Marketing in different languages
Fed up with working 80 hours a week in your business and just getting by? Do you want to stand out from the crowd and double your revenues in 6 months?
Did you know that only 20% of the world’s population can speak English – that’s only 1 in 5 people? In Australia alone, there are over 1 million people who do not speak English well, or not at all (ABS Census,2011). And did you know that only 95% of Australian businesses have never communicated to their customers in a Language Other Than English (LOTE)? And did you know that businesses are 3X more likely to buy from you when you address them in their native language?
The picture below illustrates the Top 5 languages spoken in each state, by Non-English speakers. Mandarin, Vietnamese, Arabic, Cantonese and Italian appear consistently cross each almost every state.
(Figure 1 – Top 5 LOTEs spoken in each state, by Non- English speakers)
The majority of Australian businesses only feel comfortable communicating with prospective customers in English, because communicating in a LOTE is seen as ‘too hard’ or ‘expensive’ – but it doesn’t have to be. The truth is, you can create highly effective multilingual marketing campaigns on a manageable budget that delivers an incredible ROI.
So, how do you capitalise on this reach a broader audience and double your revenues in 6 months? Here are my top 3 strategies for engaging with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities to drive business growth.
Translate a selection of marketing material into 5 languages
By being quite strategic with the selection of marketing material to be translated, you can quite easily reach out to a large number of people on a limited budget. You may wish to translate business cards, a brochure/pamphlet and create a 1-page web-page to communicate to your customers who do not speak English. As a rough guide, you should allow approximately $300 per 1000 words for high quality professional translation services. If you capped your content at 1000 words per language, for 5 languages you would be looking at $1500 to reach hundreds of thousands of extra potential customers.
So how do you know what languages you should be translating into? This depends on a number of factors.
Is your business operating only locally? If so, what is the demographic composition of the people in that area (you can find this information on the ABS website). Perhaps you operating nationally or internationally? Speak with a professional translation consultant to help you develop a multilingual marketing strategy.
Use animated videos to communicate across linguistic borders
The brilliance of animated video is that ANYONE can understand it, no matter what language they speak. The visual aspect of animation, coupled with ‘story-telling’ is a universal language – so utilise this to reach a wider market.
The Disney hit “Wall-E” took the world by storm in 2008 and is almost entirely void of words. Using story-telling, visual cues, music and sound, an entire movie was created to demonstrate the power of animation to cut through linguistic barriers.
Whilst this might be a movie, consider how you may use this in your business to communicate with your potential customers. You can bet that none of your competitors are doing something similar.
The power of subtitling
Have you ever watched a movie on SBS that was entirely in French, but had English subtitles? You loved it right?
The reality is that you can quite easily have your video script professionally translated into multiple languages and have the subtitles overlayed on your videos to allow foreign-language speakers the option to watch your video with subtitles. This is an inexpensive and creative way to reach out to your potential customers without blowing your budget..
Costa Vasili is the founder and Managing Director of Brisbane Translation – a premium professional translation agency working exclusively with Australian businesses and the public sector to carefully communicate in Languages Other Than English (LOTEs). Costa has been working with some of Australia’s leading ASX200 businesses for over 5 years to develop and execute their multilingual marketing campaigns to increase engagement and drive business growth.