Did you know that there were 3.9 billion e-mail accounts worldwide in 2013 with an estimated annual growth rate of 6% over the next 4 years? The market research firm Radicati predicts that by the end of 2017 we will have more than 4.9 billion e-mail accounts around the globe.
We certainly need to take into consideration that some users hold not only one but two, three, or more accounts. However, when you think about it, there is still a huge marketing potential for businesses. Statistics from Convince & Convert show that 44% of e-mail recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional e-mail they received from a company. And the best thing about e-mail marketing is that it’s not only a simple way to win global business, but also very cost effective.
So how do you run an international e-mail marketing campaign successfully?
1. Research the legal requirements
In general you can say that the USA is not as strict as Europe about electronic communications. You should always check the national legislation for your target country before scheduling your international e-mail marketing campaign. Germany, for example, requires a double-opt-in to contact prospective buyers via e-mail. This means that the contact person receives an e-mail after filling out a contact form on the website in which they confirm that they do want to receive future e-mail marketing from you. If you don’t follow the rules, you are likely to receive a hefty fine.
2. Be aware of different time-zones and bank holidays
When you set up an e-mail marketing campaign for China from your UK-based office, we recommend that you familiarise yourself with the different time-zones first. It may be ineffective to send an e-mail which might potentially arrive in a Chinese inbox in the middle of the night. The same goes for public holidays, as they vary from country to country. Always check that the date of your international e-mail marketing campaign won’t fall on a bank holiday. This normally means that fewer recipients will have access to their e-mail accounts, especially to their business accounts.
3. Collect the relevant contact data
Do your research and find out the best way of winning subscribers for your international e-mail marketing campaign. Are people likely to subscribe to a newsletter or do they prefer to download a guidebook? Ask yourself who you’re targeting. Is it worth sending e-mails to info@ or sales@? Would you be better off spending a little bit more time and collecting personalised e-mail addresses? This leads us to our next tip.
4. Personalise your e-mail
Always make sure that you follow the customs of the target country. For instance, in Germany you wouldn’t go and say: Dear @First Name@. As a rule of thumb, when you haven’t met a German national before, you normally use their last name: Dear @Herr Weber (Mr Weber)
5. Translate your e-mail content
After doing your background research, it is now time to work on the content of your e-mail campaign. Unless you’re a multilingual genius, you’re more than likely not fluent in all the native languages of your potential customer base. Does this mean that you should contact your Spanish prospects in English? Definitely not. Don’t let potential overseas customers be put off by an e-mail campaign in English. Go the extra mile and have your e-mail professionally translated into Spanish. This does not only show respect towards your potential clients, it also breaks down the barriers and makes people more likely to reply and – more importantly- buy from you. Statistics showed that for 56.2% of consumers, the ability to obtain information in their own language is even more important than price.
6. Respect cultural differences
In our last tip we advised you to spend some of your budget on the professional translation of your e-mail content. A professional translator can localise your international e-mail marketing campaign. Any free online translation tool won’t be able to tell you if the images you use in your campaign are appropriate for your target audience. Computers also won’t be able to advise you on the right tone or colour for your e-mail. Having your content localised can make a difference in your success story of entering a foreign market.
7. Have your landing pages ready
Again, this is a matter of having the landing pages in the right language for your potential customers. When you send out a Spanish e-mail marketing campaign to your potential customers in South America, make sure that your customers can click on a website and receive the information in Spanish. If you have a restricted budget it’s best to start by translating the landing pages and gradually translating your whole website.
8. Be prepared for the replies
Last but not least, be prepared for the replies from your international e-mail marketing campaign. When you send out a German campaign to German prospects, have a native speaker on hand to deal with any phone calls or e-mail messages. A more cost-effective option might be a telephone interpreting service. We can work together with you for the first few months until your business with Germany kicks off and you can afford to employ a native speaker.
With all the tips above, running an international e-mail marketing campaign can be just as easy as working on your local campaign. It’s just a case of getting the small details right, to take advantage of the global opportunity.
Have you ever ran international e-mail marketing campaigns? Share your experience below.
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