Multi Language Email Marketing

It’s a very over used term, but the money is in the list, but how do you do multi language email marketing?

How can you get the Dollars, Euros, Pounds or Yen from your list when the people on it are using multiple languages.

The Sign Up Form

The first port of call is the signup form.  Depending upon which provider you use signup forms are a little different. Aweber for example, asks you to embed a script for the form that is designed in their system and cannot be translated, whereas Mailchimp allows you to embed an HTML which can be edited per language.

Either way what I suggest is you create multiple signup forms in the appropriate language then show them in your sidebar or other areas of your site based upon chosen language.

Controlling content in your sidebar is a video post all of it’s own, I’ll create that soon, but using a plugin called widget logic we can set sidebar widgets and signup forms based on language, see this document while you are waiting for my video post:



Following up from sign up, we have the ubiquitous popup.  Love them of hate them, they do help to get people onto your mailing list.  Does your popup provider allow you to show a particular popup based upon location?

I did some research on this and it looks like only Pippity has the tools to check for URL strings and popup dependant upon language,  Using their power filters functionality we could check for a language string in a URL e.g. /fr/ and show a popup based on that.


We would create multiple popups in different languages and show them based on language strings.

The Lead Magnet

The lead magnet is that little carrot at the end of a stick to make people join your list.

It could be an eb0ok, video series, email course, the list goes on.  Have you made a promise in language A only to deliver a lead magnet that they cannot read or understand in language b?

Perhaps you could offer multiple downloads or control the lead magnet download based upon the popup or sign-up form you show above.

The Messages

The real problem with email marketing across languages are the email messages you send out to your list.  How are you going to ensure people get your marketing messages in the language they selected?

There are two solutions to this problem, you can segment a single list into language or you can create multiple lists one per language.


Segmenting your email list is when you divide your list as a whole into groups of email addresses that are interested in different things.  One way to segment is via language. Segmenting is like adding a tag to each of your email signups to put them into a group, you can then send out email messages to these groups.

Most email providers like Aweber or Mailchimp allow you to embed hidden fields in the signup forms which allow us to segment people at signup, one of these fields could be language.

Once segmented you can create multiple emails for that list and end the French version to the French segment, German to the Deutsch segment etc.

The downside of segmentation is that many features such as initial emails, redirect pages etc are limited to one setting per list,  which makes me think it’s better to run …

Multiple Lists

A better way to segment your email subscribers is with multiple lists.

Instead of one big list, have multiple smaller but dedicated lists per language.  This ensures all autoresponders, welcome emails, redirect pages and email templates are in the correct language.

You can control how people join lists from the signup form,  If you display a different signup form that links to dedicated language lists you can be sure that someone from language X gets their content and responses in that language.

Often Forgotten

Each email list has a number of forgotten areas that may need a revisit if you go multi language.

  • The auto responder sequence you set-up years ago,  what language is it in?
  • The unsubscribe links at the bottom of your emails is it perfectly clear in every language you support how to get off your list?
  • Once people join your list, they are often redirected to a page on your website, is this translated, will people know what to expect when they have joined, do they know they need to click the double opt in link?

I highlighted the importance of testing in my recent post Importance Of Testing Across Languages, it couldn’t be more true with your email lists, join each list or segment, test the emails and responses you get at each step, stay on your lists so you can test what is being sent out over time.

End Note

The money is in the list, but you need to know how to speak to your list members using their desired language?

Photo Credit: idogcow via Compfight cc

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