Startups are great. There is this guy, the entrepreneur, who has an amazing idea, gathers around him enthusiastic people that work together symbiotically in order to create the perfect product or service. This has huge potential. But what is it that makes the difference between failing and growing into a unicorn? The power to scale rapidly.
If we are talking software and technology, there is huge potential for scalability. But, in order to scale, you need to think big from day 1. In my experience as an online marketer working with Romanian startups that plan to take on the global market, most of them think details and are afraid to go big from the very first day. Causes may vary: they think only in the Romanian market frame, they test the product on our market then plan to expand globally with the same features that might not be suitable for the global market, or they do improper market research.
The importance of thinking big is given precisely by the fact that it enables you to scale rapidly just any idea that proves itself to work. And this takes us to the next step: how to think export for our Romanian brands? Where to start from? Google Adwords has proven to be one of the most effective tools that help you quickly test markets and decide what your export strategy should focus on. The big advantage is that you can test fast and identify quickly what works for you and what doesn’t.
In the past 6 years, we, at adLemonade, have been working with Romanian brands to help them approach markets internationally by making the most out of their AdWords accounts. Together with the amazing export team at Google, we support businesses with valuable data, market insights and best practices on how to best approach different markets. Be it India or the US, whatever market you want to focus on, we can have a deep dive before and get to know the market specifics.
Besides these reports, there are always free tools from Google you can use to have some market insights. One of them is the AdPreview Tool that enables you to see what is your competition on different searches in a specific market.
Of course, all this data and insights would be useless if there were no action plan. Depending on the market size, you will need to test for several months various campaigns to refine targets, messages, landing pages, do CRO, create special offers etc. Tests are excellent as they allow you to have more inputs on how your audience interacts with your product or service. You understand how to address them in a better way and this will lead you to a higher conversion rate.
There is just one major obstacle in the way: the lack of patience to reach relevant results to tests and to be persistent in the approach. I have seen many startups invest for 2-3 months in one market then give up as ROI was not positive. This is a huge mistake as only after a few months or after some budget is spent to gather relevant traffic, you can analyze and decide what works and how can you improve things. Still, if no positive trends have been identified in the first 6 months, then you should consider changing markets.
When looking to approach a market, it’s important to take into consideration 3 factors: the market volume, the competition and the CPC. The market volume is very important to know if you can scale, how big can you go. The competition then tells you how quickly can you actually scale. Finally, the CPC indicates the budgets you need to commit in order to conquer those markets. If any of them is too high, you should take a look at other markets. We offer insightful reports to decide what market suits your business. Besides these reports, there is the Keyword Planner that indicates the volumes of searches, the competition and the suggested CPCs, so it basically offers a market overview. You can also take a look at Google Trends and Consumer Barometer that are all free Google tools to analyse a market and do not require any extra assistance.
After analysing all these reports and insights, together with the entrepreneur, we design an action plan with PPC strategies to achieve specific KPIs that we set for the following 6-12 months. After the action plan is agreed upon, we start the necessary implementations. Be it Search or Remarketing, Display or YouTube, we tailor creative campaigns that will generate the necessary brand awareness or gain the users’ trust to get them to the final conversion and in time, transform them into brand evangelists.
After the campaigns run for at least 3-4 weeks we may then have enough data to start in-depth optimization that will get us closer to our goals. Here is where most businesses fail to take the extra step and learn from the data gathered so far. Many of them consider test as a failure since they are not ROI positive from day 1 which is kind of a mission impossible. Patience and persistence are the winners’ virtues.
The point here is not to fail at all because you learn from your failures (I would call them tests, failures is a tough word), but to fail fast. Take your lessons and move on. Constantly improve, constantly communicate your product and be open to discovering new ways to make it better every day. And you can do all this with the help of Google AdWords. As Steve Jobs used to say: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”