It’s that time of year again. Your 2024 global marketing budget is set and the race is on to ensure that remaining 2023 budget is put to good use. Here’s how to invest now for measurable, positive marketing localization outcomes in the coming year.
With the end of the year approaching, many marketers are looking to 2024 but have a balance on their 2023 budgets. Best case, they lose that money at the end of the year. Worst case, their 2024 budget gets slashed because they couldn’t spend what they already had.
So, how can you spend that leftover budget quickly and effectively?
Here are ten smart ways to spend $10k or less to set you up for marketing localization success in 2024.
1. PROOF OF CONCEPT FOR A NEW INTERNATIONAL MARKET
What it is: Targeted, localized 90-day paid search campaigns to test a market’s potential for your brand. Gather engagement and conversion data before investing in a full-blown marketing localization effort for that market.
Why it matters: You’ve identified a new market that you think will be a good fit for your brand. But you don’t know for sure. And it can be hard to make the case for localization into new markets. Often, companies get caught up in the cost of translation – but translation is just a tactic, not the goal. And, for budget-conscious companies, it often doesn’t make sense to take the leap of translating everything before you’ve tested the opportunity.
International proof of concept campaigns let you test new market opportunity relatively inexpensively to see if local consumers are interested in your offering. Gathering local engagement and conversion data in this way can help guide your decisions on where and when to concentrate your marketing localization budget in 2024. And all at relatively low risk, with clear and measurable results to inform your thinking.
2. INTERNATIONAL SEO AUDIT
What it is: A deep dive into your international SEO strategy.
Why it matters: Search is the top channel consumers across the globe use to discover new brands. If your international users can’t find you, they can’t buy from you – no matter how great your website is. From site speed issues and misconfigurations to simply targeting the wrong keywords, there’s a lot that can prevent your localized site from showing up on your local customer’s search results page.
An international SEO audit examines your on-page, technical, and off-page SEO performance in each of your target locales. Reporting on what’s working, what’s not, and where you can prioritize improvements for the biggest site-wide impact in driving engagement and conversions.
International keyword audits can also help you understand whether your targeting is appropriate and optimized for local market search intent and behavior.
3. INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL MEDIA AUDIT
What it is: An in-depth look into one (or more) of your social media channels (organic or paid).
Why it matters: International social media strategy is key to driving awareness at the early stages of a customer journey. And it’s excellent for post-sales advocacy. A truly engaged audience will drive connection with current and potential international customers and help increase brand sentiment. All while maximizing your ROI on other international digital marketing tactics.
An international social media audit typically examines account setup and structure, profile, content strategy, paid media strategy, targeting, and competitor analysis. If you’re already international on social media and looking to get better results, this is a budget-friendly way to inform your next move in priority or underperforming locales.
4. LOCAL MARKET REVIEW
What it is: An assessment of your marketing localization effectiveness in one or more of your primary international markets. (And what you can do to get better results.)
Why it matters: Understanding your international audience is the key to maximizing engagement at the local level and sustaining global growth. Even companies that have a strong local market presence need to consider whether they can achieve higher ROI. How can you optimize your current marketing localization efforts in each market? What can you do to calibrate your approach to shifting in-market trends? How does your content measure up against local and international competitors?
A local market review will distill takeaways on how you can evolve your marketing localization strategy to strengthen your current international presence and increase ROI.
5. LANGUAGE QUALITY AUDIT
What it is: A review of your localized content by in-country professional linguists for completeness, accuracy, and fluency. And, most importantly, an assessment of how engaging the overall localized experience is for your target audiences.
Why it matters: According to the CSA, 75% of international consumers will drop out along the customer journey if they encounter problems with language. For marketing and creative content, an authentic, high-quality user experience is key for in-market success. This involves a combination of locally relevant copy and visual experience. A poor language experience is damaging to your brand, causing consumer indifference (at best) and frustration or offense (at worst). The more competitive the local market landscape, the better you’ll need to do to meet consumer expectations.
A language quality audit can be as broad or as specific as you’d like, depending on the nature of your online content. It will give you feedback and recommendations on the overall language experience. You’ll get examples of exceptional or preferred language based on your brand guidance. And recommendations for specific content issues or new translation or transcreation opportunities to increase engagement.
6. INTERNATIONAL UX & DESIGN AUDIT
What it is: An assessment of your brand’s visual experience at the local level including graphics, imagery, fonts, and colors based on local market preferences, trends, and appropriateness.
Why it matters: Translation isn’t enough to drive lasting engagement with your brand. Consumer visual preferences can vary significantly between markets. Graphics that are outstanding for one market could be downright offensive (or just off-putting) in another. And in a competitive market, consumer indifference to an experience obviously based on a US English design will send your potential international consumers elsewhere.
This audit provides recommendations for locale-specific adaptations and market best practices for graphic design. All fitting within the framework of your existing brand guidelines.
7. LOCALIZED WEBSITE UX/CONVERSION FLOW AUDIT
What it is: An analysis of your localized website’s usability and user experience across all target markets, with an emphasis on an optimized conversion flow.
Why it matters: Understanding the international customer journey is crucial to the short- and long-term success of your website. If you want to increase brand awareness or sell more products/services, you need to understand the key milestones in the user journey through conversion. And ensure each milestone is localized effectively to propel site visitors along that path.
This audit is be performed by digital experts, as well as in-market usability and UX strategists. It spans website layout, navigational flow, use of real estate, content hierarchy, forms, and more. At the end, you’ll have actionable recommendations for optimizing the conversion flow for each of your international target markets.
8. LOCALIZED STYLE GUIDE CREATION
What it is: Development of localized standards for each of your target markets and languages based on your domestic brand, tone of voice (TOV), and/or design guidelines. As well as feedback from your in-country stakeholders and local subject-matter experts and linguists.
Why it matters: Defining brand-appropriate tone and style standards for international markets and languages is crucial to producing an effective localized experience that also aligns with your evolving global brand. Localized style and TOV guidelines are living assets that help your in-country teams and language partners make smart decisions when working on in-market content – especially creative content.
A brand’s TOV is always evolving, and should be reviewed and updated regularly. (We recommend every 12 months to make sure your TOV is still valid and compelling.) Beyond basics like being “friendly,” “professional,” and “clear,” international style guides will help ensure your localized content is both on brand and engaging at the local level. Style guides that inform the brand language used in other locales, along with evolving trends such as the use of inclusive language, will increase your brand relevance and set you apart from in-market competition.
9. TRANSLATION MEMORY & GLOSSARY CLEANUP/AUDIT
What it is: A review and cleanup of your translation memory (TM) and glossary by content specialists to maximize content quality, leverage, and reuse.
Why it matters: Standardizing your important terminology and approved localized terms is key to brand and message consistency. TMs and glossaries are living assets set up to ensure content quality and consistency, and to improve cost and time efficiency in reusing approved content. But automatic TM and glossary updates can result in multiple versions of the same text, reducing reuse and effectiveness, and even risking inconsistency. For marketing content, this can dilute your brand experience and result in an off-putting user experience.
Human intervention is needed to make sure your TM and glossary content is relevant, consistent, and effective at the local level. No matter if content is being produced by your in-market team or a language provider, after this audit, you’ll be able to ensure consistency and a high-quality brand experience.
You may also see huge cost savings through content leverage. Well-managed, living TMs and glossaries can deliver 50% leverage or more over time.
And TM strategy should be adapted for marketing content and heavily branded messaging. The more creative your content, the more important it is to have content specialists review these tools.
What it is: Scope and agreement on allocation of global marketing budget for language, marketing, and media activities in advance of the new year.
Why it matters: Marketing localization strategies and tactics can take time and resources to execute. And if you’re in a use-it-or-lose-it budget situation at the end of the year, you may not be able to spend it all before 2023 ends.
That’s where a retainer can be helpful. Working with an agency, you can clearly scope out and agree on services in advance to avoid losing excess budget while keeping your marketing localization strategy on track for the year ahead.
FINAL THOUGHT ON SPENDING YOUR GLOBAL MARKETING BUDGET
Whether it’s dipping a toe in a new market, reviewing and optimizing your existing international presence, or planning for future international content strategy, it’s not too late to get ahead for 2024. There are many options for spending down your 2023 global marketing budget to set yourself up for marketing localization success in the new year. And the right partner will help you figure out where you can get the best return based on your 2024 global marketing goals.
Need help deciding what to prioritize with your remaining 2023 budget, or where you need to invest in 2024? Our customer success team would be happy to talk it over with you.