If you're aware that the online world in China is different, you'll know that Western online habits don't translate directly and a rethink is needed to maximize opportunities. From the different way users inquire & interact with social media channels to the methods users employ to research or gain trust, something designed with a Western user in mind is unlikely to produce results in China. What should your approach be to gain the best results?
China is a mobile-first world. Here, the boom of mobile phone technology and internet usage happened pretty much together. Ensuring your web presence is properly designed for mobile is vital and holds just as true for those with a business-to-business focus.
It's important to make the user feel at home and present things where they expect them to be. Navigation layouts, presentation of information, calls-to-action, and contact methods have different flavors. A website that is too far removed from Chinese user expectations is offputting and won't convert well.
Imagery is important to get right too. Professional images are a must but showing only Western people in a Western world might not speak to your user base.
It's not all about re-inventing the wheel, but combining aspects of Chinese & Western design to your best advantage - presenting your company with appropriate in-market norms so the audience 'gets it' from the off.
China is social media-centric.
With WeChat being the major player in China's social media landscape, there are a couple of things US business needs to address. Firstly, high mobile usage means people spend most of their online days not only on their smartphones but in mobile apps. They rarely leave to get information from elsewhere. No app is more important than the WeChat social media app, which had its own web browser built-in. Users stay in WeChat to browse posts and web pages. Your company's website pages need to sit well in the weChat in-app browser. Click to read more about designing HTML5 websites for WeChat.
Secondly, customer interactions and inquiries are more likely to come through that channel than via a web form. Your business will need to have a plan at some point for setting up and running a WeChat social media account. There are no barriers for Western companies to set up a WeChat account and if you need support, we can provide this.
Along with WeChat, there are other social media platforms to consider, such as Weibo and Zhihu. These platforms can be more useful as broadcast media to get your content out. They also have a user base of several hundred million active users so should not be ignored.
Your company website is certainly the easiest digital asset to set up in China and is a necessary part of your digital presence. With a little planning to incorporate WeChat mobile design, opportunities can be maximized.
Trust is key to online success in China. Chinese client logos, testimonials, case studies, and a local address are all part of the mix. Doing business with your company needs to look easy and without any leap of faith.
That's what we achieve through the localization process. Trust is an aspect of Chinese web localization often overlooked by Western businesses but can make all the difference.
The translation is another factor bringing credibility. China is not high up on the list of countries in the league table of English-second-language fluency. All key website information needs to be in Chinese. Even if it's too much initially to translate a raft of technical documentation, just focusing on the key messaging of your company benefits is a great start.
Customers usually inquire via WeChat, phone, or chat window. The website inquiry form is rarely used. Western marketing teams often lack visibility in this area. The wrong conclusions can be easily made - that China marketing isn't performing because few web form inquiries are being received.
Integrating social and web tracking gives full visibility of metrics across different online channels, enabling accurate marketing insights. We provide API coding to link your China online activity with Western tools such as Salesforce, too.