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community building

Using multi lingual Google Adwords for international export sales and market research

January 8th, 2009 · No Comments

Cheaper, better and faster ways to have new customers come to you.

Introduction

Successful marketing managers are measured more by the quality and number of quality sales leads they generate than the soft fuzzy brand image stuff that hard nosed businesses deplore.

Smart marketing managers make sure they work for companies with compelling value propositions, rather than those who have little more than “the brand” going for them. This article is aimed at successful companies that are achieving good results using best practice with a low cost per quality sales lead.

As the title of the article suggests, and Google’s explosive revenue growth proves, it’s highly likely that any successful company will have at least experimented with Google Adwords. If your company is currently spending more than a million Euros a year on conventional marketing (conventional adverts, direct mail/telesales, trade fairs, and events) and has never spent anything on Google Adwords then something is almost certainly wrong. Even a few thousand well spent Euros/Pounds/Dollars on Adwords can generate better results than conventional marketing. This article is more aimed at readers who find this statement obvious rather than those who have yet to learn/understand. If you don’t understand and you want to keep your job, stop reading this article and learn about Adwords now.

Let’s take a fictional but potentially realistic case study (could this be you?)

You are a successful marketing manager. The company you work for defines the key goal of your department as “the number of high quality sales leads you generate for the sales team”. You generate leads, they sell. Suppose you spent GBP/Euro/ US$/ 20-50K on Adwords in 2008 and its been highly successful. The cost per high quality qualified lead was less than 40 Euros, and the sales team regard you as something of a hero. Senior management hasn’t quite “got it” yet, and still ike to go to expensive trade fairs, splurge on conference sponsorships, but you’ve been redirecting budget to on line and have cut Trade Press advertising completely. Your spend at Google is increasing. However all the planned Google Adwords advertising has been done in English, and you know that this isn’t smart. The multi lingual Adwords pilot was a fiasco (more on this later).

As a result of the global economic downturn, new international markets have been given a higher priority. The CEO and other main board directors, have been asking questions about countries in which the company doesn’t have a good position, and results are expected. The sales team expect you do help them in the same way you have in your traditional English language markets.

The familiar problem is people and resources. There are fewer people than a couple of years ago. The current view is that the existing team has to “try harder” meaning “put in more hours”. Its only when a group of countries gets in enough revenue that a dedicated person is appointed (and that is always in sales not marketing). Senior management is aware of the “chicken and egg” problem, but will not create new positions in marketing without a guarantee of a return. While they understand is that is impossible to visit all countries , they expect prioritization. Anyone who finds a solution can look forward to rapid advancement. The challenge is to know how to prioritize and how to spent scarce resources well.

Your in-house know how about Google Adwords is better than some consultants. You know what it means to have “content network” turned off, to reduce the low value click throughs. You are using Competitor activity is being analysed with “site-related keywords” in the keyword suggestion tool and with www.spyfu.com. You have robust rapid site development so that well designed keyword rich landing pages for your campaigns can go up within 48 hours – learn more about landing page design here. If your in house team are too busy (sounds familiar) you have approved outsourced web developers who are quick, cheap and reliable. You are using exact matches and using Google Analytics Conversion Code to track the results. In English on line marketing, you are ahead of the game. The situation in foreign languages is however far from satisfactory. Looking to get the most of SEO and improve the ranking of your website? Then it may be in your best interest to check google keyword position, as this can help you understand what’s going on.

As a result of brainstorming and common sense, the idea of Adwords advertising in languages other than English has been considered and an unsatisfactory pilot has taken place The most successful keywords in English were translated, and keywords bought in French, Italian, German and Spanish. Most were surprisingly cheap usually except for some German keywords which were astonishingly expensive, suggesting that someone valued them very highly indeed. As a result of inadequate budgeting there we no dedicated localized landing pages in the language of the key words so to start with clicks were directed to the correct bit of “about us” on the corporate web site which is in German French Italian Spanish and Japanese. This produced reasonable traffic but a high “bounce rate” where visitors arrived and left almost immediately. Visitors arrived expecting to see information about latest products but soon discovered that the web site did not provide the product information they were looking for in the right language.

Dramatic and stressful situations arose in the headquarters where Italian and German speakers started calling up and finding that no one was available to talk to them. Marketing was made to feel stupid. Surely it was predictable that Adwords in Italian might lead to Italians calling up.

The second phase of the pilot was to direct the clicks to distributors’ web pages and country offices.

The distributors had no idea that their leads were arriving thanks to global marketing, but were olf course appreciative. A retrospective survey revealed that there was some increase in the number of leads coming off distributor web sites, but as distributor offers and promotions never matched exactly what was going on in the wholly owned subsidiaries, integration was hard.

The country offices were not set up to deal with sales leads generated in this fashion. Traditionally minded sales reps did not have the skills to properly and quickly qualify the leads, and some bad feeling was generated as sales managers grumbled about the fact that students and competitors were “wasting” advertising money on by clicking, And marketing felt their efforts were not being properly followed up on.

Conclusions, lessons to learn, and action items

The main lesson to learn and conclusion are that foreign language Google based market entry strategies can be a very cost effective way of generating sales leads and new potential distribution channels, provided the project is well executed. Objectives must be properly defined . The company must be prepared to deal with things they are not used to, like people ringing up who don’t speak your language..

Local language Google Adwords work if the results are measured according to traditional online advertising metrics. – they are cheap and people do click on them.

If you are doing the project in house, you need to prepare carefully, or if you want to outsource it, make sure that you use an experienced market entry consultancy that knows about internet and on line markets to set up the whole process with you.

You must review and define marketing campaign objectives before you start. Obvious objectives could include

– Market Research

– Finding a distributor- By-passing disloyal distributors- Rewarding and supporting good distributors- Generating leads for in house sales and business development executives There may well be additional business goals that you could also support through “Adwords plus a landing page” process, like selling excess stock, re-launching old products, finding acquisition targets, or new suppliers. It is a very flexible way to reach a new audience. But it is best to start with “low hanging fruit” IE projects which (if they succeed) will be regarded as a success by everyone, like “finding a distributor” in a country where sales are not satisfactory.

It’s obvious that it doesn’t make sense to do Adwords in Russian to promote a product that is not ready for the Russian market. If you do not have a distributor in Russia, or you have good reasons to believe that one or more of your products might sell very well there, then it can be a cheap and quick way to find out both if there is a market, and find a distribution channel.

It may be that you have a distributor (or more than one distributor) in a particular country, but you know that they are not always feeding sales leads to you because they offer more than just your products. Well targetted local language Adwords can very cheaply make sure that end clients find out about your offering , and depending on the situation you can handle the lead directly or pass it to a distributor with the best chance of winning.

The process is straightforward, once objectives have been decided.

Buy appropriate keywords. A knowledge of Google Adwords keywords is essential. If you don’t have experience in doing this in any language, engage a professional to get you up to speed. Do not necessarily rely on you web master or web development team unless you are sure they have the knowhow. Often companies feel that they should crack this issue in their home market before going international but this does not always make sense. A moment’s thought should tell you that there may be less competition for important keywords in for example Vietnamese or French, than English.

Developing a properly designed local language landing page to achieve your objectives. A Landing Page is the web page your potential client arrives at when they click on the link you are promoting through Google Adwords. A basic rule of on line marketing that the results are far better if people who click on a link arrive at pages that are designed with the campaign objective in mind. For example, a business to consumer company might want a landing page leading to the sale of a particular product, whereas a landing page designed for selling to businesses, (or premium consumer products like Ferraris or yachts) might focus on the objective of getting phone numbers and other contact details so that sales people can follow up later. Use a good translation company like Argos Translations for flawless translations. Ask for references, and evidence that they are using native speakers in the target language, and know about web page design issues. A bad first impression costs much more than the savings of having it done cheap.

Having appropriate tracking of the clicks. This is a task that many executives find alarming. Make sure that any experts and consultants are able to communicate the results in language that you understand with a strong grasp of the business implications. Google Analytics (GA) is a widely used tool, and it is easier to find experts to help with GA than any other.

Figure 1 Typical GA screen from a PMR site

Identifying who is going to deal with the results, especially from the point of view of language and time zone perspectives, and making sure that training is organised so they understand what you are trying to do. If there is one thing that is going to cause this project to fail, it’s will be the lack of preparation to handle the results in a professional way in the local language.

If there are no suitable in house staff, consider outsourcing the call handling. If you don’t have speakers of the language of the country you are targeting have a company like PMR set up the in bound call handling in the right time zone with a local number. On Line Chat is cheaper and more manageable but not as professional. For many potential business partners , getting voice mail will disqualify you as a potential business partner.

If the objective is to find a distributor an experienced export manager knows the questions they would like to ask of a potential distributor so your landing page must include that questionnaire. For some of the best companies that might like to be a distributor this is a highly sensitive topic with their existing vendors, so it is a good idea, to have the option “would you like us to call or discuss this face to face” as they may not wish to have anything in writing until they have met and trust you. Multi part landing pages, where the first step is to capture phone and e-mail is a good idea so that if a representative of an interesting company signs up you can call them if they drop out later in the process.

It is unlikely that you want a partner who speaks none of your languages but you will have enquires from senior executives who may not speak your language. You need to be ready to follow up fast and well with the good leads. This is easy to set up with a little experience

Use the opportunity to develop end client sales leads. Nothing will impress a potential distributor more than having some serious interest from end clients. You are going to be called by end clients, so the person doing it (whether in house or external) needs to be properly trained. You need to be aware of the fact that if you are not ready for sales in a particular country because – for example you don’t yet have localised packaging instruction manuals, and regulatory clearance from safety or other official bodies, this needs to be carefully communicated with potential customers. We recommend brainstorming the potential questions clients might ask, and writing best potential answers. For example, if a potential client asks “do you make product x?” and the person taking the call in a call centre in Vietnam doesn’t know, they should not truthfully say “ I don’t know”, but also truthfully say

“I’m not an expert in that area, can I take down some of your details and get someone to call you back? My main job is to make sure I understand your basic requirements and route your enquiry to the right person, what exactly do you want to use product x for?”

They may ask “where can I buy product x ” and in this case you can quite truthfully state that “we are looking at launching product x in Vietnam once we have service programmes set up”, and then ask questions like

what other products are you considering? ?”

“how much are you willing to pay?”

“What sort of products or solution are you using at the moment?”

to get a feel for their budgets and potential.

If you intend to generate leads in countries where you already have distributors you should communicate this clearly to the distributors and present it as a benefit. If they have good web marketing you may well want to them to organise appropriate landing pages. We know that distributors vary in quality. It’s best to work with the ones who see your web sales lead generation as a benefit and use the leads properly. You may want to introduce a different pricing strategy for “your” leads. You will need to have sensitivity to the delicate political issues of “who gets the lead” in countries where you have more than one distributor. This means that all leads generated need to be reported to the person responsible for managing distributor sales in that country. An automated system to forward leads is not a good idea. During a pilot Judgement is needed, and of course there are opportunities to steer and incentivize distributors to behave in the way you want by making clear that the ones who support your objectives either get better pricing or more access to the best leads.

Conclusions

This type of marketing costs a lot less than a stand at a trade fair, and more countries can be researched at the same time than would be feasible doing everything the traditional way.

A good campaign for the right company should generate enough profit to pay for itself in the first year. I t is clearly best to start in the countries where you are most confident of success, and if you are not sure about the way forward, talk to experienced market entry consultants who have the web design and language skills, and the commercial experience, to make a success of it.

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community building

An interview with Maciej Noworyta – school boy and founder of Swiatgry.pl

March 15th, 2010

Maciej Noworyta is the founder of www.SwiatGry.pl and won a school entrepreneurship competition at The Marie Skłodowska-Curie high school in Skawina Poland in February 2010. 12 pupils with exceptional extra currucula contributions to school and local life were asked by their entrepreneurship teacher Barbara Werner to present their “plan for the future” to a panel of 5 judges. A panel of judges of which I was part, selected which plan was best. Among the criteria we decided were most important were

1. Degree of initiative (better to considering starting.doing something new than simply working for someone else

2. Realism. Any signs of awareness of the challenges and difficulties that would have to be overcome were viewed positively

3. Communication skills and persuasiveness

We all agreed that Maciej Noworyta was the clear winner. This interview by e-mail is to both promote his success to wider audience and to make him an example to inspire other would be entrepreneurs as part of my work promoting youth entrepreneurship

RL Please describe how you came to be the founder of www.SwiatGry.pl ? What motivated you to start the site?

MN I have been interested in computers since I was a child. I used to spend a lot of time playing computer games and at some point I realized that I could turn it into something like a hobby, something creative and interactive with other people.

RL please give some numbers to describe how popular your web site is, and how much time you spend on the site every week.

MN On average, there are about 35.000 page views and 9000 visitors per day. I usually spend several hours per week on the site.

3. What do you do to make sure that your site is visible in Google and other search engines?

MN My site is regularly positioned by Performance.com.pl

RL There are many people, young and old, who start hobby web sites, What was it that you did differently that made your site successful

MN It was a gradual process, I introduced some news modifications to facilitate using the site so that visitors would enjoy it.

RL what personal characteristics do you ve that you would you say were most important in making a sucess of your web site.

MN I do not want to boast, but I am rather a hard-working, patient and creative person. I also have a lot of endurance.

RL What inspired you to go ahead with the project, was it family, friends, teachers or something else?

MN I was inspired mainly by a willingness to get to know something new in which I could see future and to educate myself in this direction. My nearest relatives also motivated me a lot.

RL You’ve attracted sponsorship and advertising from major companies. Was it easy for you to negotiate and deal with them ? did they realise you are still at school?

MN I think it does not matter how old are you. What really counts is that what can you offer and with what you can attract potential sponsors.

8. what are the biggest lessons you;ve learned as a result of this project?

MN Regularity and making a good, cohesive organization. And by the way I gained much experience during the process of creating such a serious project.

9 Did anyone treat you unfairly or badly in the course of your project? how did you deal with it?

MN Generally we work in a pleasent vibe. I strive for a perfect atmosphere where there are no conflicts at all. It helps in accomplishing tasks and ensures that everything goes in its proper direction.

10 you mentioned that the site is more of a hobby than a business – do you believe that sites such as yours can be profitable or does making money out of a site make it less attractive to visitors?

MN I believe that everyone who starts from scratch do not aim to earn money out of it. Of course, for the site to function we need some funds. However, thanks to people who work with me, we can make our hopes come true. I am sure that earning money will not negatively influence our work. Just the opposite – it will help in developing the site faster and any other ideas which are going to be consecutively introduced will let us implement some innovations.

11 . What advice would you give to someone of your age or younger who is considering a similar project, or starting their own business ?

MN. Much patience and singleness of purpose.

12.You mentioned that you want to start a web page design business, and that you have already done web pages for some companies. How do you intend to compete with the many other companies that are active in this area already?

MN. The two important things are professionalism and the way of presenting your work. I do not like being formulatic. This is why I am trying to create something which is worth people’s attention.

13. Were there any remarkable memories when you realised that your site wsa going to be successful? how did you feel

MN I just felt satisfaction. But it is worth noting that the site is not only the effect of my effort but also our editors.

14. have your family friends and school been supportive of your business ideas, or do you feel under some social pressure to do a “normal” job

MN Sometimes they were trying to back me up or at least not to disturb. I do not feel under pressure to do some other, more common job.

15, if you are successful (as I am sure you will be) and make a good income out of your first business will you start other businesses, or take time off relax and have fun?

MN. If what I am working on will thrive and go into planned direction, then for sure I won’t refuse a long rest for myself.

Thanks again and congratulations.

Richard Lucas

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community building

Helping school children find out about the world of work – low cost high impact best practice from Winchester College, UK

An interview with David Baldwin –

July 2008

David Baldwin is a retired teacher at Winchester College

Winchester College is of the UK’s oldest and best known schools (for pupils from 12-18 year olds) – who has revitalized the careers function at the school. Making it better and cheaper than before he took over. This article is designed to highlight the simple, low cost actions that can be taken a parent, teacher (or pupil) by any school, anywhere in the world to develop local versions of this type of project.

Q1 When you took over the careers function, you weren’t happy with the business awareness seminar. What was wrong with it ?

DB it very expensive and done by people who were a bit past it.

Q.2 What did you actually do ?

DB “ with the assistance of the wife of a colleague who is quite high up in retail marketing, we set up our own introduction to the world of business. I got hold of two former pupils who are now well known successful entrepreneurs to talk about their own experiences. The boys taking part were then set the task of making a business pitch. For this coming term, I have the services of two more alumni entrepreneurs and we will give the boys more freedom to choose what they wish to pitch for and will run a sort of Dragon’s Den[2] with the entrepreneurs forming the jury.”

Q3 Is attendance at these events compulsory, or do boys choose to attend voluntarily.

DB Compulsory for the year group but the boys chose between a selection (up to 6) of speakers in each of the four speaking slots.

Q4 You’ve had visits from companies, such as banks and financial institutions. What are the most important things to make such visits a success?

DB We had Deutsche Bank here last term explaining how a big bank works and they have offered to have a party up to visit the trading floor.

Q5 You organize “careers days”. Who is it for and what do you do?

DB  The two careers events are pitched at boys of 15 and 17. I have managed to amass a very diverse range of speakers from former pupils and present parents through asking via school and alumni newsletters, and just asking people. My aim is to give the boys insights into all sorts of professions, not just “standard careers. The format is a carousel of 18 or so speakers, from which the boys choose to listen to 3 or 4, each talk/presentation to last no more than 25 minutes, but the whole thing followed by refreshments at which the boys can meet the speakers more informally and feel freer to ask questions. This worked well in Summer of 2007 and Spring 2008.

Q6 You have a list of people who do offer work experience of different types. How did you go about developing this?

DB Further to this we have also built up a bank of people who can help find work experience for boys seeking to do it, and we do stress the importance of doing so. And I recently asked for further help on this from present parents.

Q6 You are not sure about the value “interview guidance” courses. Is it more the cost and way it is done, or are there more fundamental problems ?

DB The cost is a factor, but I am not always convinced by the techniques employed. We have let one provider go, as they were increasingly out of touch and lacked dynamism. I have recently observed another company working in this area at Charterhouse and Bradfield School and was very unimpressed by their workshops on self-presentation skills. Their careers talks varied in quality depending on the personnel they had in on that particular day.

Q7 You offer ISCO/Morrisby psychometric profiling to older boys- What is the main benefit of this?

DB Psychometric profiling sometimes comes up with some good things for the boys but the main thing is to get them thinking about themselves and their aspirations.

Q8 What other services do you offer?

DB A major non work goal is advice about universities, and there is a good careers/university library full of brochures and guidance leaflets and boys come and go all the time, asking for advice.

Q9. If a school that has no tradition of careers advice is looking at this topic for this first time, what are the most important things that you would advise them to concentrate on?

DB My own feeling is that careers advice is unlikely to be very “professional”, in the sense that most teachers could not possibly be expected to be in a position to cover all possibilities (unless of course you have a careers advisor who has done the diploma and is full-time). My personal feeling is that a careers department should just seek to open students’ eyes to what is out there, to get them started on the business of thinking about their futures. But this is a personal view – the College feels that what I am doing is fit for purpose and fulfills the need.

Q10. School children are under a lot of pressure to pass exams, and need time “to be children”. What would you say to the idea that introducing children to the world of work this early is inappropriate?

DB It is a fair point. Because we do it in a very unpressurised way and make if possible for them to meet and listen to a wide range of, usually, interesting people, we don’t feel it is too early, although I need to make sure the speakers for the 15/16 year olds are not to “heavy”.

Q11 How much did it cost to organise the events you have initiated? How much money did you save by discontinuing activities that you thought were over priced.

DB I’m sorry, I don’t have full figures. We paid speakers’ travel expenses where they wanted to claim them – probably came to about £200 and we gave them a very good buffet lunch which cost no more than £400, so that the event was very cheap. (If we were to get in an outfit like the one used by other public schools, a day would cost anywhere between £3000 to £6000, depending on which services you use. I will not be using them).

[1] A ‘public’ school in the UK is a fee paying private school, in contrast to free government subsidized state schools.

[2] A popular TV show where contestants compete with business ideas. Many entrepreneurs do not think that this kind of show corresponds to reality at all.

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community building

Welcome back

After a long break I am back to writing.

I’ll share my thoughts about entrepreneurship volunteering, and business here

Richard 12th December 2010

 

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community building

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