The UK and France have a positive, long-standing trade relationship supported in no small part by their geographical proximity. The countries are separated by just 20 miles of the sea at their closest point. In the year to the end of Q1 2022, total exports from the UK to France amounted to a value of £33.3 billion.
If you plan to be part of the action and market your British business to French customers, the tips below should help build a solid foundation for your international sales. You certainly won’t be alone in doing so, given the tough economic environment in the UK. Forecasts from PWC suggest that headline inflation could peak at 17% in the first half of 2023. With British consumers collectively tightening their belts, it could be time for your business to court customers across the Strait of Dover.
Bring in a language specialist
The cornerstone of adapting your business to French customers is translating your website, marketing materials, product packaging, information leaflets and more to French. How much should I pay someone to translate a document? That will depend on the length of the document, whether you need any additional services such as transcription or SEO expertise and whether your content contains any specialist terminology (such as legal or medical content). It’s best to contact multiple French translation services when obtaining quotes, so that you can choose the service that delivers the right price to suit your budget.
It’s important to focus on quality as well as price. French translation services that use native speakers and prioritise both accuracy and rapid delivery are the ideal combination. When looking to find a French translation agency, think comprehensively about the language needs you have. Do you need a certified French translator for anything? If so, be sure to check that the agencies you’re considering using have certified professionals on their books.
The quality of the language you use when selling your goods in France will directly impact how well (or otherwise) people think of your business. As such, it pays to engage a French translation service that will deliver top-quality documents.
Prepare your marketing plan
One area where French translation services really come into their own is supporting you to deliver your marketing plan. Your marketing plan should be based on solid research into the French market, what customers are seeking, how they view your segment of the market, who the competition is and more. It also needs to detail how you will localize your business for French customers and contain targets against which you can measure your progress and make adjustments if necessary based on how well your entry into the French market is going.
One aspect of any modern marketing plan has to be social media. Social media is a powerful tool for promoting your business. It is also incredibly easy to get wrong, particularly in another language. For your social media marketing in France, you need to set up profiles on the most popular social media sites in that country, think about case studies and imagery featuring local customers, engage your audience at a local level and tap into current events in France so that your profiles come across as Franco-centric rather than Anglo-centric.
You also need to think about language, particularly as some things – British humour being a prime example – don’t always translate that well. What is the best English to French translator? For social media, it would be a professional French translator who is experienced at delivery short, focused posts that are carefully localized to suit your new customers.
Consider your launch offers
A new international launch is a big deal, so be prepared to create some fanfare around your new venture. That means presenting a range of offers and incentives for new customers. Perhaps you could offer a discount for the first 100 or 1,000 customers or a referral bonus for those who recommend you to their friends. There is a huge range of ways that you can incentivise potential customers to buy, as well as reward those who make repeat purchases and who help you to promote your brand. Find the right combination to meet your targets and be sure to cost them thoroughly when mapping out your budget.
It’s also worth considering whether you will be producing any new products aimed solely at French audiences. Firms such as McDonalds deliver a standard offering but with additional, localized products to suit consumers in each country in which they operate. It’s a model that serves them well and one that could potentially reap big rewards for your business too.
Another key point is to check your launch doesn’t coincide with any national holidays in France. Even the most impressive of offers can fall flat if you mis-time it and launch a one-day-only-special on a national holiday.
Get your logistics right
Delays at Dover have become all too common since Brexit. This means you need to develop storage and delivery solutions that don’t leave your customers facing the disappointment of their goods not arriving on time. Many hauliers and storage companies are now used to the additional complexities that Brexit has introduced when it comes to shipping goods from the UK to France, so seek out experienced partners who can support you to get your goods to each and every customer on time.
By adapting your business for French customers, you are opening up a whole new marketplace. Your new customers will be expecting many of the same things as your existing customers in the UK – great products, fabulous customer service and deliveries that arrive on time. But they will be expecting all of that in French. As such, put some time and effort into finding French translation services that deliver in terms of both timescales and quality (and within budget, of course). With the right agency as your partner, you should be ready to wow your new French customers.