Climbing the Wall – Email Navigation into China

Climbing the Wall – Email Navigation into China

With the largest e-commerce market in the world, worth over a staggering $1.1 trillion, China casts a shadow over the world’s online market. This growth provides endless possibilities for overseas businesses looking to crack into the most populated country in the world.

However, despite the influx of money continuing to pour into the market, navigating email delivery into China remains a complex process.

Since 2006 China has ensured that any form of external or internal email marketing comes under strict governmental scrutiny. With its eventual birth in 2006, after years in the making, The Golden Shield Project commonly referred to as The Great Firewall of China, cast a security net over the whole country.

So how can you ensure that you’re giving yourself the best chance to get over this wall?

It’s important to realise, like any email sent, there is no guarantee of delivery. These best practices, however, will help to increase your chances of emails landing.

Firstly, work out which is the perfect enterprise marketing automation tool for your company. This article will focus on best practices using Marketo.

Avoid the 7 Speak-Nots

China remains an extremely politically charged country and there are some clear do not mention topics when it comes to content inside your marketing emails. “The Current Situation of the Ideological Front”, lays out a clear path to avoid when formatting your content.

  • Freedom of speech
  • The historical errors of the Chinese Communist Party
  • Civil rights
  • Judicial independence
  • Universal values
  • Crony capitalism
  • Civil Society

However, it is not just politically charged content that will land you on the blacklist. Unspecific greetings could also see your emails head directly in the spam folder.

Using a tool such as the first name token within Marketo can bolster credibility as an email whilst personalising the email to the receiver.

When beginning to send emails, reputation is paramount. Not dissimilar to any new market you may be trying to crack into, China also demands a strict following of best practices.

Don’t Get Lost in Translation

Although in practice it seems simple enough, incorrect or poor grammar can find your emails heading straight to the bin.

This means not cutting costs and opting for free online translation services. By forking out the extra dollars you can ensure that your content is being presented in its optimal form.

Furthermore, understand which demographic you are targeting. Should you be using Mandarin or Cantonese?

Regardless of dialect, it’s recommended that you use simplified Chinese characters as opposed to traditional.

Drip, Don’t Dump

If the content within your email is properly curated your off on the right path. However, it doesn’t mean it’s time to flood people’s inboxes.

Whilst establishing a good reputation you should stick to sending campaigns in small batches. Refrain from sending more than 500 emails per day throughout this process.

This entails keeping a “clean list.” With high attrition rates, it can be damaging to your sending reputation if you continue to send mail to an address that does not engage, often resulting in further filtering.

Break the Link

You’re nearly ready to climb that wall. You’ve selected the correct marketing automation tool for your company. Your content is engaging and the translation is perfect. You’ve built up a good reputation through small batches. All that’s left to do is to break the link.

Due to the rigorous filters imposed by the government, inflation of numbers when click-tracked links work is often reported.

Because of this, your company will have better prospects if you disable click tracking, thus removing more filtering processes.

Most importantly, if you get the chance to purchase the top-level domain for China (.cn), jump at it! Emails coming from within the country will receive far more engagement than overseas domains.

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