If you’re killing it with an English-language pay per click campaign, your next step might be to expand to other languages. While there’s ample room for growth, ‘translating’ a pay per click campaign can be trickier than you might think.

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After advising over a hundred businesses on how to launch a pay per click campaign in China, my best advice is to localize the campaign from the ground up. This process will involve some translation, but is the polar opposite of simply translating keywords and ads. Follow these seven steps below, and you’ll have the framework for success.

Step 1) Review Your Business Objectives and Budget

Review your business objective anew, and try to set a specific goal. For example, do you need to attain leads for your sales team? Try to set a specific number of leads that you need to make the campaign viable, or a maximum acceptable cost-per-lead.

What type of budget can you support?

The reason you should ask these questions at the beginning is that it might not be as simple as applying the business objectives from your home market. While you can’t expect to reach the effectiveness of the marketing done in your home country right away, simple jumping in and seeing what happens won’t provide the ideal structure or motivation for your team. You should expect a learning process as you enter a new market. You may face longer sales cycles or may find that only some of your products are viable in the foreign market.

Step 2) Choose a Platform

If you normally do your marketing in English and you’re reading PPC Hero, chances are you’re quite familiar with Google AdWords. It’s best to take a step back and see which search engines are a best fit for your campaign away from home. For example, Yandex is the dominant search engine in Russia, and Baidu is top dog in China.

But when choosing a platform, remember your objectives and budget from step 1. You don’t absolutely need to use the most dominant search engine in the region. Rather, what you need is a search engine that can support your initial budget and business objectives.

Step 3) Build Your Team

You’ll need to make sure you have all the necessary people in place, not only to run the paid search campaign, but also to provide customer support, make sales, create content, or whatever else is required. After all, if you start sending Spanish-speaking clients to your purely English-speaking sales team, it would be tough to learn anything, let alone make sales.

For any of the following functions, you need to choose somebody from your in-house team or hire an external agency:

  1. marketing strategy
  2. pay per click management
  3. customer service & sales
  4. content creation
  5. design & development support.

But what’s most important is that you hire people that you will listen to and empower them to do their job. If any part of the sales funnel gets clogged up, you lose out.

Step 4) Plan Your Analytics Implementation

Next it’s time to plan how you will measure results. After building a multi-lingual team, the key is to create a reporting process that still allows the key decision makers access to data.

In English, a pretty common configuration is AdWords + Google Analytics. A combination of analytics and advertising platform that can be automatically configured to share data is ideal. However, this won’t work in many cases. For example, if you’re running an ad campaign on Baidu and tracking with Google Analytics, you’ll need to take some kind of manual action to mash up reports. This can be done with Excel or a custom integration using the APIs.

Step 5) Do Fresh Market Research

Do not just copy-and-paste your English-language keywords and ads. Instead, take a fresh look at the market. At a minimum, check competitors and keywords. Some people may prefer to pair the minimum-viable pay per click research with more comprehensive market research.

It’s important to note that doing market-specific market research isn’t to say your English-language data is of no use. It can be of great use in planning and brainstorming. It may be the case that many English campaign assets can be translated, but that can’t be known until market research is completed.

Step 6) Build Out Your Campaign Assets

For the last step in the planning process, build your campaign.

A common problem with multi-lingual marketing is that the necessary information might not get to all the decision makers. To resolve this, it’s best to create a multi-lingual report that shows an overview of the entire campaign. Share it with people that might be able to help improve it or spot problems.

Step 7) Launch, Iterate Quickly

The importance of optimizing a campaign is well-known to any experienced pay per click manager. Guess what? It’s even more important when entering a new market.

A good place to start would be to test 1) whether the messaging on the landing page resonates well with the new market and 2) the effectiveness of broad keyword topics.

Hopefully the above seven steps help you set a framework for multilingual pay per click success! If you have a question, please comment.