International marketing

6 Proven Business Localization Strategies

6 Proven Business Localization Strategies
Rayne Aguilar
Written by
Rayne Aguilar
Rayne Aguilar
Written by
Rayne Aguilar
Elizabeth Pokorny
Elizabeth Pokorny
Rayne Aguilar
Reviewed by
Elizabeth Pokorny
Updated on
May 7, 2024

Entering global markets can be a huge leap for businesses, presenting new opportunities and accelerating growth. Enjoying such benefits comes with a set of unique challenges, from navigating cultural differences to product placement and legal compliance.

Given the time and financial costs involved, it’s important to get your localization strategy right. Getting to know your target market, and adapting your product accordingly, are vital steps on the journey towards expansion.

Here we’ll assess the strategic considerations needed when making your first venture overseas. We’ll also study the localization strategies employed by some of the most successful brands – lessons that any business can adopt when aiming to go global.

Localization Strategies: Definition and Benefits

A localization strategy should include much more than website translation. Products, content, imagery, and marketing all need to be modified in order to communicate with a new audience.

Before expanding to a new country, you’ll need to understand cultural and societal trends, buying habits, and language preferences. Adapting your brand to meet local needs personalizes the customer experience, increasing your chances of success.

A Harvard Business Review study showed that nearly 73% of customers prefer to purchase from a site offering info in their native language. A further DeepL report found that 96% of businesses had a positive ROI from localizing their website. Our own case studies have seen the likes of Bigblue and double their traffic after using Weglot for their localization strategy.

6 Practical Localization Strategies for Diverse Business Needs

You’ll need to plan carefully before embarking on your localization efforts. Breaking this down into six key stages will ensure you have a solid base to work from, prior to launching your product or service overseas.

1. Undertake Market Assessment & Cultural Analysis

International market research needs to uncover who you’re targeting, their buying habits, preferred marketing channels, and tactics used by your competition. Knowledge of recent trends and the state of the local economy can assist in refining your product offering and sales approach.

Consider using online data, alongside conducting surveys, looking at industry studies, and reading local business news. Such sources can help a brand gain a taste of its intended market and provide a view of the challenges ahead.

2. Involve Local Experts

Local knowledge is key to global expansion. Forming partnerships with expert translators who are familiar with their country’s language preferences can help avoid the kind of mistakes made by the likes of HSBC.

The banking giant once tried to use their tagline: ‘Assume Nothing’ in foreign markets. This was mistranslated as ‘Do Nothing’ in some countries – an unattractive slogan for any business looking to grow its customer base.

The financial costs of identifying and resolving such a mistake can be enormous, not to mention damaging to a brand’s reputation. It pays to have experts involved at the planning stage since they can also ensure your brand complies with local regulations.

3. Provide a Localized User Experience

Studies show that a multilingual website is vital when it comes to connecting with local customers. CSA Research found that 76% prefer to buy products in their own language.

Weglot’s automated translation tool

Tailoring your site to meet local expectations can be the difference between a sale and an abandoned shopping cart. Pricing, dates, times, and number formatting need to reflect local preferences.

Adapt page designs to allow for native language traits. Simply switching a Latin text to a non-Latin one will rarely result in a good-looking layout.

The meaning of colors can also differ from one country to the next, so check if your palette is in keeping with local tastes. The color white is neutral in much of the world, but has associations with mourning in many Buddhist countries, being commonly worn at funerals.

Be sure to discover the right tone for language/images as well – what seems polite in one country may appear blunt elsewhere. A raised fist in China wishes another good luck, yet in the West it’s an aggressive gesture. The ‘fingers crossed’ symbol in the West is akin to raising your middle finger in parts of Asia – whereas the middle finger causes no offense at all.

4. Optimize for Multilingual SEO

Consumers across the world use organic search to find and buy products. It’s vital to optimize a multilingual website for SEO if you’re going to compete in foreign markets. Conduct local keyword research, and optimize your content accordingly.

Weglot simplifies the multilingual SEO process by handling server-side translations and automatically applying hreflang tags, so users will always see your website in their own language. Weglot also automates SEO metadata translation to help search engines understand and rank your translated pages.

Content localization needs to reflect language preferences across all stages of the sales funnel. Speech can differ between two countries speaking the same language, and sales can be affected if unfamiliar terms are used. A ‘flip-flop’ shoe in England is known as a ‘thong’ in Australia – but a ‘thong’ in the UK refers to an underwear garment!

Be sure to also identify the most popular search engines in your targeted country. Although Google is used across many destinations, Baidu is China’s most popular tool, and Yandex is used in Russia. And don’t forget technical checks such as page loading speed; no one likes a slow site, no matter where they’re from.

5. Use Technology to Drive Localization

The best tools simplify the localization process by organizing workflows to handle your initial translation stage.

Weglot’s easy-to-use website localization tool requires no coding and project managers can form strategies and communicate with large teams through a single platform.

Integration with your existing content management system is easy. The software slots in with your preferred CMS and other tools, providing automated translations and allowing you to check designs as you go. With built-in AI features, it keeps a record of preferred translations through a multilingual glossary, ensuring cultural preferences are handled consistently.

6. Measure Success and Practice Continuous Localization

Monitoring your progress and setting targets for continuous improvement can help refine your localization strategy over time. Check the following metrics and use them to gauge success, as well as areas in need of attention.

  • Website Engagement Metrics: Analyze website traffic, conversion rates, and monitor the customer journey from landing pages to checkout. Assess whether the process can be refined by having a better page-linking structure, or more localized CTAs.
  • Social Media Interactions: Study how users interact with your brand across your chosen channels. Analyze if you can find patterns in the most successful/unsuccessful posts to decide if different channels should be used.
  • User Feedback: Take note of feedback from as many sources as possible. Most websites should offer the opportunity for user reviews as standard. In addition, check online forums to see how your brand is being perceived.

When it comes to KPIs, it’s worth examining these on their own terms and as a percentage of your global figures. Knowing how much of your revenue is coming from a specific market is useful for measuring the overall success of a campaign.

Decoding the Success in Global Brand Strategies: Examples of Localization

From Netflix to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), some brands have thrived on the international stage. As we’ll see, they’ve used effective local tactics combined with a few ingredients relevant to their own industry.

Let’s take a look at some localization strategy examples employed by businesses on their road to globalization.


The success of Netflix is largely down to three factors:

  1. Launching the right product at the right time.
  2. Expanding gradually, providing a personalized experience throughout.
  3. Refining designs to fit different language text formats.

The American brand launched in 1998 as a DVD mail-order company, switching to online streaming in 2007. Netflix first expanded into Canada, then other English-speaking countries. This safety-first approach enabled them to grow at a sustainable rate.

Netflix in Vietnam

Once established as an international force, Netflix had the investment capabilities needed to tackle more challenging international markets. The firm’s localization strategy centered on providing a great user experience.

In addition to adding multiple subtitle options, Netflix ensured its design team could refine text formats for different languages. As a result, its branding remains eye-catching worldwide. Furthermore, it enhances personalization by offering local content to its users. Korea’s Busted, Denmark’s Borgen, and Mexico’s El marginal are just three examples of Netflix originals commissioned overseas.


Home rental provider Airbnb initially took a one-size-fits-all approach, simply translating their website into multiple languages, and ended up with mixed results. A key turning point in the brand’s success was its decision to localize its content, building designs around different international texts.

So far, it’s a similar story to Netflix, highlighting the importance of providing a great user experience through professional-looking design. However, given its industry, AirBnB added a localization trait of its own.

This came about by enabling all customer reviews to be served in the user’s preferred language, no matter who they were written by.

Consumers are now able to make fully informed choices before purchase, thanks to the brand’s attention to detail.

Indian AirBnB reviews served in English


Nintendo understands that a great gaming experience is rarely universal, taking steps to localize its releases in keeping with the needs of local markets.

The Nintendo Treehouse division has been an important factor in the Japanese brand’s success. Alongside product testing, refinement, and text translation, the department studies cultural references, idioms, and local trends.

Nintendo’s Chinese website

What one culture finds funny, another may find offensive. Nintendo makes sure to make changes wherever necessary, adapting to local tastes whilst keeping the original product’s appeal.

Beyond the video games themselves, the brand uses a similar approach to international marketing. It maximizes the overall user experience through careful design and marketing campaigns relevant to its intended audience.

World Wildlife Fund for Nature

The WWF offers a great example of how localization can work for non-eCommerce companies. Alongside translating its website into multiple languages, the charity has localized its content offering, serving different stories to different regions.

A visit to the WWF's UK site on one particular day delivered an appeal for Earth Hour – a mass shutting down of electricity. Whereas a same-day visit to WWF Australia showed a campaign to protect Antarctic whales.


Alt text: homepage comparison of WWF UK and WWF Australia

By providing users with content that’s relevant to their location, the brand is increasing its chances of engagement. It’s much more likely that people will get involved in issues that have personal relevance.

Take the Next Step: Localize Your Business with Expert Insight

As we’ve seen from these examples, the most successful localization strategies combine accurate translations, cultural knowledge, and location-specific adjustments. Brands that foster familiarity in overseas markets are more likely to earn customer loyalty and a positive ROI.

The most successful global brands demonstrate the importance of localization when expanding. The good part is, any company can achieve the same kind of success by taking these ideas and molding them to fit its product and industry.

Alongside in-depth planning and a comprehensive overview of your target market, the right translation and localization software can act as a star player on your team. Weglot is a tailored solution for those looking to bring their business to a global audience, offering a suite of tools to accelerate your localization campaign.

Automatic translation reduces timescales, and the Visual Editor ensures an excellent user experience. Multilingual SEO tools assist in growing your online presence overseas, and the translation glossary ensures cultural consistency. With no coding required, a centralized dashboard allows for simplified workflows, bringing localization teams together for efficient project management.

Ready to try all this out for your own business? Start using Weglot for free today and watch your brand evolve!

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