Capture More International Business through Website Translation (Part 1)

By Russell Lundstrom, President of

Like a needle popping a balloon, your website will be your most effective tool for exploding new, foreign markets. Website translation is an extremely powerful tool for reaching new markets. You can translate a ‘micro-site’ within a few days and with very little expense. Almost immediately you create a marketing funnel for acquiring new customers. On the other hand, if not done properly, you can just as quickly damage your companies’ reputation.

Here is some advice that will give you the framework and processes you will need to penetrate and dominate a new market by using your website as the primary vehicle for communication.

Paint your target.
A favorite saying of mine, “You can’t hit a bulls-eye if you don’t have a target” illustrates it  nicely. The first place to start your international website initiative is by working on your international business strategy. No sense in spending the time and the money to get your website translated if you don’t have a strategy to manage the new business.

The first and most obvious part of your international strategy is to define your target markets. Surprisingly, many companies do not even get this basic step before jumping into translation. For example, say your target market is in China, are you translating for Hong Kong and Taiwan (Traditional Chinese) or Mainland China (Simplified Chinese)? Another example is Spanish, are you translating for the Latin Spanish or the European Spanish markets? This seems like international business 101, but you would be surprised how many companies do not know the answers to these questions.

With the market identified, you can then define your international objectives. When entering foreign markets it is important that you establish the metrics for success. You should have an annual budget for your initiative; including the cost of website localization, but also the site maintenance and customer support. You will also have to have some method for decision making. What events would have to happen for you to increase your investment? Are your metrics going to be based on the website traffic generated or on the revenue from the translated site?

How are you going to measure local customer satisfaction?

The key question is: “What are you going to measure and use as the standards for success?”

Stay tuned for part two of this blog next week!!

Categories: general


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