A website is a gateway to the world.
If a company speaks only English on its website it’s ignoring over half the world’s Internet users.
Regardless of how large, sophisticated or costly – or how simple and inexpensive a company’s website may be, it’s accessible to millions of people in hundreds of countries worldwide. Website databases, like Tritti have 20-50 millions domains today.
This kind of global coverage was impossible to achieve by any means just a few short years ago, but too many websites are still ignoring the tremendous opportunities this reach represents.
If a company’s website is in English only it means that millions of people will bypass it in favor of other websites in their own language.
Internet World Stats says there are 948.6 million people using the Internet who speak English. But there are also 751.9 million Chinese speakers and 277.1 Spanish speakers who don’t use English when they log on. (Internet World Users by Language, 27 April 2017)
If a business sells its products in other countries, unless its website is available in the languages spoken there the company will have little ability to communicate with them other than through a distributor or agent.
Here are some good reasons why a business should have its website available in other languages, even if it’s not yet marketing in other countries:
The Website Works Tirelessly 24/7
No other member of any sales team works twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and covers the world.
Be selling products to people in other time zones around the globe or be discovered by prospective customers even while the office is closed.
Communicate to Local Non English-speakers
Not everybody in any domestic market speaks English. The rapidly-growing ethnic populations in most countries including the US, Australia and the UK mean there is a significant number of residents for whom English is a second language.
Addressing them in their own language demonstrates an awareness of their existence and sensitivity to their needs.
Support Overseas Marketing Activities
Even though a company is selling its products into non English-speaking markets through a distributor, people wanting more information about those products will look for it using the company’s brand as a reference.
Having information available in their language will strengthen the brand’s presence as well as making it easier for a local agent to sell the company’s products.
Even methods of payment can be customized to suit a particular region. According to global telecommunications research firm BuddeCom: “As online retailers expand globally they are also beginning to discover that cultural differences may impact upon payment method preferences.
“PayPal is still by far the most popular online payment system worldwide, with around 45% of its customers based outside of the US.”
Be Easier to Locate on the Internet
People searching for a particular company or brand in other countries will probably be doing so in their own language. They may not even know in which country the company’s headquartered.
For example, search engines in Latin America will use Spanish as their primary language and their results will always give preference to sites with content and especially keywords in that tongue.
Unless the company’s website is available in Spanish the business will be invisible to millions of people in Latin America and Mexico.
Demonstrate Multicultural Awareness
In 2002 John Yunker began benchmarking websites by how they were localized for other countries and cultures and now produces the annual Web Globalization Report Card.
Fifteen years ago, a Web site that supported more than 10 languages was in rare company. Today, 10 languages is well below average.
By presenting information in other languages, especially if the website reflects other cultures as well as just languages, a business shows that it’s interested in countries other than its own.
Many successful global marketers customize their websites in each country where their products are sold, using both linguistic and photographic elements.
Become a Global Source of Knowledge
If a multilingual website is a source of knowledge about a company’s products and its industry, providing useful advice and information of educational value, it can become recognized around the world as a learning resource.
Just having website content in other languages will dramatically increase its reach and its effectiveness. By being accessible in other languages a company’s chances of being ‘discovered’ by prospective customers will be significantly enhanced.
Yes, it will involve some additional costs, but as many marketers have discovered, the benefits can far outweigh any expenses.