Selling to international audiences

April 5, 2022

Top Tips from Iwona Lebiedowicz, founder of PAB Languages Centre

Selling your service or product to an international audience almost always creates additional challenges; many brands fall into the trap of trying to recreate what has worked in their native countries, often getting it wrong!

Take Pepsi, for example. For English speakers the phrase “Pepsi brings you back to life” probably strikes the right inspirational tone. But when Pepsi introduced their products to the Chinese market, not localising their approach left them declaring “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”. This is, of course, an extreme example, but it goes to show that even the biggest of brands can get things wrong.

When people ask me about tackling these challenges, I always feel there are three key elements to get right.

Understand the differences in local culture

For example, your sales messages in the UK may not be as effective in Italy or Australia because of the differences in culture and communication style.

Ensure your content is culturally suitable and relevant for the target market. Should you be using more direct CTAs to suit a particular location? Are your product descriptions right for your audience?

You’ll need to do lots of research and have oodles of conversations to get this right, but it’ll always be worthwhile.

Getting to grips with online browsing and purchasing behaviours

Is your audience using the same search engine as you do or are you assuming that EVERYONE uses Google?!  Could Bing, Baidu or Yandex be more popular with your target audience? What about payment gateways? Worldpay, PayPal or Stripe are all popular in the UK, but making payments is an exchange of trust, so you need to know what your users trust the most.

Also, take the time to understand which social media platforms are popular for your specific audience. As marketers and business owners, we might make all sorts of assumptions around generational demographics when it comes to social media, for instance, that Tik Tokkers are all Gen Zers., but we don’t always consider geographical differences in social media platforms.

Work with language professionals!

In most languages, words can have several different meanings. Without expert knowledge of both languages, it can be difficult to know the correct translation for the context. The reality is that machine translation tools – can fall short.

Work with experienced linguists to translate your campaigns and increase your conversions, whether that’s a sale, a new business lead or a phone call.

For example, if the purpose of your message is to sell, when our multilingual copywriters produce your sales copy, they want your messaging to sound good, inspirational in fact, but equally, they work to ensure your messaging ensures the reader takes the action you wish them to take.

At PAB Languages, our team of native-speaking experts come from all over the world and understand all the elements and cultural references you’ll need to take account of when speaking to your audiences. Our creative linguists will use the right words, the right style and tone to ensure you are communicating effectively with your international audience.

Get in touch today on 07799 772 360 to discuss your project.