Many SMBs are aiming at global customers online, esp. since 71% of people who surf the web are Not native English speakers. The question is how to make the most of the global reach efforts and how to do it right? First, if your site is English only you should check the competition and consider expanding to other languages. If you are already targeting global customers please consider the following:
- Use professional human translation service only to translate your content. Do not use Google Translate or any other machine translation. The last thing customers want is to spend their money at a site that is not properly translated to their language. To illustrate the risk in using machine translation, try translating any financial newspaper headline from English to any language, e.g. Japanese or Chinese and back.
- Provide native language customer support – make sure you provide native language customer support. One of the most efficient ways to do that is to provide multi-language email support using fast professional translation service (like One Hour Translation :-)
- SEO – translating your existing content can also assist your SEO efforts. First, it does not require creation of new content, 2nd there is much less SEO competition in foreign languages for both paid and unpaid for keywords. So SEO efforts in other languages are much more efficient.
- SEM – there is also less advertising in languages other than English, so the cost per click is lower and your ads can appear in better places.
- A possible higher CTR for foreign-language keywords, leading to higher Quality Score for those words.
- Better chance of creating a 'buzz' around your product: many products and brands become hits with only one demographic with specific cultural characteristics. Orkut, Google's social network, can serve as an example: it became successful only in Brazil, thanks to its well localized version.
- Get in line with the competition. Many SMBs have multi-lingual site without one you are in disadvantage.
Do you think there are more advantages I didn't think of? I will appreciate you feedback.