An Attentive Direct Mail Approach to Foreign-Language Speakers

By: Andrew Glover
January 2, 2020
Categories: ,

Direct mail is one of the most efficient marketing tools when targeting non-English speakers. While most people, in general, dismiss mailers as junk mail, many foreign speakers embrace it as a way of becoming a more informed consumer. You can target your audience based on ethnicity or language preferences by using geo-mapping techniques. Geo-mapping provides you with a very targeted approach, which allows you to build a mailer around a foreign speaking audience instead of focusing on English-only prospects. 

Growing Your Membership Base

To grow your membership base, your organization may need to tap into the foreign-language market. Otherwise, you could miss a significant opportunity to expand your membership with non-English speakers. For example, Hispanic households are 3.5 times more likely to respond to direct mail than non-Hispanic homes. According to a Yankelovich Monitor Multicultural Marketing Study, 77 percent of Hispanics read mail instead of dumping it in the trash sight unseen, while 54 percent respond to offers delivered via direct mail.. 

Geo-Mapping Households Who Don’t Speak English

Geo-mapping is a useful tool to help you locate areas that predominantly don’t speak English. Based on the preferred language, you can target your audience and focus on foreign-language speakers. Once you have the right audience pinpointed, you can design your campaign around prospects who don’t prefer English as their first language. Using geo-mapping techniques to identify households that don’t speak English is a fantastic way to spread your mission across language lines. 

Including Foreign-Languages Speakers in Your Campaign

You can utilize direct mail in targeting foreign-speaking audiences and include them in non-profit campaigns. If you want to attract both English and non-English speakers, you can use on-demand printing options, which allows you to print mailers in both English and the foreign language you’re targeting. Printing on-demand is a great way to include prospects of any language you want to reach. 

Potential Pitfalls

There are potential pitfalls when marketing to a foreign-language population. Here are some pitfalls you need to be aware of before finalizing your next campaign. 

Sending Non-English Mailers to English Speakers

You must use accurate data before sending a mailer. If you don’t use correct information, you run the risk of sending non-English mailers to English speakers, which can cause them confusion. Based on the data you collected, you need to determine if a bilingual approach is appropriate. Then you can target foreign-language speakers but also have English information for any prospects who don’t speak a foreign language. 

Get the Translation Right

You don’t want to insult a prospect. No matter the targeted international group, check for taboo words and meanings. For instance, some words are not appropriate for all Hispanic groups. Before you print, have your piece read by someone fluent in the nuances and idioms of the language. In Spanish languages, certain words or phrases are offensive or have a different meaning in various Spanish dialects. In that case, you’d want to use a “generic” Spanish dialect if you are targeting a Hispanic community.

Importantly, before you print and mail a campaign in any non-English language, have an experienced speaker of that language proofread your piece. 

Give the Appropriate Offer

Keep your offer simple. Using Hispanic culture as an example, most Spanish speakers come from countries where they received direct mail on a minimal basis. It isn’t typical for them to receive complicated offers through their mailboxes. What works for English members doesn’t always work for Hispanics. It would be best if you made adjustments and refinements in your offers when appealing to a different culture. 

Valtim and Targeting Foreign-Speaking Households

Valtim helps our clients pinpoint the right audience using geo-mapping technology. It’s a great idea to expand your membership base by focusing on non-English speaking households. Your organization can spread its mission statement further by connecting with individuals who speak numerous other languages at home. Many individuals from other cultures respond more positively to direct mail offers, especially when it’s delivered in their preferred language.

Connect with Valtim to see how geo-mapping can help your organization develop closer relationships with foreign speaking prospects and members. 

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