It might feel tricky enough at times to get the balance right in terms of such aspects of your brand’s website as its general aesthetics, loading speeds, and ability to serve the obvious pain points of your target customers. On top of all that, there is something else you might need to account for: different cultures in different parts of the world.
You might already be well aware of the fact that what tends to work well in one culture, won’t necessarily translate well in another. Indeed, you might have approached a specialist in online marketing for small business precisely so that you can address this appropriately in your website design.
Before you get into discussions with a digital marketing and web design company such as PENNInk Productions, we thought we would set out just some of the practical steps you can take if you are trying to make your website design more relevant and attractive to other cultures.
Research the culture you are trying to reach
Your business might have long served customers in one territory, such as the UK, perfectly well. However, you may have concluded that now is the time to branch out into a new foreign market. And one of the first things you need to do is to properly understand that market.
You might already have business clients or partners in the given region, so it could be worth having a conversation with them about what you will need to be particularly mindful of when modifying your site for that region’s audiences.
Regardless, you should be sure to immerse yourself in the given country or territory’s culture, traditions, history, and art. You might discover in the process that certain aesthetics favoured in website design in your home market aren’t necessarily the most popular in the overseas market you are intending to branch out into.
Use appropriate colours and images
Hopefully, some of this will be relative common sense. For example, if you are looking to expand your business into conservative Muslim-majority parts of the world, you won’t want your site’s homepage to greet visitors from these cultures with images showing alcohol and suggestive clothing.
Some of the steps that you might take to optimise your site’s colours and imagery for different cultures might be a bit subtler than this.
Did you know, for example, that websites in southeast Asian countries often use more vivid and contrasting colours than their counterparts in Europe? Speaking of Europe, French and Italian websites frequently incorporate images of people engaged in various activities, whereas a UK website might be likelier to emphasise a natural and moderate aesthetic.
Organise your website design suitably
Even when it comes to the various ways in which websites are organised and laid out, there can be notable variations from one part of the world to another. This is something else that might guide your efforts to tweak your own brand’s website for those territories.
In the UK, for example, we’re accustomed to generally sleek and decluttered websites, paired with a tone that is polite and understated in that way the British seem to do best. We don’t tend to be super pushy with our sales messaging – and we might not even show the customer the price for a particular product or service until they hover their cursor over the product image or contact us.
Just because these things are typical for websites in the UK, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should necessarily continue in that vein if you are trying to expand into another national or regional market.
In China, for example, business websites tend to embrace greater contrasts in colours and texts, as well as more columns, than the typical European website visitor would easily tolerate. Meanwhile, the Scandinavian countries often put considerable emphasis on inclusion, so it will be a must for your own website to excel in this regard if you are targeting these markets.
Make the site available in multiple languages
You might feel that your brand website’s main language being English works just fine for communicating its internationalism. But if there are specific overseas markets to which you wish to appeal, it’s worth accounting for the fact that customers tend to prefer doing business with a company that literally ‘speaks their language’.
Making your website multilingual is likely to be a positive step – but this shouldn’t be a case of simply shoving your English content into Google Translate. By enlisting the help of native speakers, you can help ensure your site will feel authentic to those in the part of the world from which you would like to attract more customers.
Re-jigging or even revamping your business website to resonate with those of different cultures around the world will not be the work of a moment. Even the seemingly smallest mistakes could be disastrous for your efforts to target foreign audiences, so you will need to invest considerable time and effort if you are to achieve a good result.
For a more in-depth discussion of how our expertise in online marketing for small business could help you and your brand, please don’t hesitate to contact the PENNInk Productions team today, or to give us a call on 020 8144 7931.
Edward Solomon has over 15 years’ experience in project management, technical education, computer networking, web design and development and is a Digital Business Consultant for PENNInk Productions Ltd.