How do you get your software product out in the highly competitive global marketplace? Is successful international expansion really possible? Not to mention, how to ensure a smooth and convenient experience for your international customers?
Language Inspired recently sat down with Toms Blodnieks, the COO of DeskTime, to discover the answers to these questions and learn about DeskTime's experience growing in a new market through localization.
DeskTime: The tracking tool that keeps on giving
When DeskTime was founded in 2011, it started out small, but striving for great things. The now revolutionary time-tracking app was originally created for internal use only. It was meant to keep track of project progress and time spent on the different tasks on the team members’ plates.
They soon realized that their tool was something other teams, companies, and freelancers could benefit from, worldwide. DeskTime the productivity-tracking tool went online in July 2011 and soon after welcomed its first registered user.
Fast forward to today, DeskTime recently reached the massive milestone of having 500,000 registered users from 220 countries and regions. The tool is now well on its way to becoming an all-in-one office management system.
DeskTime growth year-on-year:
Finding the target locale – and the right partner
Toms Blodnieks says that upon launching, DeskTime was always intended as “a worldwide solution”. They first got a foothold in the English-speaking regions, establishing themselves in the US, but also welcoming users from Canada, the UK, Australia, the Philippines, and even India.
While the team saw huge opportunities in America, they strategized: Where else could DeskTime grow? Through a testing process, DeskTime landed on the Spanish market as its next goal. Toms reveals:
“Even though they speak very good English, they might like to switch and use [the tool] in their native language for a better user experience.”
The customer needs to feel like you are an in-house partner to them; that you are local, speak their language, and can be trusted,” says Toms Blodnieks, DeskTime COO
So DeskTime set out to bring the product to their Spanish clientele in their native language. Already at the start of their Spanish localization journey, they found they were faced with a challenge: Their language services provider at the time didn’t match their needs regarding the localization plans.
Some of the team members were familiar with the Lokalise platform, who then further recommended Language Inspired as the language services provider of choice.
The main requirement for DeskTime was efficiency in service so that they in turn could push the localized content out, ready for their customers’ use. After ironing out technical aspects, the localization project was mission-go.
Servicing with efficiency and precision
Localizing an entire product offering into another language is a massive task. DeskTime already had an established brand presence in the market. So the main task for Language Inspired was to ensure the Spanish localization stayed true to the existing brand image and matched the tone of voice already in use communicating with DeskTime’s English-speaking customers.
To do this, Language Inspired used its trademark approach which is characterized by high adaptability and the agile principle:
- The team invests time in understanding the client’s situation and goals, matching the service to the specific needs of the client.
- They adapt the workflow to whichever translation management system the client prefers, ensuring the functionality and features offered are used to their full extent.
- The client supplies reference materials and a Localization Brief, describing the tone of voice, a Glossary of predefined terms, as well as sharing the brand values, benefits to the customer, and the intended target audience.
- Doing a trial of the workflow and meeting with the client to hear their feedback. Constant fine-tuning is done to guarantee we work in the most efficient and comfortable way for the client.
For DeskTime, a hand-picked team of expert linguists was chosen that were always present to take care of the new batches of content. As the linguist team remained unchanging throughout the Spanish localization process, they developed a thorough knowledge of DeskTime – the product as well as the brand – and kept engaged in the task.
Time was not wasted on onboarding new provider teams for the same type of content, thus allowing Language Inspired to complete requests with great efficiency, ensuring continuity of the brand voice. At the same time, scalability remained smooth: as the Localization Brief and references package is already on hand, adding a new language and team of linguists if needed, is done swiftly and the client doesn’t lose time or suffer a headache about expanding their needs.
The results are in: Page visits up by 343%
Toms Blodnieks is clear about the outcome: “No doubt that our challenges were solved. We get everything ready very quickly – send the request, get a quick and correct response, and there are no delays or mistakes.”
Over the course of approximately 12 months, Language Inspired took care of localizing 87850 words across 25 separate requests. The scope included content from the DeskTime system and FAQs to support articles and user reviews, all to fully flesh out the Spanish product and offer the target public a complete experience in their native language.
The DeskTime COO reveals that, thanks to the localization efforts and subsequent launch of the Spanish content this spring, when comparing Q1 and Q2 of 2022 they have seen 27% growth in user influx specifically from Spain, with a surprising additional 51% growth coming from Mexico, of all places. This shows that there is great potential for further expansion into the Latin American region which could again be accomplished through localization. Toms notes they are pleased with this growth percentage, but that's only the beginning.
"The team’s current agenda is to explore the activity data they are receiving. We can see some search terms in Spanish that we weren’t seeing before, so currently we are analyzing the reach to see how we can optimize and promote the Spanish platform in a better way.”
However, there are clear winners across DeskTime’s localized content and pages as well. Blog articles like “51 Best Employee Team-Building Games for Improving Productivity at Work” and “14 Creative Team Meeting Ideas to Keep Employees Engaged and Motivated”, which have been re-published in Spanish, are drawing in hordes of readers. Between Q1 and Q2, the number of visits to the Spanish blog articles has grown by a staggering 1104%.
Finally, Toms reports that visits to the Spanish page for downloading DeskTime are up by 343%, compared with the previous quarter, an all-around success.
DeskTime’s advice: Be clear about your goals
Asked to share wisdom other companies could learn from, Toms Blodnieks says that for a business trying to expand it’s a must to be clear about what you need and want to reach.
- Become local. If you want to grow worldwide, you need to be with your customers in their native language. “Your content, support, and currencies need to be localized to reach and retain your customers,” Toms explains.
- Pick the right localization model. It’s fundamentally important to crystalize what localization model will be the most suitable. Building an in-house team for localization also means recruiting, onboarding, and managing linguists. For DeskTime, although their team has grown with the addition of in-house copywriters in the past two years, outsourcing perfectly covers their current needs. “With Language Inspired, we feel that we don’t work with an agency but an in-house person. Their support is professional and fast, with the chance to directly communicate, but without the hassle of needing to micromanage. And, as an agency, Language Inspired also thinks about the way cooperation can be beneficial for a business or its product.”
- E-commerce localization is a must. There are several industries that need good localization, and e-commerce is one of them. Toms explains: “If you offer a software tool – focus your localization efforts on UI/UX, on customer support and success, while the landing pages can be featured in a select few of your main languages. And to start out, agencies are a great way to do localization.”
What's next for DeskTime – and your organization
DeskTime is now busy at work supporting their Spanish customers, among others, and is next planning to branch out closer to home, to cover more of Europe.
Did DeskTime's success story inspire you to grow globally? Your organization might already be showing the signs you're ready to localize. Language Inspired offers localization, translation, and transcreation services as well as support and consultation to devise a custom localization strategy for reaching your business expansion goals. Think your business needs that boost to launch into a new market? Get in touch!