Double Your Traffic Using Multilingual Opportunities – Full AMA Transcript

Posted in #tribebuildingYesterday at 4:18 AM

This is the full transcript of Jordhy Ledesma’s AMA at #CreativeTribes on March 2.

“Double Your Traffic Using Multilingual Opportunities” with Jordhy Ledesma (@jordhy) | March 2 at 10 am Eastern
Created by Mufidah Kassalias yesterday

Sean M. Madden [4:29 AM]
Sean M. Madden
*Join us TODAY at 10 am Eastern (3 pm London) for our AMA with @jordhy:

Jordhy Ledesma [9:37 AM]
joined #ama_live_chat_02mar17

Sean M. Madden [9:42 AM]
Today’s AMA Live Chat with Jordhy Ledesma (@jordhy) will be getting underway shortly (10 am Eastern, 3 pm London). The title of Jordhy’s AMA is *Double Your Traffic Using Multilingual Opportunities*:

*Jordhy Ledesma* is an award-winning web developer and best-selling academic co-author of Best Buy: Investing in Language Learning (Bloomberg Business Week, 2013). He holds three degrees from the University of Virginia Darden School, where he was a Batten Scholar, PUCMM, and the Loyola Polytechnical Institute. Jordhy is a Deloitte alumnus, a four-time Miss Universe D.R. web designer, and has advised companies such as Verizon, Best Buy, Rosetta Stone, and more.

For Jordhy’s full bio visit (
Jordhy Ledesma

*Everyone is, of course, welcome to ask questions of @jordhy, but let’s do our best to insert our questions in a conversational way* so as to keep things flowing in a logical and easy-to-follow manner as possible. We look forward to having you join us today.

We’ll be getting underway in about 15 minutes. (edited)

Zachary Pope [9:53 AM]
joined #ama_live_chat_02mar17. Also, @abhishek joined.

Mufidah Kassalias [10:00 AM]
Hi, Jordhy! @jordhy :slightly_smiling_face:

Jordhy Ledesma [10:00 AM]

Sean M. Madden [10:00 AM]
*Thank you all for joining us* for today’s AMA live chat.

It’s a great honor to have with us today *Jordhy Ledesma* (@jordhy), founder of *Information Providers*, a Dominican Republic-based web development firm. Jordhy is also an award-winning web developer and best-selling academic co-author of *Best Buy: Investing in Language Learning* (Bloomberg Business Week, 2013).

Welcome, @jordhy!

Jordhy Ledesma [10:01 AM]
Thank you for having me. Let’s have a great conversation!

Sean M. Madden [10:02 AM]
Thanks, @jordhy. Let’s dive straight in …

*Double Your Traffic Using Multilingual Opportunities* — How would you advise we go about doubling our traffic by way of pursuing multilingual opportunities?

@jordhy And a corollary/offshoot question: Is this for everyone?

Jordhy Ledesma [10:04 AM]
First, companies should make a deep cultural change. English is spoken by less than 25% of the global population so Internet marketing should be multilingual by default.

Mufidah Kassalias [10:05 AM]
That makes sense.

Jordhy Ledesma [10:05 AM]
Everyone should be a multilingual marketer. This is one of the biggest keys to the growth of our time.

Sean M. Madden [10:07 AM]
@jordhy That’s great for folk who are bi-/multi-lingual, but what about those who might only speak/write one language? How might they go about exploring/pursuing such opportunities?

Jordhy Ledesma [10:07 AM]
IMs are missing out on cheap keywords just because they are in Spanish or French. And they realize that their customer base has a substantial percentage of immigrants.

Sean M. Madden [10:08 AM]
Yeah, I can see that that would very likely be the case.

*Folks, feel free to jump in with your own questions for @jordhy*. (edited)

Jordhy Ledesma [10:09 AM]
For teams that only sell in one language, multilingual marketing makes sense because they can market to bilinguals in their native language (and purchase low-cost keywords) but still sell in English. Multilingual marketing is for everyone. @sean

Mufidah Kassalias [10:10 AM]
What’s the best approach for small businesses, who don’t have big budgets but want to develop a multilingual site?

Jordhy Ledesma [10:12 AM]
@mufidah I would say go with a low-cost CMS like WordPress and choose a popular multilingual plugin such as WPML.

Mufidah Kassalias [10:12 AM]
How well do these plugins work? Are the translations good enough?

Jordhy Ledesma [10:13 AM]
@mufidah For translation and localization, you can bolster your team with international students that want to work for an innovative small business or startup and speak the target language natively.

Sean M. Madden [10:14 AM]
@jordhy Would you suggest that folk hire/contract out content marketers/translators in the additional language(s) to get truly fluent writing / cultural context?

Mufidah Kassalias [10:14 AM]
So rather than hiring full-time employees who are bi- or multilingual, you’re suggesting working with students on an as-needed basis?

Jordhy Ledesma [10:15 AM]
@mufidah The plugins don’t do the translation for you, but a native speaker assisted by something like say, Google Translate, can be incredibly effective. For most websites, a full translation can be accomplished pretty quickly.

@mufidah For a small business on a budget, yes.

Mufidah Kassalias [10:15 AM]
Okay, so what do the plugins do?

Jordhy Ledesma [10:17 AM]
@mufidah The plugins assign a translated page to every page on your website.

Sean M. Madden [10:18 AM]
@jordhy Right, so the plugins are simply creating the alternative language web pages, but not actually translating the contents?

@jordhy Creating the structure, but not the content?

Jordhy Ledesma [10:18 AM]
@sean Exactly.

Becky Mollenkamp [10:18 AM]
joined #ama_live_chat_02mar17

Sean M. Madden [10:18 AM]
Got it.

Mufidah Kassalias [10:19 AM]
Okay, that’s helpful to know. Thanks! @jordhy

Jordhy Ledesma [10:19 AM]
@sean They also provide the translation links (the flags that you sometimes see at the top of multilingual websites).

Sean M. Madden [10:19 AM]
@jordhy Can you tell us about your book *Best Buy*, and how the writing of this might have impacted your approach — by which I mean your approach to developing multilingual websites. (edited)

Becky Mollenkamp [10:20 AM]
How reliable are those plug-ins? I would hate to use one and have it really poorly translate by my site. Seems that would do more to turn off international readers than make them feel welcome.

Mufidah Kassalias [10:20 AM]
For those who don’t speak the language that their site is being translated into, how can they assess the quality of the translation? @jordhy (edited)

Sean M. Madden [10:21 AM]
@beckymollenkamp: See above comments. The plugins create the alternative language web pages but don’t translate the contents.

Becky Mollenkamp [10:21 AM]
@sean Sorry, guess I don’t understand what an alternative language web page means if it’s not translating the contents.

Mufidah Kassalias [10:22 AM]
@beckymollenkamp Yes, it took me a moment to understand it as well! It’s all about creating the structure.

Jordhy Ledesma [10:22 AM]
@sean Sure. We analyzed their market composition in Dallas (Best Buy’s) and quantified the impact of selling in Spanish in a predominantly English-speaking area. Turns out the market effects of such practices effectively double their sales. This is due to the word of mouth and attachment they derived from the Latino community. Additionally, by serving Hispanics in their native language, sales reps had more time to engage with English-speaking customers.

Mufidah Kassalias [10:22 AM]
@beckymollenkamp This is why we still need to find folk to do the translations.

Kobe Ben Itamar [10:23 AM]
joined #ama_live_chat_02mar17

Becky Mollenkamp [10:23 AM]
I only sell to a domestic audience. I don’t see the expense of having my content translated paying off. I think it sounds important for large brands, but at my level, it seems like too much.

Sean M. Madden [10:23 AM]
@jordhy That’s an amazing result. Over how long of a time did you study Best Buy’s sales, etc.?

(I used to live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for 20 years)

Jordhy Ledesma [10:24 AM]
@sean We did the whole study in about one year

Sean M. Madden [10:24 AM]
@jordhy And was this brick-and-mortar as well as via the Best Buy’s website? (edited)

@jordhy In other words was the Spanish-language outreach in their stores as well as online?

*Folks, do jump in with your own questions as well*.

@jordhy And, Jordhy, what would you say to someone like @beckymollenkamp, with her above comment about this seeming primarily an opportunity for large brands?

Mufidah Kassalias [10:28 AM]
@jordhy When you’ve answered Sean’s questions, I asked this question a few minutes ago. :slightly_smiling_face:
Mufidah Kassalias
For those who don’t speak the language that their site is being translated into, how can they assess the quality of the translation? @jordhy
Posted in #ama_live_chat_02mar17Yesterday at 10:20 AM

Jordhy Ledesma [10:30 AM]
@mufidah In order to assess the quality of the translation, you can use Google Translate to turn the content back into English (free) or hire a freelancer from Upwork (or similar service) to do a review (cost-effective).

Mufidah Kassalias [10:31 AM]
@jordhy Thanks, the second option sounds like it might be the best way to go.

Sean M. Madden [10:31 AM]
Sean M. Madden
@jordhy And was this bricks-and-mortar as well as via the Best Buy’s website?
Posted in #ama_live_chat_02mar17Yesterday at 10:24 AM

Kobe Ben Itamar [10:34 AM]
Hi Jordhy, thanks for doing this AMA!
I remember I tried to help a company I used to work for penetrating into a new market (in Brasil, as I happen to also speak Portuguese). The efforts included creating Portuguese-speaking landing pages, creating a Portuguese-speaking Facebook group, and providing product support in that language.
I found it quite hard to maintain all of these channels in several languages simultaneously.
My question is – *can you recommend ways to automate these multilingual marketing efforts for smaller companies?* The WPML is a great example of web pages translation. Any others? (edited)

Sean M. Madden [10:35 AM]
@kobe Great question! (edited)

@abhishek Do you have a question you’d like to ask @jordhy?

Jordhy Ledesma [10:36 AM]
@sean Only brick and mortar. The online component of the study involves using Rosetta Stone to train the employees

in a foreign language without leaving positions. After a while, some of these sales reps would get transferred to online tech support and assist customers in their area in their native language. So in a sense, the online component came later. Before we came to do the study, Best Buy already had a Spanish website in place.

Sean M. Madden [10:37 AM]
@jordhy Okay, that’s helpful. Thanks, Jordhy.

Sean M. Madden
@jordhy And, Jordhy, what would you say to someone like @beckymollenkamp, with her above comment about this seeming primarily an opportunity for large brands?
Posted in #ama_live_chat_02mar17Yesterday at 10:27 AM

Jordhy Ledesma [10:41 AM]
Great question @kobe! Polylang is also a good option. I think your previous employer wasn’t strategic enough in their localization efforts. The best projects target one new language at a time and tie their localization efforts to the size of the market.

Sean M. Madden [10:42 AM]
By the way, folks, for those of you who want to learn more about the *WPML plugin*:


WPML – The WordPress Multilingual Plugin
WPML allows running fully multilingual websites with WordPress, making it easy to translate WordPress pages, posts, tags, categories, and themes.

Jordhy Ledesma [10:44 AM]
@sean To @beckymollenkamp I would say markets like Miami, NY, Texas, and California has substantial amounts of bilingual populations that can be targeted using keywords that cost (on average) 50 to 70% less than English keywords. Furthermore, I don’t think she needs to translate her website at all. She can deploy an Adwords campaign in a foreign language, send customers to a simple landing page in that language, and from there have customers shop in English.

Becky Mollenkamp [10:45 AM]
@jordhy Thank you for those thoughts. Not there yet, but love that idea.

Mufidah Kassalias [10:45 AM]
@jordhy That’s a good halfway house for folk/businesses who don’t need a fully translated site. (edited)

Jordhy Ledesma [10:46 AM]
@beckymollenkamp There are millions of English-speaking customers, that live in the USA and speak other languages. A big opportunity is selling to them by placing Adwords campaigns (and similar campaigns) in their native language.

@mufidah Exactly

Mufidah Kassalias [10:46 AM]
@jordhy For businesses that do decide to go the route of having a fully translated site, would it be better to structure a multilingual site by making use of subdomains, or register multiple TLDs? Or is there yet another, better, approach? (edited)

Jordhy Ledesma [10:47 AM]
But the story of multilingual marketing doesn’t end on websites. It only starts there. You can also take advantage of opportunities in domain names, social media, and international directories.

@mufidah There are many approaches and there’s no single golden recipe for success. Either method can be highly effective. Google has evolved enough and can adequately index your multilingual websites if you choose any of the routes you named.

Sean M. Madden [10:50 AM]
@jordhy Am I right in thinking that this is the big, no-nonsense opportunity to go for right off the bat — that is, buying relatively inexpensive online ads (eg, FB, Google) in a language for which there exists a large population of bilingual folks, as you say, in such places as Miami, Dallas, L.A., NY, etc.?

@jordhy The low-hanging fruit, if you will?

Jordhy Ledesma [10:51 AM]
@sean Absolutely.

Sean M. Madden [10:51 AM]
@jordhy Right, this isn’t something that I’ve considered at all before. It seems a *massive* business/marketing opportunity just waiting to be tapped.

Jordhy Ledesma [10:51 AM]
@sean And it’s not only about keywords. Think domain names, handles, etc.

Sean M. Madden [10:51 AM]
@jordhy How well known / widespread is this approach, do you think?

@jordhy Way underdeveloped? Maturing?

Mufidah Kassalias [10:52 AM]
@jordhy @sean Yes, it seems like a great approach that most businesses could take without having to invest a huge amount of time and money in the process.

Jordhy Ledesma [10:54 AM]
@sean It’s very early days in the multilingual web. Very early days. In some cases, the web sphere of very big industries in foreign countries is 5 to 10 years behind the saturation levels of their US equivalent.

Sean M. Madden [10:55 AM]
@jordhy And the assumption, for the above to work, is that the alternative language folk are also fluent (enough) in English to hop from their native language landing page to the full-blown English site, for instance? (edited)

Jordhy Ledesma [10:56 AM]
@sean Fluent enough to complete a purchase or computer savvy enough to use a translating engine.

Sean M. Madden [10:56 AM]
@jordhy Rather than developing a full-blown Spanish language site, for instance? (edited)

Jordhy Ledesma [10:56 AM]
@sean Yes

Sean M. Madden [10:57 AM]
*Just a few minutes left, folks* Any more questions for @jordhy :question:

Mufidah Kassalias [10:57 AM]
Given that this is aimed at bi-lingual folk who can navigate in English, is the main value in this approach found in the fact that people tend to search in their native language, no matter how fluent they are in another language? (edited)

Sean M. Madden [10:58 AM]
@jordhy And, in addition to the above (Mufidah’s question), acquiring greater brand loyalty due to the “warm and fuzzy” (for lack of a better way of saying this) effect of being lured in in one’s own language?

Jordhy Ledesma [10:59 AM]
@mufidah Yes, but I would add to that. The main value also includes economic and competitive propositions: keywords in these languages are cheaper and competition is very mild.

Sean M. Madden [10:59 AM]
Yeah, that seems key.

Greater market inefficiencies to seize upon.

Mufidah Kassalias [11:00 AM]
@jordhy Yeah, that does make sense. It’s an important paradigm shift. (edited)

Jordhy Ledesma [11:00 AM]
@sean It’s many things. Brand attachment is one for sure, but market discovery is another one for example.

Sean M. Madden [11:02 AM]
@jordhy And you obviously found, for instance with your 1-year study of Best Buy’s sales, that even though the person is able to navigate both the local and their native languages sufficiently well, there’s a huge opportunity to better reach these bilingual folk in any given market by way of less expensive online ads? (edited)

And does this extend to offline marketing as well? Outdoor marketing, local Spanish media outlets, etc.?

@jordhy Or is your focus primarily online?

Mufidah Kassalias [11:04 AM]
@jordhy Before folk click through to the English site, do you flag that they’ll be changing languages?

Sean M. Madden [11:04 AM]
We’re now running over the one-hour AMA time. @jordhy Do you have time to answer a few more questions, or do you need to go? (edited)

Jordhy Ledesma [11:05 AM]
@sean Absolutely. It’s not only about the customer but also about the competition we must engage in to capture their attention.

This approach translates very well to offline marketing. For example, placing ads in a foreign language in local newspapers can lower your campaign costs and send qualified bilingual customers to your store.

@sean We can take a couple more.

Sean M. Madden [11:06 AM]
Mufidah Kassalias
@jordhy Before folk click through to the English site, do you flag that they’ll be changing languages?
Posted in #ama_live_chat_02mar17Yesterday at 11:04 AM

Thanks, @jordhy.

Jordhy Ledesma [11:09 AM]
@sean @mufidah Yes. this can be achieved by creating a bilingual page. With the marketing copy in the foreign language and a call to action in English.

Sean M. Madden [11:09 AM]
@jordhy Last question, in follow-up to your above offline marketing response — did you take offline marketing/advertising into account with your Best Buy study? (edited)

Mufidah Kassalias [11:09 AM]
@jordhy Okay, thanks.

Jordhy Ledesma [11:11 AM]
@sean Yes. We even considered the impact of local TV ads in Spanish.

Sean M. Madden [11:12 AM]
Okay, folks, we’re out of time for this week’s AMA Live Chat with Jordhy Ledesma.

We’ll be keeping #ama_live_chat_02mar17 open for at least a week or more for folk to be able to catch up with all that has transpired here today.

Thanks, again, for joining us today, Jordhy! It’s been a great learning experience, a total paradigm shift, of sorts, in terms of how to approach multilingual business opportunities.

Jordhy Ledesma [11:13 AM]
Thanks for your questions and enjoy the rest of the day!

Mufidah Kassalias [11:13 AM]
@jordhy Thanks for your time today —all really good things to consider moving forward.

Sean M. Madden [11:13 AM]
Thanks, @jordhy. Have a great day.

Abhishek Deshpande [9:23 PM]
left #ama_live_chat_02mar17