Email localization is one of the more important things you can do when it comes to reaching users with truly personalized communications.

If you’re trying to reach customers around the globe, it’s challenging to bridge the language and cultural gap. That’s why localization makes your content more relevant to your audience. It also communicates that you care about the needs, values, and interests of your target audience as they are influenced by location.

In this guide, we will present email localization design strategies. These tips will help you to engage better with your customers and readers around the world. 

1. Consider Time Zones When Sending Localized Emails

When you send emails to recipients who live on the other side of the globe, remember that they’re not in the same zone. Therefore, if you were going to send out an email that the local audience would receive in the middle of the night, think again.

Emails that arrive in late hours and non-peak read rate periods may not get the engagement you want.

Think of it from your personal perspective: don’t you tend to swipe away marketing emails when you do your early morning email checks?

So, how can you tackle this issue and make sure your audience receives their emails in optimal periods of the day?

First of all, make sure you are looking at a correct time zone for your audience. If you’re juggling various national audiences around the world, all in different time zones, it can be quite confusing to organize email send-outs according to specific segments of the audience.

The easiest way is to use a time zone calculator, enter your time and see what time it is in your target audience country.

Start by timing emails so they arrive in the recipients’ inbox around 10 to 11 in the morning, their time. This way they receive both the email and notification when they are awake and active. According to WordStream and their data from their own email campaigns, the optimal timing to send out an email campaign is Thursdays from 8 AM to 10 AM.

Finally, if you’re sending emails to cultures all around to world, you will have to do a lot of experimenting with timing localization to find the sweet spot. Remember that no culture engages with emails in exactly the same way. After you start your campaigns, you should initiate monitoring and analytics that will show you how recipients from different cultures react differently. 

2. Understand The Culture Before You Send That Email

Your first order of business is relevance. If you don’t align your email localization to the target culture and send out an email without an actual understanding of the culture, you might lose customers and subscribers.

How do you ensure that your email is relevant to the recipient? 


Use the correct currency symbols, date formats, and time zones.

Readers like to know that you took the effort to actually change all your currencies, dates and other culture-specific items to their language. This shows that you take care of the details, especially in intercultural communication.

Make sure that any cultural references, slang, or idioms are relatable to your target audience.

The best way to instantly establish relevance is to include cultural references that the target audience will respond to. However, make sure you check with experts and that you know what you’re doing because mistakes can be quite costly. You can use services like The Word Point to find native translators that will translate your promotional texts smoothly to the target language.


Understand how your product or service is useful to that audience in particular, not a general audience.

Narrow down on your audience`s interests and don’t send generic emails across all the cultures you work with or sell to. Tailoring your content to fit a particular culture will bring you much higher opening rates and engagement rates.

Use local testimonials and endorsements.

If you’re using the marketing technique of testimonials (which is always recommended), include reviews and testimonials that are relevant to the local audience. If you’re using fictional personas, localize the name: a Chinese audience is unlikely to respond to a testimonial by Jack Johnson.


Tie into local events if possible.

Show that you’re keeping track of the happenings in the local culture by mentioning local events and news.

3. Watch Out for Cultural Insensitivity

Consider the tone of your emails. Strongly worded, prideful commentary may be a sales asset in your region. In another, it might come off as assertive and aggressive. The easiest way to get it right is to consult with editors and proofreaders and ask them to review the tone of the email and how it will play out in the target culture.

Body language, colors, and symbols take on different meanings in different cultures. Make sure your emails are presenting what you intend to your audience. Unfortunately, this is a mistake that’s usually spotted when it appears something’s not right. So, if your audience analytics are showing an unexplainably low engagement rate, perhaps you were off with cultural symbolism.

Work with an email localization specialist who ‘gets’ local culture and can advise you appropriately. A localization specialist should preferably be living in the country you’re sending to. For example, an expat will speak their native language perfectly but may lose touch with their native culture if they haven’t been in the country for a long time.

4. Localization may be more important than translation

  • If your target audience generally speaks your language, it may be wiser to invest your time and resources into localizing your email content rather than translating it.
  • Research your target region to better understand language fluency and preferences. You can do this as a team and compare findings and results.
  • If you do opt for translation, ensure that your email content is both localized and translated. Many marketers tend to ignore this aspect of cultural adaptation and believe that translation is enough. However, if you don’t localize emails, you will quickly begin to see poor engagement rates among people from different cultures.

5. Pay Special Attention to Subject Lines and Notification Text

Some languages are more verbose than others. What takes seven words and less than 40 characters in one language can be significantly longer than others. This can cause issues with space-sensitive text such as email subject lines and notification text.

You may not be able to translate these items directly. Instead, consider writing a new text that sends the same message using the appropriate number of words and characters to avoid truncation.

6. Think About Technical Adoption And Resources

People engage with email differently depending on the technology and communications resources available to them. Naturally, different cultures have different relationships to technology and human interaction. Some nations are very connected to digital technology, while others are skeptical of it.

Has your target audience largely moved to mobile devices, or are they mostly using computers to read emails? That makes a difference. You can easily find out this information by accessing your email campaign analytics data.

In various countries around the world, there is a disparity in access to the internet.
What is the situation with the internet access in the country you want to target?
Is a private, high-speed connection the norm?
Are many of your recipients using slower connections or public internet?

This impacts the content you might include in your emails. For example, high-resolution images, videos, and other email content that eats a lot of bandwidth may not be a good idea when you’re targeting areas with poor internet infrastructure.

If you’re not sure about the internet quality in your target country, you can check this list to see how the country ranks in terms of the internet speed compared to the average.


Email localization design can be implemented to ensure that your email content is relevant to your target audience. By distributing email content that is meaningful to your customers, you increase your chances of improving engagement and conversions.

There are many intricacies and details to take care of to make sure that your email is foreign culture-friendly. So, if you plan on entering another market with email campaigns, make sure you cooperate with local experts or invest time and resources to make it perfect.


Erica Sunarjo

Erica Sunarjo

Erica Sunarjo got her start as a freelance writer for a number of online companies – e-commerce and writing services, including Best Writers Online. Since then, she has branched out to copywriting for multichannel marketing campaigns for clients from a variety of sectors and has become an expert on creative and successful campaigns.