How to grow your online business by magnitudes

There are a lot of tips out there that tells you how to best grow your online business.

You may have heard about:

  • develop a unique brand
  • deliver high-quality content
  • be mobile-friendly
  • integrate social media
  • diversify your operation
  • take advantage of free marketing tools
  • network with complementary businesses
  • optimize your SEO strategy
  • build an online community
  • etc..

But most ignore an important topic that has a lot of potential.

It may seem obvious, but the topic is localization.

Usually, an online business starts in a particular geographic region or is not at all bound to a region and offers everything in English.
So basically it starts with one language only.

Now think about offering your content in other languages? Starting by your website...
Do you think this is not relevant?
Ok, then take this article for example. According to it 40% of consumers have said that they will never purchase from a website that wasn’t in their native language. While 75% have said that they would be more likely to use a business again if their aftersales care was in their native language.

Effective localization will ensure that your product is not only meeting the requirements of your chosen demographics, but also helping you to reach new audiences.

With nearly five billion smartphone users in the world, the localization of apps and websites ensures that your product can be enjoyed by customers no matter where they might be located.

So basically, you will not add or change any feature. You just take what you have and offer it in a couple more different languages.

To give you an idea, here the top 10 most spoken languages in the world:

  1. Chinese — 1.3 Billion Native Speakers
  2. Spanish — 471 Million Native Speakers
  3. English — 370 Million Native Speakers
  4. Hindi — 342 Million Native Speakers
  5. Arabic — 315 Million Native Speakers
  6. Portuguese — 232 Million Native Speakers
  7. Bengali — 229 Million Native Speakers
  8. Russian — 154 Million Native Speakers
  9. Japanese — 126 Million Native Speakers
  10. Lahnda (Western Punjabi) — 118 Million Native Speakers

When we count the top 10 most spoken languages according to the total number of people who speak them (whether or not the language is their mother tongue), it looks slightly different:

  1. English — 1.348 billion total speakers
  2. Mandarin Chinese — 1.120 billion total speakers
  3. Hindi — 600 million total speakers
  4. Spanish — 543 million total speakers
  5. Standard Arabic — 274 million total speakers
  6. Bengali — 268 million total speakers
  7. French — 267 million total speakers
  8. Russian — 258 million total speakers
  9. Portuguese — 258 million total speakers
  10. Urdu — 230 million total speakers

A little mind experiment: What would happen if you would offer your website and product also in Chinese, Hindi and Spanish, beside English?

You would target an additional audience of 2.266 billion speakers. This makes a potential growth of 268%!

If you think that it would now make sense to offer your offering in other languages, then take a look at these other articles:

Localization strategy - How to treat customers

What is localization - definition & examples

Globalization vs. Localization - What is the difference

These are the website internationalization best practices

App localization Guide - localize mobile apps

The key pieces to localize your software project