Most email marketers have customers around the world, thus there is an entire extra layer of complexity in scheduling your international email marketing campaigns… and it all comes down to location, location, location!

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

The International Date Line has perplexed high school students since Magellan’s last surviving 18 sailors returned back to Sanlucar de Barrameda, their home port in Spain, after the first circumnavigation of the globe and found that they were a full day behind: They had crossed the International Date Line! Say you want to set your alarm nice and early at 5:15 am on Thursday in your Manhattan apartment to make sure that you can get through the Lincoln Tunnel to Grandma’s house in Jersey before the Thanksgiving morning traffic jam. When your alarm does ring, it will concurrently be Wednesday 11:15 pm in Samoa and 15 minutes past midnight on Friday in Kiritimati. Say Whaaaaaaaat?

There are various mnemonics you can use to figure out what is where and when relative to the International Date Line, but you can just short circuit the process by doing an online search for “world time.” You’ll find handy tables to show you that while you’re lunching at the 23rd St. deli, Israelis are having dinner and Tahitians are having breakfast. This is all a funny quirk unless your email marketing has international clients. If your NYC customer service staff works 9 am to 5 pm, your customers in Manila, Hong Kong and Perth will have to call between 10 pm and 6 am!

You also have to take into consideration what the “business week” means around the world. Your client in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia starts his weekend on Wednesday afternoon and doesn’t come back to work until Saturday. Most other Muslim countries observe a Sunday through Thursday work week, but Iranians only take Friday off. Strangely enough, some former British Muslim countries such as Indonesia and Pakistan stick to the good old Londinian Monday to Friday. Orthodox Muslims and Jews are prohibited from doing anything that could remotely be called work on their Sabbath day, so if they receive an offer on their Friday afternoon that will expire in 24 hours, your chances of getting any clicks is remote at best.

Upside-Down Seasons

It’s midsummer and you’re taking a lunchtime stroll through a central park that resembles a green sauna, then it occurs to you… you just sent an email offer for itsy bitsy beach bikinis to your prospects in Hobart, Australia; Christchurch, New Zealand; and Punta Arenas, Chile: All southern hemisphere cities that are shivering through their mid-winters! There’s more to climate considerations than just hemispheres as you need to consider the effects of altitude. You might consider that your customer in Apartaderos, Venezuela lives in tropical shorts until you consider that at their altitude of almost 12,000 feet, they don’t see too many heat waves.

Happy Valentine… er… New Year!

Many of the world’s nations do not traditionally celebrate anything similar to our year-end holidays, which can really put a crimp into your email campaign scheduling. While you’re taking your sweetheart out for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner, nearly one and a half billion Chinese are ringing in the New Year! You don’t have to go right around the world to find discordant holiday schedules: By the time you got your Thanksgiving campaign out in mid-November, your Canadian prospects had finished off their Turkey Day bird leftovers a full month earlier. Keep in mind that some identical holidays are not even celebrated on the same day. The sacred Islamic date of Laylat al-Qadr can fall on the 21st to 29th night of the month of Ramadan, and the Japanese holiday of Obon can be in the middle of July in one prefecture and in the middle of August in the next!

Crossing a Line Can Cost Big $$$

Why aren’t you selling any car parts to Thailand or Oxford shoes to Japan? Those countries apply huge tariffs to some imported goods, which can range from 80% for an alternator to Bangkok all the way up to 300% for Balmorals to Tokyo. Shipping costs can also vary widely: Shipping a watch from Miami to just about anywhere on the American side of the Canadian border costs about $8, but crossing that line can cost you upwards of ten times as much, depending on where in Canada it’s going. That same watch shipped to Whitehorse will set you back over one hundred dollars!

There are many factors which you have to consider when your email campaigns cross international borders. Taking everything into consideration so you can precisely tailor your message to your prospects will have a marked effect on your bottom line!