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How to avoid the pitfalls of international marketing

How to avoid the pitfalls of international marketing

By Emily Goodyear, WRM-Media.

There are many intricacies within international digital marketing, which often encourages marketing companies to remain within the safety net of their own national perimeters. However, these are exciting times for international email marketing.

It has fast become the quickest, most cost-effective way of communicating with consumers. Ideal for expanding internationally, the digital avenue provides the opportunity to reach consumers all over the world, instantly. It has the best global penetration of all direct marketing services but the pitfalls can seem endless if you don’t have a good understanding of international email marketing from the outset.

Companies such as StrongMail, CheetahMail and Datran Media are all US email vendors that have expanded globally, so going global makes sense for the email marketing specialists targeting their consumers. But where do you start if you have yet to dip your toe into international waters?

Communicating internationally involves much more than simply gaining access to email addresses abroad, as so many companies fail to recognise.

As the number of different targeted demographics you need to tailor towards suddenly soars, the time zones you work in clash and the behavioural and cultural expectations of your consumers differ, it’s easy to see why some companies fall into the trap of sending international campaigns using the same strategies as their own national campaigns.

However, international expansion will be detrimental to the survival of data owners and direct marketers, which means a consideration of the different nuances across geographic location is vital. The first difficulty in international email marketing is the difference in time zones.

This can make a huge difference to the success of campaigns, as emails received at the start of the day are proved to benefit from a much better open and click rate.

Not only this, but consider the difficulties encountered by seasonal campaigns when you send out an international email about bikinis – it might be summer in the US but with winter in Australia, your campaign suddenly loses all relevance. Another, more dangerous issue is that of legislation.

Many countries vary in their laws on email marketing, and an awareness of these differences is vital in maintaining good international relations. Laws on privacy regulations and use of personal details vary significantly depending on the country and you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law if you don’t take the time to investigate these differences.

Collecting data in countries that are yet to take full advantage of email marketing will enable you to build brand awareness in a developing industry. Sooner rather than later is the adage here.

For any growing database marketing business, international communication is crucial for sustained success, however, there are several pitfalls to consider before embarking on a global marketing operation.

By researching individual country legislation and preference, organisations set themselves up for successful ongoing international communication in the future.

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