrush ensuring customer support, conferences, online events, PR and other marketing activities are supported through the social platforms SEMrush is officially using.