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Translation, Segmentation & More: A Guide to Multilingual Email Newsletters

Crafting Multilingual Email Newsletters That Hit the Mark

Math — it's the same in every language, making the benefits of multilingual newsletters easy to translate.

  • The average return on investment (ROI) of email marketing in the U.S. is $36 per dollar spent.

  • Most consumers (65%) prefer content in their language, even if it's poor quality.

  • 40% will not purchase if the content is in another language.

  • Almost 20% of the U.S. population is Latino or Hispanic.

A multilingual newsletter expands your reach and influence, growing your community at the same time as it increases your bottom line. Existing consumers also appreciate inclusivity.

Here's how to build a multilingual email newsletter — or expand your current publication to an international audience.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Importance of a Multilingual Email Newsletter

Using multiple languages in communication can help businesses take advantage of expanding international markets and build strong connections with their customers from different parts of the world.

A multilingual newsletter also shows that you value all of your customers, no matter what language they speak. This can lead to better engagement rates and increased customer loyalty across demographics.

Multilingual content even improves conversion rates and justifies higher prices. While 34% of B2C customers consider themselves likely or very likely to pay more for a local-language experience, even more B2B (66%) customers will pay this premium.

Planning Your Multilingual Email Newsletter Strategy

A strong multilingual publication requires more than a rudimentary translation service. It involves careful planning and intelligent strategy

How Do I Make My Email Bilingual?

If you already have a newsletter and want to make it bilingual, start by identifying the most common languages that your target audience speaks. Take stock of your resources, too, noting any connections and knowledge you can leverage.  What can you do well?

You'll also need to determine whether you want to translate all content or only some of it. While some companies choose to translate their entire newsletter, others opt to translate only the most important sections.

Cultural Customization in Multilingual Newsletters

Cultural customization means not just translating the content but also adapting it to fit the local culture and customs.

Local and cultural nuances significantly influence engagement. For instance, color symbolism varies greatly across cultures. While white signifies purity in some cultures, it represents mourning in others.

Different cultures also appreciate different tones. What an American reads as forthright, someone else might read as rude.

What Is Email Localization?

Email localization is a form of content localization, the process of adapting content to a specific language or culture. In addition to customizing publications according to language and culture, it involves researching local references, idioms, and interests.

For example, sports-centered beehiiv publication The Champs is based in Brazil, but it draws in a larger crowd by covering major teams around the world, appealing to fans of various sports around the world.

Compliance and Conversion Issues in Multilingual Newsletters

Another consideration when creating an international publication is the potential for varying regulations. Different countries may have their own industry-specific guidelines or regulations regarding online currency conversions or tax codes.

Email marketing compliance also differs around the world. While U.S. marketers are subject to the CAN-SPAM Act, European brands must abide by GDPR regulations.

If you're nervous about navigating legal issues, you should investigate email compliance software options, which simplify the process.

Designing Your Multilingual Newsletter

Designing a multilingual newsletter can be challenging. For one thing, your design should account for word-length discrepancies between languages, which can affect spacing and content visibility.

Here are some tips:

  • Keep your design simple and flexible: A cluttered design can confuse readers, especially when multiple languages are involved.

  • Use images wisely: Images can transcend language barriers. However, ensure that they are culturally appropriate.

  • Choose the right software: Tools like beehiiv can help create visually appealing, multilingual email newsletters.

Before committing to your template, try crafting a full issue in any language you intend to use, making sure that it looks good and reads well for your full audience.

Crafting Content for Your Multilingual Audience

Marketing history is full of hilarious localization bloopers. For example, General Electric once launched a new partnership in France with the acronym GPT, only to discover that the French pronunciation of GPT sounds exactly like "j'ai pété," — which means "I farted."

Creating multilingual content isn't just about translating words. Here’s how to convey your brand message accurately and effectively in different languages.

Engaging, Multilingual Content Creation

Think about the tactics you can use to enhance and supplement verbal communication. Ideas include:

  • Telling stories: Stories transcend language barriers. Find a narrative that aligns with your brand and adapt it for your multilingual audience.

  • Using multimedia: Images and videos can enhance engagement and understanding, regardless of language.

  • Hiring native speakers: Native speakers not only speak the language fluently but also understand the culture and nuances that come with it.

Creating high-quality, multilingual content takes time, resources, and expertise. You want your brand's personality to shine through across cultures, which is difficult without native mastery of the language.

Translation Tools and Services

I'll never forget going to a café in France, opening up an auto-translated menu, and ordering a salad of crab and sliced lawyer. It's the closest I've come to cannibalism.

(This anecdote probably makes more sense if you know that the French words for avocado and lawyer are the same: avocat.)

Fortunately, you have resources in your quest for accurate, pitch-perfect translation.

Translation Software for Newsletters

Translation software has come a long way in the past decade. It still won't give you the same nuance and authenticity as a human translator, but it's faster and more affordable.

Translation software is helpful for quickly creating translated versions of your newsletters. Google Translate and DeepL Translator are good free translators.

Paid options can improve your translations even more. Some offer localization features to help you adjust your idioms based on your audience. beehiiv also integrates seamlessly with translation tools, making it easier to create multilingual newsletters.

Professional Translators

As discussed, direct, machine-generated translations can miss the mark. This is where professional translators come in.

Professional translators understand these subtleties and know how to adapt your content to resonate with different cultures. They can also provide a human touch and catch any errors or cultural faux pas that translation software may miss.

When hiring professional translators, consider their familiarity with your industry as well as the language. Do they need to know any niche-specific vocabulary?

However, while human translation services provide higher accuracy, they tend to be slower and more expensive.

How Do I Add a Language to My Email?

How can you generate the best multilingual content?

When selecting a translation solution, consider its cost-effectiveness and how it could impact your global email marketing strategy's return on investment.

Your best bet may be a blend of automated and human translations. Automated translations provide a quick first draft, while human translators ensure that the translation maintains the original message's intent and tone.

Regardless, the review and editing process is crucial in order to fine-tune translations and ensure that they resonate with your audience. Regularly evaluate your content and process, adjusting as necessary

Publishing Your Multilingual Newsletter

After strategy and creation, it's time to talk about distribution. You want to publish your multilingual newsletter efficiently, and beehiiv's advanced segmentation tools let you do just that.

How Do You Send a Bilingual Email Newsletter?

You can send a bilingual email newsletter with email segmentation. 

Email segmentation is essential for any business looking to expand its customer base on a global scale. By providing segmented emails, you will ensure that people will receive an email in the language of their preference.

How To Use beehiiv’s Segmentation Tool

With beehiiv, you can create segments based on custom criteria, such as location or preferred language. Also, you can save the segments for future use and export lists of subscribers that are members of a particular segment.

After logging into your beehiiv account, navigate to the dropdown list on the left and select "Audience." Expand the audience options using the dropdown arrow and click on "Segmentation."

Click on "Create Segment."

There are three different parts to a segment:

  • Name: Keep things simple. Consider naming your segment by the language used and, if relevant, the target region.

  • Segment Type: For multilingual newsletters, you likely want a dynamic rather than a static segment type. Dynamic segments will update over time as subscribers meet the criteria you set up, whereas static segments will be created once and never updated. 

  • Conditions: Identify the conditions that characterize this segment such as their location or the language in which they opted in to your newsletter. If you have multiple conditions, decide whether segment members need to meet all of these conditions or any one of them.

Need more help segmenting your audience? Check out this YouTube tutorial taking you through the process.

Testing and Optimizing Your Multilingual Email Newsletter

Once you're all set up, you can test and optimize your newsletter to improve its performance.

A/B Testing Multilingual Newsletters

A/B testing is like having a crystal ball. It lets you peek into what works best for your audience. By creating two versions of your newsletter in each language and sending them to different segments, you can see which one performs better.

A/B testing strategies include trying out different:

  • Subject lines

  • Images

  • Call-to-action buttons

Remember, the key is to test one element at a time to learn what caused the difference in performance.

Metrics To Track and Analyze

Focus on the most important newsletter metrics. Numbers that matter include:

  • Open rate: How many people opened your newsletter?

  • Click-through rate: How many clicked on your links?

  • Conversion rate: How many took the desired action?

You can tweak your newsletters to make them more effective by tracking these metrics.

Set appropriate newsletter benchmarks for your industry and the location of your audience. For example, marketing emails in Canada have an average click-to-open rate of 20.12%, but that number drops to 12.98% in Belgium.

ROI of Multilingual Newsletters

Measure the success of your multilingual newsletter campaign through your ROI, too.

Calculate your newsletter’s ROI with the following formula:

  • ROI = (Gain from Investment - Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment

Remember to include all costs, including translation and design fees, when calculating your investment.

Advanced Analytics for Multilingual Campaigns

beehiiv's advanced analytics features can help you effectively track multilingual campaigns.

Want to be one of the beehiiv publications with the highest ROIs? Segment your data for each language and region to help you decide how to invest your time and money.

Interpreting this data can also guide your future content and strategies. For example, if you notice that your Spanish newsletters have a high open rate but a low click-through rate, you should make your calls-to-action more compelling.

Start Your Multilingual Newsletter Today

Creating a bilingual or multilingual email newsletter helps you grow your audience and develop closer relationships with your customers through tailored experiences.

beehiiv's email segmentation, easy integrations, and analytics features make it easier to communicate in your readers' preferred languages, and a generous free plan removes any financial risk from the experiment.

So what are you waiting for? Create a publication for your (potential) international fan base. Sign up for a free beehiiv account. The world awaits.

Why Trust Us

I’m a digital marketer with years of practical experience and multiple bylined articles on industry blogs. I specialize in email marketing and long-form content.

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