3 ways small businesses can expand from the comfort of their own home office

Localisation is the process of making content or text local to a specific group, area or market. Speaking to your customers in their language is an obvious, but sometimes overlooked, way to increase your customer engagement as well as sales. For small businesses and start-ups, the idea of expanding into new markets can often be daunting: the cost; the work; the sheer scale of tailoring your business offering to millions of people. But not to fear, here are 3 steps to get you thinking about your translation needs and how to grow your business.

  1. Start at home

If you want to increase your sales but the idea of selling overseas is too daunting, start by expanding your market within the UK. Consider this: not all of your UK customers will be native English speakers – 40% of the UK population don’t have English as a mother tongue. Reaching and connecting with these potential customers will help you expand your home market audience. Consider translating your content into Polish, Urdu, Guajarati, French or Punjabi to reach more UK based customers. For more information, we’ve put together this handy cheat sheet.


  1. Internationalise your social media

There are over 900 million Twitter accounts and 500 million people on Facebook – so it’s likely that your customers are on social media. It’s also worth doing a bit of customer profiling and finding out where your target audience hangout, as these vary by country. For example, in the US, Facebook is the most used social media site, whereas in China, instant messaging service Qq.com is the country’s 2nd most used site (source: Alexa). It’s also worth remembering that not all the world is online when you’re online – keep in mind your target market’s time zone when sending posts on social media, don’t worry, you don’t have to stay up tweeting until 3am, there’s various automation tool where you can schedule posts, such as Hootsuite or Buffer.


  1. Check your colours, logos and images

It’s not just language that needs to be adapted for international audiences: colours and symbols also have different meanings. For example, in Western Europe and the US, blue is associated with trust, with many insurance companies and banks using blue in their logos. However in South Korea, pink is seen as the ‘colour of trust’. Green can be linked to nature, life and the environment in the UK, however in Islamic cultures, it represents religion and in China, a green hat signifies infidelity to your partner. So it’s worth making sure your company colours, logos and mascots don’t cause offence in your target market!


As well as being a self-confessed language geek and baking fanatic, Fiona is the Digital Marketing Manager at Capita Translation and Interpreting. When she's not writing blogs, she often dreams of touring France one patisserie at a time.

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