For email marketers representing global businesses, it’s vital to understand that the tactics and strategies that work well in some parts of the world may not be successful in others.
Taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach can tarnish the relationship you have with your customers and negatively impact your email performance. Therefore, it’s important to tailor your email marketing strategy to accommodate unique regional variances.
Let’s explore some of the key nuances to be aware of when establishing an effective global email marketing strategy.
Timing is everything—especially when it comes to email. If you’re planning to deploy a time-sensitive campaign related to flash sales or limited stock, it’s important to consider what time your audience will receive the message. Hitting send too early (or too late) could have a significant impact on your campaign’s success.
For example, let’s say you’re planning to send a “today only” campaign around 8:00am ET. People living in the U.S. will have all day to take advantage of the promotion, so that means you timed the campaign’s deployment perfectly. Right?
Maybe not. If you’re also planning to send the campaign to people outside the U.S., you’ll want to rethink your strategy. A campaign sent from the U.S. East Coast around 8:00am will be received early afternoon in France—and the middle of the night in Australia! Since these regions have less time to interact with your campaign, your engagement rate will likely drop.
Rather than scheduling your campaign to deploy at a single time, consider scheduling sends to align with peak hours of engagement for each country or region.
The language you use to communicate with your audience can make or break your campaign. As an email marketer, it’s important to choose your words carefully—especially when sending to a global audience.
For example, while direct language is accepted in the U.S., the Chinese rely heavily on indirect communication to maintain harmonious relations. If you fail to recognize this difference, your message may come across as overly aggressive.
You should also think twice before including slang in your email content. Terms like “beat” (tired), “blast” (fun), or “sick” (awesome) can be taken literally in other parts of the world. Instead of meaning “tired,” “fun,” and “awesome,” these slang terms could be read as “hurt,” “explode,” and “ill,” which would change the message’s meaning entirely!
The same goes for cultural references. While an American audience will surely recognize “Life is like a box of chocolates” as a quote from the hit movie Forrest Gump, your global audience may not get the reference right away—and your campaign could fall flat.
Lastly, if you’re writing to audiences that speak the same language but in different dialects, such as Latin American Spanish vs. Castilian Spanish, consider working with a translator who understands the differences to avoid any miscommunication. A translator can help you adjust your messaging so that it reads the way you intended.
When emailing international audiences, it’s important to be sensitive to the culture of each region you’re sending to. What may seem like ordinary, run-of-the-mill content to you could be seen as inappropriate in other parts of the world.
For example, if you’re marketing to subscribers in the Middle East, you must consider what the people in your stock images are wearing. People living in the Middle East are known to dress modestly. Therefore, what might be considered an appropriate outfit in the U.S. could be seen as inappropriate to people in that region and fail to resonate with them.
GDPR, PIPL, CASL, CCPA… What do these acronyms all have in common? They represent some of the many global privacy laws in place today.
Today’s consumers expect more control over how brands gather and use their personal information. Several regions around the globe have addressed this concern by proposing legislation on consumer privacy.
You should note that legislation is often based on where the email recipient is located—not the sender. Therefore, you must be aware of the anti-spam and email privacy laws within each region where messages are sent to ensure compliance.
Holidays and seasons
Most email marketing calendars include campaigns relevant to holidays and seasons throughout the year. But it’s important to consider whether the timing of each campaign is universally applicable.
Let’s say you’re planning to send a Mother’s Day campaign. In America, Australia, Germany, China, and Greece, Mother’s Day always falls on the second Sunday in May. But in the UK and Ireland, it takes place three weeks before Easter. Be sure to adjust the timing of your Mother’s Day message by region to ensure that no one receives your message too early or too late.
Seasonal content can also be tricky. For instance, many U.S. retailers may feature winter apparel in their January campaigns. But in Brazil, the country’s average temperature hovers around 78 degrees Fahrenheit that time of year! Consider whether your email content is seasonally appropriate for each audience before hitting send.
As your business continues to grow, so will the scope of your email list. Ensure your global email strategy remains effective over time by keeping these key email differences in mind.
Next, find out how your email program compares to other global senders by downloading the State of Email 2022 report from Validity. This report draws from Validity’s network of over 2.5 billion inboxes—the largest email data network in the industry—and contains expert tips, forecasts, and insights you won’t find anywhere else.