How to write to sell online in foreign markets

Internationalising our use of language is knowing how to write to sell online in foreign markets. It involves adapting the content with one goal: localisation. As you know, localisation is crucial in accessing a foreign market.

Writing to sell online forces us to adapt our linguistic and visual communication to the culture and usage preferences of potential clients. It’s an important job. That’s why it’s key to think long-term and write to sell online in overseas markets.

What does this mean? If you want to create content to sell you must internationalise your business: develop a use of language that enables you to carry out localisation with minimum effort.

Here are some tips:


Writing to sell online is easier if you use international formats

Use the international date and time format to internationalise your business. It seems innocuous, but you’d be surprised how much the context changes depending on the language or culture.

Take this for example: 03/05/12 can mean May 12th, 2003 in Japan, May 3rd, 2012 in Spain or March 5th, 2012 in the USA.

If you want to write to sell online, use the international standard ISO 8601 or the date written. For example: March 12th, 2013.


The layout of the forms is key to selling online

Be careful how you structure the forms of your website or e-commerce when globalisng your business. The format of names is so different between languages and cultures. So, the best option for creating content that sells is by localising it completely.

However, you can get around this by providing a single field for the full name. It’s highly recommended encoding the page in UTF-8 to record information from all alphabets.


The length your content depends on the language

Remember that every language has a different information density. When writing to sell in foreign markets, consider that texts in Spanish can be up to 300 times longer than those in languages such as English.

This can directly affect the design of your website, so don’t overlook it if you decide to internationalise your business. Especially if your original language is English.


To go global, avoid cultural references

When internationalising your business, refrain from using cultural references in your selling content. Don’t include set phrases, references to historical periods or famous people in your culture, puns, etc.

Localising a text like this would be practically impossible! If you managed to, it’s a titanic effort that could’ve been easily avoided by a more neutral use of the original language in the first place.


Writing to internationalise is writing to sell online

Here’s a few tips on how to write content to sell online in international markets:

We always build from the ground up. In this example, the bricks of the house are the effective uses of language that prepare us for the process of localising our e-commerce.

Today we’ve just explained the basics. Think of what you have read today as a taster. Taking everything into account would involve many more issues that perhaps we will discuss later. However, if you don’t want to wait to start writing to sell in foreign markets, get a head-start here!

About the author

Oscar Nogueras

Es el CEO de Ontranslation y dedica algunos ratos libres a escribir en este blog para compartir sus conocimientos sobre internacionalización, cross-border ecommerce y Traducción SEO. No es para menos, ya que entre su formación cuenta con una licenciatura en filología inglesa, un máster en tradumática, un posgrado en elearning y un MBA. En definitiva, una declaración de intenciones donde la cultura y los idiomas se sirven mezclados, no agitados.

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