Whether your business is an eCommerce store selling pet toys, or an online gaming website with games like Deuces Wild, it’s vital to make your email content relevant for everybody. But if you have clients from all over the world, you’ve probably wondered at some point how to bridge the cultural gap between widely different audiences. Every marketer knows that engaging as many segments of the audience as possible is the key to success. But since people in different countries have different interests, needs, and values, you need to vary your approach. The best solution is to design your campaigns with email localization design in mind. Let’s take a closer look at how to do this.  

The Main Reasons to Localize Your Email Design

The simple truth is that most users will stop their subscriptions if the email newsletter design is not localized. Nobody wants to waste time reading content that does not relate to them and might even offend them. A great email design considers the local peculiarities and builds a strong brand image without upsetting anyone. The result will be increasing your international market share and gaining a significant edge over the competition.

So, obviously, localization also has a strong effect on your overall revenues. Although it may take a lot of effort and sometimes paid work to get the localization in your email template designs right, the good ROI will make it worth it. Sounds good? Let’s continue then with some of the best hands-on email localization design strategies:  

1. Localization Comes Before translation

The first step in localizing your email campaign is simple: find out which language your customers prefer to communicate in. You might be surprised to find out that in some regions people can speak your language quite well. In those cases, you don’t necessarily even need to translate your content. Cultural adaptation is far more important. 

Lots of marketers emphasize translating the content, but this rarely gets the wanted results without proper localization. For example, a headline that’s directly translated can become too wordy in some languages. And a clumsy headline results in your email not getting opened.

2. Know the Local Holidays

Knowing the local holidays is vital when you’re sending out emails that are occasion-based. 

For example, is your target audience celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah? You need to know because both of these two holidays fall around the same time and have a religious nature. You wouldn’t want to mess up these celebrations in your email footer design as a wrong recipient would perceive your greetings as inconsiderate. There’s also a quick way around this issue: you can send out a general “season’s greetings” email that aims at anyone celebrating any religious holiday.

Another example is Father’s day. It’s a national holiday celebrated on different dates in different regions: someone receiving Father’s day greeting months before the occasion would be confused. And guess what? They would associate this confusion with your brand.

3. Cultural Differences

There are many steps you can take to stay relevant to people with different cultural backgrounds. Here are the most important ones: 

  • Mention local news and events. It is a quick way to let your audience know that you understand the world they’re living in. 
  • Use local endorsements. These work best because people trust and follow most keenly the thought leaders and influencers from their own region.
  • Try to understand how your product could benefit a specific target audience. The thing is that your target market could find your product useful in a completely different way than a target market overseas. Find out the specific problems of every segment of your audience. And emphasize the features of your product that are the best solution to specific issues.
  • Include cultural references. It is a tricky one and requires you to do a lot of research. The best way to get it right would be to hire natives from the area you’re targeting. They’ll know how to include the savvy references that make you sound like a local.
  • Use the correct symbols for currency, dates, etc. Look, if you’re sending out content with statistics about revenues in dollars, it will still be understandable in the European Union countries. But converting the dollar data into euros is a nice little touch that the European target audiences will appreciate. And make sure you change your euros to dollars when targeting the U.S. from Europe.

4. Cultural Insensitivities

The tone of your emails is crucial. Avoid what would sound strongly worded or aggressive in a specific region. Something that might be suitable for an audience in your home country would not be accepted abroad. For example, you may offer a great discount on wristwatches and promote them as a great holiday gift. But here’s something interesting: clocks in China are related to death. Obviously, you can still sell wristwatches in China successfully. But not by encouraging people to buy them as a gift. 

Again, hiring an email localization specialist who has ideally been living in the target country is one of the best ways to assure you’re sending out appropriate messages. 

5. Time Differences

One of the best localization tools for marketers to use is a time zone calculator. It ensures that you wouldn’t send out emails that the recipients will receive in the middle of the night. These messages will never get the desired engagement. In worse cases, they’ll wake the recipient from sleep. Generally, the best response goes to emails that reach the recipient’s inbox around 10 to 11 PM. But it takes some experimentation to find the sweet spot. Every culture has different ways to react to emails received at different times.

6. Choose the Right Colors

Did you know that the snap decisions to buy a product are often based on color? The thing is that every consumer has certain emotions attached to specific colors. And your emails can elicit emotions simply because of being in a certain color. But different colors carry different meanings in different societies. 

In most western countries, the color white, for example, has a calming effect. However, there’s something you should know before sending out newsletters in white to Asian countries. In the eastern regions, the color white is associated with mourning. 

7. Technical Issues

Although using mobile phones is immensely popular across the world, you should still do some research about technical preferences in your target country. In some areas, people still like to use PC-s more than smartphones, and it wouldn’t be wise to send them content that’s only viewable via mobile screens. Also, believe it or not, but there are plenty of areas in the world where it’s still quite difficult to access the Internet. Or the Internet is predominantly slow. How to design an email in that case? By keeping the newsletters as simple as possible. Don’t include any high-res videos or other long loading design elements. People will not wait for a video to load, especially when their time on the Internet is limited. 

Localized Email Marketing 

Localization is especially important for services that deal with clients’ money. B2B websites can not afford to send out confusing messages, as these would immediately get reported as spam.

Here are some of email design’s best practices for B2B websites: 

Make the opening catchy. Here you can even go beyond the usual localization practices and start the email in the most personal possible way: using the recipient’s first name. Plus, you should present the most relevant information right at the beginning to engage the reader from the first sentences. 

Let the reader know who you are. Your brand should be immediately recognized everywhere in the world. 

Create effective subject lines. As mentioned before, directly translating the subject lines can result in inefficiently wordy sentences. Instead, try to speak to the target audience in their conversational language. 

Segment the audience further. When localizing your email design, you should take into consideration the different segments in your target audience. For example, new gamers need different messages than loyal clients who have played on your site for years. 

Have a purpose for your emails. Whether you’re handing out welcoming bonuses or offering free memberships, make it known in the email with a flashy CTA button.


To send out meaningful emails, you need to keep localization in mind. It will improve the engagement with your campaign and increase your conversion rate. Use the tips from this article to make sure the target audience opens the mail, reads it through, and buys from you. If you decide to handle the localization yourself, check out some responsive email design tutorials from the web. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but it gets easier over time, as you’ll start to understand the most effective ways to address different audiences. Soon, you’ll be a relevant brand to target markets across the world. 

How are you designing localized emails for your business? Share your tips in the comments section.

About the Author

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Thomas Glare has been involved in digital marketing for many years and saw the industry shift from tons of content marketing to influencer and ephemeral marketing. While he’s convinced that content marketing shouldn’t be forgotten altogether, Thomas writes a lot about how influencer marketing is for a startup that wants to make quick steps in the market. 

Guest Writer