As entrepreneurs and business owners in a post-pandemic, inflationary period, we need to think outside the box and find creative ways to hold onto existing customers while attracting new customers.
What if one of these creative strategies were to communicate in your customers’ native language?
Let’s imagine you have some customers whose first language is not English. They already love your product and are loyal to your brand. How might they respond if you told them their favourite products and services will now be available in their native language? Likely quite excited! Perhaps so excited that they might share this news with their family and friends who speak the same language. And, voilà, you have happy customers who bring you new customers!
Why might your customers become more loyal and help bring new customers simply because they can access your products and services in their native language?
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to live for more than six months in another country, particularly where your native language was rarely spoken, you can appreciate the day-to-day challenges of buying groceries, renting a car, reading signs, etc. can be a daunting experience.
Now, imagine living permanently in that country. And consuming almost all content in that foreign language. You will definitely build fluency in the language over time; however, first-hand experience (living in Brazil for 11 years) allows me to share that you will always feel most comfortable consuming content in your native language – particularly content that is related to health & wellness.
We realize that, with all the hard work and resources required to produce your product and marketing content in English, it may seem unfathomable to consider doing so in another language. But take heart. Communicating in 2 or more languages is a time and cost effective strategy to not only deepen existing customer relationships, but also attract new customers.
How is translating your content into another language time & cost effective?
As you know, the time and effort to create original content can be significant – often involving multiple people and countless iterations. The process to adapt that content to another culture and translate it requires much less time, and therefore fewer financial resources, than creating it from scratch.
How can you communicate with customers if your team doesn’t speak their language?
Our two favourite solutions to bridge the language gap until you can justify hiring bi-lingual team members are:
- Create a multi-lingual library of Frequently Asked Questions & Answers. When customer communications arrive in other languages, use Google Translate to understand the meaning. Then pull the appropriate pre-translated answer from this library.
- When you have an important meeting with a customer or distributor whose native language is different from yours, hire an Interpreter to remove any language barriers.
If you’re not sure which language to start with, here are a few ways to test demand:
- Create a ‘language selection’ option for your email list sign-up.
- Offer free content (lead magnet) in several languages.
- Poll your customers via email and/or social media channels.
We recommend starting slow with new languages. To make sure you’ve adequately identified the best ‘next language’ to communicate in, and time and money are not wasted, begin with pilot testing a product or service that is already popular with your customers. This way, for those who are native of the new language, they’ll be extra excited to share it with their family and friends who speak the same language. Also, don’t invest in translating ALL your marketing material (website, social media, newsletters) until you have a strong indication from the pilot test that demand for the chosen language will reach your expectations.
Turn your existing customers into New Language Ambassadors! As explained earlier, your existing customers – who speak another language – will help attract new customers who speak the same language. Create marketing campaigns for the pilot test of the new language content and make it easy and inspiring for your customers to share the news with their networks.
Author: Kim Jacob, President & Founder – Arvorei Communications Group
Arvorei Communications Group is a multi-language, boutique communications agency helping health & wellness changemakers grow their impact by deepening customer relationships & reaching new language groups.
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