The e-learning industry continues to demonstrate impressive growth with the online learning field alone surpassing $315 billion (£252 bn) value in 2021. As one of the few sectors that actually did well during the Covid-19 pandemic and an industry that typically performs well during difficult economic periods, now is the perfect time to bring your e-learning material to new markets.
In this article, we cover the seven crucial steps you need to take to produce and market your learning material to new language audiences.
Before you can put a strategy together for cracking new markets with your e-learning material, you need to determine which markets to target. You need to know the financial returns are worth the initial investment and there are several factors to consider when choosing language markets specifically:
- Market value: The value of language markets as a measure of opportunity.
- Potential reach: The potential audience size of each language market.
- Market saturation: The competition you will face in each market.
- Linguistic distance: A measure of how different target languages are from the source material – the greater the distance, the more challenging translation usually is.
- Language diversity: The linguistic variation within a single language market, e.g. Spanish in Europe, Central America, South America and elsewhere.
- Cultural complexity: The cultural diversity present within a single language market.
- Legal complexity: When multiple countries exist within the same language market, you have to adhere to the legal requirements of each territory.
- Revenue, cost & profit: How much you expect to make from each market, what it will cost you and the calculated profit once expenses are covered.
Once you know your target markets, you have to delve even deeper and perform audience research to develop a clear picture of who you are targeting in each market. There is a possibility that you may need to target entirely different audiences in some markets while, in others, smaller (but still important) distinctions like age, disposable income, expectations, motivation, etc. must be considered.
Translate your e-learning material into each target language so that you’ve got a suitable version for each market. To do this, working with specialist e-learning translation experts with experience in converting educational material into foreign languages is highly recommended.
During the translation process, you will often encounter the need to make changes to certain design elements in your material. For example, translated text can expand and break layouts or you may need to edit or replicate pieces of visual content that include text.
Working with an agency that specialises in e-learning translation will help you deal promptly and effectively with similar issues you may run into.
In many cases, translation alone might not be enough to adapt e-learning content for foreign-speaking audiences. Other aspects need to be considered including the formatting of information (e.g. dates, currencies, numerical values, etc.) and their optimisation for each language – or for different versions within the same language.
When targeting culturally and linguistically distant markets, more significant changes are usually required to the non-language elements of your content. For example, innocent colour choices could create the wrong impression in certain markets and certain symbols could have or cause unintended meanings.
Your content may also use examples to illustrate points using fictional characters with different names, and also with illustrations of each character, food, buildings and other contextual imagery. This is ok for the English version, but for culturally distant markets like Japan, rethinking your names, character specs and visuals may be required.
Also Read: Seven most common eLearning translation mistakes.
Your website is the hub of your e-learning marketing strategy and this needs optimising for every target market. First of all, translating your website for each target language is required and, once again, localising it to address the same potential issues discussed with your e-learning material.
An international SEO strategy is also needed as this will help make your website visible to audiences across each target market. This requires keyword translation, content localisation, content translation and a range of other potential strategies to reach your audience in each market.
By the time you are ready to launch, you want press releases hitting the desks (or email inboxes) of relevant publishers in each market. For this, finding the publishers who have reach and influence over your target audiences and getting them interested in talking about your e-learning material is recommended.
Additionally, ‘finding’ a hook that makes you stand out from all of the other content already available in the same market will give publishers (and your audience) a good reason to be excited about your brand.
While you are building an organic search presence in each target market, you can boost traffic numbers quickly by running paid search and social media campaigns. If you don’t have the internal talent for managing this kind of strategy, look for an agency that specialises in international paid advertising.
The e-learning space is highly competitive so you might struggle to get viable traffic from the most expensive keywords and impressions. Making good use of targeting options, bid optimisation and ad creatives will help ensure your messages reach the right people without draining marketing budgets.
Cracking a new market is always challenging but you can lighten the workload by getting publishers to do some of the hard work for you. By running an affiliate marketing programme, you can get publishers to promote your e-learning material and reward them with a small commission for every sale linked to their content.
You can target relevant publishers to review your material, compare it against alternatives and recommend it to their readers. This expands your audience by reaching relevant people you might not be able to find yourself and promotes your e-learning content as a favourable choice.
If you’re ready to take your e-learning material to new markets, our team can help you translate, localise and advise you on how to market this content more effectively. Please complete the form on our contact page to discuss your next e-learning translation strategy with us.