Your dealership’s website is probably your best and most affordable marketing tool. But if your site isn’t published in your customers’ preferred languages, sales are going to suffer.
These days, English isn’t the only language being spoken by your customers. In fact, in some markets, it’s barely spoken at all.
Take the U.S. Hispanic population—it’s growing far faster than the national average. More than 80% of Hispanics speak Spanish, and when given the choice between English and Spanish, they’re 40% more likely to buy from a Spanish-language website.
Translating your dealership website to serve different cultures within your market can certainly be a massive undertaking, but the payoff can be huge. The sooner you’re serving customers online in their preferred languages, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits of customer awareness and new revenue from those now-loyal customers.
But how do you get there, especially with a small marketing team? To successfully reach U.S. customers who don’t speak English (or who prefer their native language), you must focus on what matters most to your customers, and outsource the expertise you lack—or the tasks you don’t have bandwidth for.
If you’re unsure of where to start and whether your team can handle the challenge, keep reading.
Speak the right language
First, speak the language.To earn customer trust, it’s critical to share inventory, product features, and service and parts information—plus special promotions—in the key languages spoken in your region.
According to research from DrivingSales, 56% more shoppers would buy cars if the process was easier. This certainly applies to the sales process and the loan applications that follow.
It’s daunting enough for customers to enter their financial information into a computer field. Imagine doing so on an application that isn’t in their native language.
Your customers will feel more confident shopping with you if you offer content in their language of choice. This means paperwork, PDFs, and other forms must also be accessible in those languages.
Another perk of translating your website: It improves your rank in organic search and website traffic, conducted in those preferred languages.
It’s not just about translating words
Here are a few more tips that can help dealerships make their translated websites even more persuasive and resonant with their multilingual customers:
- Stick with the 80/20 rule. Generally, 80% to 90% percent of your English website can be translated verbatim for other languages. The remaining 10% to 20%, however, can benefit from nuanced, customized content called localization. This can be dedicated to offering customized videos, banner images, and more.
- Show you care. Show new customers you appreciate their business. Personalize messaging for sites in every language, and use relevant market-specific offers whenever possible.
- Offer online financing options. Eliminate the stress for non-English speakers. According to Relevate Auto, 56% of people want to begin the negotiation process on their own terms, and preferably online. Take your website a step further and allow customers to complete credit applications and financing paperwork online in their language of choice.
Website translation projects can be major undertakings. Dealerships are faced with providing content in relevant languages, outsourcing translation tasks, overseeing the editing and publication of those translations, and ensuring brand and content continuity on those multilingual sites.
If you’re not fluent in those technologies or processes, you’ll be outclassed by the task—and fast.
Asking for help saves in the long run
Technologies exist that can quickly translate English websites into multiple languages and serve them to the right audiences.
The best solutions empower you to manage your English site as you always have, while smart technologies and linguists automatically update the multilingual websites. It’s a hands-off, worry-free experience.
The day-to-day operation of a multilingual site can be tricky and filled with risk. All sites must be continually monitored for changes, and content (including text, video, and images) must be translated and published regularly.
Deploying, operating, and optimizing multilingual sites through one origin site—and tapping partners to help you do this as needed—will eliminate operational complexity and cost.
More importantly, it will get the project off your plate and in market far faster and more affordably than doing it yourself.
Put the plan into high gear
Whatever solution you choose, it must be a nimble one. Like your original English site, your multilingual websites must be refreshed regularly with new content, including up-to-date inventory and pricing.
When multilingual sites feature stale content that’s out of sync with your current product selection and offerings, customers take notice.
Focusing on what matters and finding partners that specialize in these projects can make the difference between taking years to launch a multilingual website, instead of mere weeks.
If you’re speaking the right language to your dealership’s customers and prospects, you’ll set yourself up for success.
Craig Witt is executive vice president at MotionPoint Corp., a leading enterprise localization platform. MotionPoint helps world-class brands grow by engaging and enriching the lives of new customers in markets around the globe.