The two countries together have reached 9.8 million Internet users. The land of Czechs and Slovaks hold a strategic geographical position in Europe. We are also talking about the highest concentration of tech talents per capita (which may relate to the highest beer consumption per capita in the Czech Republic). Moreover, the number of online shoppers has grown substantially. Definitely something to think about.
The Common Factor
Czechs and Slovaks have lived next to each other for generations. We once had a common state, but have not broken up in a bad way and still maintain friendly relationships. The two countries share knowledge, business, research activities and co-operate in many fields. This relationship mirrors in the online environment as well.
#1 Use Social Media to Provide Excellent Customer Service
Although the quality of customer service has improved over the past years, we can still see companies in certain industries offering poor customer service or no customer relationships whatsoever.
Since 2012, several new banks entered the Czech and Slovak markets, coming up with improved customer service with the use of social media (mainly Facebook) for communication. They acquired 1.25 million clients instantly and still growing.
#2 Prepare Your Website for Seznam
Yes, the share of Seznam organic search has decreased recently in comparison to Google, however, it would be a huge mistake to ignore Seznam completely. Seznam, compared to Google, does offer other services that hold a vast audience: its own advertising network including its own platform with a remarketing function, the biggest business directory firmy.cz, a mapping service mapy.cz and a lot more services open for registration to businesses with a local address.
As for the question how to rank on Seznam organically, according to the most recent algorithm update, the engine favours in-depth websites with unique content, straightforward navigation and long-tail keyword strategy. Seznam’s robot (Seznambot) is, however, still not clear about backlink profile signals, unwillingly favouring unnatural or purchased links. Some digital marketers even recommend businesses to run two separate websites with separate search strategies.
Czech businesses may be forced to use 2 separate link building strategies for Google and Seznam.
#3 Use Local Tools for Local Search Strategy
For the two not very geographically-outrageous regions, it is even more important to have a good local search strategy: Czech / Slovak users are not used to travel for services and prefer local branches and local services, even when they order online. This could be the reason why local boxes are so advanced in SERPs here.
#4 Choose the Language of Your Content Carefully
There is more of the content in Czech than in Slovak, which created a paradox: there is a bunch of Czech content that appears in the Slovak searches, on the contrary, almost zero Slovak content appearing in the Czech search. Slovaks do convert in the content in Czech, Czechs usually don’t in the Slovak content.
Unlike other nationalities, Czech / Slovaks are not used to search in English or other foreign languages even when searching for something abroad. Keywords in Czech / Slovak definitely prevail in statistics.
Don’t translate your content (nor ads) from English. In most cases, English ad speak is very straightforward and shallow for a Czech / Slovak user, while translated calls to action sound aggresive to us. You need to create the content from scratch, emphasizing the important message in a brief.
Don’t translate your English copy into Czech / Slovak, unless you want to sound funny.
From the stats:
A number of foreign nationals live in the Czech Republic permanently: around 430k in 2014. My recommendation is to make the English website available and not violently redirect all local users to the Czech or Slovak website. A default (not forced) redirect to a language based on browser settings should work.
The government generally fails in providing necessary information in English, so this could be another opportunity for international companies to easily approach expats there.
#5 Leverage High Price Sensitivity
An average Czech and Slovak user is price sensitive: he/she rather focuses on the bottom line than the actual benefits and ROI of the product.
From the stats:
No wonder why group buying websites burst in popularity in 2011, reporting steady growth since. In 2013, these websites made profits in an equal sum over 121 million GBP. The most popular are offers are package holidays, restaurant menus and fashion. 70 % of the revenue is generated by slevomat.cz, vykupto.cz and zlavadna.sk. The typical user is a female in her 30s.
Also, price comparison websites such as heureka.cz / heureka.sk and zbozi.cz gained massive popularity. At last, we should not forget the auction tool aukro.cz with over 8 million users, easily beating global players in online auctions such as eBay.
#6 Dive Into Uncharted Waters of Image Marketing
The use of images for digital marketing may gain another dimension: Last year, Pinterest localized its user interface into Czech to attract more Czech as well as Slovak users.
“Czech Republic offers a very rich culture of gastronomy, travel and tourism, and a growing scale of design and fashion, as well as other visually convenient topics that can be easily discovered and explored with Pinterest,“
explains Matt Crystal, Head of International in Pinterest. What’s for sure that unique visual content will gain higher and higher importance, as the local trend copies the global trend and Czech / Slovak brands haven’t started to massively utilise quality images for their digital marketing efforts yet.
Tips & Hints
- Never translate ads from English – translated English ads sound unnatural
- People are rather sceptical to anything new from abroad unless they understand the background first
- Most businesses are not win-win oriented and focus on the bottom line (this might affect some referral programmes)
- A huge competition of small eshops, generally with poor customer service
- Very ineffective trademark and copyright laws
- Seznam mail has had problems with delivering emails distributed via MailChimp (MailChimp is currently solving the issue)
- Marketing Festival is the biggest marketing conference held in the Czech Republic, with lots of tips on Czech & Slovak digital marketing. In English!
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