So you’ve decided to expand your dating business into other markets. Your most likely first step was to get somebody to translate all the text for your self-operated dating service or the landing page copy for your white label site and now you think your website is set to take on the world. Think again.
In a matter of seconds after viewing a dating site for the first time, a visitor will have developed their initial opinion, categorising the site as ‘familiar’ or ‘foreign’, ‘credible’ or ‘suspicious’ and you won’t have another chance to change their mind once they close the browser window.
Proper dating site localisation can have a significant impact on your dating business and ROI. According to multiple studies, visitors stay twice as long on sites that communicate in their language and are four times more likely to make a purchase.
Localisation consists of two distinct components: the translation of text into the chosen language and the adaptation of content for the intended market. A common mistake is to consider translation alone to be a sufficient effort towards localisation, but this is not the case. The adaptation of copy, imagery and pricing to suit a specific culture’s customs and economical standards plays an important role in the reception of your dating service.
It goes without saying that the copy has to be well translated and not contain any grammatical errors, but the next step is to ensure that it is also relevant and in line with cultural context.
The weak spots where localisation issues usually arise are registration forms and user profiles. Users fill in their profile information using predefined fields and options. While inputting height in centimeters in France or filling in the name of a province in Belgium would both be natural things to do, asking the same of a user from the UK (where they measure height in feet and inches and administrative units are referred to as counties) would likely cause confusion.
Once the copy has been adapted and the translations uploaded, don’t forget to check that everything still works well visually. It often happens that portions of translated text no longer fit on the existing buttons and tabs or are positioned incorrectly in certain content blocks, so some final copy adjustments may be needed before launch.
An Asian girl on the landing page of a Polish dating site or a Latina girl on a Swedish site most likely will not convert visitors (unless you’re specifically aiming for Asian or Latina dating in those countries). Sometimes small details, such as a blue ocean and palm trees behind the back of a happy couple on your landing page for a Norway-based site, can make it hard for visitors to relate to your product. You don’t necessarily have to have fjords in the background, but some neutral scenery or the country’s flag in the logo may be complementary enough to increase the likelihood of product acceptance.
Use culturally appropriate imagery. For instance, while Scandinavians are comfortable with seeing quite explicit imagery, Germans prefer things a bit more subtle, even for casual dating sites. If you are adventurous enough to launch a site in a market you don’t know much about, be sure to do some research beforehand – check the most popular websites in that country. They should give you an indication of what people are most accustomed to.
Ultimately, your best option is to hire a local designer who already has a sense of that culture’s standards and can make your site look and feel as familiar to your target market as possible.
Pricing and Payments
The bottom line is that the prices on your dating site have to be displayed in the currency of the country your users are from. But is it enough to simply change the currency symbol next to the prices? Usually it’s not, as purchasing power varies from country to country. So how do you come up with prices for your services or choose a pricing package from the few options available on a white label platform?
While you can dive as deep as calculating the optimal prices by using the Big Mac Index or another formula of your choice, the easiest way is to compare several online dating services in that country and determine an average price amongst them.
Do not get tempted to go too low. You may think that lower pricing will give you a competitive advantage and help you enter the market, but in fact this is not the case. If potential users see membership prices much lower than on other dating sites, they may think your service is of a lower quality and decide against it.
Country-specific payment methods are another important aspect to consider. While you may think that credit cards and PayPal will cover everything, some countries have local methods that account for most payment collection. Not implementing these options on your dating site can significantly reduce your earning potential.
Customer Relation Management and Support
In the online dating industry email is the most common channel for customer relation management and support. Ensure that email communication reaches the end-user in the language they expect to receive it. If your original site was in Dutch, but you decided to launch an English version of it, the localisation of emails is something that is not to be overlooked. Imagine receiving an email offering a discount on something in a language you don’t even speak. Would you rush to make a purchase? Probably not and neither would your customers.
Even if you are a white label partner and you do not have direct access to CRM, register a user account on your localised site before launching it in a particular country and then check email communications to ensure that they are delivered in the language you need them to be. Usually multilingual white label platforms test everything before releasing, but even the most experienced professionals can overlook something. If you notice any issues with email localisation, contact your account manager to get them fixed.
If you decide to provide phone support to your dating site customers, ensure that you have a local phone number displayed on the site that they can call. Not only does this establish credibility in your brand, but it also makes customers feel secure knowing that they can reach out for help when needed.
Just like in real life, when a person starts interacting with somebody, or in this case with a product, the ability to relate is the key to a lasting relationship. So if you are a webmaster, you have to play the part of a matchmaker between your visitor and your dating site. Make the product speak the language that your visitors do, reflect the values they possess and showcase what they want to see, and you will encourage a long-term commitment.
Need help with your dating site or landing page localisation for a specific market? Talk to us!