Your company should have a website accessible for global audiences from the very beginning, regardless of whether or not your customers are international. Find here why.
“Thinking globally from the beginning is the way to go” – Chui Chui Tan, Director of International Research at cxpartners
When Twitter started to be popular, one of the most used arguments to convince reluctant companies to use this tool was this: “The others are going to talk about you on Twitter, whether or not you have a profile.”
In other words, the fact that we ignore our environment doesn’t mean that others ignore us. Therefore, let’s try to participate in the conversation for channeling it towards where it’s more favorable for us.
This argument also applies to other situations, such as the internationalization of websites.
Recently, I discovered the website of a Spanish digital marketing agency. The design was fresh and dynamic. Their contact page called to action, they had an active and interesting blog and their profile in social networks was one of the best I’ve seen. However, their website was only available in Spanish.
There are many reasons why firms don’t internationalize their websites and most of them are wrong. These are the three major misconceptions:
1. All of our customers are local
Although we don’t seek international clients, many foreign companies are actively seeking customers and suppliers in our country. If they cannot easily understand who we are and what we offer we will be missing business opportunities that could give a boost to our company.
2. We don’t want to export our services or products
It’s possible that, for some reason, we don’t want to export our services or products. It’s possible that at this time we lack the capacity to take that challenge.
However, marketing is not limited to directly promote our offer. It also means promoting our image and brand, and this has major implications:
Many influencers, bloggers and online magazines publish articles on companies that stand out for some reason: a video, the design of their website, a project, a recent innovation, etc. This often makes their popularity soar for a few weeks and they reach a large number of people (many of them from their own country). If your website is not in English you’re losing this opportunity.
3. Our services and products cannot be exported
I know a coffee shop chain with a presence solely in Catalonia, mainly in the Barcelona area. The service and food are excellent, better than other well-known international chains. Why should they have a website in English or French? Because about 7 millions of tourists visited Barcelona last year.
I worked in Paris for some time. Before moving, I searched the internet for laundries, supermarkets, restaurants, bookstores and movie theaters near my house. Surely, most people are not so foresighted, but nearly everyone plans their vacation. Do you want to lose the opportunity to get a new customer because your website is not in English?
In conclusion, we should not wait for selling our products or services in other countries to internationalize our website. It needs to be global from the beginning.
And remember that internationalize a website goes far beyond translating it to English. But this is an issue for another post…