Guest post: Adapting to our new reality

Welcome back to our guest post series!

Today, please welcome Virginia Katsimpiri, Greek translator, who will talk about how to turn your translation business into an online model.

Welcome, Virginia!

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

How to turn our translation business model into a virtual one so as to adapt to the new reality

When I was creating the slides for my presentation for the BP20 Conference on client-retention strategies and how to turn your existing clients into loyal promoters of your business previously this year, I could not have predicted the coronavirus crisis that would hit us all. As a result, I had to adapt the content of my speech to the current situation, which inspired me to think of methods of turning the strategies I was going to teach into online ones. And eventually our business model into a virtual one. 

Before getting into this article’s topic, I would like to mention that we, as translators and language professionals, are lucky enough to be able to practice our profession even the current situation or in the event of such a coronavirus crisis.

And I know you might be thinking, “What about us who work in-house, who are interpreters, or who are even legal translators that cannot go to the court under such circumstances?” Well, I repeat: We are lucky enough to be able to turn our business model into a virtual one, work as freelancers with clients from all over the world, or even as employees with teleworking.

I know that too many translators put all their efforts towards optimizing their sales funnels and forget about what comes after a customer makes a purchase. 

Did you know that gaining new clients is 25% more expensive than retaining your existing ones?

Here are some excellent strategies you can use not only to make loyal promoters out of your clients BUT also to turn your translation business model into a virtual one:

Engage with Your Clients Online

When you interact with clients online and show them that you value their opinion, your customers will think positively about your brand. 

This has become easier than ever especially nowadays that the whole world is connected online.

Online presence
With your website and your online presence through your social media accounts, you can interact with customers anytimeanywhere.

Direct contact
Reach customers by directly engaging with them. 
Use social media to publish posts that start a conversation, or questions that encourage customers to share their opinion. 

I totally recommend you respond directly to your customers’ comments, posts, questions, and even tweets.

High-quality content
It is very important to create high-quality content that is useful and informative for your ideal clients. They’ll appreciate your publishing content they can use, leading them to share it with their own network.

Diverse content
In order to get the best possible results, you can publish different forms of content, such as articles, videos, gifs, infographics. That way you can reach different audiences no matter what type of content they look for.

Interactive website
Set up an interactive website where your ideal clients can interact with you. How can you create an interactive website? It is simpler than you think: You can add a review section, a Q&A page, why not a live chat? All of these ways are effective when it comes to boosting your interactivity.

Hold Online Events 

One of the best ways to spread word of mouth about your business is by setting up events. Many colleagues among us know that very well and have been practicing that method for many years.

They can give you a chance to connect one-on-one with your potential customers.

The best way to have better results is to keep in mind your target market. 

Tip 1: Your clients will enjoy an event even more if it has content that fits their own unique needs and interests.

Tip 2: Your clients can help your brand reach a larger audience more effectively than you could on your own. 

Tip 3: In order to spur more participation, you can offer small giveaways for anyone who posts or tweets about the event. It can be a discount in project, or a printed calendar with your logo, for example.

Many of you have been asking me what those events could be. I always encourage my mentees to be creative and resourceful. For example, I started hosting lives on my translation business Facebook account every Monday to discuss issues my clients would be interested in.

Provide First-Class Customer Service Online

Customer service horror stories can spread in no time. It has been shown that complaints about a company’s customer service have twice as much reach as positive stories, on average. Can you imagine that?

Sometimes you cannot avoid complaints, but you can handle them the right way so each and every one of your clients feels like a priority. 

Personalised communication
Start by genuinely talking with your customers and addressing them by name. A personalized message is much more effective at engaging the recipient and building brand loyalty.

If there is a problem with one of your clients and/or projects, be respectful as you take steps to solve it. 

Valuable feedback
The more comfortable you make the customer feel, the more likely they are to appreciate your customer service and provide valuable feedback that helps you improve your business.

Always aim to go above and beyond in terms of service. Instead of learning about issues when customers complain, follow up with every customer to make sure they’re satisfied with their purchase. How you can do this? 

A very common and simple way is to use a free app/software/tool to create a survey online asking your clients to give you feedback about your work. You can send it as soon as you deliver a project. It’s an online process that builds trust between you and your clients, creating a long-lasting relationship with them. That is also a great way to ask for a testimonial that you can share later on your website or social media accounts.

Offer Freebies and Special Deals also Online 

As a great tactic, you can consider sending occasional gifts to your clients. It doesn’t have to be anything major – most of people will perceive it as a nice gesture.

I will never forget a very nice purple notebook I got from Caroline last year with her logo on it in Bologna during the BP 19 Conference as a nice gesture and also a great marketing strategy. 😉 I still have it at my office!

Customer loyalty programs and referral programs are beneficial for your business and build brand loyalty.

  • Loyalty programs lead to more sales and reward clients. You can offer a discount, for example, to loyal clients.
  • Referral programs help you build a larger customer base while rewarding customers who spread the word about your business. You can offer a percentage of the earnings to the person who refer you to potential clients, or hire a salesperson to do this professionally. 

Unexpected extras, even if it’s something as simple as an email with a discount offer or a personal letter, give customers a positive impression of your business. They’re also an easy way to keep your brand on your customers’ minds.

Final Thoughts

Sales are the lifeblood of your translation business but focusing entirely on your sales means you’re only considering short-term goals without seeing the bigger picture.

Nowadays, especially during this lockdown, we have the perfect occasion to start implementing the above-mentioned strategies to attract projects, if not now in the near future. This is the right time to be present online and remind our ideal clients about our brand.

To build a strong brand that continues growing, you need to develop a connection that makes customers want to promote your brand for you. How cool would that be?

 You can connect online through your web presence and with events. Make sure that you provide excellent service and the occasional bonuses that consistently make your customers happy.

Let me know if you have any more ideas that could help us transform our business model into a virtual one.

If you still struggle with finding clients, getting more projects and creating a steady workflow, I’ve got you covered: I created a 90’ free masterclass to teach all strategies that I’ve used and that helped me expand my business over the years, and triple my income over the last few years.

Register for free here now! It’s tomorrow, May 28, 5 pm CET!

I created this masterclass especially for these times of crisis we’re all experiencing.

About the author

Virginia Katsimpiri is an English & French to Greek Certified Translator, with more than 13 years of full-time translation experience in the following fields: law, finance & aeronautics/defence industry. She holds an ΜA in Translation & an Executive MBA. As a certified translator and coach, Virginia teaches and practices translator mentoring methods. For her MBA dissertation Virginia ran a qualitative research study on “Client Acquisition Strategies for Language Professionals”, while she helps other translators to attract clients and build their profitable business.
You can visit her website or LinkedIn | Contact: info@vmentoring.com & mail@virginiakatsimpiri.com

Guest post: Website copywriting

Welcome back to our guest post series, dear readers!

I hope your August is going well so far. Remember it’s Women in Translation month and help support the campaign and spread the word about it. For more information, follow the hashtag #WiTmonth on Twitter. And stay tuned, because my post this month (to be published on the 20th) will be special about it.

Now, let’s welcome this month’s guest, Tanya Quintieri, who is a partner of my monthly newsletter and whom I had the pleasure of meeting back in May this year, during the BP19 Conference, in Bologna, Italy.

Welcome, Tanya!

MrsDivi_Featured-Image_Website-Copy-101

Image provided by the author

Mrs. Divi about writing website copy

First, let me thank you for clicking the link to this post. It means a lot to me to be featured on Caroline’s blog. After all, we read all the big names here and I am honored to join their ranks.

Aside from being a translator (since 2002 — gosh, now I feel old), I am also a web designer and my background is in marketing. In fact, back in 2010, one of my first freelance spinoffs was a consulting agency for social media marketing. Our clients were businesses looking to harness the benefits of social media.

Fastforward to today, I coach my web design clients in writing compelling copy for their websites. I hear you… Why not just hire a copywriter? Well, truth is, most already have perfect copy. They just need a little help adapting it for their websites. As a medium, websites work differently from paper (brochures, social media profiles, etc.). One aspect is SEO. But to me, and this is far more important, focusing on UX is decisive.

But what is UX?

Well, it stands for ‘user interface’. Some even call it ‘user experience’. And that’s the term I’d like to stick to now.

To be found on Google is a noble goal. But doing business online is about more than just being found. Just because someone lands on your website doesn’t mean that they will actually buy from you. I always smile when clients come to me and say: The goal for my website is to land on page one of a Google search when people search for my keywords. To be honest, if you know what you’re doing in SEO, that is the easier part. Actually, converting those website visits is the holy grail. And it’s hard.

Converting visitors with the power of copywriting

Your ultimate goal is to guide your visitors from that first moment they land on your website. Be it through a Google search or by clicking a link to your blog post.

For the latter, it might seem reasonable to ask your visitors for a comment. But that won’t pay your rent. And if your content is worth commenting (i. e. their time), then they will comment or share anyway, even without you asking them to do so explicitly.

For the former, it’s pretty much evident that you won’t turn them into a customer or client after the first visit. Provided they are not pressed for time and their options are thus limited.

What you will want to achieve is the possibility to nurture them as leads. Ask them to sign up to your email list. Offer a freebie that solves their most pressing problem. Get them to book a call with you.

Writing your copy cleverly, with that user experience in mind, you are more likely to gain their attention in the long run. A clever marketing pro once said that a conversion bases on “know, like, trust”. Which is why it usually takes seven touch points for your potential clients or customers to buy from you.

Again, guide your website visitors. From your Home page to your Services/Product page. From your Blog page to your Resources page. From your About page to your Subscribe/Buy page.

“Do this or that” won’t cut it here. Ask questions. Engage your visitors. Rather than saying “Subscribe to my newsletter”, ask them “Are you ready to up your game in Spain?”

Writing copy for a translator’s website

Assuming that your website is up there to attract direct clients (because we all know that agencies have their own onboarding procedures and ask for CVs), focus on how you can make their lives easier. Envision the person looking for what you have to offer. Don’t dwell on diplomas and CAT tools. Explain how your offering saves them time (and thus cash), state that you are responsive, ensure them that you know their business sector (if you are specialized), take away their pain. No direct client wants to see your CV in more words when they come to your website. They want to know how you can make their lives easier.

Learn about writing copy for your website page by page

I’ve coached many of my own web design clients on writing the copy for their websites. Many of them are, in fact, on page one in Google’s search results for their respective keywords. But I also make sure that their success in digital marketing doesn’t stop there. In my course Website Copywriting 101, I explain the purpose of each page on your website, how to write copy for the body and the meta data, what kind of CTAs (Calls to Action) they need, and how to harness the power of copywriting for their onpage SEO.

You can find out more about the course at Website Copywriting 101. If you subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter, you can get a 25% discount.

 

Aren’t you a subscriber of my monthly newsletter yet? Then subscribe now to have access to exclusive discounts and draws, and be kept in the loop of what is happening in the translation/interpreting market.

 

About the author
Mrs Divi ProfileTanya Quintieri is a ProZ Community awarded mentor and German/English translator based in the Czech Republic. She’s the initiator of the 1,000,000 Miles Challenge, the Be The Change initiative, contributing member of The Language Mastermind and The Translation Mastermind, and a mother to three beautiful children. She loves Corsica and Salsa, dislikes online bullies and low quality food, and enjoys networking both online and offline. For more information about her, visit her website.

Summary of the BP19 Translation Conference

This year I attended the BP Translation Conference for the first time. It was held in Bologna, Italy, on May 1-3.

It was a fantastic experience! I especially liked the app where attendees were able to engage and create activities for everyone to join. It was a great way to get to know people before the conference. When we arrived at the conference, it was as if we were all long-time friends! It’s great not only for newbies and shy and introvert people, but also for everybody who likes networking and meeting new people.

Here is a brief overview on the sessions I attended. The post is longer than usual, but only because there were so many great presentations and insights.

May 1: Workshops

Multilingual SEO for translators, by David García Ruiz

Fresh content is king. Our website’s content should be useful, valuable, relevant (describing what we do and what our clients look for using keywords), competitive (the more specific, the better). Each page should have from 600 to 2,000 words. If your website is in more than on language, you should include language meta tags (hreflang); otherwise, Google will not recognize it as multilingual.

According to a research mentioned by David, “75% [of web visitors] prefer to buy products in their native language. In addition, 60% rarely or never buy from English-only websites.” Therefore, it is important to have a website translated into your working languages.

May 2: Long sessions

Hectic lives + happy clients: four tendencies to rule them all, by Anne-Sophie De Clerq

We develop habits to be able to deal with constraints and expectations, both useful and bad ones.

The big question we should make ourselves is: Who are you? How do you respond to internal and external expectations?

Anne-Sophie’s presentation was based on Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies framework, which helps getting people to do what you want by identifying what type of tendency they have:

  • Obligers: Respond well to external expectations and like being of assistance.
  • Questioners: Respond well to internal expectations and love knowledge.
  • Upholders: Respond well to both internal and external expectations; their motto is “In discipline we trust.”
  • Rebels: Do not respond well to neither and love freedom.

Listen to what clients have to say to understand who they are and identify their tendency in order to facilitate your selling your services to them.

Suggestions of things you can do according to their tendency:

  • Upholders: Send your portfolio and let them judge, do not pressure them, and ask just the essential questions.
  • Obligers: Show how much you can help them; go for the human touch.
  • Questioners: Describe your process and your strengths; answer any questions thoroughly.
  • Rebels: Display your identity and your passion; offer them choices.

Bottom line is: We are all different, so flexibility is paramount.

What legal clients want – As told by a former client, by Paige Dygert

According to Paige, who is a lawyer herself, most lawyers are horrible procrastinators. However, they are loyal clients. They will hang on to you. And they have the budget, so do not be afraid to charge what you are worth. You can charge for being good, and fast!

When communicating with law clients, be polished (reflect what you want from them; it is not about what you like and enjoy or not), precise (detail-oriented), concise (appreciate their time, be straightforward), and complete.

When working with them, just be the translator, know your role. When asking questions, group them, offer solutions, and know when to ask. Be succinct, reliable, and responsive. Provide excellent translations.

Law journals are the best source of reference material and the highest quality one! Their content is, most of the time, perfectly written.

Get a lawyer mentor to help you. LinkedIn and Facebook are great places to find lawyers. If you reach out to them, respect their time!

A killer marketing strategy to win your dream clients, by Sarah Silva

Persistence is key when trying to find dream clients. Be prepared to stand out and be different. Have a long-term strategy (not a one-time sales promotion).

You can use direct client marketing to keep existing clients, contact old clients, or find new ones. Examples: physical post (lumpy mail, letter, postcard), email and digital marketing, and real conversations (phone, video call, in person). Lumpy mail is comprised of a surprise and delight package in order to make a great first impression. Follow-up with a postcard, email, call, etc. People respond better to handwritten messages.

Do not be afraid to dream big. Dream as big as you like and see what happens. Start with whom you want to work with. Ask for referrals from your good existing clients. Get to know your market (better) and have fun!

Keep that in mind this question when prospecting: “So what?” What do your prospects care about? Grab their attention, talk about their problems, and how you can be the solution.

Let your dream clients know that you exist and care, and that they can trust you.

GDPR and translators: easy steps to protect your and your clients’ data, by Irene Koukia

Backup options: Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Google Drive. Backup every day! What to backup: TMs, CAT folders, etc.

Boxcryptor: Data security across smartphones, tablets, and desktops. You can choose what to encrypt and what not.

Whisply: secure and easy file transfer.

A VPN secures your private network. Ideal if you work on the go or use a shared Wi-Fi (almost all of us, right?).

Learn what is what about terminology extraction tools, by Andriy Yasharov

Terminology extraction is like data mining, where terms are subtracted from a text. It can be helpful for creating glossaries, thesaurus, and dictionaries; extracting terminology for TMs, etc. It is important because it also extracts the context of a term. Terminology extraction tools: SDL Multiterm Extract, memoQ TE module, SynchroTerm, Sketch Engine, PlusTools for MS Word, FiveFilters, WebCorp, AntConc, Rainbow.

May 3: Short talks

The very first of the day was mine. I will try to write about it in another future post.

Strategies to get more translation clients in a non-spammy way, Olga Jeczmyk Nowak

How to increase clients and keep them coming? Study the market. Contact prospects with a personalized email. Offer them something they are looking for. Reply to them as soon as possible. Don’t spam! Avoid being spammy by personalizing your emails and writing enough professional content (spam filters dislike short emails!). Be honest. Find your identity and make some noise online.

Be online and be active: If you’re not on Google, you don’t exist. Choose the best platform(s) for you.

How to distinguish yourself? Create a brand and keep improving it. Offer something different and more elaborate. Adapt your service according to each client. Keep reinventing yourself!

How to raise your rates (and still keep your clients), by Susanne Präsent-Winkler

Start raising your rates with new clients, especially when you are busy. Then do it with your current clients. Base your raise on your country’s inflation rate. Set your limit as to how low you can go on the rate to still make a living and stick to it. Don’t work for peanuts, for the sake of the entire industry!

Add all relevant steps of your translation process in the quote, so that the client knows what is included in the price.

Dealing with difficult customers – conflict management for translators, by Peter Oehmen

After a negative client experience, 67% of the customers buy somewhere else, only 33% of them stay. One unhappy client tells 15 other people about their negative experience. One happy client, on the other hand, tells six other people about their positive experience.

Conflicts are based on differences of perspective, so we need to understand others’ perspectives and be able to explain our own. Be clear and factual in your communication. Go for consensus and compromise.

The power of soft skills in a digital age, Jaquelina Guardamagna

We need to get better at being human. That is why soft skills have become essential nowadays. They are personal traits that enable individuals to interact effectively. They can help us win clients, when combined with hard skills.

Essential soft skills in the digital age: Empathy, decision making (decisions are part of human nature), flexibility, creativity (it’s what keep us dreaming), collaboration, self-management. If we use them effectively, we will never be replaced! Soft skills will be the difference between those who get replaced by machines, and those who succeed in a digital age.

Bucking the trend of self-promotion (and still obtain the results you want), by Magda Phili

Self-focused narratives: As translators, if we don’t talk about ourselves, who will, right? However, improve your narrative to avoid being perceived as arrogant: Rephrase it and involve other people.

Magda said that her experience showed her that translators working together and promoting each other see their business grow. Solidarity and collaboration boosts confidence, improves quality and efficiency, and helps you gain perspective.

Humility brings collaboration, collaboration brings more work and excellence, while perseverance brings results.

Are you really a professional?, by Vasiliki Prestidge

According to Vasiliki, prices don’t say anything about you and your services. We’re more than just a number!

“Every package is the golden package,” she said. Therefore, we should treat everybody with the same level of professionalism. In a hyperconnected world, one contact can change our life. Be professional in all aspects of your work. You never know who will be impressed by you and request your services. “You look like a business, you behave like a business, you get the business.”

Productivity hacks for translators, by Sherif Abuzid

Sherif talked about Can Newport’s concept of deep work, which is mastering how to focus on a single task in order to boost productivity and maximize your energy expenditure.

If your laptop battery would last for only one hour and you had to choose one app to use, which one would you choose? Your answer will show your priority. We have a limited amount of energy, like batteries. We need to make the best use if it, setting priorities.

Deep work means working in a distraction-free environment, fully focused. If you totally focus at one task at a time, you are more productive. “Focus is the new IQ.” Focused professionals stand out from others. Start with the most important tasks and keep your main goals in mind.

It’s not only about business. We can apply deep work to our personal life as well. Keep your phone away during family time!

How to follow the deep work principle: Plan for tomorrow; focus on goals, not tasks (do what makes you move forward); and set tight deadlines for all activities

Do you diversify your business?, by Francesca Manicardi

Diversification is for creative minds who can easily switch from an activity to another and who can properly manage their time.

Pros of diversifying your business: More stable source of income; creativity boost; change of perspective; and increased visibility.

Effective time management for translators, by Iwona Piatkowska

The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you are the pilot.

The first step to greater productivity is to create a distraction-free environment, and that is something only you can do, e.g. mute your phone, close the door, have a dedicated office, switch off push/desktop notifications, etc.

Work in chunks and take cycled breaks, e.g. Pomodoro Technique. Take into account that our attention span is of 45-50 minutes. Make your breaks effective: Change constantly, go away from the computer (walk the dog, do the dishes), energize your body, etc.

Track your progress, especially in long projects. It boosts your confidence and keeps you motivated. Do 50-60% of the project as soon as possible. Be a (wo)man of action!

A balanced and healthy lifestyle is the foundation of productivity on a daily basis. Exercise frequently, eat nutritious meals, and sleep well.

Clean your desk every evening, plan your day ahead, set a timer for tasks, and invoice projects immediately.

Running a translation business as a restaurant: tips for a balanced menu, by Carlos la Orden Tovar

According to Carlos, there are four types of restaurant: 1. Just another takeaway: Unbelievably average; rat race. 2. The franchise: Generic, but familiar; safe money; average service = average clients. 3. Luxury restaurant: High-end clients, elaborate services, based on a thorough experience. 4. Classic revisited: Pick classic stuff; add a new, unique touch; charge double; focused on clients who value quality and innovation.

Make a list of your skills, things you are good at. Make a list of what is trending in the market. Score them and craft the perfect menu of your service offers.

Stretch your services by offering, for example, DTP, QA, testing, glossary & TM services, etc. But don’t stretch it too much. Focus on your strengths.

Study your ideal client, engage and find out, list your needs, plan buffer time, and consider investing in proper training.

 

That’s it! I hope you like my brief summary of the conference. As you can see, it was totally worth it. So if I got you into considering attending it next year, it will be held in Nürnberg, Germany, on April 24-25, 2020! Save the date and stay tuned for more information.

If you were interested in any talk in particular or in all of them, their recording are available to be purchased on demand here.

You can also find reviews by other attendees here.