If your company is going global or if your target audience uses different native languages, you need to adapt your email content accordingly. In order for an email campaign to have an effect, it needs to be personalized and strategized in a way that aligns with your audience’s preferences. That is, if you want your international audience to open and read your email content, you need to rethink your email strategy. The following facts and statistics support the importance of content localization:
- Only 25% of companies keep in mind the regional preferences of their consumers when creating content.
- 70% of Internet users aren’t native English speakers.
- 75% of Internet users don’t make purchasing decisions unless the product description is in the language they speak.
- Every $1 invested in the localization process results in an ROI of $25
Based on that, you can realize how valuable is the localization of your email content. Now that we are all on the same page and we all agree that localization is something that a global company needs, let’s get to some practical advice.
Localization vs. Translation
First of all, you need to know the difference between translation and localization.
The translation is turning content from a source language to a target language. Some companies opt for machine translation since it is the fastest and most affordable solution but it can often produce low-quality content because it can’t understand the context.
Localization is a process that includes translation but it also considers the target audience’s culture, habits, beliefs, understanding of certain phenomena, phrases, and so on. This process doesn’t just focus on the text but the overall experience that the target audience will have. To simplify, it is translation powered up with the cultural context of the target audience.
Localization of the email content is beneficial to the company’s success because it adapts the content to the audience which makes the email campaign personalized and consequently more effective.
Segment the Audience
If you want to personalize your email campaign, you need to know who you are targeting, right? Segmenting the audience is one of the most essential steps of the email content localization process.
In case you have already sectioned your subscribers based on their location, you can skip this step, but in case you haven’t this is the time to get it done.
Analyze customers’ behavior in their previous locations from which they have visited your website. Use the results to segment them based on their location and language use preference.
To simplify this process for the future, add a question about the language in which the customer wants to receive the emails on the newsletter signup. In that way, as soon as you get a new subscriber, you’ll know in which group he or she belongs.
Consider Different Areas of Content
Besides the body of the email, there are other aspects that you need to consider during the localization process. The three main focus points are:
1. The subject line
Subject lines need to be short, concise, and direct. When you translate your subject line from English to another language, the result can be disappointing. For example:
- Try our new product (English)
- 私たちの新しい製品ラインを試してみてください (Japanese)
As you can tell the translated subject line is too long so in such cases you’ll need to think of a different subject line. Remember that it is best if you keep the subject line under 50 characters.
The rules about addressing people are different from culture to culture. While Americans like the direct approach, some people from another nation such as the African culture can find that inappropriate.
Adjust your messaging based on the culture you are targeting. You can have a friendly and humorous welcome email for one target audience but more formal and polite for others.
The number of words of your CTA can affect the email’s design. So, if you see that the translated CTA is too lengthy, don’t hesitate to change it.
Carefully Pick the Colors
The colors have a huge importance in some cultures. The way you incorporate colors in your email design will determine the recipient’s mood and overall experience.
Take a look at the following color associations by different cultures.
Just imagine that you usually use yellow as a dominant color and use that same design for the Middle Eastern target audience. The effect wouldn’t be the same for sure.
Feel free to hire a consultant that will help you with the choice of colors and layout just until you get the hang of it.
Reconsider the Images
Since we are talking about email aesthetics, we should mention that besides colors you need to pay attention to the images you use.
For example, using images of women in a bikini probably isn’t the best idea for the audience in Middle-East. You don’t want to offend your audience before they even get a chance to get to know your company and your products.
Rethink the images that you are using in your email campaign. Maybe you won’t have to change a thing, maybe you’ll need to make small adjustments, or maybe you’ll replace all the images.
Whatever it is, it is better to make changes beforehand than to reject potential customers.
Adjust the Content to Local Holidays
Did you know that Chinese New Year is on January 25th? Sending them a Happy New Year email on December 31st would be confusing for them and will present your company as unprofessional.
When your audience comes from different countries with different holidays, you’ll have to make some alternations to your holiday content.
Do some research about holidays that your target countries celebrate to get informed and then you can make the next step – adjusting the content to local holidays.
You can make all the holiday content upfront and just schedule them for specific times and specific groups of segmented subscribers.
Work with Professionals
This whole process will go smoother if you have someone to help you out. By someone, we refer to professional localization experts who have dealt with content localization numerous times.
Hiring a content localization expert will save you some time since you won’t have to do all the research. The expert will guide you through it. Having someone to lean on will also save you the nerves because you won’t have to worry about complying with all the cultural regulations.
Find a localization expert by searching for companies that provide these services. For shorter projects, you can also go with freelancers.
However, if want to handle the localization process on your own but you need a translator to polish up the content, make sure that you avoid machine translations. They will never be able to provide you with high-quality translation.
Some Final Thoughts
Localization of your email content can result in many benefits for your company. It can improve customer satisfaction, enable international customers to have a better understanding of your email content, reduce costs of reproducing content, and grow your customer base, among other things. Since it is quite clear that email localization is something that your company needs, take these localization tips and put them to use ASAP!
Donald Fomby is a digital marketing specialist and translator with has a Master’s degree in Advertisement. Currently, he works for one of the top localization companies PickWriters. He combines his knowledge from digital marketing with his expertise in translating to improve the marketing efforts of companies. Besides the world of marketing and translation, he is also passionate about traveling and hiking.
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