How to Reach International Success Online

Given the term “international”, one might dream of taking a long sabbatical to visit unseen destinations all around the world. Cruising to a far off tropical paradise, flying off to ancient civilizations, going on a safari in a wild jungle, hiking across Europe -- the possibilities are endless. Today we can circumnavigate the globe in a matter of minutes with nothing more than a wireless connection and our favorite hand-held device. For businesses, “international” usually means something entirely different.

As globalization becomes more prominent around the world, businesses need to consider the opportunities that lay outside their borders in order to keep up with the competition. The more mobile consumers become, the more important it will be to have a strong international online presence. The infographic below gives us three simple steps to achieve international ranking success.

Before building this website and our brand, what other marketing challenges do we face with our foreign audience? How can we overcome these hurdles and succeed with our new business associates across borders and oceans?

Tricky Translations

If you refer to the lady of the house in the Philippines as the hostess, you essentially just insulted their entire family and openly called her a prostitute. Translations don’t always go smoothly as shown in these hilarious and awkward examples:

  • When Kentucky Fried Chicken opened their first franchise in Beijing, their popular slogan of “Finger Lickin’ Good” became “we’ll eat your fingers off” in their native tongue.
  • Coors beer marketers thought that “Turn It Loose” would do just fine in Spanish but were left red-faced when it came out as “You’ll suffer from diarrhea.”
  • When Pepsi offered “We Bring You Back to Life,” it caused some panic in China when it translated to “We bring your ancestors back from the dead.”
  • Fellow soda giant, Coca Cola’s name was seen as “Bite The Wax Tadpole” or “Female Horse Stuffed with Wax” depending upon the dialect. They eventually found another phonetic equivalent that meant “Happiness In Your Mouth.”

Although there are many ways to get your content amplified online, if your material doesn’t translate correctly then it may not be seen at all. According to the infographic, if your website isn’t in a person’s native tongue, 85% of your potential customers won’t make the all important purchasing decision without seeing your product information in their own language.

Apparently, Fortune 500 companies didn’t get that memo since almost half of them haven’t translated or localized their websites. But the master of search engines, Google, has seen international success with queries in dozens of languages worldwide. Yahoo has also paid attention to their audiences around the world but no where near the level that Google has achieved. We can learn from the attention that these online giants have paid to the world around them making their information more globally friendly and accessible.

See where you could fail before you succeed with your global audience. Your rankings will show up much better when your messages are understood and not found to be offensive or unpleasant.

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