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

Life, translation, and the new normal

To begin with, I think it’s worth mentioning that, for me, life and translation are somewhat intertwined. Translation is my life, but my life is not all about translation. So let’s consider this reading from that angle.

But first things first: How are you hanging in there? I sincerely hope things are well, considering the circumstances, of course. But do share with me in the comments below how your life has changed with this new normal.

I’m on my 58th day of self-quarantine.

  • I’m single, I live by myself, no children.
  • I’m a freelance translator who has always worked at home, so nothing changed there.
  • I work in an area and with clients that have not been affected by the pandemic. (Come to IT, y’all!)
  • I’m an introvert (although it may not seem so; believe me, even I was shocked when my therapist told me so) and I love staying at home, watching TV (God bless Netflix!).
  • I live in a small town that has not been seriously affected (yet?).
  • I can shop online for most of the things I need.
  • If I really need to go out, I have a car.

Biggest changes in my routine: No weekly manicure (I’ll live), no yoga classes twice a week, no gym during the week, not seeing my nephews (this is hard!), no occasional meetings with friends to talk over a drink and laugh.

If this does not mean privilege, I don’t know what does.

I should be feeling gooood, right? I should be jumping in total bliss.

Well, one of the things COVID-19 is teaching us is that absolutely nothing is obvious, expected, and black-in-white.

Everything started in the beginning of my self-quarantine, when I came to the conclusion that my fully planned and paid-for vacation trip to Europe with my mom would have to be cancelled. Oh, the headache to cancel everything (which I’m still doing, btw)! Oh, the disappointment! Oh, the despair of having absolutely no idea when I’ll be able to take a vacation (something I religiously do at least once a year). After all, why take a vacation to stay at home, something I do every single day? And all of this while dealing with the dreaded COVID-19 reality. Oh, the fear! I lost it. I had a terrible week where I just felt like sleeping and crying, and didn’t feel like working (yes, me!).

Since then, it’s been like an emotional roller coaster.

It’s like I’m bipolar or something.

I had down-in-the-dumps, cry-my-eyes-out, let-me-sleep-forever moments, and then I’d have ok moments. I didn’t feel like posting on social media. I couldn’t even think about my podcast and blog. I hated every single live! I barely had the strength to work, so I saved all my energy to it, which was already a huge effort.

I miss going out with friends and travelling. I miss hugs. I still don’t feel like exercising at home. For me, it doesn’t make sense to exercise (a relaxing time) where I work (online). I need the human “contact” and presence. After all, it’s already a big deal working where I live. And being stuck at home, not being able to leave, makes things worse.

Since I’m an introvert by nature and I love being with myself, I’ve learned to recognize, understand, and question my feelings and behaviors. Now I’ve learned something else: Embracing them.

No matter who you are, what you do, and to what extent your life has been affected by the pandemic, it’s absolutely normal to feel sad, depressed, or not your usual self. We’re living in unprecedented times filled by fear. We have absolutely no idea what the future holds and when this nightmare will go away (if it will ever be completely gone). This reality, in itself, can really make we lose our minds.

So here’s what I have learned so far:

  • It’s totally ok to feel the way you are feeling. Learn to identify, understand, and question your feelings, but, most of all, embrace them. Think of yourself as a scared child who needs love, understanding, and a great deal of pampering. Treat yourself to whatever you feel you need.
  • You don’t feel like exercising in front of your mobile phone, computer, or TV? Then don’t! Someday, somehow, the feeling will come, or you will find something you feel like doing. Give it time.
  • Do you feel like eating everything and a bit more? Just do it! Again, someday, somehow, you will feel like eating healthier. Try to do it, of course, but don’t feel bad for not feeling like it. Do not judge yourself. Be patient and caring.
  • You don’t have to take all the free courses available, watch all lives, attend all webinars, read all books, learn all languages. Living and hanging in there during these difficult times are, by themselves, effort enough.
  • Try to shield and protect yourself from the crude reality as much as possible. If you don’t have to, why research every single detail and news about COVID-19? It won’t change anything. The reality is heartbreaking, and if we really think about all those people who are dying alone, those family members and friends who can’t even properly say good-bye to their loved ones, those who lost their jobs or who are suffering financial losses and going through tough financial difficulties, we will break. I did. Do whatever you can to try to help however you can, but don’t think about it too much, for your own mental sake. It’s not selfishness, as long as you don’t ignore the reality and do whatever you can to help those in need. It’s self-preservation. After all, we’re at war. Do your part, but prioritize yourself.

united-nations-covid-19-response-Chevon Beckley-unsplash

Photo by Chevon Beckley on Unsplash

I wanted to share my experience with you because I struggled to come to these conclusions myself. Lately, I’ve been having good weeks. I’m feeling more motivated and happier to revive my blog and podcast, and social media channels. I’m even participating in lives! I don’t know if this will last and for how long, but I have to leverage it.

Embrace your bad moments and take advantage of your good ones.

Live one day at a time.

Be safe.

Don’t be hard on yourself.

And know you are not alone.