Today’s blog post is from our intern, Scott Pfeiffer (find him on Twitter @lspfeiffer).

So I have a confession to make, I don’t speak any foreign languages. Ordinarily that would stop me from Googling something like “société de marketing numérique” (if you couldn’t tell that’s French for digital marketing company) but I was curious about how marketing companies around the world present their services.

Google has some nifty translation features which make it easy to surf the web to research companies regardless of their national origin. For the purpose of this exercise,I decided to skip the translations as I browsed the web to see how good these firms were at conveying their intent through their layout and images.


Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.07.57 PM

The penguin is incredibly confusing. What does this bird have to do with marketing? Based on the text I can guess this is some sort of marketing company (“inbound marketing” is a dead giveaway).

Everything makes more sense as I scrolled down. Keep in mind I haven’t magically learned French, but I do see some numbers so I think we’re talking about marketing stats. Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.36.14 PM

Going out on a limb I guessed the icon with the computer and a cursor indicates something to do with clicks. The magnifying glass is sort of the universal signal for search so it probably has something to do with Google rankings or paid search.

Listed below the numbers is the call to action and services section. The bright button is a dead giveaway.

After writing the first section of this blog post, I used Google translate to see what I got correct. Turns out I was wrong about the screen click icon. The text indicates this number is actually the percent of a blog users read per day. I was however spot on with the magnifying glass which indicates the percentage of people happy with their search ranking.

Liana Technologies

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 4.18.07 PMNext I decided to switch things up and check out a Russian website. I found this website by searching “digital marketing company” in Russian. Very clearly this company is selling a product. It could be analytic software, email software (the @ sign maybe?) or some other useful marketing platform.

This website is bright and clean. As I moved the slider more of their product boxes appear in front of a cloud. So I am going to guess it is very likely they are a Cloud services software firm. The text below the cloud might be description of the product. Seems fairly standard so far.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 4.39.08 PMThen I scrolled down, and have to admit I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on here. My best guesses? There is a possibility the middle section is a list of details about the product(s). Again the cloud makes an appearance reinforcing my sense that they sell cloud applications.

There are lists of items which might be links to blog posts. The bright green buttons are clear invitations to move further into the website.

After using Google to translate, things became a bit more clear. This company sells marketing automation software. I was correct in guessing the top box was email software but I missed the fact that they sell other products as well. Scrolling down to the confusing part. It seems to be a step by step process of how to best use the product with further with buttons as prompts to learn more.

Your readers start with visual clues.

Before visitors commit to reading your site, they will look around to get a sense of who you are from your visual elements and data organization. This exercise made it really easy to evaluate the visual elements because I couldn’t decipher the text. Here are a few of the things I picked up along the way.

  • Keep the images and icons relevant – Product images or images of people using your product are helpful. Icons which clearly communicate an idea are not easy to create, but if done well help visitors understand what you do and what to do next. I am still a bit confused about the Penguin but maybe something got lost in translation.
  • Make sure your Call to Action buttons stand out. Both these websites use high contrast colors to emphasize clicking points and move visitors through their sales funnel.

Want to know how your site stacks up? Try this exercise in reverse. Translate your site into another language, using Google translate and then show it to someone who isn’t familiar with your business. See what messages come through in any language.

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