Going Global - A Small Business Guide

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Christian Arno, founder and Managing Director of UK translation/localisation company Lingo24, tells how multilingual online marketing and cost-effective business growth goes hand-in-hand

How does a business broaden its online presence in foreign lands? Well, you’ll need a foreign language website in the target market for starters.

You must identify the best market to target through research, and see where there is a gap for you to exploit. If there are other similar businesses operating in a specific country, that’s a good sign as it demonstrates a demand for your service.

The next stage is to buy a locally hosted domain name in the target country, for example ‘.fr’ in France. This lays the foundation for you to translate your website into the desired language. However, from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective, you shouldn’t translate the keywords. And here’s why.

The correct dictionary translation of a keyword or phrase may NOT be what people use to search for the service locally; they may use colloquialisms or a different word that means the same thing. So in the same way as you identify your industry’s highest ranking keywords for the Danish market, such as via Google’s free keyword finder, you must research the keywords for each country, to ensure your foreign language website is properly optimized.

These keywords should then be incorporated these into a professionally translated website. It’s important that native speakers are used to translate your website as it must exude professionalism in all your target markets.

To help the SEO process along, you can also use pay-per-click (PPC) and Google AdWords, which allows you to test out online marketing techniques for very little money – you can set your monthly budget at a nominal amount and gauge its efficacy without blowing your entire marketing budget. Indeed, two of the biggest mistakes many entrepreneurs make are trying to peddle their products to the wrong market – and spending a lot of money doing so. So this is a very cost-effective means of marketing both domestically and internationally.

And there you have it. With nothing more than a networked computer and some entrepreneurial savvy you can go global without breaking the bank.

About lingo24

Global translation company Lingo24 has websites in all the major European languages, including Danish, Swedish, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, German and Norwegian.  Subsequently, their international sales have grown by 20% in the past three years. They recently won best Export and Business-to-Business company at the Herald Scotland Digital Business Awards.

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