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Many companies make the mistake of entering into foreign markets without first planning a localization strategy.
By studying the new market ahead of time, you will be able to mitigate most of the operational risks. By better understanding the client, your motivations, and your competition, you will be better equipped to direct communications to the correct targets and convert your efforts into sales.
Check out 5 essential steps to planning a successful localization project.
1. Define your priorities
Successful localization projects are executed in phases to reduce risk, effort, and cost during the initial steps. Consider:
- Releasing products in one new geography and language at a time
- Limit localization efforts to web and/or content that are mission critical
- Localize only important offers
2. Start in markets similar to the ones you already know
Entering similar markets will demand less change in how your company currently functions. Compare the local culture and demographics and compile a calendar to compare to your existing markets. Analyze:
- Seasonality and peak sales seasons
- Fiscal and school calendars
- Vacation periods
3. Research competition and differentiate your offer
For your business to thrive, you should analyze the successes and failures your direct competitors have made. By carefully analyzing data, you can identify gaps on which to capitalize and saturation points to be avoided.
In this way, you can understand which adaptations you have to make to differentiate your brand, service, or product.
4. Define all practical implications
Think of logistics, fiscal and legal issues, as well as remittances, multilingual support via telephone and e-mail, protocols and banking conventions, currencies, SEO…
In short, map out everything you need to do to bring your company to the new market.
5. Present and get support for your localization plan
Getting financial backing for your localization plan may take some time. Be ready to have to answer questions such as: “Everyone speaks English nowadays, so why invest in local content production?”
You are more likely to get the support you need by first showing how much incremental revenue you have, then, comparing localization costs to local presence costs. Although localization costs are considerable, they are far inferior compared to the cost of having a local team onsite.
Your presentation should also showcase how localization will:
- Impact overall company revenue
- Fit in to your general business strategy
- Have a positive impact on client experience
- Be a cost-effective way of reaching your global target audience
- Contribute to the global brand