It’s never been easier than it is today to get your business, and your products, in front of customers in foreign markets. Potential clients from all over the world can be on your site in milliseconds regardless of how far away they are but are you talking to them? It’s true that a large proportion of the world’s commerce is done in English, even in non-Anglophone countries, but you’re not trying to be part of the noise. You’re trying to cut through it. So are you going to try the website equivalent of speaking louder and slower, or are you going to start talking to customers on their own terms?
Broaden your horizons
Most businesses have a very narrow field of view when it comes to their customers. They can’t help it. It’s hard to devote resources to multiple markets, and you only have so many sales staff to help hit the phones and the inboxes, so a lot of your sales need to come from inbound customers. To do that you’re going to have to fire leads all over the world, and that’s hard to do when they’re running your sales pitch through Google translate. More than 50% of the UK’s trade is now done with non-EU countries (https://www.export.org.uk/news/432146/More-UK-businesses-than-ever-are-seeking-expansion-opportunities-overseas.htm), and that proportion is only going to grow as the UK looks increasingly outside the continent for business, so by offering your website in local languages, you’ll be one step ahead of the game.
International trade is a complicated beast, and foreign markets even more so, because you’re competing with your fellow companies in your own country and native competitors. Help level the playing field. At a value of £114bn the US is by far the UK’s largest trading partner, but did you know that as much as 20% of US citizens speak Spanish? Hitting even citizens of anglophone countries in their native language is a great shortcut to their business and what better way to do that than multilingual websites aimed at both? The examples are endless: Portuguese and Spanish in South America. Mandarin and Cantonese speakers in Asia. French and Arabic speakers in North Africa.
They say that people buy people, not products, and what better way to establish that personal relationship and trust without seeing a customer than talking to them on their own terms? The increased sales are a given, but you can’t put a price on the market share you’ll grab and hold before the competition even knows you’re there.