China has the world’s most active environment for social media, and the digital marketing landscape differs from other countries. Usage of personal email address for registration to third party platform is a preferred option as it provides convenience to the user to manage their social media activities. For example, a QQ account (by Tencent) is used as a one-stop service for users including email, social gaming, micro-blogging and IM.
What does this mean for a marketer in China?
In a survey conducted by McKinsey, Chinese consumers are more likely to consider buying a product or service if a friend or acquaintance recommends it on a social media site. Given that personal emails are preferably used for social sites, it is necessary that digital marketing strategies are geared towards obtaining quality email addresses, including personal emails in this instance.
However, do not be quick to assume all email communications will definitely reach your target audience. There do exist ISP policies and guidelines that protect its users from receiving spam mail. Any attempt for bulk email communication often results in the email sender's IP being blocked for between 15 – 20 days. Taking into consideration that a large proportion of your China database will have email domains from the top social media sites in China, the potential issue magnifies.
Being on the white list of these sites should definitely be on your wish list, but the path towards achieving this is not so straightforward. There are a series of actions that are needed and they do vary from ISP to ISP. Here are some steps to mitigate the issue:
Adhere to bulk email guidelines provided by the ISP’s in China
Monitor email communications on a constant basis. Through understanding the volume and time of communication, you will be in a better position to identify daily limit & sending speed to avoid being placed on the spam list.