All email marketers face the same problems. While you want to be relevant to all your subscribers in an effort to maximize results, resources are always limited. More so if you are running an international email marketing program. We looked at how to localize your message and outlined successful email marketing to an international audience, but how do we determine which regions and segments deserve the bulk of your email budget? In this article we examine how to zoom in on the most important regions for your email marketing.

Resources to Spend

Some might call it reverse thinking, but take a look at your total email marketing budget. It will define how much time and money you have to spend on email marketing in total. Some companies have their budgets divided by product, by country or just have one budget for all online marketing.

You will need to re-arrange your budget into a core email marketing budget and a localization budget. In the core budget you will have all the costs that you would make if you catered to all the countries as one. The region-specific budget will be used to provide the variable costs that you will make per country.

A List of Possibilities

Now that you know what you have to spend, take inventory on the different countries you could be localizing to. Start with the data you have. Where are your clients and subscribers located? This data can be compiled from a number of sources:

  • Customer data, (delivery) addresses
  • Subscriber preferences and data acquired via surveys
  • Open statistics available in your email from previous sends
  • Website statistics – these will also give you the number of visitors per country
  • Sales, orders, leads statistics per region

Cull Your List

There are quite a few countries to list, but we are not trying to be complete. The goal is to get a list of regions that you are most suited to localize to. Several may already be eliminated by country size, economy or sheer non-adoption or focus for your company.

Group into Regions where Possible

Now that we have a list of countries, see which could be grouped together in a logical fashion. That might be determined on the basis of language, but also product, services or logistics.


Make some extra columns. Per region we add current size, potential, impact of localization and other tactical reasons specific to your company. Based on a combination of the numbers in those columns we can now prioritize the regions, ranking from high importance to low.

Divide and Conquer

Remember that we split our budget into core and localization. Usually the region at the top of your list is most likely to be the “leading” region, meaning that templates, strategy and the base program are developed with this region in mind, and to later be converted and adapted to the specifics of the different regions. The leading region is included in the core budget. Now we will have to make some decisions for the rest of the priority list.

Make a Cost / Benefit Analysis

How far is our budget going to reach? We will have to divide it among the other regions at the top of the list. Limit not only the number of regions / countries to be localized but also to what extent you are going to localize your emails. Are you going to formulate a completely different strategy, push other offers / services or just translate the emails you have already made? You can optimize the regional budget by decreasing the frequency of the (deeper) localization or the frequency of the email program altogether. Another tactic is to investigate which regions can re-use content or be combined for certain email campaigns.

To further divide your regional budgets, make specific labels according to the expenses required. Some costs to consider can be “translate only,” “all sales localized” or “full, medium, basic campaign.”

The End Result

It has been a long, deep and hard thinking exercise. And probably you ended up with a different and more nuanced localization tactics than you had expected. But now you have a document with pros, cons and decisions and are ready for the international roll-out!