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How we did a global marketing test with just $1,000

March 7th, 2017

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Just a few week ago we started on a really exciting project, it’s a global one in fact, the objective is simple:

To find out which country is more interested/adoptive of our product

And we did it all within a budget of $1,000SGD

Now I’m sure many growing businesses out there are scratching their head still figuring out how they can find a profitable country to penetrate in.

Let alone spend just $1,000 on it.

This guide will provide you with a better picture and hopefully a proper structure and blueprint to take a step forward.

Even if you’re not planning on doing your global domination, this blogpost can provide you with the core idea of how online marketing tests are done. You can use this exact system and apply it on testing your offers.

So here goes:

Before we start on anything we first need to decide what is the variable and what is the constant.

Doing a test is just like any cheimistry experiment that you want to test out in your school’s lab, all you need is 3 things

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1.   The Variable – What different item will be tested
2.   The Constant - What you want to test against
3.   The Rules – What determines a “successful” experiment, in this case an adoptive country

So the only variable that we’re testing here is the country, the rest of it will remain constant. We’re talking about the offer, the ad, the image and copy, all will be the same.

So variable(country) + constant(Ad/Offer) = result

Result /= Rules = success/failure

Got it? Great

Yes it can get a little mathematical, but honestly if you look at it it’s actually quite simple.

So let’s start with the Constant

The Constant- Our Offer

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We want to make sure that our offer is relevant and congruent with what we’re promoting.

In this case, a product that can help you optimise and automate your ads(Optimate!).

Thus, we’re looking for business owners that are interested in improving their facebook marketing. That for us, is the constant profile for our target audience in every country.

Now because we wanted to guage the level of interest in each market, having large numbers would definitely help out in our accuracy.

For this we choose the Facebook Lead Ads

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It’s an ad that allows users to download a guide/pdf in exchange for their email/name.

It’s simple and easy for them to download, everything is done on Facebook’s side, therefore the leads will be high.

You might be wondering, if I wanted to get the high numbers, why don’t I just go for page like/post likes?

Now it’s different. Because If I were to do that, I’ll be comprimising on my lead quality, many people would “like if they see an interesting ad, but not many people would give you their contact info, unless they’re INTERESTED.

See where I’m going? Great

Similarly, for the more experienced marketers, they’d wonder why don’t I direct them to a landing page to download my guide instead? That way, it shows that my leads are more qualified.

Yes , you’re right, it can be more qualified, but that also means I’ll have lesser numbers to play with, so it’s not the best option for this particular test.

Thus Facebook Lead Ads, sits comfortably in the middle of them both.

Of course, downloading our pdf will not be the only thing that we’re measuring here, we’ve added a free trail offer at the end of our guide, also they’ll get a string of follow ups through their email, we call them email autoresponder, but that’s for another day.

All you need to know right now is that these follow-ups are meant to get them signing up for our free trials.

The closer it is to the purchase, the better.

Now let’s move on to what we’re testing here

The Variable- Our Cities

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Our criterias for cities are simple:

Population: 2mil+
1st/2nd language: English

That alone, we can actually list hundreds of cities, but of course we’ve narrowed them down to only the major ones.

But what experiments are we testing here?

1.   Countries
2.   Western vs eastern
3.   Less tech-savvy vs more tech-savvy

So the countries that we’ve selected are meant to test all of these experiments. The cities are:

1.   London
2.   Sydney
3.   New York
4.   San Fransico
5.   Hong Kong

Experiment #1: Countries

If we’re just testing the countries alone, then any country would work, in this case it’s

London vs Sydney vs New York vs San Francisco vs Hong Kong

Experiment #2: Western vs Eastern

For this case we want to test if western or eastern countries are more adoptive of our product, we’re not planning to test a lot on the eastern countries as of yet, so for now it’s

Average of western vs Hong Kong

Experiment #3: Tech-savviness

In order for this experiement to work, the country must be constant, we don’t want the culture and people affecting the results, so we chose

New York vs San Francisco

Although they are quite the same, San Fransico is always known for be the pioneers in technology and innovation(silicon valley), so we’re going to bet on that.

The Rules

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So whet determines a successful “experiment” I.E. an adoptive country?

Here’s the criteria we’re going for

Average cost/Lead : less than $10
Lead -> Sign Up Conversion: more than 5%

So once our campaigns exceeds $10/lead in a particular country, we instantly shut it off.

Also if we have accumulated 20 leads in a particular country, and we don’t get at least 1 sign up, even though the lead cost is cheap, we’ll still shut it off. (This means that although the cost is cheap, the quality of leads is not good enough).

So in an ideal country I would have a decent leadflow(<$10/lead) and a healthy sign up rate(>5% for free trail).

Can it be improved? For sure. But right now we just need to know which country satifies the entry level.

The Verdict

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Oooh the anticipation…

To be honest, the result were pretty shocking, something that we would not have expected from this test.

San Francisco: $15/lead
Sydney: $14/lead
London: $12/lead
Hong Kong: 1.70/lead

Yup, all of the western countries exceed our criteria, Hong Kong is the only one that stood out from the rest, with people hungry to learn about Facebook marketing, with an average cost per lead at $1.70!

What does this mean for the rest of these cities?

-maybe they have an influx of such offers thus they are less interested in what we have to market
-maybe they are more sophisticated and they already know about all these stuff
-maybe it’s because of the competition, it’s expensive to reach enough people in such areas

The key insight is that the eastern countries are more interested in our product than the western ones.

Are we sure about it? Of course not, we have to test it further…

So immediately after finding this out, we switched our campaigns to focus on the asian countries.

Yup, we stopped all campaigns except Hong Kong and focused on these instead:

1.   Tokyo
2.   Seoul
3.   Singapore
4.   KL
5.    Manila
6.   Jakarta
7.    Bangkok

There’s only 2 experiments we want to find out

Experiment #1: Countries

Experiment #2: Developing vs Developed

Now that we’re focused on the asian cities, the main difference these cities have is that some of them are developed, while some are developing.

We want to find out which of these are more interested in what we have to offer.

Again, applying the same rules, we spent the rest of the budget accordingly

2nd Verdict

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So our assumption is right, the Asian countries are not only cheaper to reach out to, they’re more interested in downloading our pdf to learn about facebook marketing.

Here’s what we got:

Tokyo: $7.90/lead
Bangkok: $7.70/lead
Seoul: $4.30/lead
Singapore: $2.50/lead
KL: $0.90/lead
Jakarta: $0.90/lead
Manila: $0.60/lead

So, a huge difference from when we were in US & Europe.

But did we hit jackpot? Have we found out that the most profitable country is Manila? Of course not

A Facebook “like” doesn’t necessarily converts to purchase, similarly when someone downloads a pdf, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are interested in Optimate.

We need to know the quality of our leads, how well we can convert them into a customer.

Once we can get the numbers we’ll move on to getting the quality.

So we move one step closer towards the customer’s journey, we’re looking at the number of free trial sign ups for our product.

So each step gets you closer to finding out where to get the most quantity and quality customers.

See the flow? Awesome

After shutting out Tokyo and Bangkok, we zoomed in on the rest of the countries to find out who is giving us the most sign ups.

Our result?

Seoul: 2 sign ups
Singapore: 5 sign ups
KL: 1 sign up
Jakarta: 2 sign ups
Manila: 13 sign ups

Clearly we have a winner here.

Now the question is: Should we focus all our effort on Manila? Again, not yet, all of these sign ups are for a free trial, not all of them would convert into a paying customer.

And again, we take a step closer…

I hope you’re getting a hang of the test here…

Right now we’ll just have to wait and see which of these customers eventually bought our product from free trail > paying


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Can we do it more effectively? Of course we can. For a start, we should have focused an equal amount of Asian countries as well as Western countries to have a better use of our budget.

Take note though, what we offer is clearly different from what you have to offer, this experiment is to show you the framework on how we get there, so don’t expect these countries to produce the same results as us, yours might have a completely different outcome.

So what is the next step?

Once we have the paying customers, the next step is to penetrate into the respective countries, testing more content and offer that suits that particular country.

Of course we are still scratching the surface here, there are many more tactics and strategies once we have locked on a country.

Thankfully, with the help of our system, figuring out our ready-to-buy customers will be much more easier. ;)

If you want to know how much more effective your ads can be or how much you can save on your ad cost with Optimate, schedule your free consulting session with our Facebook Certified Professional now.