You’ve probably seen the term “international email marketers” around. Perhaps you’ve even wondered what they do. You may have also Googled it and found a variety of explanations as to what it means — from email marketing for multinational brands to collecting email addresses for targeted advertising, among other things.
This blog post will explore the various facets of international email marketing as well as highlight some of the unique challenges that multinational brands must overcome.
Why Email Marketing?
Email is still one of the most effective and popular ways to communicate and reach out to customers. In fact, a recent email marketing survey from HubSpot revealed that 87% of respondents said that they use email marketing to a “great extent,” and 73% use it at least occasionally. Even millennials like me — people born in the early years of this century — still use email often to stay in touch with friends and family.
Emails aren’t going anywhere, and with the right tools and strategies, you can use them to engage with customers around the world and show them your appreciation for their business and engagement with your brand.
The Many Roles of an International Email Marketer
An international email marketer often works for a marketing agency that specializes in email marketing for global companies. But they can also work for an eCommerce store that wants to reach international customers or for a media company that wants to engage with key influencers across borders.
An international email marketer does not necessarily need to have extensive experience in email campaigns. Instead, they need to be capable of understanding the unique aspects of an eCommerce store, social media campaigns, or traditional marketing efforts that are international in nature.
One of the most in-demand skills among big brand marketers is copywriting across borders. In a traditional marketing world, you’d have different groups of people writing to a global audience. But in the digital world, the same copy can be used internationally to reach different groups of consumers. For example, if you are marketing a pair of shoes, you might want to use the same description across Europe and Asia.
An increasing number of marketers are taking a similar approach to content and looking for ways to distribute their work internationally. If you’re an experienced marketer who is looking to grow your skillset, you can find work as an international marketer.
The Global Landscape for Business
If you’re wondering about the growth of digital marketing and eCommerce globally, you’re in the right place. According to the most recent numbers from the World Bank, digital marketing grew its share from 5.9% in 2014 to 7.8% in 2018.
That’s a 66% increase in just four years and it’s only expected to continue growing as more and more businesses adopt a digital approach to marketing and sales. The trend is clear: digital marketing is taking over.
Even traditionally-oriented industries like retail are embracing digital marketing strategies. In fact, 86% of Gen Z buy online, compared to 78% of millennials and 74% of the baby boomers. With so much competition and so many platforms for consumers to compare prices and find the best deal, brick-and-mortar retail stores are having a hard time standing out.
If you’re wondering what this means for your marketing efforts, it means you need to be thinking about how to take your marketing global from the start. Instead of focusing on domestic audiences, you should be aiming to reach consumers globally.
Every year, Internet Retailer does a survey to determine the worldwide e-commerce spending. Last year, it estimated that online retail sales were worth about US$16.9 trillion worldwide. That’s a lot of money. And the global market is only expected to grow.
If you’re unfamiliar, e-commerce refers to businesses that offer products or services for purchase online. Online retail stores, such as Amazon and eBay, are examples of e-commerce businesses. So is an e-commerce website or a digital marketer who promotes online stores.
As the name suggests, ‘online retail’ can take place entirely online. But it isn’t always the case. In fact, more and more retailers are moving toward a hybrid approach that includes some brick-and-mortar locations. The hybrid strategy allows retailers to expand their reach and attract clients who are more comfortable purchasing online but also want to have a face-to-face interaction with a salesperson if they encounter any problems.
Even if you decide to only promote online stores or decide to go the hybrid route, it’s important to note that e-commerce operates in a highly competitive market. You need to effectively use digital marketing to gain a foothold in this market and attract online shoppers to your brand.
Every day, we get messages from companies trying to sell us products we don’t need or want. But how often do we actually take the time to think about those emails when we get them? Usually, we delete them without a second thought. But why should we be so quick to dismiss an email from a brand we don’t know?
In October 2018, TikTok celebrated reaching 500 million monthly active users. That’s a massive audience and it makes sense that brands would want to reach this audience for potential customers. But even if you don’t sell products directly on your platform, you surely use it to promote your business. And that’s what makes the difference: when a consumer researches or goes looking for a product online, they often end up on your platform.
This is important because not all of those users are going to become customers. In fact, only about 3% will. But the more important point is that the rest are potential customers who could become engaged with your brand or product. This is called “converting a prospect” into a customer and it’s an important part of marketing.
With millions of users across the world, you can bet that TikTok has global reach. In fact, the platform is currently available in over 200 countries. If you’re looking for ways to connect with an audience beyond your backyard, consider partnering with a marketing firm that has overseas experience. You can also find employees who are fluent in multiple languages and can help you enter new markets.
Cross-border Data Flows
Data flows across borders. Technology makes it easier than ever for companies to operate across borders, doing business and operating in multiple locations simultaneously.
In today’s digital world, data can flow freely between countries, states, and even cities. It can be stored remotely and accessed from any device. At this point, it’s not unusual for companies to have data centers or offices in multiple countries.
If you’re curious about how this affects you as a marketer, it means your work can be accessed from any country. In fact, you might write articles or produce videos that end up being syndicated to other countries. With so much competition, it’s important for businesses to have every edge they can get. And data flows can give you an edge. As a marketer, you can think of data centers or remote offices as your own personal data warehouses, filled with information about your target audience. When a business operates in multiple locations, they often set up “copies” of their databases in other countries, so they can continue to access all the information regardless of where they are physically located.
When you’re running an international business, you have to be ready to adapt your marketing and sales strategies to new markets and new consumers. In some instances, you may need to completely rethink your approach and how you interact with customers.
As an e-commerce store owner, you may decide to offer your products through different channels, including catalogs, home deliveries, and mobile apps. You can also use your social media accounts to spread the word about your online store. And you may decide to experiment with different pricing structures and marketing promotions to find the best way to reach different groups of customers.
And this is where a lot of marketers trip up. If you’re coming from a domestic market, online stores and social media are very familiar concepts. But if you’re coming from a small business with no experience in marketing or sales abroad, it can be difficult to figure out where to start and what approach to take. You have to consider your own personal and professional experiences, along with the unique challenges of operating a business in a foreign country.
To give you an idea of what it’s like to operate an international business, let’s examine the basics of marketing and sales abroad. We’ll discuss the unique challenges that you might face and how to tackle them effectively.