The Surprising Power of Multilingual Customer Advocacy Programs

February 13, 2024

Brands wishing to enter new international markets must always adapt their branding activities to the new audience. Strategies that have worked well in one country may not have the same impact—and could even be damaging to the brand—in another country.

Some companies have rebranded their core marketing activities to better target cultural and linguistic expectations. However, customer advocacy programs are still run mostly in English. This frequently leads to missed sales and poor customer retention, which have become especially important during the current economic crisis.

Here are the main reasons why a multilingual approach, especially in your advocacy program, has a powerful effect on your bottom line.

Multilingual marketing increases conversion rates.

By most estimates, more than half of the world’s websites are currently in English, and many companies rely on English-language marketing materials for all international audiences. This may seem like an obvious approach, but it is not as optimal as one might think.

For instance, companies employing multilingual marketing not only increase inbound traffic and sales opportunities exponentially, but they are also estimated to raise conversion rates by 20%.

This is the outcome of more customized messaging. Everyone loves to communicate in their own language, and facilitating this is essential for constructing trust with your audience. It’s an evident demonstration that you care about their needs.

Multilingual marketing is emotional.

Furthermore, your messages come through clearer and stronger when they are communicated in the target’s native tongue. The words themselves invoke deeper emotions, and thus create a stronger affinity with your brand.

These emotions and affinity also come quicker and more naturally in the customer’s language. You don’t want your customer’s focus to be on translating your message. You want your customer to instantly become emotionally engaged with your message.

In a survey by Statista, 71% of digital marketers affirmed that emotional marketing builds brand recognition, and 70% said it builds brand trust and loyalty. The best way to achieve emotional marketing is to speak the customer’s language.

Multilingual marketing goes worldwide.

Multilingual marketing and SEO enable you to spread your reach much further than you might imagine. For example, if you are targeting customers in Spain, your Spanish content will not only reach the 50 million native speakers living there, but also the 450 million native Spanish speakers who live in other countries.

By contrast, there are only 400 million native English speakers worldwide. While another 1.1 billion speak English as a second language, this still leaves far more people on the planet who don’t speak English than those who do.

Consider this recent survey by CSA Research of global consumers living in non-Anglophone countries. It demonstrates that:

  • 60% rarely or never buy from English-only websites
  • 75% prefer to buy products that have information in their native language

Calculate the impact this could have on your bottom line. Can your business afford to ignore this international audience?

Moreover, multilingual marketing also improves sales in your home country—not only by catering to the non-native speakers who live there, but also by demonstrating to native speakers that you are an international brand. This conveys strength, stability, reliability, and reputation.

More personalized, trusted, and relatable communications.

Multilingual marketing works for the same reason that customer advocacy does: you are providing more personalized, trusted, and relatable communications to your audience. It makes sense, then, for your customer advocacy program to also be multilingual.

For instance, your advocates help create compelling success stories, videos, and case studies. If this content is not reaching and resonating with your target audiences, you will be missing out on major revenue streams.

In addition, adopting a multilingual approach helps with advocate recruitment. Advocates will be far more connected and willing to engage with the program if the communication is in their native language.

Furthermore, they will feel more comfortable giving interviews, testimonials, feedback, and presentations. Their native vocabulary is wider, so they can advocate for your brand in a more precise, authentic, and intimate way.

And this is the kind of emotional content that you want to convey both domestically and internationally. By localizing this content – preserving its intent, style, tone, and context – you will reach the widest possible audience with the greatest possible impact.

The surprising power of multilingual customer advocacy programs

A multilingual advocacy program facilitates prioritizing retention and customer marketing. Personalization is the key to brand engagement, which in turn drives sales. This also applies to your existing customers and advocates. However, many companies make the mistake of focusing too much on acquiring new customers and not enough on customer retention.

A Research by Salesforce showed that 89% of consumers will stop buying from your business because of poor customer service. Additionally, 70% of buying experiences depend on how customers feel they are being treated. As such, it is essential to concentrate marketing efforts on your existing customer base and to personalize communications with them.

Customer advocacy programs are an effective way to achieve this. They allow you to get closer to your current customers to ascertain and address their wants, needs, and levels of satisfaction with your products and services. By speaking the customer’s native language, you can personalize their experiences even further.

Not only will this minimize customer churn, but it is also one of the most effective ways to boost revenue. According to a study by Capgemini Consulting, customers with a strong relationship and a personal attachment to a brand delivered a 23% increase in sales compared to an average customer. Furthermore, research by Frederik Reichheld, the inventor of the Net Promoter Score, shows that an improved customer retention rate of just 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

A multilingual customer advocacy program is worth the investment.

While a multilingual customer advocacy program can bring astronomical financial rewards, it is also among the least expensive marketing methods. For example, translating advocacy content on your website is much more cost-effective than other marketing strategies aimed at attracting a new global audience. And most advocates are happy to promote your brand on their social media or website free of charge.

This low-cost digital content and online journeys with consumer-level engagement are what today’s business audiences prefer and expect. A survey by UNCTAD and NetComm Suisse reveals that online purchases have increased by 6% to 10% during the economic downturn.

Bain and Company found that retaining a current customer is 5 to 25 times less expensive than acquiring a new one. Localizing your advocacy program to engage your existing customers is a good example of this.

Overall, a multilingual advocacy program is a very low-budget solution. And when looking at the cost-benefit ratio, it is one of the best investments you can make.

Key takeaways.

Localized customer advocacy programs boost sales and drive customer retention.

Going multilingual with your advocacy program is a sure-fire way to boost inbound traffic by orders of magnitude. New visitors to your website will immediately feel a stronger emotional connection to your brand.

Furthermore, you will:

  • increase new sales opportunities,
  • avoid linguistic pitfalls that could harm your brand,
  • improve conversion rates,
  • boost customer retention,
  • and generate more revenue from your existing customer base.

By leveraging the power of frictionless communication and audience-specific content in your customer case studies, videos, and social media posts, you will increase brand engagement and create long-term trusted relationships with your customers, wherever in the world they may be.