Email marketing knows no boundaries. It’s the perfect marketing solution for reaching your clients wherever they live in the world. But if you want your email marketing to work as well on the global stage as it does at home, you need to play by the following rules.
Six Rules for Global Email Marketing
- Geographical Segmentation: Breaking your email list down into the various countries you want to market to will help you comply with all of these rules. There are 196 countries in the world — but you don’t have to create a list for them all. Focus on your key markets, and then create a pot for the rest of the world. As new markets emerge, split them out. Remember, it’s better to do a good job and focus on the territories that will deliver the maximum return than to attempt to please everyone.
- Timing: An email sent at 2 p.m. on the East Coast of America will hit an inbox in London at 7 p.m. and one in Berlin at 8 p.m. These after-hours emails could have a negative impact on your campaign success (particularly in the world of B2B marketing). While there is a very good chance that your subscribers will see your email (probably on their smartphones), the chances of them engaging with it the following workday are much reduced. Work with time zones to ensure your email hits the right person at the right time.
- Holidays: Did you know that Mother’s Day is celebrated on March 11 in the UK, not on May 12 as it is in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand? Sending a Mother’s Day email campaign to a UK address in May will appear more than a little tardy and yield very poor results.
- Currency: Whenever possible, you should sell to your clients in their local currency. This will enable people to make quick decisions without having to bother checking exchange rates. Localizing your websites and landing pages to serve people in their local currencies will almost certainly improve conversions.
- Shipping Details: If you sell physical products, you’ll need to let your subscribers know your international shipping times and costs. You should also clearly explain any issues (such as additional taxes or customs clearance) customers are likely to experience. This will reduce the number of calls and emails your customer support team receives from people chasing their orders. Tip: If you are looking to increase international orders, it might be worth holding stock overseas. A service like Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) may be able to help you provide a local service (in terms of delivery schedules and costs) to your global customers. This will also help you with the problem of returns and other customer service issues.
- Test Everything: Cultural tastes and differences mean that a campaign that works well in your local market might not work so well on an international stage. Even apparently very similar markets like the US and UK have subtle nuances that you should come to grips with and test if you want to optimize the success of each send.
Note: I haven’t mentioned language translation. This is a real issue when you’re selling globally. Poor translation will make you look unprofessional and even untrustworthy. If you are going to translate your marketing collateral, you need to make sure the translation services you employ understand the technical nature of your business and the market you are targeting. While specialist translation services will cost more money upfront, they will add credibility to your local language campaigns and should help drive great returns. It’s also important to remember that if you market in a different language, you’d better have someone on your staff who can speak that language to deal with any customer inquiries or customer service issues.
How have you optimized your global email marketing strategy? Share your comments below:
This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.