Our number one tip before you spend any money on marketing? Fail in your Excel sheet. Lean and agile is the way for many companies, but that doesn’t mean to blindly fail fast in order to optimize later. “We believe businesses exporting abroad need to focus on growth first. Calculate your business potential and go for the low hanging fruit. After all, it’s best to plan ahead and make your first mistakes in an Excel sheet,” László Szabó, Google Certified Trainer for Export in the Czech Republic and Slovakia believes.
He rightly places PPC amongst the lowest hanging fruits. Google Ads, Google Shopping and Facebook Ads campaigns. “As a results-first focused agency with senior specialists native in 6 CEE languages, we’ve seen the power localised campaigns can bring to an exporting business, even if it’s a first-timer,” Zoltán Flékács, Head of Performance explains what they do at Growww Digital, and what you want to be doing too.
Apart from PPC, Google Shopping entered Romania in 2019. According to Flékács, it is the single most effective way to enter a country with just a minimum level of localisation that can be done by any PPC professional not even speaking the language. “Shopping is the quickest win of them all,” he knows from experience, “and when it comes to Google Shopping, activating the 20% discount on CPC by a CSS/CSP provider is a no-brainer from a business point of view. It is an advantage not used by many so you might as well go right ahead and outperform local players if you have Google Shopping international experience.”
Facebook, when executed well, is one of the most performing channels in Romania today, especially with a visually appealing product. It works wonders in fashion, home and decor, or in our experience anything from lighting to electronic goods,” Alexandra Mezei, Head of Brand and Social Media at Growww Digital elaborates. Gmail retargeting as well as retargeting similar audiences on Facebook are a key part of a successful PPC strategy.
Apart from being a tool for you to get a peek into how established stores (and your competitors!) do e-commerce, marketplace marketing can be a door-opener. We mentioned eMAG from the industry leadership point of view. It is also a biggest marketplace, aka a possible entry point for your brand is one to rule them all. According to Flékacs, being present on eMAG is a great introduction strategy for segments typically performing well on such sites. Selling on an established and trustworthy website reinforces your image as a reliable partner. It comes with a price (approx. 15% commission), as well time and administration to set it. You are also giving away 100% autonomy over your pricing, branding, content, visual and other business decisions.
On the contrary, it is one of the fastest, most hands-on ways to get a touch and feel of Romanian market. Other websites comparing products across segments and categories are Compari, Price.ro, Shopmania and Biano. When it comes to home and deco, Glami, Bonami and Favi are your go-tos.
Review your content and technical search engine optimization. We recommend having your technical (off-page) SEO centralized, meaning it is set in the same way across countries you export to. Make sure you localize off-site link building to Romanian pages. On-site wording and localization is a must. “With our in-house senior experts native in 5 CEE languages (including Romanian), we translate and localise your site’s metadata, while our proven local link building partners help to maximize the link juice to your sites. All of this to ensure long-term organic traffic and conversions,” Zoltán summarizes what steps would follow. Having a localized version of your store, in LEI and in Romanian language will enable you to have your store indexed in Romanian search engines.
PPC, although powerful in gaining momentum, is one of the most expensive ways to grow a business in the long run. Why? According to Szabó, you don’t want to be dependent on just a few platforms (Google and Facebook), especially such giants you don’t own or can’t control.
In short, you want to build brand awareness. This process has several steps from having a localized website showing your brand’s DNA to digital communication across channels, remarketing users, retention campaigns, all the way to building communities. “Start by analyzing both numbers (traffic / following, engagement, conversions) and the quality of your content,” Alexandra Mezei recommends. your end goal would probably be sparking consumer’s interest, building trust and loyalty. Focus on texts, link building, tone of voice, photos and videos and what works for you in other markets. How could your communication strategy look like? According to Alexandra’s experience with building multiple brand strategies across Europe, you want to stay close to 70 % educational content or sparking desire, 30 % sales content with calls to actions.