Are some common mistakes turning your global email marketing into a world-class mess?

A recent survey by a Waltham, Mass.-based Lionbridge Technologies of more than 570 people from 25 countries found many global email marketing efforts are falling flat. The reason: companies aren’t tailoring their messages for the unique global audiences they are trying to attract, don’t use a mobile-friendly format and are clinging to antiquated tracking methods.

Some may even be running afoul of local opt-in or privacy laws.

A World of Differences

Clint Poole, vice president of marketing for Lionbridge, said the survey results reveal a number of weak spots in global marketing efforts and it’s time for companies to make changes to bolster their efforts. Below are five common mistakes and some tips to get your organization on the right track.

Mistake No. 1: Sending e-mails that potential customers can’t even read on their mobile devices.

“Despite the fact that mobile devices have become the preferred device for reading email, only 42.3 percent of respondents are using responsive design to ensure that email is functional on mobile,” he said. This is a big blunder considering mobile devices, combined with greater internet access, are likely to make email marketing into a $6.5 billion market by 2018, according to Lionbridge.

Fix this problem by adding someone with responsive design skills to your team, whether a full-time digital designer or external agency/contractor, said Poole.

You’ll also need to choose a responsive design technique. Select the style that works best with your current email platforms, he said. “The major challenge is there is no one-size-fits-all solution for designing for mobile. Email platforms, mail servers, design elements and other factors will require you to constantly test and reconfigure your approach,” said Poole.

Mistake No. 2: Disregarding local privacy and opt-in e-mail laws

“Privacy and opt-in email laws continue to become more stringent, a trend that will only continue as illustrated by Canada’s recent anti-spam legislation (CASL),” said Poole.

The survey results show that global marketers aren’t ready to comply. “For example, 45.2 percent of survey respondents place no restrictions on the frequency of global email campaigns."

Make compliance a critical function at your organization. “Constantly monitor changing regulations and ensure your Marketing Operations implement workflows that accommodate regulations based on region,” said Poole. Adopt strong opt-in policies and avoid “batch and blast” predictive segmentation approaches, he added.

Also consider creating a subscription center, which allows customers to choose the type of communications you send them, said Pole. Make sure the “must haves” are included such as a clear opt-out or unsubscribe option, the full name of the company in legal form and a contact address.

Mistake No. 3: Failing to communicate between departments

“The study found that in many organizations, multiple departments are blasting emails to the same list based on their own schedules and objectives,” said Ann Breckenkamp, product manager at CommandIQ, a technology company that helps B2C marketers leverage behavioral data to communicate more effectively with their customers. “It's no wonder so many companies are having a hard time managing the frequency that emails are sent to their customers if there's not a master record of what's being sent to begin with.”