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December 23, 2015

Reaching a Global Audience via Multilingual Marketing – Is it Worth It?

Have you ever gone to a different country and instantly felt lost because you couldn’t understand the language?

It’s a little terrifying and unnerving, and can dampen the best adventures if you don’t find someone to help translate.

This can be very similar to Internet content; however, when someone gets to a site that isn’t in his or her own language, they don’t have to stick around.

In fact, the reader can just hop off the site and go to another that is in their native tongue.

This is why multilingual marketing is vital to your content marketing strategy – and I’m going to look at this more in depth just for you.

Let’s set some mood music via the Flight of the Conchords.

Is Multilingual Marketing Really Vital to Your Strategy or Should You Ignore It?

It might seem like you really don’t need multilingual marketing. A lot of people think that the language of the Internet is English, but that just isn’t the case.

There is tremendous growth amongst other languages, including Arabic, Spanish, Chinese and Russian.

People want content in their native tongue (I plan to look at this a bit later in the blog), which means you need to give it to them if you want them to buy your product.

In fact, major social channels are paying attention to this and offering multilingual ads to users. One of these channels is Twitter.

The channel is even noting that growth amongst people in the United States is slowing, but there is plenty of growth in multiple non-English speaking countries.


Image Credit: Twitter

The channel announced that due to this growth, they are expanding into six different languages. This helps offer all of Twitter’s services to thousands of people who don’t read or speak English.

If you aren’t sold just yet on multilingual marketing, I am going to show you some of the top reasons why you should use it.

5 Reasons Why You Need Multilingual Digital Marketing

If Twitter’s international growth rate isn’t enough to convince you to go into multilingual marketing, then let’s take a look at some other reasons.

1. Not Everyone in the World Speaks Your Language Even if it’s English. The absolute fundamental reason to provide multilingual content is simply that not everyone speaks your language.

For many English speakers, it might seem like everyone speaks English but that is definitely not the case.

Several international companies provide English sites only to English-speaking audiences. So, it is only logical to proceed with your site, transforming it into something others can read and understand.

2. If You’re In the U.S., You Have a Huge Demographic and Multiple Languages. Even if you are in the United States, everyone does not speak English. Some may as their second language, but it sure is nice to have something written in your native tongue.

If you are able to offer them content in their own tongue, they will be more likely to buy from you. So don’t believe that all people in America understand English; write for some of the top languages in the country.

This gives you access to an even larger American audience, not to mention an audience and clients outside of the states in countries that speak those languages as well.

3. You Get the Chance to Open Your Business to a Whole New Audience. When you use multilingual marketing, you get the excellent opportunity to open your business up to a whole new audience.

How exciting is that? Currently, writing in your chosen language is drastically limiting you. Just try one or two different languages and watch as your audience grows.

According to James Brockbank from Search Engine Journal, you could be missing 70 percent of potential customers by writing in just one language.

Don’t ignore that huge target – reach out.

4. Your Competitors Are Most Likely Ignoring Multilingual Audiences. What is another excellent reason to use multilingual marketing? Your competitors are most likely ignoring it.

One Hour Translation ran a study that shows that 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies are ignoring multilingual marketing. That’s a lot of businesses ignoring a huge market!

Just imagine how many smaller businesses are also missing out on that. You could easily skyrocket to the top of your industry by simply offering content in multiple languages.

How cool is that?

5. People Respond Much Better to Content in Their Native Tongue. And, when it comes to buying products, customers are going to be significantly more likely to respond better when content is in their native tongue.

They know they can trust the content because they can understand it. In addition, you’ll get more awesome interaction and engagement when you speak to them in their language.

This can really help drive your brand and show potential customers that you are a company that is not only trustworthy but also cares for them.

5 of the Top Ways to Get the Best Multilingual Content for a Global Audience

Now, how can you get great multilingual content? Let’s take a look!

1. Read Your Analytics and Learn Where People Are Coming From. One of the first steps is to know which languages you should start writing in. And the best way to know is to look at your analytics and see which countries visit your site the most.

Once you know who is coming to your site and from where, you can begin to implement multilingual content in an expert way.

2. Know Which Languages Are Spoken In Your Area. Even in small town Missouri, many different languages from Russian to Hindi languages are spoken.

If you’re a local business, you should check which languages people speak in your area. This can help you create great localized content for them, as well as social media pages specifically in that language.

Reaching out to those around you through multilingual content can definitely help boost your business and help you stand out amongst the rest of the businesses in your area.

If you aren’t sure where to find the languages spoken in your area, the U.S. Census Bureau is a good place to start. They can give you great statistics and you can even check out their interactive language map.

3. Hire Someone Who Can Write and Speak the Language Well. In order to create expert content for different languages, you should consider hiring a writer who can write and speak well in that language.

You can also hire editors fluent in the language to ensure the content is top notch and just as high quality as what you typically produce.

Put out a request for someone who can write in the language you are aiming for or ask around your company to see if anyone has friends or family that you could hire. Once you do, you will be well on your way to awesome multilingual content.

4. Research Different Cultures to Learn More About Them and What is Appropriate. When writing for a different language you also need to consider the culture that speaks it. You don’t want to write something that is offensive or is not appropriate for them.

You can easily do research into different cultures and what their cultural norms are. In fact, you can find a number of local colleges and universities that teach cultural lessons on different people-groups. And you can find cultural education classes online with different online colleges.

Take this as an awesome learning opportunity to make sure you craft the best content for the language and culture you are aiming for.

5. Learn the Colloquialisms of the Language. Colloquialisms are part of every language, which means you need to know the right ones when you write multilingual content.

The colloquialisms you know will not be the same ones other languages and cultures have. Even within the United States and English speakers in the country, there are a huge variety of colloquialisms that change per location.

What you hear in the Northeast is not something you’ll hear in the Deep South.

Hiring writers who speak the language natively can really help with this, as well as researching cultures and learning all that you can about them.

A Whole New World and a Whole Fantastic Point of View

Sing with me! By creating multilingual content and marketing, you’re opening yourself up to a whole new world of possibility.

Learn which languages you reach the most already with your content and begin crafting expert content in those languages to grow your wonderful audience further.


Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.