7 tips to successfully address your target audience in any country

7 tips to successfully address your target audience in any country


You have set up a nice e-commerce site and are making a good impression in the Netherlands. You probably want more, because the popularity of online shopping is still growing rapidly, even abroad. Time, then, for a translated version of your webshop, aimed at Germany or France, for example. But beware: if you simply have your Dutch site translated and don't put any effort into it, you will miss out on a lot of sales. This is because your target audience is different in each country, with different expectations, a different frame of reference and different preferences. So you have to serve each target group in a unique way. In this blog, we give you 7 tips to effectively address your shop's target group across borders.

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1. Delve into your target audience

Before eagerly engaging a translation agency, it's wise to delve into your foreign target audience. For instance, how do German consumers differ from Dutch ones? How do they prefer to be addressed, with 'Sie' or 'du' in German? What do they value? Useful analyses can be found online. If you want to go big, consider consulting a marketer specialized in your target market. And, of course, critically examine the translated websites of successful competitors.

2. Provide top content on key pages

A clue, of course, but a crucial one. If your homepage and other high-traffic pages don't appeal to members of your target audience "Crooked text, say..." or "What a boring website!" - they'll be gone and stay gone. Commit to very freely translated texts that feel like they were written in your target audience's own language. Or better yet, opt for trans-creation. That's a combination of translation and copy-writing. Of course, top quality has a price, but you'll quickly recoup that investment.

3. Adapt relevant elements to the local context

For example, for product data and Help topics, a "plain" translation is often sufficient. You can even opt for machine translation followed by editing by a language professional. That makes a big difference in costs. You do need to ensure that elements such as clothing and shoe sizes, weights, measurements and - of course - currencies are adapted to the conventions in the country of your target audience. This can be largely automated, by the way.

4. Leverage other channels besides just your website

In the Netherlands, of course, you interact with your target audience not only through your online store itself. You post messages on social media, contribute to relevant theme sites (for sports, car or fashion enthusiasts, for example) and respond to reviews. If you want to build engagement abroad, you need to throw yourself into other channels there as well, preferably with original content. Your target audience expects that from you. Collaboration with an online marketer or copywriter from the country itself often yields measurable results.

5. Place catchy video content in the language of your target audience

Video content is becoming increasingly popular and is also particularly suitable for building a bond with your target audience. Do you have videos on your Dutch site or on YouTube, with installation instructions or customer cases, for example. Then score with your foreign target group if you provide them with professional subtitles. It is even better to make new videos in which people from your target group's country play the leading role. Success guaranteed!

6. Respond to customer messages in their own language

Consumers greatly appreciate it when you respond to emails, chat messages or reviews in their own language. Hiring a native customer service representative is of course ideal, but there are other solutions that allow you to have good text in almost any language in near real-time (for chat) or within a few hours (for emails or posts on review sites). Avoid using Google Translate - it looks lazy and embarrassing misses are always lurking.

7. Create a style guide for each market

It is a good idea to define how you want to address your target audience in each market. In the translation industry, such a document is usually called a stijlgids or style guide in English. In it you describe which tone of voice you use (E.g. light-hearted or businesslike), what the fixed translations of slogans and key terms are, how you deal with specific types of content, etc. You can also include the points discussed above. A style guide is very useful for your own employees and for external translators and copywriters. With a style guide, you ensure consistent communication.

Scriptware Translations

As you can see, there is a lot involved if you really want your translated web shop to flourish. Fortunately, you do not have to do it alone. Scriptware Translations has the knowledge and tools to help you with almost all aspects. We not only take care of the translation, but can also advise you on your target market, put you in touch with local marketers and write a solid style guide for you. Curious? Then make an appointment for an introductory meeting or download our whitepaper on translating e-commerce sites.

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