How to communicate well online in French: the 3rd way

How to communicate well online in French: the 3rd way

In a precedent post How to adapt your English content for a French audience I explained two ways to create content in French — pros and cons.

Just as a reminder:

  • the translation approach
    It is the classic way. You translate your English website (or part of it) and your marketing material into French
  • the online marketing approach
    You adapt/localize your messages for your French audience and you use email marketing and social media to create a multi-directional communication.

Both can work well.
It depends on how you sell and how you use the Internet.
Both ways require different resources: team, budget and time for implementation.

There is another good way.

Many companies are not ready to get into online marketing in a new language, and some are not satisfied with the translation approach which can be rigid: when it’s done, you think twice before making some more changes in your English website or marketing material, because you’ll have to do the same in French, again.

The third way: the bespoke approach

This is a great way to taste the waters because you can create exactly what you need for a specific purpose and for a defined period of time. It is very flexible and can be up and running with a limited team and budget.

The idea is to create one single web page in French where prospects and customers can find the basic information they need to understand and buy your product — and only that. The French page respects your brand guidelines.

For SEO reasons it is recommended not to mix different languages under the same domain name. Give your French page either a sub-domain name (such as or or a French domain name (
You can check this point with your web agency.

The French page has its own Url address: you can promote it via email and social media as much as you want. And you can display a clickable French flag on the English website to link to the French page.

>  Is your English website an eCommerce platform?

Don’t replicate it in French. Use the single page in French as a guide and explain for example:

  • How to navigate the English eCommerce website
  • What happens with the payment in pound sterling (add a link to an official currency website)
  • How to read the measurements in inches, pounds, etc
  • How to go step-by-step through the buying process (use screen captures)
  • How to contact you in French

Demonstrate to the French that they are safe when they buy on your English platform: they understand how to use it.
Reassure them that you will help if things go wrong online. Make sure that your French collaborator – internal or outsourced – is ready to answer a French email, join the conversation on a French social media account or pick up a call from France.

To keep your French web page clear and tidy create a simple A4 PDF in French with all necessary details that prospects and customers can download and use when they order on your English website.

>  Is your English website a corporate or brand website?

Some examples of what you can display on your bespoke French page:

  • Write a few words in French about your company, your service or your product
  • Explain where to buy your product in France (retail, distributors, trade shows)
  • Explain how to connect with you (mail, email, contact form, social media, phone in French)
  • Share testimonials and stories about how your brand is loved in France

Do you care about your French prospects and customers?

Don’t rely on automated online translation services.

It can bring damaging serious mistranslation and even offend your readers. Gobbledygook can be detected as spam and prevent you to have some SEO work done. And most of the time a drastic editing can’t help: better to start again. It’s a false economy.

Choose what suits you (team, time and budget): the translation approach, the online marketing approach or the bespoke approach.

Whichever way you choose make sure that native or not, your French marketing person has skills in French copywriting and marketing.

Would you like to sell your products online in French?

Not sure about how to do it and where to start?

Send me your questions and I will tell you if and how we can start promoting your brand in French.

My email address is on the right of the page below my portrait.



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