The use of AdWords teams, developers and writers from countries where English is a second language can be huge disservice to internet marketing agencies. I hope you gain perspective on why you or your vendors should not hire overseas for Digital marketing.
Local PPC and SEO?
Local PPC and SEO written with US English is different from overseas written English. Have you ever spoken with “Jim” when making a tech support call? However, Jim sounds eerily foreign. Jim wants you to believe he is in the USA but he says things that scream “Jim is overseas somewhere.” “Jim” probably speaks his native tongue much more often than he speaks English. He was taught English as a second language. If he is in say the Philippines, he was taught what I call British English, which is close to American English but with subtle differences. Many ESL learners are taught using vocabulary sheets containing words about various industries. Here are word sheets used for teaching the ESL student about the advertising industry Word sheets contain core vocabulary words that are specific to varying industries. It is commonly known that Teachers are taught to teach general English, but usually, they are not trained in industry-specific English.
Recently a new website was developed (including content) in India for a USA-based insurance related site. The marketing agency’s owner shared with me that he hired a well-respected team of content writers and developers overseas. He told me he paid pennies on the dollar for these overseas professionals. Unfortunately, the ESL writers misused words that made the owner of the website look inferior and the marketing agency incompetent.
Here is a sentence that caused big problems for a friend of mine: “The insured complained that he had to pay a premium for the insurance.” What should have been written was “the insured complained that he paid too much for the insurance or that the insurance premium was too much. Since this site was an insurance related site, the wording “had to pay a premium for the insurance” is laughable because the payment or price you are charged for insurance is referred to as “the premium.”
So, was the insured complaining because he had to pay for the insurance, or was he complaining that he paid too much for the insurance? You decide. It appeared that the later was the problem. This subtle difference was not found before publishing which raised doubt about the website’s thoroughness or accuracy. My friend was kicking himself because the client gave him a poor Google + review for his Website Development Capabilities. Ouch!
Many languages have one or two words that connote the same meaning. English, on the other hand, may have four, five or even six words that can convey a particular meaning. With advertising, language has greater implications; it is designed to convey specific messages and influence people.
Imagine that you manufacture one of the most expensive vacuum cleaners in the world. When Introducing the product to the US market, your overseas ESL folks gave this great tag line to a Swedish product: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.” Grammatically the statement is correct, but locally (here in the USA) the company ended up pulling the tagline and starting over.
In the USA “Puffs tissues” is a well know brand, with loyal customers. The US owned company decided to expand to England and used its USA marketing team. Why not, English is English, right? Wrong! Puffs never really sold well in the UK. Later it was learned that the term “puff” was an English derogatory word for homosexual. Puff has other meanings in various languages.
So, have you considered local dialect when building your website? Consider people that speak “Phianglish”. This is a crossbreeding of English and Philadelphia’s dialect. Many people in the Philly market say wooder or woder. Do you know what wooder is? Wooder is a liquid that comes from faucets (taps) and people drink it and bath in it. In most places in the USA it is known as water, which according to the Cambridge Dictionary is pronounced wa · ter. All very confusing.
Now imagine that you are transcribing audio files of a person in Boston and a person in Philly. Both audio files need to be turned into content for a website. How is the poor ESL girl or guy in a foreign land going to handle that?
Are you paying for local or USA based workers?
I have had interactions with local digital marketing agencies that are Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey that have almost no technical workers here in the states. These places usually having billing and sales folks here. So why are they charging rates comparable to ours? Effectively they are paying people less than half what we pay our people.
Are you helping to stuff the owner pocket with cash?
Each time someone purchases from one of these competitors, the buyer risks language or other barriers including the dreaded time zone problem. Further they risk losing local good paying jobs all to enhance the cash in the agency owners pocket. These cheap and in my opinion scummy business owners charge rates that match the local economies, yet, they don’t pass savings on to their clients.
At least pay to have your work checked or vetted!
I have acquaintances that live and work in the UK. When they are working on campaigns and specifications etc., they use US English speaking proofreaders and wordsmiths. Rarely do I see or hear about Digital Marketers from other continents doing the same? Why not? It would probably work out better for them if they did. Pricewise it most likely wouldn’t affect the deal. My experience is that overseas (India and other locations) will work for pennies compared to US based digital marketers or companies. And if they provided a product that worked (guaranteed) without hitches I might consider them further. Our profit margins would soar! But our reputation could be damaged so for that alone, I’ll pass!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Bannan is the Managing Partner of Results Driven Marketing, LLC. RDM is a Philadelphia area based, award winning internet advertising and digital marketing agency. RDM is primarily engaged by businesses that look to do business with consumers directly. Rdm is the registered owner of “Turning Clicks Into Clients®”, which is a philosophy covering the inner workings of RDM and how they prove results and worth to the client. Mike can be reached directly at 215-600-3540 or via Linkedin.