Crossing the Language Barrier – Promoting Your Business Globally

Are you considering the option of taking your business global? There are some obvious benefits, first of all, you would be opening the doors to a much larger market. If you’re not the market leader in your own country, that doesn’t mean you couldn’t be the market leader in another. However, there are a number of barriers to overcome and consider before you take this important step. The language barrier being the main one.

Roll it Out Slowly

It would be impossible to suddenly start offering your services ‘worldwide’ and be able to do this successfully in each country right from the start. If you sell a product, you might very well offer worldwide shipping, but this doesn’t mean your business is set up correctly to target people in Germany or the UAE. As well as the language barrier, there are other things to consider such as cultural or religious differences. For example, if you sell a physical product you might be required to replace certain ingredients to comply with laws or religious beliefs within that country.

Website Translations

The first step is to select just two or three new countries (depending on your resources) and start the process of translating your website. If you don’t have the in-house capabilities, consider outsourcing this task. Be aware that you will also need ongoing customer support in these new languages too. When selecting your first new country, ensure you’ve carried out the necessary research. Is this a potentially good market to venture into, is there room for your brand to have an impact? It’s got to be 100% worth your effort and time, otherwise move on and select another country.

A popular way to add new languages is to show the available country flag options at the top of the website, or somewhere else above the fold. You will also need to consider whether or not to purchase other domains for different countries or to house the different versions of your website under just one, e.g

Social Media Challenges

Social media channels and marketing communications, in general, becomes much more of a challenge. If your business is large enough, you can set-up multiple social channels in the most popular languages. To start with though, it’s better to grow the channels in your native language and focus on building one solid community.

As long as you’re not spreading yourself too thinly, or trying to take on too much all at once, then expanding into new international markets seems like a no-brainer.

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