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Why the Localisation of Your SaaS Product Can Make or Break Your SaaS Business

If you work in the field of software as a service (SaaS), it is critical that you localise your SaaS product to make a smooth entrance into new markets.

There are many large companies that have failed to take this step, and instead released their English-only service in a foreign market, only to realise they were facing an uphill battle from the get-go.

But what exactly is localisation? And what’s the difference between localisation and translation? This article aims to tackle these questions and look at why localising your SaaS product can make or break your SaaS business.

The difference between localisation and translation

Let’s start by defining translation: It’s an act through which the content of a text is transferred from the source language into the target language (Foster, 1958).

Here’s the definition of localisation: It’s the process of ensuring that content is adapted to meet the culture and nuances of a target market.

So, while localisation involves translation, it takes it a step further. It can apply to many variables of any given project. You can keep reading to find out all the differences and similarities between the two, and some guidance on where they can fit in your strategies.

Traditional translation

Translation, in the most traditional and simple sense of the term, means that the source and target texts will match exactly and literally – if you have a text in English and you want it in Spanish, English would be the source language and Spanish would be the target language. It may be the case of an instruction manual, an email, an informed consent form, etc. Basically, we are speaking of a very literal rendering of the source message into the target language. 

Maybe you recently bought a new phone or some furniture. Is the manual, for either example, translated into your language? If so, how clear is it? It has to match the source text perfectly, otherwise assembly or configuration will be an absolute mess.

Localisation as a step further

Localisation, on the other hand, involves translation but also goes one step further because it includes translating the source content in such a way that it takes into account the target culture’s preferences, habits, and characteristics. In short, the content is adapted for local consumption. The purpose is to make it resonate with the target audience and to give it a local feel.

Such adaptation might involve changing colours, jokes, cultural references, names, etc. Therefore, we frequently use localisation for evocative content aimed at eliciting an emotional response in the reader.

Reasons to localise your content

It’s often the case that localisation will be vital for success in a new market. When you enter a new market, it’s not just about translating your SaaS product to another language, but taking into account the target country’s market-specific needs and preferences.

Here are some reasons why localisation should be a key part of your SaaS expansion strategy:

  • Localised content will generally get you more local traffic as a result of increased rankings on local search results.
  • Your users will spend more time on the site, as they’ll be able to navigate and use your service as if it’s made just for them. This translates into lower bounce rates, which positively impacts your SEO efforts.
  • Your conversions will likely go up, as users will be able to better understand what you offer, which increases purchase intent and trust in your brand.
  • Good localisation means less support requests, as your users will be able to use the product the right way without experiencing any communication barriers.
  • You’ll gain competitive advantage by tailoring content to local preferences.
  • Your users will feel more connected to your brand, which will increase loyalty and evangelism for your product or service.

How does localisation for SaaS work?

In the industry of Software as a Service, a successful global marketing strategy relies heavily on effective localisation. With easier access to new audiences around the world comes great opportunities for software brands.

Finding success requires more than international product promotion, though. Yes, you have to plan, develop, adapt, and raise awareness around a product or service. But, and this is where things can fall apart, you have to do all of this while sounding local and acting global. It’s where most usually fail, and why you almost always see ads from larger international corporations.

It’s been proven that being able to communicate in our own native language is what drives buying decisions. So much so, that 9 out of 10 people will ignore your product if they don’t perceive it as local to their region.

You could, technically, localise your SaaS or FinTech product into all 7,117 languages around the world. It might take ages, but it’s possible. However, it’s probably better to access 90% of the world’s sales potential by localising your content into just 10 languages and their subsequent variants. These are:

  • English
  • French
  • Italian
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese & Brazilian Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Korean

What type of SaaS content should I localise?

For many, choosing what to localise is a major roadblock. We recommend making a choice based on the potential to generate engagement among your leads. Here’s what most brands choose to localise:

Blog posts

Localising blog posts is a fantastic idea. They’re a highly valuable source of insights that help your brand build trust with your customers by providing useful information. They foster brand loyalty and brand awareness; the more posts you make, the more opportunities you have to stay engaged with your target market. This is true for any market you want to crack, so it only makes sense to localise your blog posts.

Just as when you commission a copywriter with a blog from scratch and you ask for it to be SEO-friendly, so you should proceed when translating them into other languages. Some articles might be better suited for your foreign audiences than others, and the only way to determine it is by researching what they are searching for and how you can help answer their questions.

Email marketing

You may have heard that “email marketing is dead.” It’s a concept that’s floating around the marketing space at the moment. Here’s a secret: it’s not dead, and it’s good that your competition thinks it is—there’s more opportunity for you.

Consumers actually prefer emails and that’s a fact across the globe. One major reason is that it’s permission based. Consumers get to pick and choose who is allowed to reach out to them. One study, from Marketing Sherpa, found that 72% of consumers prefer to receive promotional messages through email.

Email provides a professional and direct medium where businesses can reach out to their leads and customers. As such, figuring out how to localise your email marketing campaigns should be a top priority.

Landing pages

Localise your landing pages. Seriously – they are one of the most important factors in determining whether or not you’ll attract new customers, or lose them to your competitors.

Landing pages, regardless of language choice, are an indispensable part of marketing for lead generation. They mobilise customers and take them to specific products, services, and offers. It’s where you get to encourage them to take action, create conversions, and build your customer base. This is true for every single market.

Consequently, landing pages will become an increasingly important part of your localisation strategy. 

Nifty Marketing gathered data from the highest-performing landing pages across five industries and found that 80% of them employ efficient localisation strategies. For example, they’re all optimised around one localised keyword (there’s SEO again). 77% of them contain a local address and phone number, 49% include a local photo, and 21% embed a Google Map to help visitors find a location.

Some examples of landing page localisation include:

  • Targeting offers based on a visitor’s location
  • Localising images to represent the target market
  • Providing local business reviews via a 3rd party website
  • Adjusting prices and pricing format based on a visitor’s country
  • Creating offers around local events and holidays; etc.

Social media content

Localise your social media content, too. In fact, localising your social media content might be the most effective way to reach out to new audiences.

Social proof, for example, is essential for making an impression; it essentially tells potential customers that you’re a trustworthy and established brand in your industry, and that they should purchase your SaaS product.

By localising your social media content, you’re increasing the likelihood that it will be noticeable by potential customers who are searching for suppliers in their country. Do notice, however, that no amount of social media content localisation will get you results if your users click through to your website and find that it’s only available in English.

In other words, social media should be part of a holistic localisation strategy that enables you to build trust and rapport with customers, and create a user experience that makes it easy for them to transact with your business.

Ad campaigns

Do not underestimate the power of local ad campaigns! Paid ads will always have a place in the digital marketing space, and localisation will create even more opportunities for companies to make an impression on potential customers.

However, without an understanding of your local audiences, you’re going to have a very hard time reaching them. This is where a localisation strategy comes in, and it can be broken down into the below components:

  • Targeting geo-specific audiences
  • Identifying the platforms that your target audience uses most
  • Creating ads that resonate with your local market and include well-performing keywords for each locale
  • Localising your offer and pricing
  • Using analytics tools to identify the traffic sources that lead to conversions for new customers in each country

Legal content

Legal content includes privacy policies, terms of service, disclaimers, and anything else that falls under your business’s legal obligations.

When localising your legal content, you need to consider the various rules and regulations that can vary by country. That means taking extra steps to cover all bases, particularly when it comes to sensitive information like data protection.

If you fail to localise your legal content, you risk being penalised by local authorities for non-compliance, which can cost you big. On the flipside, if you do localise your legal content, you put yourself at a competitive advantage over businesses that make this mistake.

Knowledge bases

A knowledge base is a collection of relatively short articles designed to help customers solve their own problems—a kind of FAQ for your website.

Knowledge bases can range from highly functional and technical, such as clear steps on how to use a product or service, all the way down to more casual content like office gossip or food recipes. The audience for each of your knowledge bases will vary depending on the SaaS product you provide, but every customer should be able to find something that helps them.

The biggest risk when it comes to knowledge bases is not localising them at all—or not enough. If English is your only language, then it’s an understandable slip-up; but if you’re targeting multiple markets, taking shortcuts with your knowledge bases could become a serious problem. After all, studies show that 76% of customers prefer purchasing products with information in their own language.

Where do I find SaaS localisation professionals?

So, now you know what you need. But, you might be asking yourself, “where can I find localisation professionals?” Don’t fret, because they’re everywhere. However, we recommend contacting us first.

If you’re struggling to make your marketing strategies comfortable and approachable for audiences around the world, let us know. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can start making an appropriate and effective localisation campaign for your business, together.

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