It may only be September, but businesses around the world are already preparing for Christmas. However, if they really want to make a success of their marketing efforts, marketers should avoid relying solely on Wise Men, robins and Santa Claus this year. Localisation could boost Christmas sales.

Content marketing for the world

A new white paper by NewsReach and EnVeritas Group entitled ‘A Christmas Story: Content marketing for ecommerce success in a multicultural world’ reveals that introducing a multicultural content marketing plan will enable businesses to enjoy greater success, particularly if they are planning to expand into international markets. Because of the internet, it has never been easier to reach customers based overseas, particularly if an investment is made in translation services.

However, it’s not only the language of marketing campaigns that need to be adjusted if promoting products abroad but also any culture-specific content. As the white paper explains, the true meaning of globalisation today is localisation. As a business’s consumer base grows, so too must its scope and creativity.

Localisation is the process of adapting your content to appeal to the specific market you are pursuing. It is an important part of translation and to achieve it, only a translator who is based in the same country as the target market and who speaks the same mother tongue should be considered. By meeting these standards, the linguist will be up to date with the latest slang, idioms and other nuances of the language, and so able to deliver a translation that is fluent and current for the target readership.

However, localisation has a wider reach than linguistics alone. “Large or small, companies with an international reach need multicultural content marketing to succeed in the digital age,” the white paper explains. With Christmas on the way, there has never been a better time for businesses to consider localising their content.

Making customers’ lives easier

Today, more than ever before, customers are taking the hardship out of Christmas shopping by choosing to do it online. Why trudge the streets in the rain and snow and battle with the crowds, when with a few clicks of a mouse you can order all of your Christmas gifts without ever leaving the sofa? However, it’s not just a customer’s comfort that increases when they shop online, but also their options. Led by cost, quality and brand loyalty, shoppers can buy presents from all over the world and have them delivered directly to their address without stepping outside of their front door.

If customers in the UK are doing this, it’s a safe bet to say consumers in other countries are doing the same. As a result, UK businesses potentially have a global consumer market to tap into – if they get their seasonal marketing for the festive period right, that is. This means ensuring that their content is localised for the various markets being targeted.

In addition to translating the product description pages, a business must also list prices in the currency of the market they are pursuing. It has been proven that people feel more confident buying from ecommerce sites that use their own language, and this extends to currency as well. Being able to see how much a product and the delivery charges mount up to in a currency you are used to makes it easier to spot a good deal.

As well as currency, units and measurements also need to be localised. Not all markets prioritise the metric system and not all of them use imperial units. Indeed, many people – including Britons – use a combination of both. It is important that a retailer covers all options on their website, and this includes clothing and shoe sizes. Further online content to localize includes the cardholder’s delivery address and contact details, as this is not something that is standard across the world. To make the shopping process easier for customers, clearly state what the delivery time is when shipping from your country to theirs, as this information is particularly useful when buying Christmas gifts.

Those are just the basic elements of the website that need to be localised, but there is so much more that goes into a marketing strategy that also needs to be considered. This includes setting up social media pages in the language of the consumers being pursued and writing informative content that appeals to them and reflects their worldview. The effect this has on consumer engagement then needs to be monitored and the results filtered into the future online content marketing strategies for those countries.

Localisation at Christmas

So, how does this affect Christmas promotions? Well to start with, businesses should research the festive traditions held by the countries they are targeting. For instance, in Poland the traditional meal is eaten on Christmas Eve, and the centrepiece of the feast is more likely to be carp than turkey. Meanwhile, when visiting Brazil Santa slips into a red silk suit as the climate is much too hot for any fur-lined clothing. In Russia, the traditional gift-giver isn’t even Santa, but Father Frost, and he hands out presents on New Year’s Eve rather than Christmas Day. And that’s just in the countries where Christmas is the main celebration of the season. In other markets, it’s far more likely people are celebrating Hanukkah or Eid or Diwali. As these festivals fall at different times of year, it means retailers can add several more potential seasonal sales booms to their calendars.

In order to localize their content successfully, marketing teams need to consider transcreation. This is the process of not simply translating the content, but creating it from scratch to appeal to that demographic by following the brief laid out by the client. This means businesses need to find a qualified and experienced translator who speaks the same language as their target market and who is a talented and creative copywriter. This is quite a tall order, but it is not impossible, particularly as Language Insight specialises in transcreation. With Christmas just a few months away, now could be the time to put multicultural content at the forefront of your marketing strategy.

*Businesses can find out more about localizing online content for international markets in Language Insight’s white paper.