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Digital publishing is by its nature an international venture. Reaching an international and multilingual readership with your content and marketing initiatives can present quite the challenge, however.
From the start Luca Lashes “aimed to use its knowledge base to reach more than just the English-speaking world because we had a number of native foreign-language speakers on the team” explained Fonovich.
Then, “Luca Lashes decided two very important things. First, our content needed to be narrated in all of our available languages, giving native-speaking authenticity to each of our different stories. After the narration was complete, it was important for us to work with our developer to highlight the words as they were narrated in the multiple languages, helping to increase the educational effectiveness of the stories by using sight-sound recognition.”
When I caught up with Fonovich recently, she shared her top ten cost-effective tips for reaching a multilingual market and described how Luca Lashes is putting those strategies to work.
1. A Trusted Team of Translators
Luca Lashes LLC is a family-owned partnership where a lot of team members, family members and friends are native speakers of foreign languages. We have been able to keep a lot of translation costs down by using the natural advantage of having access to these native speakers. This is no different than any business playing to its strengths, and is the underlying reason for our apps and ebooks being multilingual to begin with.
2. Distribution on International Book Platforms
Our team decided early on to focus on our apps and ebooks in the iTunes marketplace, as Apple had the most widespread international distribution at the time. Having our applications in French, Italian and Spanish as well as in English increased our visibility as different countries were added to the iTunes store on a regular basis. More recently we added our ebooks to the Kobo platform, which has widespread international distribution, specifically in all of the different languages we have translated our work into. The added benefit for Luca Lashes has been selling our apps and ebooks in multiple countries and not putting all of our eggs into the English-speaking basket. It does not cost any additional money, just increased time spent in uploading metadata and the content itself.
We are currently running a multilingual contest for our Facebook fans where we are offering our full library of multilingual apps for the winner. The contest involves parents in a single-language household giving tips on what it takes to raise a multilingual child in this environment. Contests can be a great, cost-effective way to reach more people, especially on Facebook, where geo-targeting posts is an easy way to reach a transnational audience. We are currently seeing a nice increase in “likes” on our Facebook page from the promoted posts for this contest, and we hope to continue this trend.
4. Social Networking to Native Speakers
Luca Lashes does a lot of social networking in foreign languages, specifically from our company Facebook page. We have allowed our multilingual narrators administrator-status on the Luca Lashes Facebook page, and there they place posts in Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish to complement our English-language posts. The linking of our Facebook account to our Twitter handle “@LucaLashesLLC” increases the visibility of these posts across two of the major social networks. We also have boards dedicated to French, Italian, Spanish, & Chinese on Pinterest as well.
5. Translated Ads
Luca Lashes LLC does have the luxury of having friends and family working on the project that speak multiple languages, and it is in these instances that we are able to keep translation costs down. Most specifically, we have translated most of our ads on Facebook into our multi-language set (Chinese, French, Italian, Spanish) and geo-targeted these ads to their respective markets. This has been very effective at increasing our Facebook Likes across more than just the United States. Our page just hit a benchmark of 50,000 Likes!
As mentioned above, Facebook is one of Luca Lashes’ main avenues to increase the visibility of our brand and our series both on the foreign and domestic fronts. On our Luca Lashes Facebook page, we have added tabs that take a visitor directly to a place to download our apps and eBooks, and these tabs are all translated into Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish. The population of our Facebook followers is varied across cultures and languages, and this makes our products easier to find and localize. The translations were time-consuming, but again, having a team of translators in place has made the world of difference in managing our costs.
6. Promotional Material
Working off of the last premise, we again have been able to keep our translation costs down by working with friends and family that speak multiple languages fluently. This has been one of the most unique and educational features of our project, and we translate as much as we can. Our promotional material includes brochures, posters and handouts, and we have each of these printed in multiple languages. This has been particularly effective when handing out material to doctor’s offices and dentists’ offices where their local populations include a lot of Spanish-language speakers, for example. Future marketing project includes mailing translated cover letters with our posters to China, Spain, Italy, etc.
7. Blogs beyond English
The team at Luca Lashes updates our blog three times a week, and we have also had the team of translators write some blogs in foreign languages. This has helped increase the visibility of our blog in Google searches, and the only additional cost has been paying our translators to spend some time writing these blogs.
8. Partnerships with Relevant Groups
Being a family that focuses on helping our own child learn a foreign language, we sent our son to learn Italian at a multilingual academy called Language Stars. After reviewing their website, we contacted the owner of Language Stars by e-mail and were able to get their team to agree to post our company logo and offer links to our website to their site visitors. Other than the time spent writing a comprehensive e-mail, this was a free form of marketing that has helped increase traffic to our website and increased the visibility of our apps.
9. YouTube Channel
Luca Lashes has taken advantage of a variety of websites that help small businesses increase their visibility. YouTube is the second-most visited website on the Internet (after Google), and gives us the ability to upload short video book trailers of our series. Since our content was already translated and narrated, there was no additional man-hours or cost involved in uploading the book trailers in all the languages that we work in. Our series has a parental suggestion section that we were able to extract and use to the backdrop of each book’s illustrations! Our YouTube channel has over 90,000 unique views and grows every week, with our foreign-language book trailers having in many instances more views than our English-language book trailers. Not everybody in the world is literate and we thought this might serve as a public service/advertisement tool.
Our Luca Lashes website is also in the process of being translated, and we feel that this will give our series additional strength when marketing to parents who want their children learning multiple languages. This should increase our visibility to those using web searches to find foreign-language content. Our Activities section of our website already contains games that have been translated.
In summary, Fonovich explained, “as parents and educators we are keenly aware that learning multiple languages as a child is an important part of activating a child’s learning ability….With Luca Lashes and our promotional efforts, we are trying to both help parents simultaneously introduce their children to foreign languages and reinforce existing multilingual lessons that their children may already have been exposed to. Let’s face it, with the invention of the Internet, we are more global today then ever before. “