Top 7 international email marketing tips

| December 16, 2011

Perversely, I enjoy getting spam. It’s a valuable exercise in how not to do email marketing.   

The subject line of one of today’s spam messages asks if I have “Enough passion for these hotter nights?”  It’s snowing in Woodingdean right now and hotter nights are a distant dream. Wrong hemisphere, chaps.

International email marketing – How NOT to do spam

In the context of spam it doesn’t matter much. The whole campaign is crap anyway, coming from the ‘if you throw enough poo at the wall some of it will stick’ school of marketing. But it matters in ‘real’ marketing. Unless you’re a spammer it’s vital to get it right.

If you’re planning an international email marketing campaign, examine your offer and the way it’s presented logically before pressing the button. Think about things like:

  • The seasons – If you’re basing your offer or creative treatment on how hot or cold it is, make sure you get your hemispheres right!
  • Messaging – Something that’s fine in the UK might offend people in other countries
  • Colloquialisms – We’re a nation of punners. But puns, wryness, colloquialisms and irony don’t translate well
  • Culture – Here’s an example. North Americans praise each other all the time, whereas we’re more circumspect. They blow their own trumpets louder than we do, too. Just look at a few US B2B websites and you’ll see what I mean. We speak the same language… but we’re very different people
  • Imagery –  make sure your imagery doesn’t alienate, but resonates with people in your target countries
  • Zeitgeist – What’s affecting consumers and businesses in your target countries right now? Does your marketing message address, reflect or tap into the population’s concerns and enthusiasms?

My top seven international email marketing tips

  1. Segment your data by country
  2. Research each country’s market thoroughly
  3. Alter your creative treatment for each country, informed by your research
  4. Act on empirical response and conversion information…
  5. … but remember the fewer people you email, the less reliable your statistics
  6. Always test new creative treatments and offers against a control segment to gauge relative performance accurately
  7. Be aware of confirmation bias, where we ignore evidence that doesn’t match our opinions and convictions. We kid ourselves with ease. But the numbers never lie

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Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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