Picture this. You’re just starting out on your growth marketing journey, you’ve onboarded a new multichannel messaging tool such as OneSignal, and you’re ready to get started.. There’s just one problem — you’ve discovered in your product analytics tool that a large proportion of your userbase speaks different languages. You’re unsure which language(s) to use in your messaging strategy, which to start testing in, and how to monetize these different markets.

This is where localization comes in. Let’s walk through the different ways localization efforts can help you optimize subscriptions, improve the product experience, and grow your app by catering to and upselling your most engaged locales.

Selecting Your Focus Markets

Let’s say your app’s traffic is broken into multiple markets rather than one or two. Your first step is to consider the size of each market opportunity. In determining the value of different markets, you may want to ask yourself the following:

Do you charge different subscription prices per country? If so, which countries are likely to provide the highest ROI? What about the quality of your acquisition traffic? Which markets have the highest conversion rates to trial and subscription?

Next, think about the retention rates of each.  Are there certain market segments where retention rates are higher and the curve is flattening? These are signals that your product has product-market-fit in a certain locale and that these areas offer a high opportunity for growth.

Knowing When to Localize Your Messaging

How do you know it's necessary to localize your communications with users? Here are some factors to consider:

The Stage of Your Growth Program

What is the stage of your growth program? Are you just starting to test or are you already rolling-out multiple experiments per week and building-out a multifunctional growth team?

App Localization

Has your native app been localized? If it hasn’t and it’s only available in English, for example, you may want to gain initial experimental learnings in English. Start simple and once you’ve gathered enough data (e.g. activation comms increase trial starts by 5%), you can then consider how to optimize with localization.

Initial A/B Test Results

Before prioritizing localization, run an experiment to test the waters.  Maybe you send an English campaign to  a segment of users who don’t have their language set to English. Then, send the same campaign to English-speaking users only and compare the results.  The results of this A/B test can give you a better  idea whether localizing your message affects engagement rates.  

Tips For Getting Started With Localization

As you get started with localization, consider the following next steps:

Evaluate Available Resources

Let’s face it. If you’re just starting to build a growth program, you’re probably not in the position to divide your growth team by locales and have growth managers focused on each one.  You’re likely just starting to analyze retention and engagement data, and are beginning to get an idea of where messaging could increase retention in the user lifecycle (e.g. onboarding). At this point, your priority is to gather basic learnings about user behavior and communication preferences.

Identify Growth Opportunities

Once you establish a basic communication strategy, you can leverage localization opportunities to maximize growth. When you decide to localize, you’ll want to narrow your focus to key locales that will drive business impact. Depending on the breakdown of the locales you serve, we recommend focusing on your top 2-3 markets. You must strike a balance between experimenting, while also ensuring that you cater to over 50 percent  of your userbase in order to achieve aggregate impact on your initiatives.

Consider Cultural Nuances

Sometimes, a product concept is more widely adopted in certain cultures (e.g. the U.S). over others (e.g. Germany). At Phiture, we once duplicated English communications and sent them to French and German users. We found that tactics that worked to convince English-speaking users to form the habit we were incentivizing did not provide the same results for French and German users.

Conduct Valid Experiments

You may be focusing on new markets, but it’s important to remember that the principles of valid experimentation remain the same. For example, if your organization wants to find out whether one language cohort of users reacts to an onboarding flow in the same way as another, you’ll want to ensure that you’re comparing languages in fair way. This may be easier in an  English -> French A/B test than in an English -> Korean A/B test, for instance.

Align With Your Global Company Strategy

You need to be in a position where, regardless of what smaller initiatives are being run locally, your key growth initiatives align with the North Star metric of the wider company.

The Key Takeaway

Many organizations overlook the value of localization, particularly in their messaging strategies. However, we’ve seen the potential to significantly increase trial starts and conversion-to-membership when factors such as language, price, and cultural connotations are not overlooked. That said, always remember to stay focused on your strategy. Don’t try to localize in all languages at once, but rather pick your initial focus markets, gain some learnings, and build from there. The devil is in the details.

This post was guest authored by Alice Muir, Senior Growth Consultant at Phiture.