America is different: Email Marketing in EMEA, APAC and closer to home

If you’re advertising and marketing outside the U.S. (EMEA, APAC or beyond) — you need to know this: How it works here is not necessarily how it works there.

Business practices and regulations differ significantly when you’re marketing beyond American borders. Email provides a case in point.

When it comes to EMEA, Europe’s “EU Opt-In Directive” states that a company cannot send commercial email to any individual who has not previously consented to receive marketing communications from your company. That directive can make reaching the in-box of your target market a little trickier.

When it comes to business-to-business (B2B) email marketing, EU rules are all over the board. The 28 member states of the European Union (EU) are free to make opt-out the minimum requirement. However, local legislation of member states can also require opt-in as well. To avoid breaking the rules, you’ll need to do your homework on email regulations for each of your target countries before initiating your OUS email campaigns. Keep in mind there may be even more dramatic changes on the horizon if the United Kingdom (UK) votes to leave the EU on June 23.

Do you have customers in Canada? Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) essentially follows Europe’s lead. All commercial email is subject to the opt-in requirement, allowing you to limit your email campaigns to recipients who have given their prior consent.

U.S. email policy for business is spelled out in the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act, which has given businesses much more leeway to send unsolicited email communications. Essentially, marketers are permitted to send emails to anyone until recipients opt out. Even so, without prior action by the recipient, due to filters and server rules in place, ‘cold-call’ email frequently ends up in the junk mail folder and remember: all B2B and B2C email must comply with opt-out and unsubscribe requirements.

Checklist for email marketing best practices:

These guidelines don’t just apply to EMEA and APAC, but should be followed for all countries. The good news is that most of these steps can be accomplished easily with an automated email marketing platform.

  • Use a double opt-in subscription mechanism to obtain prior permission, eliminating accidental subscribers.
  • Send an automated and well thought-out welcome message that clarifies what the recipient can expect from the relationship.
  • Check your HTML message design and readability. Always include plain text alternatives that will work in case images are blocked.
  • Keep the subject line short and relevant.
  • Run email messages by spam filtering applications.
  • Test email delivery on multiple devices/clients.
  • Provide content that’s wanted, expected, relevant and interesting.
  • Remember different time-zones: Segment and time your emails to arrive at the right time of day for your subscribers.
  • Provide simple instructions on how the recipient can automatically unsubscribe. (It’s not only the law, it’s the right thing to do.)
  • When subscribers opt out, send an automated and well thought-out farewell message. This works as confirmation that they have successfully opted-out and gives you an opportunity to ask for feedback, which can provide important customer insight and help you protect your brand reputation.
  • Honor opt-out requests within 10 business days.

Check out our recent blog post What’s happening with email? from our in the know series for some amazing stats and don’t forget to download our email infographic!

Be sure to read our latest post on the rapid rise and use of ad blockers and how customer use of this technology affects your retargeting, PPC and digital advertising campaigns.