Selling software internationally: software localization

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Software companies are naturally well-positioned for global expansion, especially SaaS businesses. However, while the opportunities are promising, scaling internationally can also be a very complex endeavor. Successful expansion requires careful strategic planning, savvy localization and investment in several tools and resources to reach and convert new customers.

In order to be a truly global company, you cannot simply offer one generic solution to every single market you serve. Customers trust online companies much more when their offerings have been tailored to local needs.

In this post we provide you with 6 simple steps to get started with software localization:

Product localization

Software Localization is more than the translation of a product’s user interface. Companies localize software in order to overcome cultural barriers for their products to reach a much larger target audience. Product localization means adapting the design of your software to fit local practices, or even creating an entirely new variation on your original product.

Software localization is the process of adapting a software product to the linguistic, cultural and technical requirements of a target market. Software localization projects often run in parallel with the development of the source product to enable simultaneous shipment of all language versions.

A well-localized software has the look and feel of a product originally written and designed for the target market. Here are some points that have to be considered, besides the language.

  • Measuring units
  • Number, address, time and date formats (long and short)
  • Paper sizes, fonts, default font selection, case differences, character sets, word separation and hyphenation
  • Local regulations, copyright issues, data protection
  • Payment methods, currency conversion, taxes

Pricing localization

Pricing localization it’s not just about currency conversion, localizing your pricing is all about understanding the markets you’re selling to and shaping your pricing accordingly.

Showing a price in the wrong currency can have a negative impact on a buyer’s purchase decisions, but directly converting the cost to your buyer’s currency isn’t ideal either. Exact conversions will change day to day based on the exchange rate, which could lead to confusion and frustration for customers, and it’s also important to be careful with price perception and with the elements that encourage customers to click on the ‘Pay Now’ button.

There are many things to take into consideration when localizing pricing. You need not only to convert currencies and languages, but you also have to conduct market research and consider local taxes when setting up in new geographies.

Website translation and localization

In addition to adapting your product, you should also localize the supplementary elements of your offering. You will definitely want to have a website designed for the local market, which allows users to view it in their preferred language, in local currency and with the most popular local payment options displayed. Implementing all these elements will help your company establish credibility in the eyes of local customers.

Beyond translation it is also important that the content and the references must be in relation to the local scenario, thus, you need to perform localization and transcreation. A well-localized website means more people on your website which, therefore, means a greater awareness of your brand. A multilingual business website will attract people from around the world who will start to associate you with a certain product or service. Doing so will differentiate your offering from the competition and will help you to create an important repeat customer base.

Furthermore, a localized website adds credibility to your brand. It is generally accepted that a company with multiple languages must be “global.” Similarly, if your website is accurately localized then clients will appreciate your understanding of their culture, earning their trust.

Implement a local marketing strategy

Local marketing generally refers to the set of promotion techniques that aim to position a brand or business in a specific geographic area. In other words, it is the work done for a company to stand out in the city or region where it is located and to attract a perfectly segmented customer base.

A local marketing strategy may bring your business significant advantages when selling internationally such as faster market penetration, increased business retention, enhanced customer satisfaction, and brand loyalty, improved competitive edge and many more.

A local marketing strategy involves having a deep knowledge of the target market, a network of local connections, running local SEO campaigns, creating locally focused content, social media management and so on. If all this may seem overwhelming for you the best way to localize your marketing is by hiring a local marketing agency who will be in charge of everything while you focus on your main activity.

Local SEO 

Effective multilingual SEO requires several actions to be taken, let’s see them!

Never forget to make exhaustive keyword research: translating your keywords it’s not enough, Latin American countries do not search for information in the same way as European Spanish speakers. A bunch of good keywords for the UK, France or Spain may not be successful in the US, Canada or some Latin American countries, not to mention Portugal and Brazil.

It is also vital to respect the most popular search engine in every region, Google is king in the West, but Yandex is still the preferred in Russia and it is becoming popular in other countries like Turkey. Baidu is the indisputable search king in China. Also, focusing your strategy on Google may make you disappear in Yahoo results or Bing results.

Furthermore, you should monitor search engine updates all the time, all search engines try to improve and update their search results algorithms and they might make change your rankings overnight.

Localized customer support and sales team

Localization doesn’t stop at your offering. To serve international markets as effectively as possible, you have to ensure that your marketing, support systems, and sales teams are localized as well.

Online customers generally are more reluctant to trust foreign companies. But having strong localized customer support can go a long way to building that trust. Be sure that you can handle customer support inquiries in the local language having bilingual employees.

Legal Issues

Taking your business global can offer opportunities that are unreachable in your domestic market. But several legal issues arise when selling abroad, for instance, global taxation or intellectual property laws differ from one country to another.

Furthermore, if you hire a reseller, sales representative or affiliates to distribute your product you must take into consideration that laws of many countries are very protective of distributors and termination of some of these arrangements might be complicated.

Due to all this, it is highly recommended to get professional advice from an export agency or a specialized legal advisor.

But if you feel a bit daunted, don’t worry: expert help is available. Local marketing Agencies like Nementio can handle all marketing aspects of Software localization for you. This frees you of the need to become an expert in every country’s currency, preferences, market trends, etc while still empowering you to expand your sales worldwide and guarantees support for all the localization issues related.

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