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10 real ideas to market your translation service

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You’ve just established an online translation service, and have an excellent service offering set up. The next step is to reach your potential customers and start promoting your services. The following are 10 ways you can market your translation service and promote your business:

1. Google AdWords marketing

Google AdWords is the top marketing avenue for any business with an online presence today. So, how does Google AdWords marketing work, explained in layman terms?

You simply start off by setting up a Google AdWords campaign, define the search keywords you want to target, next set your max bid for each keyword and finally assigning an overall budget for the campaign.

Once your campaign is up and running, any potential customer who searches for the term "translation service online" will see your business website in the ad section of the Google search results.

Advance search targeting features of AdWords further allows you to fine-tune the target audience you want your Ads to be displayed to. Examples of the detailed search targeting features include location, age, gender and interests.

The bottom line of any advertising is being seen. So, intuitively, the higher you set for each keyword bid, the higher your website will appear in the search results. It’s worth investing a larger portion of your marketing expenses on higher keyword bids as most users won’t bother to scroll past the first page of the search results.

2. Facebook marketing

Similar to Google AdWords, Facebook marketing will let you reach a wide online audience as well as choosing a very specific demographic. You can specify age, gender and location. You can also choose very specific details including marital status, interests, hobbies and professions.

While it is not free, Facebook marketing is affordable and you can choose your own budget. Best of all, since Facebook joined forces with Instagram in 2015, Facebook adverts will also display on Instagram. This means even larger audience coverage.

It is worth noting that Facebook marketing in itself targets potential customers who are socially browsing on a social media platform. For example, a Facebook advert promoting a translation company may not lead to an instant or direct online inquiry. Therefore, an advert shown on your Facebook marketing campaigns may be targeted more towards the building of your brand name, instead of a service offering advert.

On the other hand, a customer who goes to Google to search for an "online translation service" usually already has a commercial intend in his/her mind, which may lead to a direct or instant online inquiry of the required service.

Therefore it is recommended for the nature of the translation services business that a higher percentage of the marketing dollars are set aside for Google Adwords campaigns.

3. Publish your services in Local Business Directories - Online and Printed

Many people discount the power of "old-school" marketing such as listing your company on business directories, but the truth is it still has its place even in our modern technological society. Yellow pages and other local online business directories are still well maintained and are the main source of information for many. This is particularly true for those popular local directories like yelp, yellow pages (online) and four square.

For a certain demographic (55+), printed directories are still the number one source of information. If you want to market your translation service to the people in this age bracket, local printed business directories are the most efficient way to do so.

4. Get your brand out and be sponsors of business events

Being a major sponsor of a local business conferences or events with many international delegates as attendees is another excellent way to promote your translation service. Not only will you be highly visible to the audience at that event, but if you personally attend you will be able to discuss your brand offering with prospective customers.

5. Get connected at business networking events/lunches

A face-to-face opportunity to push your service offering will very well complement your online advertising campaigns. This is because it creates the opportunity for a two-way conversation.

Attending networking events and lunch will also allow you to meet potential customers, others within your industry, or vertical industries. In doing so, you can forge partnerships which could be mutually beneficial.

6. Offer attractive discounts for new clients

Rewarding loyal customers or offering special introductory offers is a great way to grow (and retain) your client base. For example, give existing members credit for referring others to use your translation service. You could also offer 10% off the first translation.

7. Get your existing clients to provide you testimonials

Word of mouth is still a form of marketing with high authority and trust, so if you can obtain written testimonials from existing clients this will help persuade others it is a great service.

Real reviews from real users will help dissuade any fears people might have using your translation service. They will know it is cost efficient, timely, and accurate. Testimonials can be shared on your website, LinkedIn, or any other marketing material you maintain.

8. Content marketing

Publish useful content on blogs, in magazines, on your LinkedIn, on networking websites - the list goes on! You can create this content yourself, or go to a copywriting service. Either way, creating useful content that people actually want to read is a great way to create awareness of your brand.

Prospective customers will also be thankful that you are providing them with high-quality content. Not only do they get the service of your translation, they also get great content with which to build their own business. To maximise the effectiveness of content marketing, you should ensure that the content you publish is relevant to your target audience. For example, if you are targeting university professors, try publishing content around educational reform or rankings.

9. YouTube video marketing

YouTube as a website receives more than 10 million visits per day. That’s a lot of exposure for your brand! Videos are an exciting and dynamic way of presenting information to your customers. Especially true for those who may by now be tired of generic text and image advertising.

You can create these videos yourself, or get local celebrities to be involved for an appearance fee. It would be worthwhile engaging a videographer to ensure you get a high-quality video. At a pinch, you can capture usable video on a mobile phone camera. Shoot, upload, and then watch the views roll in!

10. Offer affiliate commissions

Lastly, similar to rewarding new customers, reward your existing customers for bringing others on board. They could receive a cash bonus, a discount on the next translation engagement, or credit towards a translation service. Whatever you think will be best, incentivise them to spread the word.

The best part about this commission-based advertising is that the reward is only earned once a new customer confirms a service order. This means that tangible results will be seen before you need to pay out a cent. A win-win for both parties!

With all these forms of marketing, you are sure to reach a broad audience to demonstrate the vast benefits of your translation service - and you could scale up in no time.

This article is contributed by:

Ruth Brown, a Canadian by birth who has been working in Hong Kong for the last 12 years. At this moment I am working as a freelance translator and editor at Translation Service Hong Kong. Last but not least I am an adventure seeker who loves diving. :)

Published in April 2017.

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