How to adapt your English content for a French audience

How to adapt your English content for a French audience

It is worth repeating: most people will not buy your product or service if they don’t get information in their own language. And nearly ¾ said they would be more likely to buy with information in their own language.

Statistics. You don’t trust statistics. May be you are right.

When you book online a low cost ticket to fly to France, you can use either the British or the French website of the company. It’s the same for every airline brand. And you can pay with your own currency in the language of your choice.
Which website would you use to buy your ticket? The French one or the English one?

Websites have different purposes: there are different ways to translate, localize or adapt your content in another language.

The translation approach

It is a language approach, a sort of “command and control” way that allows you to build your content (website and marketing material) in English and translate it later into French. Language is the cornerstone.
Pros:
—  you can plan and master what you publish at all times
—  it is a great way to do things when you have a French-speaking marketer in your team/or involved in your project
Cons:
—  every time you make changes on your English website you have to update your French website if your offer is the same on both sides of the Channel
—  if you rely on external resource such as a professional translator or a translation company, how quickly can they react and deliver? (e.g. an enquiry via the French website)
—  it is a “one shot” mindset: how will it work in the long-term? How often do you need to update your messages?

Depending on how your website has been thought and built, you may well not have to translate it entirely. You can do a test: ask some English speakers what’s the minimum of information they really need to be able to buy (you can be surprised).

Do you plan to redesign your English website? Don’t waste the opportunity to integrate a language strategy in the big picture (domain names, urls, ergonomy).

Do you care about your French prospects and customers?
Would you like some SEO work done?
Don’t rely on automated online translation services.

The online marketing approach

It is about using translation or copywriting in French, localizing your messages for a French audience and making the most of email marketing and social media in French.
You build a multi directional communication with your French prospects and clients. Marketing is the cornerstone.
Pros:
—  you have more tools in hand to drive search generated traffic and more ways to reach, attract and engage with prospects (e.g. with visual social media that releases the pressure on language)
—  you have more opportunities to educate and nurture your existing French prospects and customers
—  you can build clear guidelines for the person/external service that will handle your French social media account(s), define one goal at a time and run tests for limited periods of time
—  it leaves doors open for trying out, changes and online discoveries
Cons:
—  the quality of your customer service will be tested more quickly
—  a multi directional channel of communication brings both the good and the bad
—  SMEs with little experience of social media can find it difficult to outsource their French social media account(s)
—  it is a commitment and honestly nobody can predict how it works in the long-term.

I would like to share with you the example of a small British company that does an amazing job with languages, online marketing and social media.

Based in East Anglia, Essential Care creates “the purest skincare on earth ».
Their customer service is excellent. They sell in many European countries and understand what localization means.

The home pages of their British and French websites are different and their Twitter streams too.
They have found brilliant ways to adapt in French their English videos.
They have more followers and interaction in the UK but their French Facebook community is growing. There publish a French blog.

As a customer I have been watching for a few years the way they do things: they plant, it grows, they nurture and it works.

Do you know a British brand handling well online marketing with languages and social media?

Please let me know in the comments below.
Thank you.

 

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