The global B2B marketer's website is not living up to its potential. Many strive to emulate B2C marketing tactics that only focus on the individual consumer (versus their many decision-makers and influencers) and this is setting themselves up for failure.
With partners, prospects, sales teams and customers all accessing their sites for very different reasons, it's time for global B2B marketers to revamp their international digital strategies.
Where to start? Quite simply, B2B marketers must speak their global online visitors' languages and help them find their local market website, regardless of where they are in the world. Marketers must start by offering translations in their customers' languages of choice.
If they're not already doing this, they're alienating a considerable number of prospects - and they're putting their global salesforce at a disadvantage.
Though translation may seem like a daunting task for strapped B2B marketing teams, it's certainly achievable. And the payoffs can be huge.
Here are some best practices for B2B marketing teams to consider as they embrace a truly global digital strategy:
- Don't start from scratch: Leverage (and translate) the existing code and content of the company's English website to quickly serve global markets. Eighty percent of an English website can be translated verbatim for international markets. However, the remaining 20 percent requires nuanced, customized content called localizations. This could be dedicated to offering locally relevant product lists, advertisements, links and more.
- Maintain flexible marketing channels: Marketers must treat their websites like living marketing channels that never remain static for long. The multilingual website must be just as flexible as the flagship primary-market site, able to evolve along with the business. This allows translation partners to replicate any changes across the regional site. It also ensures content is up-to-date across all global properties at all times.
- Consider shared assets: Certain industries have translation glossaries that marketers can leverage on their sites for nominal subscription fees. These can eliminate uncertainty in the translation process, enforce consistency, shorten translation time, and reduce the overall cost of translation. B2B marketers should lean on these wherever possible.
- Enable local payment platforms: B2B marketers can boost customer trust even further by supporting local payment options. Overseas markets often have locally preferred payment types, ranging from local bank cards to e-wallet platforms. This means offering options beyond Visa, MasterCard and PayPal. Businesses that don't support market-specific platforms can experience reduced traffic, engagement and conversion rates.
- Include in-language on-site search (OSS): Users will always want to quickly find what they're looking for on any given site. If a website's OSS can anticipate and account for common in-language misspellings, it saves users time and increases engagement.
- Prioritize mobile: Global smartphone adoption is surging. Next year, more than one-third of global consumers — about 2.5 billion people — will own a smartphone. As such, B2B marketers should serve mobile-first global markets on their device of choice. Those that implement this best practice will likely notice increased conversions.
B2B marketers often have lean teams and limited resources, which puts a strain on marketing initiatives. However, they cannot overlook the importance of a strong, meaningful and up-to-date global presence across all digital properties. That starts with a B2B brand's website.
With the right investment of time and resources across the globe, an international salesforce will be stronger—and companies will receive more inbound opportunities. And, most importantly, B2B brands will build better, more trusting relationships with current customers and partners.
About the Author
Craig Witt is the executive vice president at MotionPoint, which solves the challenge of website localization. Its technology and solution are built to translate, deploy, and operate multilingual websites, optimizing the customer experience across channels.