Contributed by Peter R. Geyer
There is an old marketing tale (that is handily debunked here) about how back in the 1970s Chevrolet tried to market the Nova automobile in Mexico, only to find that it sold poorly. When they looked into the matter, they discovered that “Nova” in Spanish could be read as “no va” which roughly means “doesn’t go.”
While it turns out that this story is not actually true, it does demonstrate the usefulness of having somebody familiar with your new overseas target market actually review your product, its marketing, and its positioning prior to release. What may seem like an awesome name or marketing strategy in one language or culture, may actually end up sending all the wrong signals in another language or culture. Even the best product in the world can be an unnecessary burden if it unintentionally sends the wrong signals to its international customer base.
We’ve have led dozens of writing workshops over the past 10+ years. One of the workshops was on “the art of revision” for creative writing projects.
We were surprised to learn that some writers assumed that if their first draft was unsatisfactory, they needed to throw it out and start over with a different piece of writing. These writers felt liberated when they found out that very famous authors always went through multiple drafts of their work before they got that final draft that everyone now knows as a masterpiece of literature.
You may not think of your blog post or newsletter article as a “potential masterpiece” of literature, but it should relieve you to know that no one ever writes something perfectly the first time they put pen to paper (or fingers to computer keyboard).
Meters? Kilometers? Yards? Miles?
Distances and measurements are tricky when you are reaching out to English-speaking clients. You need to ask yourself: Which English does my ideal client use?
With our German clients, we always have to ask at the start of any project: Are you specifically focused on the American market or the British and English-speaking European market?
Last year, we helped a client with text for a few explainer videos.
When they sent the draft text to us, they said they needed it trimmed to under 250 words to fit a 60-second video. Unfortunately, the text they sent was nearly 400 words.
They were trying to fit a lot in. They introduced two characters, explained their positions and their problems, introduced the company’s product, and then went on to detail every feature and benefit.
So why are you leaving these digital spaces blank?
I don’t know about you, but I love window shopping. Even if I don’t need anything, it’s fun to see how some shops get very creative about the displays in their windows. Tailors in my neighborhood have some truly eye-grabbing ones.
And most stores will change their displays according to the season or the next upcoming holiday. One glance will tell you whether Christmas, Halloween, or Valentine’s Day is on its way.
Would you leave a shop window empty when you know it’s a good way to attract customers? I don’t think you would.
I’ve been hanging out on Instagram a lot more lately (follow me here!), and I’ve noticed a big problem that small businesses and coaches are running into with event promotions – especially since so many people are now hosting online events.
Due to Instagram’s algorithm, you can’t be sure that your event announcement will be seen before your event happens! Your followers have no ability to see posts in chronological order, as they can with Facebook (the Most Recent option for the Newsfeed), Twitter (option to “See Latest Tweets first”), or LinkedIn (option for “Recent” instead of “Top”).
Are you confusing and losing potential clients with your alphabet soup?
Did you know that CIA is not just the acronym for the Central Intelligence Agency in the United States? It’s also the acronym for the Culinary Institute of America.
If you are marketing your product or service to an international audience, you need to understand that not everyone will immediately recognize the acronyms you use. People who are new to your field might also not recognize an acronym! You don’t want to risk alienating folks or making them feel like “outsiders” when they don’t know which company or organization you are talking about.
I have a problem with jargon. Many businesses think that using a lot of industry-specific terminology in their marketing materials makes them sound more impressive.
“Pimp your SEO for killer ROIs!”
But it doesn’t make you sound impressive. It sounds fake. It sounds like one of any number of jargon-spewing social media accounts I see out there featuring some 20-something guy in a suit standing next to an expensive car and claiming to make six figures per month. Continue reading
A recent client came to me because she wanted to redo her websites in English. One of the problems she told me about was the fact that her clients love her, but after getting to know her, they say: “You know, your website sounds nothing like you…”
Then, I was being interviewed for a podcast, and the host told me she gets the same reaction.
This got me to thinking about how the “voice” of your website works for or against you when you’re reaching out to your ideal client.
How do you stand out? How do you connect with your website visitors? Continue reading