Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your customers and keep them up-to-date on your latest products or services through marketing messages. It’s also a great way to increase sales and boost customer engagement.
Email marketing is usually one of the first things every company does to reach their potential customers, whether it’s some special offer, a new product launch, a new website and so on. But is email marketing an effective tool in China? And how to do a successful China email marketing campaign? Keep reading to understand how China email marketing works and how to prepare a well-done email campaign for your brand. We will present you with the best practices and tips for China email marketing performance suitable for your brand.
Email landscape in China
The Chinese email market is completely different from what we know in the West. In the West, email is a preferred form of communication both in professional, but also in personal matters. According to statistics, checking email is what 58% of adults do first thing in the morning, and more than 90% do it throughout the day. E-commerce is also dominated by emails and whenever we buy something online, we get an email confirmation and other important information there.
While almost everyone in the Western world has and uses email on daily basis, it’s not the rule for Chinese internet users. Statistics reveal that nowadays roughly 5% of Chinese people open their emails. And they most probably do that for a particular purpose – not to see if you have emailed them too or not. So whatever email subject or email design you will offer them, the chances that they will even click to open the message are very low.
Chinese people don’t use email for professional matters, as they use WeChat for that. They also don’t leave their email addresses to register on various platforms or services because they have their mobile phone numbers and WeChat IDs tightly linked to their identity. An equivalent of marketing emails is also embedded in Wechat.
So what to do when you want to get through to the Chinese market? How to communicate with your potential customers if not through email marketing?
QQ – the closest equivalent of traditional emails
If you’ll ever ask a Chinese person their email address, what you will most likely get in return will be a bunch of numbers with @qq.com domain at the end. QQ can be seen as some kind of the equivalent of Western email service providers on the Chinese email market. And if you’ll send an email to a Chinese person, if they ever open it, they will do so in QQ, as this is the closest to what we can personal emails.
QQ is an online messaging and social media platform that allows users to connect with others. It’s one of the most popular platforms in China, with over 800 million monthly active users. QQ offers a variety of features including instant messaging, group chat, voice and video calls, stamp collections, games, and more. You can also use QQ to connect with people from all over the world.
So as you can see, it’s one of the super-apps in China, with far more functions than simple emails. But, if you’re looking for a place to send a promotional email or carry an effective email marketing campaign, there are better platforms to do it.
How does China make up for Email Marketing?
A life without WeChat in China is inconceivable. Wechat is the super-app to go to in China and there is also room for email marketing there.
WeChat marketing is analogous in its function to sending a promotional email. While no one opens emails, there are 1.26 billion active monthly users on Wechat that sum up to your potential Chinese customers. 61% of WeChat users open it at least 10 times per day. So this is the right tool to target the Chinese market with promotional content.
WeChat Official Account is the Chinese email marketing tool
To be able to send messages to your audience (as you won’t have a list of email addresses to contact as you do in the West), first, you need to have a WeChat Official Account for your brand to publish original content there.
WeChat Official Account is the Chinese equivalent of a brand’s Facebook page or website. It provides businesses with an opportunity for direct communication and content sharing to reach their customer base. It’s a powerful tool for businesses because it allows you to publish shareable content to your followers.
Types of WeChat Official Accounts
There are two types of WeChat Official Accounts that brands can use to communicate with their audience: Service Accounts and Subscription Accounts, both great for revenue-generating emails.
A subscription Account allows sending one push message to your audience per day and up to eight articles per month. But the downside of this account is that it doesn’t allow push notifications and all the messages will show in a special subscription folder in WeChat. And what is important to mention, it’s not one of the options for companies overseas, as it doesn’t support foreign business entities.
If you’re a foreign company wanting to start a WeChat Official Account, the best option for you is the Service Account. It allows four pushes per month and up to 8 articles each push. This account provides a function similar to what we know as newsletters, as it enables sending push notifications, so they come to WeChat users as normal messages. They also get a predominant place in the chat feed.
Remember to verify your account
Although many companies have their official accounts on WeChat, a lot of those accounts are not verified. A verified account is an account that was recognised as the official account of a company. Verification helps Chinese users trust the account and the content that is shared there and therefore, they are more likely to read, share and engage with the content you publish.
How to make use of WeChat Official Accounts for marketing?
As we mentioned above, WeChat Official Accounts allow for push notifications, that are sent directly to the followers base in a form of notifications. This function is very similar to sending promotional emails or newsletters to a list of email addresses, which is offered by the majority of email services in the West.
Data shows, that 8 out of 10 WeChat users check the app to read newsletters of their favourite brands and accounts. Chinese people enjoy looking for information on their own, but they also like it a lot when the right content reaches them on WeChat. In their opinion, only a respected and secured business can use WeChat to reach out to the crowds with a product. So they give due consideration to the information that arrives at them through WeChat.
Focus points for sending newsletters on WeChat:
- Regular posts (try to have a fixed date and time for sending newsletters);
- Up-to-date information;
- High-quality content;
- Bringing value to the reader.
WeChat allows for special designs of newsletters and there are a lot of functions to choose from in order to make your messages interesting and engaging. Those interactive newsletters now are very popular among Chinese users, so it’s a great chance for foreign companies to reach the Chinese audience within one app.
What is particularly good is that your WeChat account can be linked to your website or WeChat brochure in a mini-program. It also offers a lot of options for customization and has features like auto-reply and WeChat Store. Users can get newsletters from you and check all the information about you there in your account, contact you directly for support or even orders.
What else can be used instead of email marketing?
To sum up, WeChat gives a lot of opportunities for successful promotions due to the following factors:
- Widest audience accessible;
- Precise targeting;
- Regular promotions;
- Easy to convert the readers into clients.
However, it is always a smart move to combine a few media of reaching out to the consumers. Apart from WeChat, it is highly recommended to use the following social media platforms as well:
Chinese Social Media you can use to communicate with your customers’ database
Weibo used to be the most popular platform before WeChat took all the laurels. It still has more than 500 million regular users and still plays a significant role in affecting consumer choices. Weibo is also a good platform to cooperate with Chinese influencers, or KOL (key opinion leaders), for more effective promotions.
Douyin, or Tik Tok, is a short-video platform that has conquered an audience of around 500 million users over the past two years. It is used daily and serves as an entertaining content provider. With their hectic lives, Chinese people barely have any time to get away from it all. What they can do is browse Douyin with its versatile videos of a maximum of 50 seconds while they have a few spare minutes to relax a bit.
It is a great idea to make your product pop up in the hands of some popular influencers in their videos once in a while. Influencers are good to promote a product, while Douyin is good to offer links to your e-stores or to make people buy directly from it now, even.
Little Red Book
Little Red Book is another rising power in the world of promotions on the Chinese market. Being more reminiscent of well-known Instagram, it is suitable for promoting female-focused stuff mostly. This social media platform is also efficient when used in cooperation with a KOL who might help you to get maximum leverage from your promotions.
All in all, it is important to remember that it makes no sense to use emails when you approach the Chinese. With that being said, when in Rome do as Roman do, or as the Chinese say RùXiāng SuíSú ( 入乡随俗 ). There are many opportunities for foreign companies to do a successful email marketing campaign in China.
Leverage China email marketing to attract your potential customers in the Chinese market
If you want to reach out to Chinese consumers, learning how China email marketing works on WeChat is the way to go. Wechat newsletters are very popular and they offer a lot of potential for your business. However, it’s important to keep in mind the cultural differences when crafting your content. With some careful planning and localization, you can create successful campaigns that resonate with Chinese audiences.
If you’re interested in marketing your products or services and would like to learn more about practices for email marketing in China, contact us to schedule a meeting with our professionals.
We are China digital marketing agency with more than 70 professionals in marketing on the Chinese market and native copywriters for email marketing actions. We can help you setting WeChat Official Account and verify your business entity there. We can show you how newsletters work on WeChat and show a lot of email template examples that you can use for sending successful emails on WeChat.
If you need a well-tailored marketing strategy for your brand, don’t hesitate to contact us!