Sisulizer is a great example for a successful software business. They’re experts at what they’re doing, know what their users need and deliver a great product.
Markus was kind enough to share his experience in marketing Sisulizer. Read on!
Sisulizer is a software localization tool. It works in three steps:
- Extract texts from software
- Translate the texts (and makes other important adjustments)
- Rebuild the localized program.
Their main customers are companies who sell abroad and must provide fully a localized user interface. They have a strong market in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia.
Sisulizer is a young company, founded in 2006, but Markus has a rich experience in the field. He marketed localization tools for years and started with a solid knowledge of the market.
Why did you localize Sisulizer?
Sisulizer is a tool for developers, most of which speak English and would happily use the program in English. Localization is meant mostly for the end users, who are actually the translators. Many users, especially in Europe and Asia speak several languages, but not English – so translation is essential for them.
Sisulizer speaks 10 languages, including English, Czech, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Russian, Slovak, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese.
How do you handle support in all these languages?
Since our customers are the developers and they all speak English, this isn’t an issue.
Our support is in English only and we provide it using our support forums. The forum has proved to be a great marketing tool too, where potential customers can see how efficient we are at resolving customer issues.
How do you market Sisulizer in foreign markets?
Most importantly, our website was written by a native speaker. For the home page, we also got help from expert copywriters (we found them on the ASP-shareware newsgroups). None of us is a native speaker, so we had to get help for that.
Sisulizer website is currently available in English, Finish and German and is planned to be available in all other languages the software is running in.
Even though the customers all speak English, having a localized website helps a lot in marketing to them.
Where, outside of Germany, is Sisulizer doing best?
It’s doing great all over Europe. There’s a lot of mechanical engineering going on in Europe. They produce computer controlled machines, each requiring a GUI (Graphical User Interface). Since they’re sold all over the world, the operating software must be localized.
Generally, Sisulizer is doing well in countries which export a lot and where English is not the only spoken languages.
It’s easier to sell where the added value is very large. Localizing the software allows Sisulizer users to sell all over the world, without exposing their source code.
Countries that have more than one official language are also great for business. In Canada, both English and French are the official languages, so everything must appear in these two languages. Belgium and Switzerland are other good examples.
Any tips for other software authors?
It could be worth it if your software is popular. If you’re making very little money, from your local market, then the extra revenue might not justify cost or creating and maintaining translation. It was worth localizing Sisulizer and the website since the revenue this generated is very significant.
Also, if you do it, better do it right. If you’re using machine translation it might look OK to you, at a quick glance, but when someone who speaks this language reads it – it’s going to do more harm than good.
Last, it’s a good idea to know the market you’re going to. Better to find out, in advance, that there’s a market for your product on that country and that there’s no special barriers you’re not familiar with.
Where do we go next?
Markus says: “After listening to interview myself I thought about slow Spanish and Portuguese markets. All the markets I named as strong, like Canada, Belgium, and Switzerland seem to profit more from the French (Switzerland also the German and Italian) localization of Sisulizer than I had in mind at the time of the interview.
After looking deeper into the sales figures it became clear. Sisulizer – as a development tool – actually profits from the localization of its own GUI.
Btw: Sisulizer already has language partners for Spanish and Portuguese but they did not finish their job yet.”
You can listen to the full Interview with Markus – Sisulizer