Best practices for sending international emails using marketing cloud

If you are a marketing cloud user and planning to send international emails, this post would help you to follow best practices and save you a lot of time. Once you have decided to send international emails, before you create content for all your emails, here is the sequence of steps which you need to follow.

  1. Initial preparation

Before sending international emails, you want to first identify the languages which you want to send the email.

  1. For each language say Chinese, Spanish etc, identify the content for the email.
  2. Create separate headers and footers for each language.
  3. Create a separate sender profile for each language. The reason you want to do this is because of UTF-8 encoding . Each language requires an encoding format and so you want to send each language in its own unique UTF-8 format.
  4. Create also a delivery profile for each language so that you can create separate from address to capture responses from international audience.
  5. Identify a mechanism on how you are going to edit the international email content. If you are familiar with the language, you can use a text editor for the language and make the change. If you are just getting content from a third party source, get the content in a text file and save it as UTF-8 format in its language.  You can also use google international feature for translation as well.
  6. Plan to copy the content to email content text area.

2. Data Preparation

Once the content is ready, you need to identify the customers whom you want to send an email.

  1.  The preferred format to store in marketing cloud is a data extension where you can create a field for language preference. This would help to identify customers easily.
  2. You can use lists or groups to segment your customers but if you want to do automation with the customer lists, they tend to be very limited.
  3. If you are using salesforce as your CRM, you can create a field on the lead or contact for language preference and identify customers with a language preference.
  4. If you are using customer communities in salesforce where your customers are logging in to salesforce, you can use their localization attribute in salesforce which is language and update that as a field on the contact. This would help to segment the right customer for the right language.

3. What can Marketing cloud do out of the box

International Sends feature provides translated versions of the standard landing pages:

  • Profile Center
  • Subscription Center
  • Unsubscribe Confirmation
  • Forward to a Friend

So the above features would show pages in translated languages. The below screen shot shows an example of a translated page.

2. Only 21 languages at this point of wring the post will have the pages translated to the preferred language. To know the list of languages you can click on this link.

3. Any forms or landing pages which marketing cloud hosts even though it will be displayed in the native language will store the data in english as text only.

Things to be aware of

I would like to thank my friend  Eliot Harper for contributing to the below section

  1. Every language has its own unicode format which allows the device to show the language preferred. So always create separate emails with separate headers and footers for each language.
  2. Send Time Optimization: As time differences vary by country, it may be worth considering segmenting your send by country; for example, so subscribers in Europe don’t receive the email in the middle of the night or on a public holiday
  3.  Spam compliance: Depending on the type of email you are sending, you should be aware of local legislation’s regarding email spam compliance and ensure that you don’t contravene them and also comply to local opt-in processes. While in some cases the local laws may not extend outside of the country’s jurisdiction, you still need to respect the privacy concerns of your email subscribers.
  4. Language: Whether you are using multi-lingual emails, or just English, remember that language context differs by country; for example, a call-to-action for USA recipients might be interpreted differently by Asian countries. Consider targeting copyrighting and/or translations for different countries.
  5. Be also aware that some symbols or characters of your language might not display well on the email service you use due to lack of standards between email services.
  6. If you are sending surveys to international audience , avoid free form text fields which will not render inside marketing cloud.

To summarize, here are the key takeaways for you to before you plan to send an international email in marketing cloud.

  1. Have a data segmentation plan where you can segment your audience and easily filter the international customers in salesforce or in marketing cloud.
  2. Only languages which are supported by marketing cloud would have pages translated in that language.
  3. Use the right encoding format for the emails for each international language email and plan to have separate emails for each language.
  4. Avoid free form text boxes to capture customer feedback in the form of forms or emails.

Please feel free to post your comments below and as always you are always welcome to email me directly at buyan@eigenx.com for further questions.