How to Get Started with Email Marketing Localization

How to Get Started with Email Marketing Localization

Even if you don’t have a global brand, email localization tactics can be used to create an effective marketing campaign for any brand that is operating across a large region or territory.  It can seem intimidating but in this post we’ll aim to break down this strategy into key parts that any marketer can execute on.

Email localization is the process to which you adapt your marketing strategy to include international markets, but I do think that this can be used for any brand that has customers in segmented by region, city, or state. The main localization tactics include language, culture, and time difference.

As of April 2019, the most popular language on the web was English. However, it represented only 25.2 percent of internet users worldwide.

If you want to attract global customers, you need to “speak” their language. Adapting to your customers’ cultures and preferences can be the key to winning their hearts.

What Is Email Marketing Localization?

Email marketing localization is a strategy that refers to the process of adapting your email marketing campaign to cater to your audience’s local tastes. Most marketers confuse this strategy with mere translation. But it is much more than that.

You need to recognize the regional preferences and tailor your email marketing strategy accordingly. So, you need to pay close attention to the tone in your subject lines, your graphics, layouts, and more. Basically, you need to adapt your campaign so that it becomes culturally relevant to your customers who live in another region.

To win at email marketing localization, you need to understand the nuances of the culture before you start working on your campaign. If you want to do business in Mexico, using a simple “Hola” in the subject line of your emails could boost your open rate. This, in turn, can increase engagement as well.

In a nutshell, email marketing localization is all about how well you can integrate your brand into the culture of the region.

Best Tips For Email Marketing Localization

If you want to attract new subscribers, leads, and customers from a new demographic, you need localized content. When you add an element of personalization, it tells your audience that you care.

To excel at email marketing localization, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

1. Leverage Geotargeting

If you can segment your email list by location, then you can tailor your message specifically for each region with relevant content. Geotargeting can be a highly effective strategy in email marketing localization and is very closely related to audience segmentation and personalization.

When users see relevant information that is specific to their neighborhood or region, they are more likely to engage with it.

For instance, if a hot summer is predicted, you can target your customers in the region with summer wear. Similarly, if a local holiday is coming up in another country, you can tailor you email campaigns around it.

You can even create landing pages that are specific to a geographic location. Just like email, a landing page should be in the native language. It should take into consideration the culture of the region, and respect any nuances they may have around marketing and advertisements.

2. Get Your Subject Lines Right

This is important to all email marketing. Your subject line is the first thing that recipients see in your email. It can work as a hook to get them interested. So, your open rate and subject line are directly related to each other.

When it comes to email marketing localization, getting your subject lines right is half the battle. You still need to translate it and adapt it to the region.

Ideally, your subject line should not have more than fifty characters in it. If it is longer than that, there is a chance that it might get truncated. For English, the character limit may be sufficient. However, for other languages, you might need to use more characters to express the same thing.

As a result, you may want to avoid literal translation for email marketing localization. It’s not always your best option. Instead, use different preheaders and subject lines for your localized email marketing campaigns.

To choose an appropriate subject line, you can also get the help of a localization specialist. Give them as much context as you can around the goal of the email so they recommend you the best strategy.

Also keep in mind that many countries have anti-spam laws. For email marketing, familiarizing yourself with the regional laws is a necessity.

For instance, if your campaign is targeted towards Chinese users, you must take note of China’s regulations and anti-spam laws.

According to the rules, the word “ad” in English or its Chinese equivalent must be used in the subject lines of promotional emails. If you end up violating these rules, you may damage your brand’s reputation.

3. Be Mindful of Different Time Zones

This is often-overlooked.

Sending your emails at the right times is crucial for any email marketing campaign. In localized campaigns, it can be the ultimate deciding factor in whether your campaign will be successful or not.

For instance, you may send emails during the peak hour in your country. But if it’s midnight in the region where your target audience lives, there is little chance that you will get a good open rate.

Also,  the best time in one region may not be the best time in another. You may have to run a few a/b tests to figure out what works best for you.

4. Focus on Your Call-to-Action

Your call-to-action buttons may need to be changed for localized emails to ensure that they are relevant and prominent.

When translating your content in another language, your character count may explode. . Sometimes translated copy can occupy multiple additional lines if the word or phrase used are significantly longer. English is actually quite a direct language compared to most. So, using elements that have a fixed width is not a good idea.

For your call-to-action buttons, you may need to design multiple variations and then try A/B testing them. To track which version gets the highest open rate, you can use UTM codes in your CTA links. To create these codes, you can use

These codes can help you track the traffic and open rate that you get from each version. Based on that, you can choose the best option for your localized email marketing campaign.


Email marketing localization is an important strategy for any business that plans to go global. If you are entering a new region, you need to adapt your campaign to the local culture.

A successful email marketing localization strategy segments users by region or groups of people and tailors a highly relevant message to them.

From your subject lines to your call-to-action, everything needs to be tested. While translation is a major part of email marketing localization, it isn’t everything. Keep in mind that you need to be culturally respectful and mindful of the local laws or taboos to win over a new target market.

What do you think about email marketing localization? Have you used this strategy before? Please share your thoughts and tips in the comments section below.

Dan McGaw

Dan McGaw is an award-winning entrepreneur and speaker. He is the founder and CEO of, a marketing technology and analytics agency, and the creator of, a campaign management and data governance tool. Named one of the godfathers of the marketing technology stack and one of original growth hackers, Dan has decades of experience in digital marketing, technology, and analytics. (His team won’t let him take this out even though he says it makes him sound old.)

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