Internationalising your website for export markets

A gateway to international business development

About

Pixel Executive helps businesses grow both locally and internationally through multi-language web design and digital marketing. Our team has a wide range of skills, from developers, graphic designers, and digital marketers to multilingual SEO and Google PPC specialists, and can call on a network of trusted experts such as copywriters, translators and data compliance specialists.

Stirling Austin: Prior to founding Pixel Executive, I worked for over 20 years building manufacturing, distribution and service businesses in the UK and across Europe. I have first-hand experience of developing business in foreign markets.

  • A European computer supplies distribution network (£300k to £3M)
  • A greenfield French subsidiary of a UK Plc in computer consumables (€0-76€M in 10 years, 120 staff)
  • A Paris based Interim Management firm(€2M fees), sold the business
  • Interim Management assignments in various sectors, from computer software to Asset-Based Finance 
  • A spell mid-career as a professional musician and bandleader, then created Pixel Executive!
globalisation and localisation

A virtual shop-window to the world

The internet has given small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to enter the global market in a way that was never before possible. They are able to sell their goods and services and build their brand directly through their website to customers all over the world with minimal effort.

That being said, internationalising and localising your website is an essential step to take if you want to be noticed by overseas customers. 

1 %
Of internet users prefer navigation and content in their own language
1 %
Of internet users are more likely to check out a localised product or service
So how do you go multi-language and optimise your return on investment?
Build a multilingual website that reflects your international business development objectives
Whether you are an SME or a big corporation, the principles are the same.
Goals

e.g. Broad desired outcomes 

Objectives

e.g. Specific and measurable outcomes for those goals

Strategies

e.g. How the goals and objectives will be achieved

Tactics

e.g. Specific actions that you will take to achieve your objectives

A clear strategy that achieves your desired outcomes will justify the investment in internationalising your website and online marketing. Once you know your target audience, speak to them in their native language

Where to start: Internationalisation & Localisation

Internationalisation

The process of building your website to support multiple languages

The technical best practice principle is the same as those for a building, e.g. the foundations need to be installed and configured correctly according to the required use and future flexibility.

Example: Excel versus CRM

Localisation

Adapting your design and content to be relevant to local markets.

The actual process of translating, keeping brand consistency whilst allowing for cultural differences and sensitivities, e.g. colours, taglines, logos, personality, tone of voice, local customs, images

Example: McDonalds

For a website to be properly localised, it must be built from the ground up with internationalisation in mind.

Internationalisation - the choice of technical platform.

Affordability

Historically, multilingual websites required vast budgets, since they were custom coded by in-house developers or large agencies, with high build and modification costs attached. This is no longer the case.

Accessibility

Proprietary pay-as-you-go systems, such as Wix, do have some languages capability but are not designed with localisation in mind. Plus all content and language specifics cannot be easily transferred if you leave.

Flexibility

Open source systems such as WordPress have dedicated plugin extensions specifically created for streamlining translation workflows, multi-language web design and multilingual SEO.

Localising your website

There were two cows in a field. The first cow said “moo” and the second cow said, “Baaaa.” The first cow asked the second cow, “Why did you say baaaa?” The second cow said, “I’m learning a foreign language.”

Languages v. Markets

Any additional language will help initiate international growth, but if combined with a digital strategy that manages content in a multilingual context, you have turned global content management into a competitive advantage.

Cultural sensitivities

Take into account the market’s culture, business practices and customer preferences, which can influence design, content selection, and translation. 

Designing for multiple languages

Translations should take into account the need to fit the format and design, some will take up more space than others. Translating from English into languages such as Spanish or French can result in 20-25% expansion, while German may expand as much as 35%.

Consider web font compatibilities with minimal spacing.

Contextual Translation

Use translators that understand how to use local selling expressions. (A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush doesn’t translate very well in French).

Transcreation is the merger of two words: translation and creation. It’s an intricate form of translating that preserves the original intent, context, emotion, and tone.

Multilingual SEO

Making sure you can be found in foreign language markets

Content

Referencing

Funding is available!

DIT Internationalisation fund

The DIT Internationalisation Fund is open to SME businesses that have significant potential to grow international sales.
Eligible projects will have a minimum project value of £2000 and maximum £18,000 with up to 50% grant funding available.

The funding can be used by a business to support:

  • Market research
  • IP advice
  • Translation services
  • International social media/ SEO
  • Trade fairs, where no Trade Access Programme (TAP) funding is available
  • Independent market visits
  • Consultancy and other international commercial services

The company must be a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) with up to 250 employees
• No more than 25% of the business is owned by an enterprise that is not an SME
• Annual turnover does not exceed €50 million or annual balance sheet does not exceed €43 million

Conclusion

Thank you. Any questions, please ask!