Test the Waters without Spending a Dollar (Almost)
Why do startups hesitate to go global? Two reasons come to mind. One: budgets are tight, and there’s a perception that building a multinational brand will require some serious cash. Reason number two: failure seems all too likely. Startups are risky, and it can be daunting to venture into a new market, especially one with a different culture and a different language.
We don’t think these reasons are especially convincing. Stepping into a global market can offer huge dividends. And it doesn’t have to be expensive, or require reckless risk-taking. With crowdsourcing technology and localized app descriptions, you can test new markets cheaply, and then figure out the best way to turn your app into a worldwide competitor. In this post, we’ll show you two simple, flexible ways to test out new markets for your mobile apps.
Take My Money: Crowdfunding
A good crowdfunding platform, such as Kickstarter, can help you gauge demand in a new market. It can also help you build a loyal customer base overseas—a customer base that feels invested in your app, and that’s ready to help spread the word to other potential users.
One startup that has used Kickstarter’s model to expand its market is Everlane, an online retail brand that sells designer goods such as cashmere sweaters.
In an interview with Makeway magazine, Everlane CEO Michael Preysman explained that his company was looking for an affordable, effective way to expand to a new market—in this case, Canada. They decided to use Kickstarter’s crowdfunding model in order to search out potential customers and get customer input on their products and ideas.
So Everlane launched the #CrowdFundCanada initiative. They built a custom crowdfunding page, set a $100,000 goal, and offered rewards for contributors at different tiers.
(The crowdfunding website of Everlane)
After three days, Everlane had raised $50,000. At the end of the 17-day campaign, that number had swelled to $117,720, sourced from 1,400 different contributors. Crowdfunding didn’t just give Everlane the capital it needed to expand into a new market. It also helped them build a core group of customers in Canada who were both early adopters and committed investors.
Testing the Waters: Localized Product Pages
In a previous post, we talked about the importance of global app store optimization, which provides a quick and cheap way to market your app to customers overseas. You can also use this strategy to test the reception of your mobile apps in a new market. Before you spend time and money on translating the content of your app into a particular language, a localized product page can help you gauge how users in new markets will respond to your app.
App descriptions are short, so localization is cheap. Using OneSky’s translation service, you can localize your app description for the Japanese, German, Korean, French, Spanish, Italian, and Russian markets for just $350, total. It’s an affordable, effective way to test your mobile apps in a new market. For more tips on using Global ASO, including choosing which markets to enter first, and how best to localize your keywords, check out this blog post.
For a great case study of a company that has used Global ASO to test its mobile app in a new market, take a look at AutoCAD 360, a free app for drawing and drafting. For each new market, the AutoCAD 360 team has localized their product page as thoroughly as possible. Every unit of measurement, username, currency, and text label on screenshots has been customized on each of AutoCAD’s product pages.
The result is a product page that will seem natural and appealing—downright local—to users around the world.
When you’re using a localized product description to test your mobile app in a new market, you’ll need some metrics in order to get a sense of how well your app is doing. Otherwise, your campaign won’t be a SMART one. When it comes to metrics, here are your two best options:
Number of downloads. This is the clearest signal of how potential customers are responding to your app in a new market. Once you’ve localized the product’s page, keep a close eye on how many people are actually downloading the app.
When possible, try to see how many people have viewed your app’s product description within the app store. Google offers measurement tools that let you gauge how your localized product description is attracting views. You can learn more about Google’s campaign measurement tools here, and check out the parameters here.
If your metrics indicate strong interest from a particular market, you may have to step-up your in-app translation efforts.
Two final tips: make sure to note in your app description that the app is still in English. Otherwise, non-English speakers are likely to delete your app and post a negative review. You’ll also benefit from keeping a close eye on customer reviews in order to understand the market potential, and to see if there are particular areas in which you might want to improve your localization efforts.
Some Added Benefits
The beauty of crowdfunding and localized app descriptions is that they let you reach early adopters. The people who are likeliest to join your crowdfunding campaign, or check out your localized app description, are likely to be well connected and tech-savvy. They’ll be inclined to give you feedback about your app, and, if they like it, to tell other people about your product. Crowdfunding campaigns in particular can turn customers into collaborators: people who feel invested in your app, and want to help you spread it to a new corner of the world. Ideally, these early adopters will become vocal evangelists, ready to spread the word about the quality of your app.
How have you tested apps in new markets? What strategies have you found effective to help your product reach customers overseas? Let us know in the comment section. We love to hear from you! And, if you want to keep up to date on the most effective tools for bringing your app into a multilingual marketplace, please subscribe to our blog.
Feature photo credit: Nat Finn
Written by Patrick Yip
Patrick Yip is the former Head of Marketing at OneSky. Heavily attracted to any brilliant growth strategy, well-crafted content and the idea of making the Internet globally accessible.