7 mistakes real estate agencies targeting international clients make

There are many benefits to working with international clients, but in may cases real estate companies that target them make mistakes that, while easy to avoid, can cost them visitors and inquires. Read on to find out what those mistakes are and how to fix them.

Not having a website translation

Mistake #1 when targeting international clients in real estate: having a website in English only

Mistake #1 when targeting international clients in real estate: having a website in English only

Why:

  1. According to the Common Sense Survey study featured by Harvard Business Review, over 72% of respondents are more likely to buy a product when information about it is available in their own language.
  2. SEO – international customers searching for properties in their own language will not be able to find your website.

How to fix it:
Consider translating your website or creating dedicated foreign-language pages for international customers you are targeting.

 

Relying on a machine translation plug-in for translation

Mistake #2 when targeting international clients in real estate: relying on machine-translation plug-ins

Mistake #2 when targeting international clients in real estate: relying on machine-translation plug-ins

Why:

  1. Machine translation may undermine your credibility. Although there is a lot of hype around machine translation tools, they are not best suited for marketing text translations. In many cases they also tend to misinterpret real estate terminology, or even contact information terms (“Twitter” as a “chirp”, anyone?). Result may range from amusing to incomprehensible.
  2. SEO – plug-ins do not improve your search ranking.

How to fix it:
Consider other ways to save on translation costs, such as thoroughly planning the content you need to translate (all of the website vs key information on a dedicated page), or use in-house help to create translation drafts for review.

 

Not reviewing your copy in a foreign language after producing it in-house

Mistake #3 when targeting international clients in real estate: not reviewing in-house copy in a foreign language

Mistake #3 when targeting international clients in real estate: not reviewing in-house copy in a foreign language

Why:
If you decide to produce foreign-language copy in-house with the help of interns, foreign language students, agents, or by yourself, make sure this copy is reviewed before publication. Otherwise the result might do more harm than good. Adapting register, improving the flow of the text, and avoiding stilted language will greatly improve your chances of making a good impression on website visitors.

Another potential problem with in-house translations is producing text that is stylistically “between” English and the target language, especially if it is drafted by someone who has been living in the US for some time. Such stylistic errors will affect your credibility and might lead to a decrease in conversions.

How to fix it:
Even when producing copy or translations in-house, have a reviewer specializing in marketing texts go over it before publication. Many translators handle editing assignments as well.

 

Confusing user experience: mixing languages on the same page

Mistake #4 when targeting international clients in real estate: mixing English and a foreign language on the same page

Mistake #4 when targeting international clients in real estate: mixing English and a foreign language on the same page

Why:
This is especially relevant for complex websites where there are frequent updates of news, press releases, newsletters or in-house magazines. Localized websites of such companies sometimes display such updates in the original language (English), while the rest of the page is in a foreign language. Similarly, many websites have a “frame” of static information in a foreign language and a property description in English.

How to fix it:
Before creating foreign-language pages or websites, decide how you are going to handle updates and property listing information. While it might not be viable to translate all information, making a decision early on will help you provide a consistent user experience and, consequently, make a much better impression on the website visitors.

 

Not providing information international clients are interested in

Mistake #5 when targeting international clients in real estate: not providing information international clients are interested in in their native languages

Mistake #5 when targeting international clients in real estate: not providing information international clients are interested in in their native languages

Why:
Having additional information available for international clients helps establish your authority, develop trust and prove that you have the necessary expertise.

How to fix it:
Based on research or previous experience with foreign buyers, create materials that would answer the most common questions or concerns and encourage international customers to get in touch with you.

 

 

Not showing availability of agents speaking foreign languages

Mistake #6 when targeting international clients in real estate: not displaying prominently information about availability of agents speaking foreign languages

Mistake #6 when targeting international clients in real estate: not displaying prominently information about availability of agents speaking foreign languages

Why:
Just as many Internet users prefer to read in their native language, knowing that communicating with a real estate agent in your native language is an additional reason to get in touch with your company.

How to fix it:
Prominently display information about availability of agents who speak foreign languages, either on the homepage or on the dedicated translated pages.

 

 

Not having a localized follow-up process

Mistake #7 when targeting international clients in real estate: not translating follow-up emails and materials

Mistake #7 when targeting international clients in real estate: not translating follow-up emails and materials

Why:
If you handle inquiries and sign-ups via an automated process, not translating messages for inquiries coming from localized pages might lead to confusion.

How to fix it:
Have a plan for answering inquiries in a foreign language and translate automated messages if you create sign-up forms or requests for additional information.



Ekaterina Howard, English to Russian and German to Russian business, marketing and real estate translations

Ekaterina Howard, Pinwheel Translations

English to Russian and German to Russian translator working with business, marketing and real estate materials. ATA and CATI member.