Okay, it’s a bit of a hassle to maintain other languages. It means having somebody on hand who is able to translate whatever changes you’re willing to push through to your interface.
It’s even more work if you do content marketing as then all of that needs to get translated as well, which will add extra expenses. Oh, and then there’s social media.
That sounds expensive and like a lot of work. And that’s enough for most people to decide this is not for them. They’ll find some other way to expand into other markets.
But that’s a mistake. You’ve got to think globally. Here’s why:
1 There aren’t that many English speakers
Now that’s obvious. We’re all aware that the number of people who speak English as a native language isn’t that big. According to this report it’s around 339 million.
The number of people who speak it as a second language is larger, at about 600 to 700 million. That means that about one billion people in this world speak English.
The other six billion do not. And though we’d love to believe everybody will learn English at some point, and though that might happen, it in no way has happened yet.
It will, in fact, remain beyond the reach of most ordinary people Asia, Africa and South America for years, if not decades, to come.
The result? If you do not have any other language-websites set up, it’s like you’re only willing to open your shop one day a week. After all, you’re only reaching one seventh of the world population.
2. The English speaking internet is saturated
The second point to consider is that the English internet is much, much bigger than the other languages out there. That means the number of pages per English speaking person is a great deal higher.
All those pages are competing for the attention of the same pool of people – English speakers. And so are you if that’s the only language on your website.
That means every dollar that you spend is competing against all of those other people’s dollars for that limited audience’s attention.
Other languages, in the meantime, have a much smaller internet. An estimate in UNICEF in 2008 states that 45% of the world’s internet is English. That means the rest of the world’s languages (including the two biggest) are spread out over the remaining 55%
And so they are much less saturated. That means that every dollar you spend in non-English-speaking markets is going to get you far more eyeballs.
3. The non-English world isn’t as internet savvy yet
What’s more, the competition isn’t as fierce, as many of these people are still learning the ropes of the internet. Heck, even the customers aren’t as on the ball yet and strategies that don’t work in English-speaking countries might still work here.
So instead of struggling to find out what the next digital marketing strategy is you can simply apply the one you used last year.
Don’t like such strategies? What about the opportunity to present content people might actually be interested in? That’s what content marketers are constantly striving to do. Well, here’s an opportunity to do just that.
A great deal of the material that we get over exposed to in the English-speaking internet isn’t yet as widely available in the non-English speaking world.
This means that there is a real possibility to simply translate over material and wow non-English-speaking audiences with your insightfulness.
Heck, you can even admit it’s all translated. Non-English-speaking audiences will still use it, as they’ve got far fewer resources available.
4. The non-English-speaking world is going online in record numbers
It’s true. From 2000 until 2015 the English internet grew an astounding 520%. That’s quite a lot. You know how much the Chinese internet grew? 2080%. The Spanish Internet grew by 1312% and the Arabic internet grew by 6592%.
Now admittedly that’s from much smaller basis, but that doesn’t matter, because they’re still growing. These three languages together have already surpassed the English language and soon they might do so individually.
5. We already have most of what we want while the non-English speaking world wants what we have
What’s more, they’re looking to buy into our lifestyle, even while more and more people in the west are rejecting the more consumeristic mind-set that we’ve held for the last several decades.
In other words, the sales are out there, not over here. And yes, they’ve got less money than we do, but that doesn’t always have to be that way.
Besides, there are so many more non-English-speakers that it doesn’t really matter how much money they’ve got (from a business perspective – from a humanitarian perspective of course it matters).
Particularly if you’re selling something that’s easy to ship (or even better, a service) it’s short-sighted to not have other languages set up. Yes, more languages means more work. Yes it means having more staff on hand. But the rewards are massive.
And then there’s this thought: the world is clearly changing. Other countries are becoming more powerful, even as the west declines.
In a situation like that, is it really wise to have all of your eggs in the English-speaking basket? Or would it be wiser to diversify your market, hedge your bets and spread out your eggs so that you’re positioned to change as the world does?
Norman Arvidsson is a passionate author who was born in Sweden but then moved to the United States with his family. Now his goal is to share his experience with others through blogging. He is familiar with such areas as web dev and design, marketing, blogging, freelancing, startups, small business, self-development, and eLearning. Considers personal growth as the main goal in his life.