Iuliia Nesterenko

Technical Writer

Multilingual Marketing Strategy for Customer Retention

Nowadays, multilingual marketing strategies are imperative for businesses to survive in the cross-national economy. Growth of smartphone ownership, accessible Internet, online payment, and international shipment have made it possible for retailers to cross the geographical border.

Today, you can be a local business from Spain and acquire customers in Canada, South Africa and Japan. But acquiring doesn’t mean retaining. To build long-lasting relationships with your brand, people need to understand you and your product and be able to freely communicate at every stage of the customer journey. Preferably in their native language.

Language and Business Communication

According to Internet World Stats, the top Internet languages (as of March 2020) are English, Chinese, Spanish and Arabic.

Data on the Internet languages

When it comes to content, the English language is dominating. According to Web Technology Surveys, English is used by 60% of all websites that use various content languages (as of April, 2021).

Note. Languages that aren’t included in the table are used by less than 1.0% of the websites.

Percentage of website content by language

However, out of almost 4.6 billion global users, only 25% speak Native English and the other 75% don’t. And although 75% of users aren’t native English speakers, they still need to consume or learn how to consume English content.

English has become the language of the Internet for a reason. It had been the main language of business, science and technology long before the Internet. And since the early Internet development took place in the UK and US, English couldn’t but become its main communication tool.

Time changes though. Today’s users aren’t limited to several sites and can choose out of extensive competition. And the language is often the factor that predetermines this choice.

Based on the analysis of consumer language preferences for B2C and B2B in 29 countries (including those for which English isn’t the mother language, like Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Korea, Spain) by CSA Research, Can’t Read, Won’t Buy:

  • 65% of users prefer content in their native language, as opposed to a foreign language, even if its quality is worse;
  • 40% of consumers won’t buy in other languages;
  • 73% want product reviews in their language;
  • 30% say they never buy at English-only sites;
  • 30% say they rarely buy at English-only sites;
  • 66% non-English speakers use machine translation when buying online.

Why People Want Content in Their Native Language

It’s not hard to see that people better respond to the content they can understand. However, even speakers that have a very good command of English are most likely to prefer content in their mother language for a number of reasons:

  • Insufficient English to understand complicated text (terms of use, agreements, financial info, refund policies).

When it comes to a simple transaction like buying a T-shirt or ordering a pizza, you don’t necessarily need advanced English. Modern site and app designs are very user-friendly and enable intuitive task completion. But when it comes to more complex tasks that presuppose consumption of more text (buying airline tickets, signing a rent agreement, choosing a service provider), people would rather prefer to deal with information in their own language.

  • Convenience (native language is faster to digest).

No matter how good you’re at a certain language, it still requires a bit more effort to digest content in it, especially if these are long pieces or field-specific terminology.

  • Symbol of identity.

For many, the mother language is a matter of pride and helps them connect with their national identity and cultural heritage.

  • Habit for senior customers.

The Covid-19 has made many people switch to digital shopping and service consumption. Seniors are now a significant share of the customer total. Most seniors outside the EU and North America don’t know English well or don’t know it at all. Most probably, they won’t be learning it, at least not because they want to understand your company.

  • Local government policies.

Marketing and any business activities done in the national language are an official requirement in some countries or even regions within one country.

All tools to create and send mass and transactional emails

Why Multilingual Strategies Are Important for the Customer Journey

Communication in the native language is what users want from brands today. But the fact that 60% of content on sites with multilingual browses is in English suggests that this demand isn’t met yet.

And apart from causing inconvenience to users, such language neglectance can potentially result in profit losses and low customer retention for your business.

Take a look at this journey map with stages at which the customer interacts with your brand when making a purchase decision.

Customer journey map

From awareness to post-purchase, people consume information on different platforms. How fast and effective this consumption determines whether the final purchase-making choice is made at all. The lack of relevant information, including localization and language, at any step can have a negative impact and can make people look for a better alternative at competitors’.

Issues caused by poor localization

According to CSA Research, you can lose 40% to 73% of users due to bad language experience.

When you can lose customers

Apart from an incomplete customer journey, low acquisition rate and bad global promotion, a deficient language strategy can cause you other problems:

  • Miscommunication with existing customers;
  • Big query load on your support team. People would ask about things they wouldn’t have needed to ask about provided you have initially explained them in their language at the start;
  • Legal claims from customers who took losses as a result of misunderstanding important information;
  • Bad brand reputation;
  • No advantage over competitors. Today we all sell the same things. Good customer service is what can differentiate you from competitors, and language optimization is an important component of it.
Last post

Creating a Multilingual Marketing Strategy

To improve communication with your customers, you need to create a good language experience at every stage of the customer lifecycle.

  • Optimize SEO for local search;
  • Translate your site and marketing materials;
  • Optimize reviews and UGC on social media;
  • Translate product information, guidelines, how-to manuals;
  • Optimize scripts for chatbots;
  • Run multilingual customer service: support, email marketing, app notifications; messengers, alerts, transactional messages;
  • Process translated data and data sent in other languages and incorporate it into your marketing strategies.

How to provide a good language experience

The process requires long-time commitment and many are afraid of technical challenges and extra load on developers and marketers. But this effort is crucial to ensure customer retention, build loyalty and communicate effectively with your multinational audience. What’s more, modern technologies can simplify the implementation procedure and make it as smooth as possible.

How to Create Multilingual Campaigns in eSputnik

Realizing the importance of multilingual digital marketing, eSputnik has developed Multilanguage. Multilanguage is a functionality that enables marketers to create messages in different languages within one template.

  • You have one template where you can add unlimited language versions and fill them with the translated content.
  • You don’t need to create 10 messages to send one email in 10 languages.
  • You don’t need to create multiple workflows for each language version.
  • You don’t need complex workflows with numerous conditions and checks.
  • Statistics on all versions are available within one report so you don’t need to switch between tabs to view it in full.

You can create multilingual campaigns for any of the channels you use for customer communication:

  • Email;
  • Web Push;
  • SMS;
  • Mobile Push;
  • Viber.

Learn more about Multilanguage

This is how you can launch a multilingual campaign in several steps.

1. Set the customer’s preferred language.

All contacts in eSputnik have a contact profile with a language field that indicates the contact language. You can fill it in different ways depending on how you add the contact to the system:

  • Track the browser language. The system will automatically add it as the preferred language.
  • Ask the customer to specify the preferred language in the subscription form or via further preference management. Send the languageCode parameter through API.
  • Add or update the preferred language during the contact import.
  • Add the language manually. Manual editing always has a higher priority than the info automatically added by the system.

Preferred language in a contact profile

2. Create a multilingual template.

  • To create a multilingual message in any editor, click the globe icon.
  • Enter the default language. It will be used for messages sent to contacts without the preferred language.
  • Add language versions.

3 language versions within one template

When you add a new language, the system will automatically create a copy of the message you’re currently in. For example, if you’re adding a new version from the Spanish version, the system will duplicate the Spanish version and not the version with the default language. This simplifies work with languages of the same language group. It’s logical to add a Portuguese version from the Spanish version, or a Danish version from the Norwegian version. Languages that belong to one family have a similar structure so it would be easier to adjust them in terms of design.

  • Fill each version with the corresponding content.
  • Switch between versions in one click in the menu.
  • Preview any version on desktop and on mobile.
  • Send a test message. To check the display of every version, send tests to contacts with different languages in their contact profiles.

In the general list, multilingual messages are labeled with the globe icon. The number next to it indicates the number of language versions. Hover over the icon to see them.

Multilingual email in a general list

3. Launch the campaign.

The process of scheduling or launching a multilingual campaign is the same as for regular messages. Depending on the campaign type, you send a message to the whole base or to a segment, schedule it for a certain date or add to a workflow that will send it in a due time.

The system automatically determines the language version to be sent to a contact based on one of the algorithms:

  • If the language isn’t determined in the event that triggers message sending, the message will be sent in the language specified in the contact profile.
  • If the language is determined in the event that triggers message sending, the message will be sent in this language. The language specified in the contact profile will be ignored.
  • If the language isn’t determined by the event and isn’t specified in the contact profile, the message will be sent in the default language.

Read a full guideline of how to create and send multilingual campaigns.

4. Study the report.

You can see the statistics on the whole campaign and separate language versions within one report.

  • Sent;
  • Errors;
  • Delivered;
  • Spam reports;
  • Unsubscribed;
  • Opened;
  • Clicked;
  • CTR.

Report by language versions

You can also see the click map or click table for each version by switching between them in one click.

Click map for a multilingual message


The need for multilingual marketing strategies is increasing as globalization expands geographical boundaries and allows businesses to sell to international markets. It’s no longer effective to bet on English only. Adding even one or two languages to your marketing will improve the experience of the existing customers, attract new ones and add benefits for retention.

  • Avoid miscommunication of all kinds;
  • Improve support productivity;
  • Deliver a satisfying customer experience;
  • Make it easier for people to digest and share your content;
  • Simplify transaction-related processes;
  • Retain customers and build loyalty around your brand;
  • Get an advantage over competitors.

Getting better management of your global audience is a worthy investment. We at Sputnik can make it easy for you to implement multi-language solutions into your marketing, maintaining the competitive edge and exceeding customer expectations.

Resources

  1. Internet World Stats.
  2. w3techs.
  3. Can’t Read, Won’t Buy - B2C.
  4. Can’t Read, Won’t Buy - B2B.
  5. Speak to Global Customers in Their Own Language.
  6. ‘Scale with great context’: The Independent eyes global expansion.
  7. Localization: The Revolution in Consumer Markets.
  8. Welcome To The Era Of Big Translation.

0.0 from 5 based on 0 reviews

Iuliia Nesterenko

Technical Writer

A technical (but still very creative) writer at eSputnik with a strong focus on design, current digital marketing trends, and new solutions for email automation.

Comments 0