Growing business internationally is on the agenda for many companies in 2017. For email marketers, reaching subscribers beyond the borders of their country of origin can be a great way to increase ROI and build an audience in all corners of the globe.
According to an article by CMO on how to win international customers, 70% of the world’s internet users are not native English speakers. Additionally, findings in a report conducted by Common Sense Advisory show that 85% of online shoppers require information in their native language before they commit to making a purchase decision. Those stats should certainly set out an incentive for email marketers to take their campaigns global!
While new markets can offer huge opportunities, they can also present a number of challenges. Being aware of these ahead of time can help to ensure success as you move forward with your international email marketing campaigns. Here are 7 things to consider:
With such a variety of internet users speaking different languages, translating the marketing message accurately is crucial. This will require more than simply plugging the words into automatic translator, unless you want spelling/grammar errors and misused words in your copy. Engage in some multi-lingual research or hire a reputable translation company that also has marketing knowledge. An attentive translator will not only translate the language, but also understand the importance of appropriate salutations, tones, phrasing, idioms and others nuances that may be needed to retain the marketing flair of your message.
As with language, make sure you are using promotional images and other graphics that your audience can understand. Images that worked well for one country may not work for another, so do some research and look for relevant images that also are culturally sensitive to the country you are targeting. The last thing you want is your potential audience getting confused, alienated or offended!
Take a look at the fonts, colors, patterns, and formatting of your email templates. You want to use designs that are culturally acceptable, but also allow for branding consistency. Conduct some research on subscribers in the targeted region and learn about the styles and tastes that are popular or trending there. Doing so is not only fun, but will also ensure that you make the best impact on potential subscribers!
4. Mobile Optimization
Mobile usage varies by country, so make sure you study the device landscape of your targeted market. Do subscribers there typically open their email on smartphones, tablets, or desktops? If you are operating in a mobile-centric country, then a responsive design will be essential.
5. Time Zones
Time zone differences are another crucial element to consider. Check into when subscribers in each country open their email, so you are only sending during optimal times instead of the middle of the night or other inactive parts of the day. Ensure your platform enables you to segment your lists by time zone and schedule campaigns accordingly. Typical work schedules, seasonal/environmental factors, and national holidays and events are some other considerations to keep in mind as well.
It is also necessary to understand the specific laws and regulations that each country has in place regarding email, privacy and data collection. Some countries are stricter than others, so take the time to ensure your emails are fully compliant with each market’s applicable laws and regulations. Make it a habit to stay attentive to email marketing best practices around the world, so you can always be on top of subscriber expectations and any other regulatory changes that are taking place in each country.
7. Deliverability Rates
Email deliverability rates also vary by country, so do not be misled by statements made about “international benchmarks”. Get to know the major ISPs and mailbox providers in each country where you will be sending mail, and also keep regional algorithms in mind. Remember that your emails will be in contact with servers from around the world, so test to see how your content and encoding will impact delivery before you invest in a final strategy.
Expanding your reach to a global audience can be an exciting endeavor, and paying attention to these challenges above should help you get a good start. Are you a marketer who is experienced with international email marketing? We would love to hear more about what you have learned along the way, so please feel free to leave a comment!