The Importance of Email Localization

email localization

One popular marketing strategy is the email campaign. In 2018, more than 280 billion emails were sent globally every single day, and this figure is projected to increase to over 347 billion in 2023. To achieve marketing success with emails means connecting with your targeted audience by understanding their language, culture, traditions, buying preferences, and related nuances. In other words, there is no hope of succeeding without email localization.

Your Emails Must Be in the Local Language

Only about 25% of global Internet users are English speaking. 19.3% of users are Chinese, 7.9% speak Spanish, and 5.2% are Arabic speakers. Studies have shown a direct relationship between language and the buyer’s likelihood to make a purchase. You can’t afford to miss out on this potential audience by not translating your marketing content and not paying attention to email localization.

One survey of 8,709 online shoppers in 29 countries found that over 75 percent prefer to buy products or services based on reading information written in their native language. 40 percent stated that they would never buy from websites in other languages.

When sending emails to an international audience, nuances such as everyday communication style, device usage, seasonal sales, image and color perception, and more should be considered. With email localization, it’s necessary to understand that how people address each other, write, or conduct business varies significantly based on country and even different regions within a country. The following are some of the cultural differences that impact the behavior of online buyers:

Everyday Communication

Americans are used to a more casual approach to communication. But Germans, for example, prefer a formal tone. Your email communication in German should address the reader as Frau or Herr, the English equivalent of Ms. or Mr. You will put the reader off if you address him, for example, as Dear Helmut.

Data Security

The feeling of users concerning sharing their personal data while purchasing online varies from country to country. Do your prospective customers feel safe in sharing their email addresses and other personal data with you? You may have to make an extra effort to reassure some customers that it’s ok to hit the purchase button.

Seasonal Events

Occasion-based emails are great marketing tools provided you get them right. You must consider the holidays and seasons celebrated by the countries you’re targeting.

  • Example: The days on which the same holiday is celebrated can vary by country. For instance, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in the US and India, but on the first Sunday of September in Australia.
  • Example: Christmas and Hanukkah take place around the same time of year, but Christmas is a Christian holiday, and Hanukkah belongs to the Jews. Etiquette suggests that it’s wise to send out a ‘season’s greetings’ email instead of specifying a religious holiday that the recipient may not celebrate.

Perception of Colors

The impact of color on marketing is tremendous – the vast majority of snap decisions to purchase a product are based just on color. Choosing the right color in your email localization branding involves cultural and religious sensitivity. You need to localize your brand colors based on the country being targeted.

  • Example: In the US, red implies love (e.g., red roses), but in Germany, it represents negativity. In France, red signifies masculinity, while in China, it’s a color that’s considered auspicious.

Device Usage

You need to research what devices are popular in the geographic locations you are targeting. If you’re targeting some other countries, e.g., South Africa, you should focus on mobile marketing because most residents prefer to access their emails on this way.


Cultural differences can make or break your email marketing campaigns.

  • Example: British spenders are three times more careful in spending their money and less likely to purchase on credit as compared to Americans.
  • Customers who speak the same language may also come from different cultures. Spoken English differs between the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
  • Example: In the UK and Canada, what Americans call “College” is called “University.”

What to Concentrate on in Email Localization

For a global email marketing campaign, focus on localizing the following elements:

Local Email Localization Regulations – Be aware of local laws pertaining to electronic messaging, e.g., anti-spam and permission policies. Basic rules may include seeking permission to email the subscriber, providing an unsubscribe option, and adding your contact details in the email. Additionally, some regulations may require adding a prefix to the subject line and honoring an unsubscribing request within a few days.

Subject Line – While the ideal subject line length is 50 characters or less in English, the same line could involve more than 70 French or German characters. So, make sure your subject line is short and doesn’t get truncated. Attract attention to your email by including an emoji in your subject line, but make sure you also localize your emojis.

Script Design – Languages in the Middle-East, such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Urdu, are written from right to left, as opposed to English and European languages that are written from left to right. Other languages, such as Japanese, are written from top to bottom.

Images – Be careful to localize your images. For instance, if you add an image of your team relaxing with a beer in an email, this may come across as offensive in countries where alcohol is banned for religious purposes. When creating localized emails, choose neutral images, and avoid ones that can generate a negative response.

Time Zones – Generally speaking, people tend to check their emails in the mornings and on weekdays. According to one report, there’s not much difference in email opening rates from Monday to Friday. Generally speaking, weekends are not a good time to send out emails but weekend days can also vary by country. Sending emails between 10 and11 a.m. seems to produce higher open rates. However, test your targeted market to determine the best time and day to send emails.

Calls to Action – Even if you’re using a simple call-to-action of three words, it can mess with fixed-width elements or become multiple lines when translated. Make sure that your CTA contains words that are widely accepted by your target audience and that it fits in your email aesthetically.

Email Signature – Depending on the country you’re conducting your email marketing in, the words used to sign off on your email are as important as the subject line and the content. Here are some examples:

  • “Regards” is thought of as usual in the USA, while the British prefer “Warm Regards” or “Kind Regards.”
  • Ending your email with a verbal equivalent of a hug will be liked by Brazilians but will seem out of place in cultures with more formal etiquette.
  • In Nigeria, your audience might appreciate an email closing with a prayer.

Using Localize for Email

Pay attention to regional, cultural, and commercial preferences while designing your email marketing campaigns. Your ultimate aim in email localization is to gain the trust of your targeted consumers so that they engage with your brand, make a purchase, and become loyal fans of your business. Localize is a high-quality translation and localization management service that can help your email campaigns stand out. Book a conversation with us to find out more.

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