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Essential Guide to Marketing Your Language Services
 

Essential Guide to Marketing Your Language Services

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During my 20+ years in the language industry, working in many different roles — from translator to localization project manager, to translation company owner, sales executive, coach, trainer and ...

During my 20+ years in the language industry, working in many different roles — from translator to localization project manager, to translation company owner, sales executive, coach, trainer and consultant — I have literally tried it all. I know how passionate translators are about their services, how much pride they display in being a translator, how much time researching that precise term sometimes takes them, how well educated they are. But there is one thing I know translators miss and are even afraid of. That is a complete understanding of how marketing and branding work so they can attract all the clients they want, at their desired rates, consistently and effectively.

I put together The Essential Guide for you, the professional translator who really wants to succeed and make a life-time successful career in this honorable profession. The Guide contains 52 articles with hands-on tips you can implement right away. Remember, knowledge is not power. Knowledge is potential power. The power lies in the execution of the newly acquired knowledge.

I hope you enjoy The Guide and find it useful.

You can download the guide at http://translatorsmarketingclub.com


Marcela Reyes, MBA
Chief Coaching Officer
The Translators Marketing Club, a service of Latitudes Training, Coaching & Consulting

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Essential Guide to Marketing Your Language Services Essential Guide to Marketing Your Language Services Document Transcript

  • The Essential Guide to Marketing Your Language Services by Marcela Reyes  
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services This e-book is published by Latitudes Training, Coaching & Consulting, 3000 Old Alabama Rd, Johns Creek, GA 30022. US. Version 1.0 Copyright © Latitudes Training, Coaching & Consulting, 2009-2014. All rights reserved. This e-book is protected by international copyright law. You may only use it if you have downloaded it directly from the Translators Marketing Club site, of if you have received it under license from Latitudes Training, Coaching & Consulting.   Copyright © Latitudes Training, Coaching & Consulting, 2009-2014.  
  • The Essential Guide to Marketing Your Language Services Introduced by Marcela Reyes, MBA, Latitudes Training, Coaching & Consulting’s Chief Branding Officer     You have probably come to the Translators Marketing Club because you care about your language business, don’t know how to promote it, and are prepared to work at building a successful, profitable, and satisfying translation career. During my 20+ years in the language industry, working in many different roles — from translator to localization project manager, to translation company owner, sales executive, coach, trainer and consultant — I have literally tried it all. I know how passionate translators are about their services, how much pride they display in being a translator, how much time they spend researching that precise term, and how well educated they are. But there is one thing I know translators miss and are even afraid of: A complete understanding of how marketing and branding work so they can attract all the clients they want, at their desired rates, consistently and effectively. I put together The Essential Guide for you, the professional translator who really wants to succeed and make a life-time successful career in this honorable profession. The Guide contains 52 articles with hands-on tips you can implement right away. Remember, knowledge is not power. Knowledge is potential power. The power lies in the execution of the newly acquired knowledge. Copyright © Latitudes Training, Coaching & Consulting, 2009-2014.   I hope you enjoy The Guide and find it useful. Marcela Reyes, MBA Chief Branding Officer Latitudes Training, Coaching  
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services When it comes to what you would like to accomplish as a translator, the very first thing you need to do is set your goals. Goals give you direction and help you stay focused. “Getting more clients”, “making more money”, or “doing more marketing” are not goals. A goal is a personal objective. It’s something you want to achieve within a given period of time. Goal-setting is actually a process. You need to put careful consideration into what you want to achieve, and then take action to make it happen. The five golden rules to reaching your goals: 1.  Your goals must motivate you. Set goals that matter to you and for which you have a true interest in the outcome. Think about the priorities in your life, what you really want. 2.  Set SMART goals. The simple fact is that for goals to be powerful and achievable, they should be designed to be SMART. There are many variations of what SMART stands for, but the essence is this: u  Goals should be specific. Be specific about what you want or don’t want to achieve. u  Goals should be measurable. Have a yardstick for measuring outcomes. u  Goals should be attainable. Draft realistic goals that challenge you. u  Goals should be relevant. Make sure each goal is consistent with other goals you have time-bound. Give yourself a deadline for achieving the goal. Even better, split the goal into small parts and give yourself a deadline for each item. Here is a simple example: By the end of 20XX, I will be making X amount in sales. 3. Put your goals in writing. When you write down your goals, you are making your goal real and tangible. It’s like making a promise to yourself. Write your goal in positive statements and avoid setting wishful goals (not “would like” or “might” ones). Make sure you post your goals in a visible place, like on your computer monitor, bathroom mirror, or refrigerator so you are always reminded. 4. Create an action plan. Imagine that your goal is a much-wanted destination. Before you start the journey, draft a plan of all you need to do to reach your final destination. Break the goal into smaller steps, and keep track of your progress. 5. n’t give up! Remember, goal setting is a process that requires ongoing activity. Build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and schedule time to review your goals. Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly. Make sure the relevance, value, and necessity of each goal remain high. On your mark, get set, goals! // Page 1 The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Any organization, big or small, needs a direction, a purpose, a reason for being. This vital information for any business, including yours as a provider of language services, sets a clear course for your business activities, dictates where you should put your efforts, and provides you with guidance towards your future. You communicate this information through mission and vision statements. Since your idea of success is so unique and different from that of everyone else in the world, these mission and vision statements will help you focus on your most important goals and identify potential opportunities you may want to pursue. What is a vision? The word vision comes from the Latin videre, which means “to see”. It’s an image of your desired future. A vision is a description of the future you want to create with your translation business. It comes from your heart. Because of its tangible and immediate quality, a vision gives shape and direction to your future. It’s a declaration of where you want to go, where you see yourself in the future, and what it will be like when you get there. Simply put, it’s the long-term goal of your translation business. Some questions you need to ask yourself that can help you define your vision are: u  Who do you want to be in the future? u  Where do you see your translation business five years from now? u  If your translation business could be everything you dreamed of, what would it be like? u  What would you like to incorporate or change in your translation business? u  Do you have a strategy to get there? u  What specifically do you want to create for your translation business? The body and soul of your translation business: your vision // Page 2
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Your mission defines your purpose: why you are doing what you are doing. It’s what you want to achieve in your life or translation career stated in a specific and measurable manner. Your mission describes how your language business is going to accomplish its vision. It is the “What” of your business. It states why you are in business and what you are hoping to achieve. Here are some questions that can help you create your mission statement: u  Why are you a translator? u  What do you do best, that is, what are your unique strengths as a translator? u  What are you committed to providing your clients? u  What promise are you making to your clients? u  What wants, needs, desires, pain, or problems do your language services solve? u  What does success mean to you? Your mission must be guided by your values. Values are statements of what is important to you, how you guide your actions, behaviors and beliefs. These should be clear and practical. The body and soul of your translation business: your mission // Page 3
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services When to use your personal name. You are looking to build your language business around your language expertise (translator, interpreter, language consultant, etc.) and the main commodity is YOU. YOU are planning to continue providing the services yourself and make this your career for a long time. If this describes your aspirations, name the business with your name. When to create a new name. If you have built a reputation using your name as a freelancer and now you’re considering crossing the chasm into an LSP, keep the following in mind before using your own name or creating a business name: 1. Your long-term goals. If you want to grow your business and eventually sell it, you risk putting all of the brand equity on yourself rather than in your business. In the event of a merger or acquisition, you may need to stay with the new owner since the business is pretty much YOU. 2. How big do you want to be? Using your own name for your business can make you look a bit too small and personal. In order to grow, you need to be perceived as a “legitimate business” rather than someone who can be bothered on a Saturday for a rush job. 3. Who is your target market? If you are aiming your services to translation agencies or a market where translators are more attractive than businesses, you should continue using your own name. In these cases, keeping your name prevents you from coming across as a large firm. Using your own name can make you look more affordable, too. How to choose a new name. If you decide to create a new name for your business, make sure it is true to the services your offer, recognizable, different, and unique. You want your name to set you apart from the competition. Also make sure it is sustainable, durable, and flexible, so that you don’t have to re-design it every time something changes. Your name needs to be something that your company can commit to. Don’ts: u  Is boring and common u  Is hard to pronounce or remember u  May have negative connotations for a particular segment of your population u  Acronyms and inside jokes Do’s: u  Is memorable and noticeable u  Speaks about your services u  Engages customers u  Is unique u  Is appropriate and inoffensive u  Is web-ready Choose a name for your language business // Page 4
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Perception is more important than reality. What we believe often influences our actions much more than we think, and that is the secret to the art of attracting clients – similar to bees being attracted to pollen. People who do business with you have pretty high expectations about what they hope to get from you, and they will review all aspects of you to form their perception. Therefore, one critical aspect that translators tend to underestimate is the importance of discovering how they are perceived. What you think you are might be in disagreement with what others think of you. You may claim that you are the best, most efficient, reliable, responsible, competent translator ever. But is that how your clients see you? Learn how you are perceived! If you want to learn how others perceive you, there is a great tool that can help you get that answer: the 360°Reach Assessment (15-day free trial). This assessment, developed by William Arruda, personal branding guru and founder of Reach Personal Branding, provides the critical feedback you need to expand your career or ensure your business’success. Why is this important? Because perception IS reality. Just as important, it helps you understand the impact your uniqueness has on others. Perception: Way more important than reality in your language business // Page 5
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services To be successful, it’s not enough to be a good translator. You also need to sell your services to the right people, that is, those who are in desperate need of what you have to offer. You need to focus your efforts on a target audience—your ideal clients! If you choose a focused approach and find your target audience, you will reach out to fewer people, but they will be people who can actually benefit from your services. It’s all about quality, not quantity, when it comes to getting clients for your business. In business you cannot be all things to all people. Most companies, whether big or small, direct their marketing to a particular target market, that is, a select niche audience. Focusing your language services on a particular niche can be extremely cost-effective. Occupying a niche means you won’t be competing with a lot of general translators or interpreters solely on price. And because you will be selling language services that are customized to the specific needs and predispositions of a select group of people, you can often charge more. Your services serve a market that can’t easily find alternatives. Also, if you know exactly who your potential clients are, then you can more effectively “zero in” on them through your various marketing efforts. In fact, many positioning strategies are built on the simple fact that the services sold are for a particular category of buyers. And just by emphasizing that point, you get an automatic “That’s for me!” response. By clearly identifying who you work with, your potential clients will identify themselves. How to choose your target market First, go back to your goals. Where do you see yourself in 1, 3, 5, 10 years from now? Also, what are you passionate about? What do you enjoy doing? One way to identify what you’re passionate about is to see what kind of reading material you are drawn to. What books are sitting on your nightstand? Look at your formal education. You might be highly experienced in certain areas. We all have some areas that are easier for us to handle. Who needs your services the most? Perhaps you want to do legal translation but, within legal translation, what specialties are in more need of your services? Perhaps it’s immigration, or family law, or medical malpractice. What type of client work provides you with the most enjoyment and satisfaction? Who needs your language services the most? // Page 6
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Competition is just as prevalent in the language industry as it is in other industry sectors. You may be competing on price, language pair, additional services, product promotions, or brand name. In some language combinations, competition is a serious threat that could affect profitability and sustainability. The key to breaking away from the competition is finding what makes you and your services unique. As a business owner (Yes, you are a business!), you need to identify the competition so you can learn what differences or similarities you have. This information is critical to helping you stand out from the crowd. Learning about what other translators are doing is one of the business aspects you cannot overlook if you are to stay competitive. Before sniffing what your colleagues are doing, you must first examine your goals. Where do you want your business to be in five years? For example, do you want to grow and transition into a translation agency? Or continue to work independently? Do you want to compete on price, focus on a niche market, or differentiate yourself by creating a very strong personal brand? Defining business goals will enable you to identify “threats” and growth opportunities. Once your business goals are defined, you need to record this information in a document or worksheet. Use this document to compare and contrast your language services with competitors and to find ways to differentiate and create more value for your clients. Some things you need to find out about your colleagues: u  What are your colleagues offering at this time and to whom? u  How are they selling these services? u  How are their clients getting those services? u  What are their clients saying about their services? u  How much do they charge (e.g., per word, per page, per character, per source or target language, per project)? u  What methodology, translation tools, processes, customer service approach, and quality control procedures do they use? u  What are their professional credentials? u  What are their strengths and weaknesses? The more you know what your colleagues are doing, the easier it is for you to differentiate yourself. The idea is not to copy or imitate what they are doing. This is a mistake many translators are making. The whole purpose of this exercise is to learn in what ways you are different. Then take it one step further and determine how you can enhance your services by focusing on your uniqueness. What are your translation colleagues (competitors) doing? // Page 7
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Everyone has been in that intimidating position where a stranger, or even someone you know, comes up and asks what you do for a living. When you say “I’m a translator”, they might press further because that really means very little to them, or it may not sound very exciting. You may even get a comment like, “Oh, I have a cousin who speaks two languages. Do you think she could be a translator, too?”When you give an answer, you are labeling yourself. If you are trying to attract clients and grow your business, and you are speaking to a prospect, you need to have an actionable, persuasive answer that is concise but drives the point home a lot more than just“I am a translator”. People want to know what you can do for them specifically. People want to know what’s in it for them. How do you answer that? The power of your words. When you respond to that ever-popular question, it’s all about the power of your words. Often the answer that you give can make or break sales, so you have to be very careful about how you proceed. Make sure that you take the time to think about this beforehand. Come up with a universal answer that you can modify slightly on an as-needed basis depending on who you are talking to, so that you’re always prepared to answer with pride and gusto. The last thing your potential clients want is someone who answers meekly, as if they’re not even sure what they do for a living. People respond to what they expect. How you choose to answer this question is going to affect your chances with every single person you encounter. Avoid technical jargon (i.e., industry lingo that only you have knowledge of) and make sure you focus on what you can give them. That answer should actually tell them about your language business and what it offers, rather than just saying you are a translator. Use examples from past work, if you can, but keep it to a couple of short sentences. You don’t want to bore them. You want to engage them. If you can do this, the rest of the persuasion should be a lot easier. This question often paralyzes a lot of people, but being ready with the right answer will make all the difference in your success with potential clients, including some you might not have thought of as clients in the first place. Answer the ever- intimidating “What do you do?” // Page 8
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Are you one of those translators that say “yes” to anything that falls on their plate? Are you desperate to get any projects even if it’s a subject on which you don’t have much knowledge or experience? Are you constantly being asked to reduce rates? You can’t do everything for everyone in your language business. Instead, you should be the best at what you do. If you want to stand out from the crowd, get paid what you want, and stop competing merely on pricing, you should create and work on a very specific niche or specialization. There is a big misconception that specializing constrains our scope and excludes us from other areas in the market. In reality, specializing offers big advantages for translators, like the following: u  Charging a premium for your services. When you become an expert in a particular area, you earn the respect and recognition of your target market as well as your peers. That means you can charge more for your services. Your specialty attributes come with a rewarding pay. u  Shortening the learning curve. When you focus on immersing yourself in one area, your learning curve is considerably less steep. The more you learn about your niche, the easier it comes to you. u  Increasing the leverage on your language assets. When your business is focused on one area, you can leverage more on your existing language assets. That means increased productivity and less working hours. In addition, your projects will be similar and you will be able to easily apply what you already know. u  Building your brand. When you are considered an expert, you will be sought out as “the one” to contact for that specialized project. You can build a name for yourself and create a unique brand-image. Experts agree that branding is everything in the world of marketing! u  Tailoring unique services. When you work within a very particular niche, you can become very creative in meeting the needs of that market. For instance, you can create special programs, specifically package your services, or develop revolutionary value-added features that enhance your client offerings. u  Reducing marketing efforts. When you have created and identified a niche, you can put all your energies into creating compelling messages to attract those clients that are in desperate need of your services. You will spend less time and money on your marketing activities. Your marketing messages will be consistently, clearly and continuously crafted to address the language needs of that particular target audience and, therefore, far more effective. Specialization is a personal decision that you must make for yourself based primarily on your goals, strengths, interests, and, most importantly, on what makes you feel fulfilled as a translator. Find the area that is in alignment with what you really want. The bottom line is that being recognized as an expert and a leader in your niche market is going to make selling your services a lot easier. When people see that you are really knowledgeable and have something unique to offer, they will appreciate the effort and want to work with you. Be the translation authority: specialize // Page 9
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services The performance of your translation business depends on your clients. After all, you can’t have success without people buying your services. A lot of marketing professionals talk about the importance of building a customer base and cultivating their target audience. However, what is most important is to build a fan club! Having steady, reliable clients is nice, but imagine what it would be like to have your own raving fans who just can’t get enough of your language services. You’re not a pop star, so a fan club might seem a little far-fetched. However, when you take the time to do a little more and give that additional bit of service, people are going to react favorably. If your clients are excited about your business, you’re doing things right. How can you go that“extra mile”for your clients? u  Try continuous improvement, where you not only make promises you keep but are constantly working to improve your skills and abilities. u  Make sure you have a plan in place for when things go off track so you can get them back on smoothly and without incident. u  Become the ultimate resource by offering additional help and services that go beyond your expertise. Your clients will appreciate the extra assistance. u  Make sure you minimize surprises and have guidelines in place so that clients always know what to expect. Communication and planning are key elements. There are a lot of ways that you can go the extra mile for your clients in your translation services. Business doesn’t have to be boring. When you do things right and take that extra step, you’ll be rewarded with clients who are excited to tell others about all the great things that you do. Your fans are waiting, so get out there and show them what you’re made of and why you’re a“superstar”! Build and grow your fan club // Page 10
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services What do you have to offer? This is a question you’ve probably not only been asked a lot lately but have likely been asking yourself as well. You’ll be happy to know there is a purpose for it. You are giving yourself a unique value proposition. This is what makes you different from other translators that are working on the same language pairs as yours and offering similar services. Your value proposition is going to be the key to your success as a translator. After all, you can’t get by very well by selling language services that are just like everyone else’s. Creating your own unique position gives you the chance to prove to clients that you’re better than anyone else at what you do. Make your services the better option. There are a lot of things you could define that make you a better choice, but you’ve got to pick a few things to focus on. These are what will set you apart and give prospects a reason to buy your services. You know that you’re the best and you know exactly why you are. Now you just have to clue everyone else in and get them on board. A unique value proposition is a tool that will come in handy with your branding and identity. It will also help you with selling, because you will be able to tell people “this is why you should work with me”. It’s all about convincing them that you are the right person for the job. You can’t expect them to just know that. You have to show them, tell them, and make sure they have a reason to pick you over other services that might be out there. Once you do this, you will have a much better idea of what your business identity is. Why do most value propositions fall short? One mistake that most translators make when crafting their value proposition is that they are ego- driven. Translators tend to talk about themselves, the “quality” of their services, the many dictionaries and resources they use, etc. They fail to communicate the results their language services will bring to their clients. They do not quantify their client’s problem or the solution they can provide. When crafting your unique value proposition, make sure it answers the following questions: u  How are you different from other translators that work in the same language pair(s)? u  Who is your target customer? u  What are the outcome, solutions or what your clients walk away with when getting your services? If you are unable to answer any of the above questions, then there is no value whatsoever in your statement. Create your unique value proposition // Page 11
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Even if you’re just one person, you are still a language business. As such, you have to market yourself and build a reputable, trusted and unique brand. A lot of people get confused by the word“brand”. They assume it’s just a name, a color, a logo, a font type or your stationery. A brand is much more than that. For years celebrities, politicians, athletes and leaders have used personal branding as a mechanism to allow them to stand out from the crowd, to be sought out, to be influencers and to be recognized. And translators should be no exception. “Me Inc.” Personal branding was first defined by Tom Peters in 1997 in the article published by the Fast Company magazine, “The Brand Called You”. Peters stated, “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” As the head marketer of your translation business, you need to focus on your individual strategic positioning and the ability to stand out from the over-crowded, homogeneous, competitive translation market so that you are the“go to”translator. Branding comes before marketing. It is in your brand where the essence of the promise of your translation business lives, that is, the “unique value proposition” that defines you and your translation business. Your brand allows you to communicate your authenticity, your differentiation, and your uniqueness through a consistent, and compelling delivery of your promise to your target audience. When you are clear what your brand is, you can use design and create marketing strategies that consistently and effectively create an expectation in your target audience. Branding is a bit time-consuming, but it’s a critical step in building a thriving translation business that people can relate to and want to work with. The power behind your personal brand // Page 12
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services One of the reasons most translators don’t have a successful translation or interpreting business is because they spend their entire time marketing “real estate.” What I mean by that is, in every business card, website, resume, biography, brochure, networking event or potential client meeting, all they do is talk about translation: “What is translation? What is our translation quality process? What is translation memory? What tools do we use? How many dictionaries do we have?” That’s what I call the “I am, I do, I use”syndrome. The problem with that approach is that your clients do not really care about how, where, when, or what you need to do your job. That’s the process. Your clients aren’t interested in the process; they want to know that you can solve their problem. If you’re a translator and you’re not getting a lot of clients as a translator, it’s probably that you’re spending too much time talking about translation and not being clear about what you’re offering. Focus instead on your clients’buying motivators. The basic purchase motivation. Most of your translation buyers look for language services because they have a particular need and hope you and your offering can satisfy that need. Some people may need translation to save money. Perhaps by translating a particular document, your client is expecting to reduce the on-the-job accident rate. Others need your services to make money, gain competitive advantage or increase market share. Identify the top motivators. What are the top motivators that drive your clients to buy from you (save money, make money, increase competitive advantage or market share, etc.)? After identifying the motivating factors, work on how you can help them meet those particular needs. Thus, you’ll be avoiding the “I am, I do, I use” syndrome that affects so many language service providers. “I am, I use, I do” syndrome // Page 13
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services When faced with several translators that offer the same language pair, similar credentials, years of experience, similar rates, etc., translation buyers usually compare and evaluate one translator against another. How do they choose among the many alternatives they are presented with? What makes one translator the “lucky winner”of a project? The three attributes that distinguish translation services. When evaluating competing translators, translation buyers try to assess the likely performance of translators based on three dimensions: tangibility, experience, and credence. u  Tangibility. These are the characteristics that translation buyers evaluate before purchase based on their experience through their senses, like professional image, website, color, style, texture, sound, customer service practices, communication, etc. u  Experience. This particular attribute cannot be evaluated before purchasing. A translator may state that he/she has many years of experience, but the buyer will only be able to validate that experience after the actual purchase of the translator’s services. A translation sample is usually required to validate this attribute. u  Credence. This attribute, highly present in translation, is the one that is hard to evaluate even after consumption. Most translation buyers are not the final users of the end product. They have to rely on feedback from third parties, testimonials, word of mouth, referrals, and trusting the expertise of the translator. Communicate superior performance. Translation buyers try to assess the likely performance of translators on those dimensions that are important to them to make their decision (remember, this is not about you, but about how you are meeting their needs). Therefore, it’s crucial that you are able to deliver and communicate superior performance on attributes that matter to your target clients. You may want to make your language business “more tangible” by focusing more on how to make you and your services more sense-oriented to your clients. The experience attribute should be addressed by providing actual past sample projects on your website, blog, portfolio, etc. As to credence, make it a habit to compile testimonials, provide some kind of incentive for referrals, and look for ways to build trust by“walking the talk.” Eeny, meeny, miny, moe; this translator has more to show // Page 14
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Now that you’ve taken some time to make a note of all that you have to offer, you need to take a step back. You’ve listed your attributes, your benefits, and offerings to the people around you. Your language business has never looked better, right? Well, it’s time to stop and think about the less exciting things about your business. Specifically, you have to know and make a list of your weaknesses. Every business has things they need to work on. What’s holding YOU back from ultimate success? Be honest with yourself. Be honest with yourself and make a real list of weaknesses without berating or beating yourself up. It’s not about being self-loathing or thinking that your entire business is junk. It’s not. You have a great service that you can provide to people, and you are good at what you do. There are some areas, however, where you could be better. No one is perfect. Focus on development. Positioning yourself in the language industry and growing your business means knowing what you are capable of and what you have to offer. By taking the time to make note of areas where you might need to do a little work, over time you will be able to improve your brand and your business for even more success. Knowing where you have “issues” will help you avoid them and not let them get the best of you. We all have a few things to work on. Find your faults and acknowledge them so that you can make them better. What’s holding you back? // Page 15
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Marketing is almost a full time job. However, if you take a little time to learn the ropes it will be much easier for you to put the materials and tools you have to work for your business. For starters, you need to have basic tools and materials in place for your marketing and promotions. If you don’t have the things that you need to share with people how awesome you are, you’re going to put yourself at a disadvantage from the start. The basics. The basic marketing materials every business should have include things like brochures and business cards, flyers or newsletters, and other printed materials that you can hand out to people to explain what you do. Make sure that you address all the issues that people might have and give them a reason why they need your services. For example, include an overview of problems that you can solve, what your solution is, your Unique Value Proposition, and a list of benefits. Your Unique Value Proposition. This is basically what you have to offer that sets you apart from other language or translation businesses. It answers the question “why should I choose you?” Your marketing materials need to convey this simply and directly. Consider adding testimonials to your materials, as well as a list of clients (with their permission), so that you can showcase what you’ve done so far. A short biography plus contact information are also a “must.” People have to know who you are beyond the business and why they should work with you. Then they need to know how to get in touch with you when they’re ready to do business. You can add more items and information if you want, but these are the basics for effective marketing materials that will help increase your visibility and get sales. Back to basics with marketing materials // Page 16
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services You probably already have an idea in your head of what your freelance business looks like. Building your language or translation business starts with an idea. When you don’t have a physical office or store, it can be hard to translate your virtual image or ideas into a physical image that people can see, tangibly hold, and relate to. Branded materials are a “must” to help create and express your business identity so that people know you exist and are aware of what you have to offer. Your visual identity. You need a business package for your language and translation business that includes a logo and a tagline or company masthead. Put this on business cards, letterheads, and envelopes to give your business a visual identity and express your brand strategy and services. Positioning yourself in the market without physical branding materials is very difficult because you have no way to show people“this is who I am”. Something as simple as a business card and business letterhead is going to make a big difference in your communications, your marketing, and the increased visibility of your business. You can’t grow your business if people don’t know about you. These materials will give them a physical idea of who you are and what you can do for them. It’s a basic step— one that is absolutely necessary. Make sure that you choose a logo and a tagline that are relevant to your business, catchy, and reflect what you do and what you have to offer. If you just throw something together, people are going to notice. Choose a design, a phrase that means something to you and gives you the representation you deserve. In this way you’ll be able to express your brand identity and give people a physical way to remember your business. Create a physical image with your brand // Page 17
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services In the physical sense, your signature is uniquely yours. It’s something that you use to sign important documents. Your metaphorical signature is your personality or how you are perceived—what sets you apart and makes you “you.” You need to have not only a metaphorical signature that sets your translation business apart from the rest but also a physical signature. This should be branded and include your logo, contact information, website, and the social media sites you belong to. Having a signature like this for all of your communications, both electronic and in print, will make sure that your customers always remember you. Some people choose to include a tagline in their signature, which is another option that you have, as well. It’s ultimately up to you to figure out how your signature should look and what you are going to do to make it unique and compelling. People need to see what you stand for and have a reason to remember you. Your signature should give them that. Including your social media sites, as well as your email, phone, blog and website contacts, will give people another way to find you. It might introduce them to the fact that you actually have these contacts, as well. People will see that you’re accessible in a variety of ways that work for them, which will allow them to get in touch with you and see all that you have to offer. Creating a signature for your services // Page 18
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services You’re an expert in language and translation, and you know that. Do your clients? In any successful business, you have to make sure that people know who you are and what you have to offer. To grow your business, you need to build a network of resources beyond your own services so that clients can see that you truly offer them everything they need. Your translation and language services are great, but what else might they need that you can’t offer? If you can network and develop a collection of resources outside of your services, clients will appreciate you for going the extra mile. Why do you need other resources? Well, simply put, you can’t do it all. You can be an authority and expert in language and translation, but that’s where your job ends. What other services might your clients need that you can help them with (printing, software, web developers, desktop publishing, etc.)? How can you collaborate with other services or companies to make sure you are providing comprehensive solutions for your clients? If you take the time to answer these questions, you’ll see exactly why you need this type of network and how to create it for your clients. The power of partnering. You may not realize just how networking with other translators and companies can also help you with marketing and gaining visibility. Think about it. If you’re promoting other resources, they’re likely to repay the favor. That means you not only provide value-added services and solutions for your clients, but you get a little extra marketing boost, as well. It’s a win- win situation for everyone. The goal is to become the ultimate resource for language and translation services, and when you offer your clients additional solutions beyond your own services, it will be much easier to achieve that goal. Growing your business means attracting more clients, and that’s easy when you can prove that you’re the best at what you do. Partner for success // Page 19
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services As a professional in the language industry, you know the ins and outs of translation services. But do you know how to reach out and find your audience? Marketing is hard. There is a reason that professionals are hired to do a lot of the work. If it were really that easy to build a successful business online, everyone would be doing it. Take a little time to research what it takes to create a successful brand, starting with these tips for building brand awareness: Communicate your brand. Brand awareness is how visible you and your language services are. It is the difference between everyone recognizing Amazon.com and no one knowing what ithetranslator.com is. You want people to know you and what you have to offer. Leverage marketing tools. Use marketing tools like SEO, social media, and Google to help increase your visibility and brand awareness. Create campaigns that catch people’s attention. Let them know you’re there and what they stand to gain from working with you. Video communication is essential. YouTube videos will be a hit every time. Create a short video bio first, and then use that social channel to post videos regarding various translation topics. This gives you credibility as an expert and reaches out to people in a way that they will enjoy. Quality is better than quantity. Thanks to spam bots and con artists, the rules of marketing online are a little tricky. Just remember that you’ll have more success with creating a few quality campaigns than if you just plaster your name everywhere and hope for the best. The bottom line with brand awareness is this: people don’t only need to know that you exist. They also need to know why you exist and what you can do for them. When you’ve got a plan for exposing your brand with these elements included, you’ll have a much better chance of success. Increase your brand awareness // Page 20
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Communication is a huge part of any successful business. Life in general requires effective communication and, when you are going to be a business professional of any kind, you have to make sure that you know how to communicate with others —even more so than on a daily personal basis. The skilled communicator is always going to be much more successful in both business and life. When a client comes to you for translation services, how do you interact? Do you take on the project, only to fall off the face of the earth until it is completed? This is not the way to handle things. You really have to look at a project as a relationship and keep in touch periodically. Give your clients the reassurance that you care about their needs. Communication is an ongoing process. Communicating with your clients is about“keeping in touch” from the initial conversation until the final product is delivered and they are satisfied with the results. Your communication should begin with the very first part of the sales process and continue through the quote and the agreement to the actual project itself. By providing your clients with a guideline of what to expect—and then checking in periodically—you will be able to give them the confidence that you know what you are doing and are going to deliver on time. Clients appreciate effective communication. If you take the time to show them you care enough to keep in touch and ask questions, they’re going to be much happier with you and your translation services. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best in the industry; if you aren’t effective at communicating with your clients, you aren’t going to keep them coming back for more. People want good service, but, more importantly, they want service that they know and trust, and communication is at the heart of that. The importance of effective communication // Page 21
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Most workers in the world today earn an hourly wage. It’s how our brains have been programmed. You get paid so much based on the hours that you work, and that’s the end of it. Some people do work on a salary, i.e., they are paid for a specific number of hours regardless of how many they work. Whether you charge by the word, the line, the hour, the day, the project or a combination of ways, one thing is more important than anything else: you must charge for the value your client is receiving. That sounds simple, but value is a very tricky thing. Pricing should be simple. Translation and interpretation is a difficult industry because it is so tempting to charge by the hour, word, page, or other unit. When you price your services based on the time it takes, you’re only being paid for your time. If you price your translation services based on the value that they give to clients, you are being paid for the service itself. Not only can you usually get more money with value pricing, but it will be a much more reasonable way of selling your language services. The solution approach. If you price your language services based on what the client is getting, you will find that they understand the pricing better, are in agreement with what you charge, and are fully willing to pay what is necessary because they can see the value of what they are getting for their money. You’re selling a solution, not your time, and you need to make sure that your pricing structure reflects that. If you were working in a position where you performed the same task repeatedly and there was no real change in value, a price per word or hourly pricing might be fine. But this is translation, and aren’t you communicating culture, emotions, ideas, and closing the communication gap between one culture and another? When you give them a unique value-based price, they will definitely get the sense that you are giving them a solution, not just some of your time and effort. Value pricing and selling a solution // Page 22
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Every business is expected to do certain things. It should offer a service or a product at a reasonable cost, provide support and customer service, and so on. But what you might not know is that every business has expectations of its clients, as well. You probably don’t even realize that you hold your clients to certain expectations. If nothing else, you at least ask them to follow the guidelines for your services and meet the terms of the agreement, including paying for the translation services you provide. Even these basic expectations matter and should be spelled out to clients. The client side. When clients know what you want and need from them, they become much easier to work with. It’s far too easy for clients to claim that they “didn’t know” about something or that they weren’t sure where things stood. If you keep in constant communication, make requests of what you need and expect from them, and check in to make sure they understand, you’ll have much happier clients, and your business transactions will go much more smoothly. Focus on your expectations. Client expectations are inherent, and sometimes business owners don’t even consider them consciously. They’re just things that are supposed to happen, and sometimes they get taken for granted. If you stop and focus on your expectations, spell them out to clients, and follow through on communications, you’ll find it’s much easier to do business with people. Nothing is worse than making assumptions. What do you expect from your clients? // Page 23
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Public Relations (PR) is always good for a business. Now, you may be wondering what makes personal PR different from regular PR. Personal refers to directly engaging yourself. Rather than putting out a press release or news piece, you must actively engage with people. Yes, this means public speaking. It can be a bit intimidating for some people, but it’s definitely something that you need to do. Speak at your local chamber of commerce, in community groups, and to other professional associations to get your name out there. Promotion is the name of the game. You have to make sure that you are taking the time to do everything you can to get your business noticed. Speaking isn’t always a fun thing, but it’s a great way to grow your business. Keep in mind that this doesn’t always have to mean speaking in front of a large group. For some of you, it might mean talking to other members within the groups and organizations. If you don’t feel comfortable giving presentations just yet, forming alliances and making friends is definitely a good place to start. You are the expert. Nobody is going to be able to sell your business better than you; only you know what you do and how well you do it. You are the one who is passionate about the translation industry and an expert in your business. When people hear it from you personally, it’s going to make a much bigger impact than if they stumbled upon you elsewhere. Start small if you have to, and work your way up. You certainly don’t have to go on a public speaking tour, but you should be willing to speak up and speak out to get your business noticed whenever and wherever you can. Whether it’s in front of two people or 200, it’s all about using your passion and helping others see what you have to offer. The value of personal public relations for your translation services // Page 24
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Everyone wants a deal these days, and it’s up to you to make sure that you give clients their money’s worth without taking yourself to the cleaners. Many clients want to haggle, complain, and bargain for a lower price. They’ll try to persuade you that they can take their business elsewhere or that you should give them a deal because of “x”. While there are definitely some situations that warrant a discount or a special favor, think of it more as the exception rather than the rule. Don’t compromise your fees. Translators have a tendency to sell themselves short when trying to appease their clients. After all, you want to keep them coming back, so it makes sense to do what you can to make them happy. But compromising your fees just because someone doesn’t want to pay full price shouldn’t even be a consideration. Think about big-name businesses out there. Even look at some of the leaders in the translation and localization industry. They don’t let clients dictate their prices. They know what they charge, they know that they’re worth it, and they make sure that their clients agree. Focus on the value. You need to know how to stand strong and hold the line with your fees so that your clients don’t end up getting something for nothing. If a client wants to lower the price, you must respond by subtracting some of the value. For example, if someone offers to pay 75% of what you charge, make sure that person knows what will be missing from the full services. When clients try to wiggle out of paying the full price, you are not being mean or doing anything wrong if you stick to your guns. It’s not a bidding war. You have to create boundaries and make sure people know you’re serious. If you have set prices, you must be willing to stick to them, even when your clients don’t. Keep your translation fees in check // Page 25
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Your translation business is about so much more than what you sell. There are a lot of different things that you have to offer. People want your services of course, but they will be happy to take more if you can provide it to them. You probably have associates, insight, information, and other similar resources that you can share. So make those things available to your clients. People want as much as they can get from you, because they feel they deserve it. Give your clients value. This should be your ultimate goal. If you are exclusively selling a service, you’re not doing your job. You have to make sure that you are also providing your clients with as much value and quality customer service as you can, so that they truly feel they are getting taken care of in a way that is beyond the simple translation job. Consider your favorite companies or businesses. Look at how they treat their customers, and think about why you like them. More likely than not, it has something to do with their level of service. Learn from their example, and think about how you can apply it to your business. Share knowledge. The foundation of your profession lies in translation. These services are beneficial to many; however, it’s not enough. How is what you do valuable? What sets you apart from other translators? One option to offer your clients more and increase you value is to share valuable information. Sharing information is about being open and communicating with people. Give your clients knowledge they might not learn otherwise, information that they didn’t think they needed. Also, help them understand why you’re the best at what you do. Maybe even tell them about the benefits of professional translation services compared to translating robots. Whatever the case may be, it’s always important to give your clients a high level of service and provide them with as much information as you have to offer. Information sharing and customer service // Page 26
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services It’s nice to think that you can be a superhero in your language and translation business. People want things—and they want them now—so you’re obligated to deliver. However, you have to remember that you are a business and you have other clients. Now, don’t tell your clients this directly, but remember this to keep yourself in check. Never make promises that you can’t keep. Make sure that you know your limits. The goal is to give your clients the best service possible—not to give them everything. Promise what you can deliver. Clients know that good things take time and can be worth the wait. You should always be promising only what you can deliver, so that when you go above that, they will be pleasantly surprised. No doubt, your abilities as a translator are top-rate. However, you do have to prioritize and make arrangements so that all of your clients get what they need. As long as you know your limits and don’t over-promise, you can continually keep clients satisfied. Focus on continuous improvement. While you’re working to meet expectations, you should also be trying to sharpen your skills so that you can do better. Work on all the areas of your business from time to time and see where you can make things more efficient or effective. This is known as continuous improvement. It’s something that your clients will appreciate, because they will see that you’re striving to be the best. You are an expert in the language and translation industry, and hopefully your skills in the business world are improving, as well. In order to be successful as a business owner, you have to know how to grow your business. Happy customers and delivered promises are two elements to your success. Companies that over-promise and under- deliver are frustrating for everyone; it’s better to set the bar at a reasonable height and then aim higher, if you can. Know your abilities and keep your promises // Page 27
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Your clients want to know one thing: what can you do for them? Beyond the basic answer of providing translation services, you have to give them more to look forward to and appreciate. Take the time to explain to people exactly what they’re getting. This is where a quote or a proposal can come in handy. A proposal, quote, or other branded form will show them that you mean business. Give them an exact picture of what to expect. It should include the costs, the time you intend to use for the project, and the milestones that they can expect to be hitting along the way. All of this should be done in writing, of course, so that you can have a clear agreement that isn’t just your word versus theirs. To begin with, learn their situation, problems, and objectives. Outlining these things will make it a lot easier for you to create a course of action that will solve their problems and meet their objectives. Then, create a form that you can share with them to discuss your plan. Let them ask questions, see if they agree with what you have to offer, and compromise or make changes if necessary. People need to see and hear what they are getting, and the more detail you can provide, the better. With a proper written plan of action, you’ll have happier clients, fewer misunderstandings, and more conversions to sales. This makes the transition from prospective to paying client much easier. Don’t just say, “I can help” and wait for them to ask how. Answer their questions before they ask. Give them all the information they could possibly need so they don’t have to ask. It’s all about being one step ahead and putting it in writing so everyone is on the same page. Outline your course of action with quotes and proposals // Page 28
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Getting involved in the community, both virtually and physically, is an important step for your business. You are not only increasing your visibility, but you are proving that you have more to offer than just a simple service. Your translation business should belong to at least one volunteer or community group or a networking organization. Of course, you can join as many as you can handle being actively involved in, but one or two is better than none. Be active. Speaking of being actively involved, these groups are not the same as passive memberships. These are groups that you should join and participate in on a regular basis. You need to engage people, get involved, and make sure that you make a good case for your business as a pillar of the community—both online and in the physical world. Subtle self-promotion. To make others aware of your doings, you should have a website available so that people can see what you do and how you can help them. Now, incessant self-promotion on various social networks isn’t always well received. However, when you do it as a part of some sort of group or organization, it will be much easier for you to make the transition to telling people about your business and what you have to offer. You can show them your site and say, “this is why I’m here”. Self- promotion can be very rewarding, as long as you do it the right way. Get involved in organizations and networking // Page 29
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services You’re a translation professional and you have a business to sell. One of the most important aspects of selling that business is the personal package. You are a professional business, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that you’re actually selling you. Ultimately, you are the package that people are buying, and you have to create a personal presentation that is professional and gives people the expectations that they deserve. First impressions are lasting. People have an inherent tendency to assume things. In fact, within just seconds of meeting you, they will make all kinds of assumptions about you and your business. Keep in mind that first impressions are key. If you haven’t taken the time to focus on your personal presentation and craft something that you can be proud of, they might make the wrong assumptions. Your business is important, but since you are the face of your business, you have to make sure that you’re selling a good image, as well. Be professional. Be friendly. Be an authority in the translation industry that says,“Hey, I can help!”This is what will keep clients coming back. Act like you mean business. If you want people to make good assumptions, you’ve got to have the best personal presentation that you can. You need to be professional, look like you mean business, and know your stuff when it comes to talking about what you do. Practice with your image and, if you need to explore the options, try new things. Remember to create a unique and memorable package that people can appreciate. There are a lot of things that you can do to affect your business, but having the right personal image is definitely going to have a big impact. Show people that your business starts with you and that you’re committed to solving their problems within the language and translation industry. Make it personal: sell yourself to clients // Page 30
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Do you know what your clients expect from you? Being aware of these expectations is one of the biggest issues that exist in business. It is your responsibility to take the time to listen to your clients and figure out what they expect from you and your translation services. Obviously, they shouldn’t have outlandish ideas of what you can do for them, but their realistic expectations do matter to your business. You have to make sure that clients anticipate the best, but also that you don’t over-promise. Your clients will judge you, not on what you promise but on what you actually do. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can set the bar low. Set reasonable expectations and then do your best to perform at a level above what you promise. This will allow your clients to judge you accordingly, giving you a better reputation. After all, clients aren’t going to judge you based on what you promise; they will judge based on what you actually do. If you can do more than they expect, you will always have a pleasant outcome. Under-promise and over-deliver. When managing expectations, the ultimate objective is to make sure that your clients are happy. Don’t promise them the moon and stars if you can’t deliver them. Set reasonable goals, aim higher, and show your clients why they should keep coming back to you for all their language and translation needs. The goal is to give them what they deserve and to always deliver more than they expect. Go the extra mile. Create agreements with clients that are plausible for you and that meet their expectations. When you find an opportunity to meet the terms of those agreements sooner or in a way that is better for them, just do it. They’ll recognize the effort and appreciate it. Client satisfaction is the key to maintaining and growing your language and translation business, and managing expectations makes all the difference. Manage expectations for client satisfaction // Page 31
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Waiting for your clients to make a move can be tiresome. It can also slow down your business growth significantly. It's like building a store and expecting people to just find it. It's not that easy, and in the world of the Internet it becomes even harder. When it comes to your clients, you have to decide whether you're okay with just throwing out a line and waiting for a bite or if you want to take action and be more assertive. Assertive is a tricky word. After all, no one likes a pushy salesperson. But there are things that you can do, such as recommending a course of action in a positive way, to make your clients feel like you're being attentive without being overbearing. You have to avoid manipulating them and pressuring them into something, as that will keep them from coming back in the future. Here are some ways to sell your language business on your own terms without being that sales guy everyone hates: u  When someone inquires about your translation services, use action words to show them what you will do, not what you can do. Explain to them the benefits of your services and give them a reason to move forward immediately. u  Outline the advantages of acting on the project now rather than waiting. Some people like to look around, or they might not seem like they're in a hurry to get a translation project done. If you show them it's better to do it now, they might be more likely to follow through. u  Offer specials or incentives to people who follow through with a requested quote. Not only is this good marketing, but it will motivate people to act on their needs sooner than if there were no perks in place. It takes a while to become comfortable with recommending and being more persuasive, but it's the best way to grow your business and keep things moving at your speed. Sell your translation services on your terms // Page 32
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Articles (like the ones you find in newspapers or magazines) are one of the most overlooked methods of marketing and promotion that a business has access to. Not only are these tools inexpensive (and sometimes free) but they're also critical to your success. Articles give you a chance to show people what you have to offer, how you can help them, and why you are an expert in your industry. There are a lot of places you can write to in order to get these articles out. The sky is the limit. Consider writing for community newspapers or newsletters that allow submissions. Talk about your business and show people what you can do for them. Check out trade journals or publications that are specific to your industry. Here you can use a more professional approach to present yourself as an expert on the subject matter. As long as you are reaching out and providing valuable content, people will notice. A platform of value and education. Writing articles for the Internet is a different game, but it's definitely an effective tool. If you have a blog or can post articles to third-party sites, you will be able to inform people about your business and services. You can educate them on the translation industry, help them understand the benefits of a service like yours, and get clients hooked by giving them information they might not find anywhere else. Distribute informative content. Article marketing, as this is known, is a very popular craft among businesses that are looking to promote themselves and increase their visibility. As long as you write relevant articles that give your readers value, you'll succeed. When you use this tool, you're giving yourself a more expert appearance and you are giving people something they can use. People like free stuff, and even when it's just information, it's going to help you promote your business. Get yourself out there and have your voice heard // Page 33
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services You already know what you do, what you have to offer, and how you can help other people with their various needs. There are many aspects to a brand statement that you have to consider when developing one, including the essential elements of the people, purpose, and perks of working with your translation business. Start off by defining what you do. It's a simple statement, but it's also an important step in building your business. Show people why you are the best and how you are different from the rest. Your target market at the center. Take a minute to focus on your target audience. Why are these the people you want to work with? Specifically, when it comes to your products and services, what is in it for these people? People need to know what is so great about you, and it's up to you to make sure that you spell it out for them. This is known as a “brand positioning statement”, but it's really just a statement that says what you do, who you can help, and why you're different or better than others out there. Your uniqueness is your strength. Having a brand and an identity is going to be critical to your translation business. By taking the time to explore all of the different aspects of what makes you unique, it will be easy for you to get everything that you deserve out of this statement. You will be able to show your target audience you have something to offer and say “hey, this is what I can do for you!” That puts you in a good position in the market and gets you started on the right path to marketing your services so that the next steps are easier. Define yourself and make sure you can tell people why your translation business matters. Develop your brand statement // Page 34
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Sometimes in business, things don't go as planned. Whether you've got a client who isn't keeping his/her end of the deal, or even if there's a simple miscommunication, you have to know how to handle it and get back on track. All of your translation services should include agreements and guidelines so that everyone is on the same page. Keep things in writing so that it's never a matter of your word against theirs if something does go wrong. C’est la vie! It would be ideal to give you tips and information so that things never go wrong, but the fact of the matter is that things DO go wrong. There is no way to prevent the occasional mistake, miscommunication, or difficult client. It's not about avoiding problems, because that's impossible; it's about knowing how to handle them. Listen and empathize. When clients don't follow through on agreements for some reason, you can't just blow them off, get angry, or expect them to pick the ball back up. It's up to you to stand up for yourself and your business, and communicate with them. If you are able to talk about what went wrong and why things got off track, it will be much easier for you to get projects moving forward again. Nobody likes confrontation, but as a business owner you have to be able to speak up and make sure you're getting what you deserve from your clients. The success and growth of your language and translation business depends on effective communication. Knowing how to talk things out and come to a resolution that gets things back on track is one area where you can make a big difference. Deal-breaking and getting things back on track // Page 35
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services In any business, you need communication. Effective communication impacts success in so many different ways. It's up to you to come up with a plan that works within your brand and your overall strategy so that you can communicate the value of what you have to offer as well as what you can do for people. When it comes to creating and sharing a visual identity, having an effective plan for communication is a must. You have to know how you're going to reach out to people and what to say to get them interested. Communication is king. Communication is a big part of your translation business and while you might be able to "wing it" to a certain extent, having a plan in place is always the better option. Make sure that you take the time to look at how you can use communication to get the word out and show people everything that you have to offer. This isn't a difficult task. Mostly, it just takes some time and effort on your part to make sure that you're using the right communication tools and getting the right message out. Spread out the word. People need to know what they're getting from you. They want to see not only what you do, but how your language services give them value. What are they getting? Why should they care? These are questions that you need to answer in your communications. Show people what your brand is, what you can do, and most importantly what you can do for them. As long as you take care of these elements, it should be easier for you to build your brand identity and communicate your message effectively. This will guarantee that clients and prospects know who you are, what you offer, and how it benefits them from the very beginning. Communication strategies for marketing success // Page 36
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Business promotion is critical to your success. There are a lot of different ways that you can go about building a brand and creating awareness, but relationships should play a big part in your efforts. To build relationships, you have to know who you are looking for and how to find them. This is a great way to find potential clients, but it can also be useful for networking and developing associates in related industries. Everything counts. Marketing activities are critical to relationship building. These include both online and offline activities. You should be reaching out to people at every opportunity you have without being overbearing. You don't want to be that annoying person that's always talking business, but there are a lot of great marketing opportunities out there that you might be missing. It's all about finding the balance. Online and offline presence. Contact your local chamber of commerce and see how you can market yourself locally. Consider local resources online, and put your business card in coffee shops, libraries, print shops, and other businesses where you might find clients. As far as online marketing is concerned, social media is your first stop for building relationships. By creating and utilizing Facebook and Twitter pages, you can connect with people on a personal level and get to know them better. This not only helps you build your marketing campaigns and brand, but it can give you a chance to connect with people on their level and build strong relationships. Marketing is more than just selling a product or service. It's about showing people that you can meet their needs and that you're worth their investment. First and foremost, you're selling yourself, and it will be up to you to use marketing activities to do that. Promotion is a critical part of business, and it's often as easy as making some new friends. Build relationships with marketing // Page 37
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services When it comes to selling your services, you have to make sure that you have something to offer. This might sound pretty obvious, but it all starts with the proposal. How much of your plan and efforts do you give away with your proposals or quotes? Do people get a detailed description of what you do, how you do it, and why it helps them? If you're saying too much, you're decreasing the value of your services and not giving them much of a reason to stick around. When you are preparing a proposal, you need to include the objectives, value, and the measures of success. That's all. Clients need to know what you're going to do, how it helps them, and how they'll know it's done right. If you leave it at that, they'll be back to get the work done a lot faster than if you lay it all out. There's a fine line between the transparency that clients want in their professional services and giving away too much. Learn to walk the line when you are creating proposals and pricing your services. Make sure that you give people enough information so that they can make an informed decision, but not so much information that they can take off and do it themselves or, worse yet, have someone else do it for a lower cost. You've got to keep some tricks up your sleeve; otherwise, you will have nothing to offer after you create a proposal. When you give free quotes, this can be even more of a strain on your translation business. Make sure that you're informative and meeting clients’ needs without overdoing it. The proposal is a clincher for any business, and doing it right can make a big difference in turning prospects into clients and clients into regulars. Don’t give away all your secrets // Page 38
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services There are a lot of moving parts to a successful business. When you take the time to plan accordingly, you will learn about all of them as you go along. When you are creating a list of benefits and results of the translation services that you offer, you need to make sure that they have a focus. Features and processes are great, but people need to know why to work with you and what they're getting for their money. This information is easy to contain once you have it all laid out. You can create a 1- to 2-page document, known formally as an“Executive Summary”, which basically spells out everything that you offer to your clients and how they can benefit. This statement says "I'm here, and I have something for you". It's a way to connect with people and make sure that you get the word out about what you really have to offer. "Executive Summary" seems like an intimidating word, and when many people see it in a business plan, they get concerned. They're not sure what to say or how to use this piece of the plan, but it's actually really simple. All you have to do is outline exactly what benefits you offer and what results people can expect with a service like yours, and you're done. Make sure that you do this carefully, of course. You have to choose the right words and make sure that you're leaving people with a lasting impression that makes them want to work with you. Don't promise more than you can deliver, but make sure you give them plenty of incentive with all of the benefits you are offering and the results they can expect from your translation services. The executive summary and what it means to you // Page 39
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services You know why you're the best at what you do. Now you have to tell everyone else what you have to offer. Think about what benefits, advantages, and perks your clients get from working with you. Think about their expectations and how you can meet them, as well as how you can deliver the language services that they need with something extra that makes you worth the investment. Make sure that their expectations are aligned with yours, or vice versa. You can't have one set of ideas and an audience that sees something else. Make sure that your clients get an immediate understanding of what's in it for them. That's the bottom line and one of the most important elements in any translation business. Take the time to focus on giving people what they want and making sure they know they want you specifically. Your business growth depends on convincing people you know what you're doing, so this is an important step in putting yourself out there in the industry and making people see that you're the right person for the job. Think like a client. Imagine what they'd expect from you. Do some research and see what people are looking for. Use that information to come up with a list of benefits and solutions that you offer. Once you have a concrete list, you can work on incorporating those into your brand identity and your positioning in the market so that people can get an idea of why you're right for the job. It's not a difficult thing to do. It's just something that takes a little time and effort on your part. The payoff will be well worth it. If you show people what they're getting and give them a reason to choose you, you're taking all the effort out of it for them. The benefits of your translation business: spell them out! // Page 40
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services When you own a business, you have a lot of responsibility. The performance of your language business depends on how well you handle things like marketing and client relationships. Even if you are an expert at translation, you need the fundamental skills of business ownership to help you maintain and grow your business. It's up to you to take the necessary steps to create successful clients as well as a successful, rewarding, and fulfilling business. The goals of business growth are increasing visibility, attracting more clients, and increasing sales. Without the first two, you cannot accomplish the third. This means taking the time to plan accordingly, being aware of your abilities, and managing client expectations well. Clients expect certain things from a business, and your business also expects certain things from your clients. Don’t let your clients dictate your success entirely—this is your business. For example, if they break an agreement or want to change things, you should be willing to work with them only to the degree that it doesn't negatively affect your business. With proper communication and planning, you can make sure that you can deliver what you promise without surprises, keep people satisfied, and ensure that your clients know what is expected of them. That last part surprises a lot of people. Most of the time when we talk about business, we talk about what clients expect from a service or company. However, your clients also have an obligation to work within the confines of your services and operations, and it's up to you to make sure that they know this. If you go the extra mile to build a successful, visible business that offers clearly defined translation and language services to your clients, you are going to create a fan base of reliable clients who will not only come back to you but also refer others, helping your business become a success! Communicate what you expect from your clients // Page 41
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services In order to position yourself to grow and succeed in the translation industry, you have to know what your business is about and what it can do for people. This is a very basic concept in the world of marketing, but it might be new to you. The ultimate question—“the golden ticket”, if you will—is what you can do for your clients. This is what you need to answer in order to find your position within the marketplace. Think about your services and solutions. How can they solve problems for your clients and prospects? What value do you add to their lives with the service that you provide? As a translation business, you offer translation services. That's fairly straightforward. What you need to get into is how this actually benefits people and what types of people could use your service as a solution to their problems. What makes you better than another translation service? Why do you deserve a place in the market? You have to create a unique value proposition, or a concept of why you're worth investing in. It's more than just what you do. It's why you are better than anything else out there. This is the first step in creating your position in the market, and it's going to make all the difference in your success. Growing your language business starts with putting yourself out there. If you're going to do that, you have to know why you are doing it and what you have to offer. Spell it out for people so that they can clearly see that you're an investment worth making. If you handle this properly, the rest will start to fall into place so that you can move forward and grow your business with ease. Know the value of your translation business // Page 42
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services You're in the business of translation. Obviously, your primary focus is on your translation services, right? Wrong! Although this will take up a big chunk of your time, you also need to be working on the business end of things. You should spend as much time as you can in sales situations—phone calls, in-person meetings, or even video conferences or emails—where you can communicate with clients and prospects and figure out what they need from you. If you're always talking to people, you're always increasing your chances of getting the sale and growing your business. Find out the needs of your prospects by creating a list of well-planned questions that are more than just straightforward and simple. Come up with persuasive questions that will teach you all about their situation and what their problems are. Make sure you have them express the implications of not getting what they need.. Do a little bit of research about your potential clients to determine what they are going to need and how you can meet their objectives. If you know how to satisfy clients without their having to tell you directly and explicitly, you're going to make a great impression. They will see that you really know what you're doing in the translation business and that you care about your clients. There is so much that you can get from effective communication, but asking the right questions and putting yourself in constant sales situations is also important to your business. It's all about the clients, and when you show them that's what you care about, they're sure to be impressed and will be much more likely to choose your language business for their translation needs. Focus most of your time on sales // Page 43
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services You've taken a lot of steps to build your translation business’identity. Now comes the time when you have to put all your talk into action. You're basically selling yourself, and all the marketing materials in the world are great, but they only go so far. If you don't take the time to deliver on all of your promises, it's going to be difficult for clients to see why they should be working with you in the first place. You don't want to talk yourself up too much if you can't deliver. However, you also shouldn't sell yourself short, or end up in a position where you aren't getting the attention that you deserve, just because you aren't making things happen. You are the package that people want, and you have to make sure you're making a good name for your business. If you have already invested a lot of time and effort into creating an identity and building your brand, it doesn't make sense for those efforts to be wasted. You really have to exploit your opportunities to show people that you mean what you say. Growing your language business is going to take some time and effort. However, as long as you are aware of what you are getting involved with, and you know how to turn words into action, it should be easy for you to get everything you need from your investment. Your identity is only as strong as you make it, and when you take the time to make it known, you're going to have a lot more success. Businesses don't sell themselves at first; it's up to you to make sure that you're living up to the hype you've created for yourself. If you aren’t, clients and prospects will notice. The talk is good, but you've got to walk. Walk the talk with your services // Page 44
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services When you provide a discount on your services, you are giving permission to others to think your services are not worth much. And, unfortunately, this trend is adversely affecting the entire translation and localization industry. Price your services right. The price you set for your services must be determined by the value perception your clients are getting in return for their money. Are you meeting your clients’ expectations? Why should they buy from you and not your competitors? Learn to say “no.” When you reduce your rates, you are sending a distress signal, not just about you but also about the entire industry. Reduce your rates even just one time, and it’s going to be very difficult to say no the next time this same client comes back. One of my dearest copywriters told me once when I asked him to lower his price that he would feel very uncomfortable with himself if he were to reduce his rates. I loved his professional approach to standing behind his work. Focus on your promise of value. When you know and have proof that what you are offering is of great “value” to your clients, make sure this is consistently displayed in your service delivery. Rather than discounting your rates to match competitors, focus on value-added features. Improve your service offering. Translation is seen by many as a commodity for the simple reason that everybody is focusing on the same “attributes.” Translation should never follow product-marketing models. In the service business it’s all about that “special touch” you add to your offering. Your clients are simply looking for someone they can trust. They want to make sure you are reliable, that you are consistently delivering good value to them, and that you are always there for them. Benefits and service features are always good selling points. But a great relationship with your client is your best selling point. Focus on your target market. If you are continually being asked to lower your rates, it is very likely you are targeting the wrong clients. When you decide to focus on a niche market, it is important you understand what your clients’practices and preferences are. Create a strong brand. Just as big corporations develop their brands, translators can also develop a strong, differentiated brand. When you concentrate on developing a strong brand, you will not only become easily recognized but also create an emotional connection with your clients. Your competitors can try to replicate your processes, business model, technology, etc., but it will be very difficult for them to reproduce those beliefs and attitudes that you have established in the minds of your clients. Professional translators don’t offer deals // Page 45
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Confidence requires that you have credibility with your target market, colleagues, and clients. People will not listen nor be persuaded by someone they are unable to trust. To be trusted, you have to act in a trustworthy manner. This means that you do what you say you will do, and when you say you will do it. It also means that you know and operate under a system of ethics and that people know what those ethics are. While not all conversations can be planned ahead, there are many conversations that benefit from a plan. When you prepare yourself before initiating a conversation, you are much more likely to deliver an effective message to the right person and that doesn’t get misunderstood. Here are some steps that you can take to prepare yourself. Have a purpose. Typical purposes for a conversation are to inform or direct, to persuade, or to ask a question. Have an outcome. Ask yourself a few questions to help you decide how to approach the conversation: u  What reaction are you looking for from the listener? u  What do you need the listener to remember? u  What do you need the listener to do after your conversation? Make sure the receiver is ready. Some people resent it when we pounce on them unannounced. Others are much more receptive when you simply ask permission. If you are unsure if someone is ready to talk, try these helpful icebreakers: u  Is this a good time to talk? u  Would now be a good time to talk, or should I call you back later? u  Can I have 15 minutes of your time? (Make sure you stick to just 15 minutes!) Watch out for these words. If you want to be known for clear communication, avoid words like I’ll try. ought to, should have, must, always, never. If you are tempted to insert these words into your conversations, replace them with clearer terms. Instead of “I’ll try to get back to you later,” say “I’ll call you back by 4:00 today”(and then make sure that you do!). Build credibility and trust with the people you speak with // Page 46
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services There   is   plenty   of   debate   about   the   value   of   social   media   in   order   to   widen   the   exposure   of   your   services.   People   around   the   world   have   embraced  social  media,  and  it  has  become  a  very  popular  and  even  a   normal  way  of  doing  business.  However,  we  don’t  want  you  to  be  fooled   into  thinking  that  spending  all  your  ?me  on  social  media  is  the  best  way   to  market  your  language  services.  It  is  simply  another  way  to  get  your   message  out.  Here  are  seven  strategies  for  using  social  media  in  your   language  business.   Stretch.  If  your  usual  marke?ng  is  not  geAng  you  the  results  that  you   need,   make   sure   you   increase   your   bench   strength   by   bringing   on   exper?se  that  gets  you  what  you  need.   Build  a  community.  What  you  really  need  is  to  get  people  talking  about   you  in  a  way  that  they  promote  your  brand  independently  of  you.  Think   of   the   things   that   you   can   do   for   your   clients   that   are   different   than   what  everyone  else  is  doing.     Watch  out  for  social  media  experts.  Social  media  is  constantly  evolving.   Marke?ng   consultants   who   are   also   specialists   in   social   media   understand  its  fluidity.  They  can  help  you  navigate  and  establish  your   brand   in   the   social   stream   as   one   aspect   of   your   marke?ng   plan.   However,  make  sure  that  they  can  do  what  they  say  they  can  do.  Ask  for   references  and  look  at  what  they’ve  done  in  the  past.     Be  there.  Whichever  social  channels  that  you  use  (and  there  are  more   coming   out   all   the   ?me),   make   sure   that   you   par?cipate   with   your   community.  Don’t  ask  a  ques?on  on  TwiLer,  for  example,  and  then  not   be  around  or  available  to  reply  to  people’s  answers.     Find  your  clients.  When  you  conduct  your  market  analysis,  be  very  clear   about   where   your   clients   are.   Make   sure   you   reach   them   and   their   friends  so  that  they  are  able  to  talk  about  you.  This  doesn’t  mean  that   you  need  to  sign  up  on  every  social  plaMorm  there  is,  because  you  won’t   have  ?me.  Focus  on  methods  of  reach  that  work  for  your  clients.     Be   a   person.   There   is   a   lot   of   ar?ficiality   in   social   media.   While   systema?zing   and   pre-­‐planning   updates   makes   sense,   you   look   like   a   robot  if  you  come  off  like  something  that  has  been  automated.  Make   sure   that   some   of   your   personality   and   character   shines   through   the   things  that  you  say.     Follow  others.  It’s  not  appropriate  to  be  a  one  way  machine  in  social   media.  For  example,  if  you  are  on  TwiLer  and  have  2500  followers,  and   you  only  follow  20  people,  you  will  not  be  able  to  reply  to  people  who   are  speaking  with  and  about  you.  If  you  are  blogging,  make  sure  that   you  reply  to  people’s  comments  on  your  blog  posts  and  that  those  posts   provide  people  with  informa?on  they  can  use,  rather  than  just  wri?ng   them  as  a  billboard  for  your  services.     Embrace social media // Page 47
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Visibility is an important element of any successful business. By taking the time to build a brand that people know and see on a regular basis, you will have much better chances of keeping clients coming back and new ones coming in. Even if that "brand" is just you out there talking to people and getting your name into the market, it's an important step. You have to stay visible. In a world where it seems like there are multiples of everything, that can be hard. Sure, there are businesses that have been around longer. Sure, there are companies that have more money or marketing power. Why should that stop you? You have a valuable service, and it's up to you to prove to people that you can give them what they need. By staying visible, you increase the chances that you'll be there when people need you. Stay-in-touch marketing. Start an email newsletter for your existing clients or prospects who choose to sign up. You can use that to keep them updated on new information and what is going on. Create Facebook and Twitter accounts for your translation business. With the right updates, these elements are going to be surefire solutions to getting the visibility that you need. Tactful persistence. There is a lot to be said for how you get your name out there. After all, if you use sneaky methods and try to manipulate your way into success, people are going to notice, and you'll quickly develop a bad reputation. Study up on the right ways to increase your visibility without being another pesky salesperson, and you'll find that your clients are more likely to utilize your services. It's simple. People forget about things they don't see regularly. Don't let your business become one of them. Stay visible // Page 48
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services Who are you? The first step to getting visible is to define yourself. You need to create an online bio, including a photo, interests, and what you can do for people. One of the most important steps is getting a distinct URL. It may be cost effective to use generic domains and free ISP email accounts. However, if you invest in yourself by buying a domain, people will see and recognize you. And, since not everyone has their own domain, it instantly builds your credibility. Here are some other tips for increasing your visibility: u  Upload a YouTube video introducing yourself and showcasing your expertise. u  Do webinars for clients and prospective clients. u  Develop a blog where you can talk to people about their needs. u  Produce articles for marketing and search engine optimization. u  Attend trade shows for a physical presence. u  Use white papers to prove your expertise on a technical level. u  Take advantage of whatever social media you have available. All of them—Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others—will help you if you use them well. There are a number of tools out there that you can use to make your translation business known and help your clients get to know you. There is so much you have to choose from, but you have to use these tools wisely. Your business won’t sell itself just by existing. It takes a little effort on your part. If marketing were easy, everyone would do it. As long as you are willing to invest the time and effort, however, it should be much simpler than you think. To get yourself and your language services noticed, keep these tips in mind for your marketing campaigns. Land sales by increasing visibility // Page 49
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services When you're trying to land clients, you have to be aware of their needs. Of course, this isn't just what they need now. If you want to make sure that they are totally satisfied, you should be focused on asking future questions, as well. After you determine the problems that need solving, or the services that you need to provide, you can ask them what they see after you have done your job. Anticipate the future. Your clients aren't fortune tellers, but they have come to you for a reason. They likely have an idea of what they expect things to be like after you've helped them, and you need to know this. Figure out how they see the future of their situation once the service has been rendered, and what you can do to make room for yourself in their future. Let them know that you can do more for them than just provide one service right now. A lot of people only see what is in front of them. If you only offer to help solve this problem, they probably won't think of future needs until they come upon them. Ask, seek, knock. Get your clients thinking about what they want from your services, both now and in the future, by asking questions. People know more than they let on. Sometimes you just have to guide them along and help them figure out the answers they already know. Find new ways to ask questions so that you can get the information you need. You can't just ask "What do you want?”.Get creative and find ways to lure the ideal solution out of your clients so that you can meet their needs and give them more than they expect. Know what your clients need before they do // Page 50
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services There are a lot of marketing opportunities you can use for business promotion. It's up to you to find what works. A clever tool called leverage will greatly help your marketing efforts. Leverage means taking advantage of the things that you have to create things that you don't. In this case, it's about using things like speaking opportunities and articles to create additional marketing opportunities. Get a list of people who attended your speaking engagement. Invite them into your business by sharing articles or other information with them. Use your articles to create conversations with people so that you can create clients. It's all about making every marketing opportunity the most that you can get. A speaking engagement doesn't end with a farewell, and an article doesn't end with the last paragraph. Both of these, along with other marketing opportunities, will give you a chance to use leverage to get even more promotion. It's not about exploiting every single thing you do. It's about knowing how to use leverage wisely and making sure that you can get everything that you need. With so much to choose from, you should have no trouble finding great marketing opportunities and using them to lead to other opportunities. It's just a matter of being aware that you can—and should—be doing this. When you take the time to leverage your marketing opportunities, you're basically giving yourself something for nothing. You're already doing the first part of the marketing. Why not take it a step further and get more from it? It just makes sense, and it's a great way to get the most out of your marketing every single time. Use leverage to find marketing opportunities // Page 51
  • The Essential Guide to MARKETING Your Language Services In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with lies, tricks, and scams (think: e-mail junk folder). As consumers, we have to be careful to buy from credible sources, or risk getting taken advantage of. But, as a translator on the supply side, this means its harder to have credibility. Be consistent. Practice emotional stability and always treat your clients with respect. Tackle comparable projects similarly. Be fair, and make sure you always deliver a quality product to all of your clients. In addition, make sure you keep your word. If you promise a deadline, make sure the project is on time. Be careful about your commitments —whether they are verbal or written—and make sure you follow through with them. Let your clients trust you. Be professional. Give people a reason to believe in your abilities by being knowledgeable. Experts are easily trusted, so spend time learning all there is to know about the language industry. Keep yourself informed of the latest happenings and new technologies. Always strive for improvement. In addition, make sure your attitude is always professional. Show that you work well with others, and be polite to everyone. Fights, harsh comments, and rudeness are never seen as professional conduct. Have excellent customer service. We always hear the phrase, “Go the extra mile” to depict great customer service. Be sure to always treat your clients with the highest level of respect and politeness possible. Show them that you are passionate about helping them, and be sure to communicate this clearly. Let your clients know what to expect from you—and then exceed their expectations. Always remember that you are doing business with human beings, so treat them so. Everybody has specific needs and ways of doing things, so be sensitive to differences among your clients. Be humble. Nobody likes a show-off. While you should definitely have faith in your abilities, always make sure you apologize for any mistakes. Ignoring them and pretending to be infallible will not help you. People will be both surprised and impressed when you honestly point out what you did wrong. Building credibility is tricky because it is an aspect of your reputation. It’s not easy to take control over how people perceive you, so creating a credible language business can be tough. An important thing to always remember is that credibility is easier to maintain than to recover. So even though it may require a lot of effort, be careful to always and consistently give people a reason to trust you. The credibility challenge // Page 52
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