Somewhere in the world today, a well-meaning marketing team will postpone a promising website localization project because they don’t believe they have the required resources ready. They will applaud each other for their strategic discipline, agree to discuss the initiative again in six months, and move on to addressing the more immediate concern of where to go for lunch.
If the team had approached their task with a more agile perspective, though, the next six months could have been spent building an international customer base.
What Is Minimum Viable Content?
As agile development methodologies have consistently delivered software innovations and billion-dollar valuations in recent years, modern marketers have been looking for any opportunity to apply Silicon Valley’s favored philosophy to their own pursuits. The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) concept popularized by The Lean Startup author Eric Ries has emerged as one of the most practical potential crossovers.
In the world of software development, an MVP is a functional solution that contains the fewest features it possibly can while still providing value to users. The user feedback gathered following the MVP release is then applied toward future product versions in a cycle of continuous, incremental improvement.
This thoughtful, sequential approach to production has clear appeal in an era when many marketers are struggling to manage a growing backlog of content ideas and requests.
Our job, as marketers, is not to create more content. It has never been about that. It’s about creating the minimum amount of content with the maximum amount of behavior change in our customers. – Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute
So in the world of modern marketing, Minimum Viable Content (MVC) can be thought of as the smallest catalog of content that can possibly be released while still providing a valuable user experience. Additional content units are then layered on top of this foundation in response to the missing value users crave.
Why MVC For Website Localization?
Whether you are creating software code or marketing copy, three curious things happen when you follow this iterative protocol:
- It forces you to define and deliver clear value propositions
- It encourages you to engage users and build relationships sooner
- It allows you to safely test assumptions in a cost-effective manner
These indirect consequences become powerful advantages when localizing websites for a new audience.
Packaging only the most essential items into your MVC ensures that the first brand messages the audience receives are relevant to their needs and representative of your core value. And let’s not forget, translating a limited selection of content at first is much more affordable than translating your entire digital experience at once.
Leveraging MVC to reduce your time-to-market by weeks, months, or more allows you to start reaping the rewards of website localization much sooner as well. The incremental revenue gained from launching a limited international presence ahead of a holiday shopping period, for example, could be both a welcome boost to profit margins and a telling indicator of product- market fit.
At best, this operational agility could help you edge competitors out of key markets by planting an early flag. At worst, the cost of mistaken market outreach will still be significantly less than it would have been had you launched a completely localized presence upfront.
How To Find Your MVC
Every company will define its minimum viable content differently, and that definition may vary depending on the target audience. To discover your own definition, start by asking two simple questions:
What goal will users come to your website to accomplish? And what website content will they need to accomplish that goal?
In the case of an eCommerce website, for example, users arrive with the goal of making a purchase that satisfies their specific consumer need. That means key website navigation features, product descriptions, and checkout flows need to be localized – at a minimum – to facilitate any successful user experience.
Several additional categories of content may also be deemed essential depending on regulatory and strategic mandates.
At the regulatory end of the spectrum, local laws may dictate that certain kinds of content are made available to customers in a specific set of languages. Industry requirements may also necessitate localizing certain legal disclaimers and operating certifications.
At the strategic end of the spectrum, you may decide that it’s not reasonable to expect a successful user experience without complementary content resources. Maybe users will require more educational materials and customer testimonials before they can build up the confidence to add an expensive product or service to their basket. Or perhaps customer retention is a pillar of your business profitability and you want users to have access to localized support content from the start.
As long as MVC components are still judiciously chosen, it’s perfectly okay to test those hypotheses.
How To Handle The Rest
Strategically translating only your MVC at first is smart for several reasons, but you still have to consider the passages and pages that didn’t make the first cut. Launching your localized website with untranslated source content is not a good look.
One option available to translation proxy users is to suppress certain pages entirely. You may decide, for example, that international audiences have no use for your blog archives. Suppression is a blunt tool, however, and leaving everything aside from your MVC inaccessible would make for a decidedly sparse experience.
Intelligently addressing your less essential content is often just a matter of utilizing all your website translation options. Combining machine translation, non-professional talent, and leaner workflows can help you localize suitable supporting content in a surprisingly cost-effective manner.
Then, if and when user feedback (i.e. conversions) validates increased investment in your localized website, an agile translation strategy can be employed to gradually bring your full catalog of content online and on par as you see fit.
Talk to our experts today to start scoping out your MVC, or continue browsing our agile translation resources below.