Scaling to new geos can provide your business with larger volume and lower-cost leads/sales. This strategy can be an absolute game-changer when it’s executed well – but it’s not as easy as deciding to flip a global switch.
There are several considerations before advertising your business abroad! Here are a few of the most critical, high-level steps to being a worldly marketer.
1. Pick strategic countries and campaign structures
Scaling doesn’t have to be overly expensive with the right strategy. First things first, during the campaign setup, be sure to target people ‘in the country’ vs. "interested" in the country. That’s a critically important campaign setting when working on Google Ads (other networks have a similar option).
Picking countries that have similar characteristics is another important step in scaling abroad. Some common buckets would be ‘Australia and New Zealand’ or ‘UK & Isle of Man.’ These are countries with similar economies, culture, buying power, and language. This leads us to our next point.
2. Adopt local phrasing, even when it’s the ‘same’ language
Come on now, mate! How will our campaigns ever stack that quid without adopting local phrasing? Even when writing ad copy in English, make sure you’re matching your phrasing to the region. England is a common example where the currency is different (British Pound Sterling) and common words (e.g. mom vs. mum) vary.
Time for our fun fact: EU uses periods instead of commas when they write numbers above 1,000. There are so many nuances when running abroad that it can be truly overwhelming. That’s why I follow a simple two-step process: 1) Just get something live in a new geo. Worst-case scenario, use Google translate for your ad copy; 2) If you’re seeing traction in a geo, before you ramp up budget, take things to the next level and hire a professional translator for that region.
3. Pay more attention to website load times
Load times already are a critical factor wherever you deploy a campaign. (Did you know that if your website takes a couple of seconds to load, it can cost you more than half of your web visitors?)
Overseas, the same rules apply – and carry more consequence, since developing countries tend to use older iPhone and Android models – sometimes even flip phones. Try reducing the size of files/pictures when running in developing countries, and make sure you’re referencing site speed data and suggestions in Google Search Console.
This may lead you to develop campaigns you wouldn’t dare try in North America. In one previous international campaign I managed, our target country had very slow internet and old device models. Our landing page was nothing more than 3 lines of text on a white background. No pictures, nothing else. We profitably invested thousands of dollars into paid traffic for that landing page. I wouldn’t recommend that strategy for 99% of campaigns, but it made sense for us!
4. Don’t settle for more volume if the quality suffers
So you’ve finally kicked off in a new country, and a flood of leads and business come through your campaign! That’s fantastic! The next critically important step in your global conquests: a thorough examination of the lead quality.
Note that this isn’t a one-stage process, since every country can behave differently in a funnel. In the US or UK, it may only take 10 MQLs to create an opportunity, while in Egypt, it may take 40 MQLs to generate 1 opportunity.
What we commonly see is that people will generate several ‘top of funnel’ leads but they haven’t chosen a market that is easily monetized. Marketing in Fintech/Investing, a lead from Switzerland is oftentimes worth nearly 6x more than a lead from rural Vietnam. These averages are very important to establish and define.
Whatever countries you decide to test, make sure you have a strategy for finding and addressing cultural differences that can make a huge difference in performance. If you need advice on building international expansion plans, we’re here to help!