LocalFest Indonesia- The offline event which skyrocketed organic traffic.
Which Online Channel Worked Best? How Did You Make it Work?
Sayed: We employed quite a few successful online tactics. We found the organic channels were by far the most effective.
We were one of the first companies to use Instagram. Indonesia is now one of the most active countries on social media, but back when LocalBrand had just started, not many people were on there. We correctly identified the early adaptors of Instagram as our target customer, and were able to make the most of this channel. 1. Social Media.
We defined an influencer as anyone with over 1000 followers. We built relationships with local fashion influencers early on, and got them to endorse our products. Now they have millions of followers, and we still maintain the same partnerships. These online celebs have consistently brought a lot of traffic to our site, so identifying our ideal customer as someone who follows them was a good tactic. 2. Influencers & Affiliate Marketing.
.Aside from targeted outreach, we made sure to leverage our relationships with influencers to drive LocalBrand’s SEO strategy as well. They wrote articles about us, and we did interviews with them. They would link to us a lot and through this, our page built authority and trust from Google quickly. 3. Content Marketing
. At the start, we focused on target long-tail keywords where the competition was low. Local, Indonesia-specific terms which had low competition but high search volume. These keywords were easier to get on the first page of Google for, and so helped to build our page authority as well as traffic. 4. SEO
Content Marketing Is Still The Most Powerful Tool To Bring Customers To LocalBrand’s Site so bloggers played a massive role.
The Growth Stage
Which Channel Brought The Highest Number of Converting Customers? Would You Recommend it?
Sayed: The mix of offline and online worked the best for us as both of these reinforced each other.
We executed one large and well-organised offline event every year. This brought us a lot of customers for the following reasons:
Every event has at least 50 partners, including those from the media. All our partners used their social media to promote us. We made sure we included this in all our agreements. 1. Partnerships.
We got media and bloggers to cover the event. We paid for some, but we also received organic coverage by using our existing partnerships with celebrity bloggers and influencers. We told the press and media about it, and many dropped by of their own accord. By Year Two, we managed to achieve an attendance of 40,000 people at Local Fest over 3 days. 2. PR.
Is There A Difference Between The Growth Channels Which Work Here And Those Which Work In Western Countries?
Sayed: The main difference is the timing.
“Trends tend to repeat themselves, so what was big in the US is big in Indonesia 1–2 years later. Staying ahead of this curve gave us a very effective free growth channel — Instagram.”
Indonesians are more likely to buy products from social media than customers in the US. We use these channels as a means to inform ourselves on where the demand lies, much more than US marketplaces or retailers.
Having High Customer Retention Is Often Cited As Key To Building A Successful Startup. How Do You Make Sure You Achieve This?
Sayed: Actually that’s our biggest problem right now.
In e-commerce, Indonesian startups, like those the world over, struggle to compete with the big guys when it comes to scaling.
We have loyal customers who identity with the brands on the platform, and we keep everything we do focused on these customers and what we know about them. But when it comes to retention, it’s hard to keep most people because the big platforms such as
Lazada can offer promotions such as free delivery.
Customers will ultimately go where it is cheaper and the brands will follow.
What Is The Biggest Challenge You Faced? Do You Have Advise For Anyone Who May Share This Issue?
Sayed: User retention is our biggest challenge. We have overcome this by first realising that we cannot compete in terms of price with the players with a lot of funding, so we have had to change our tactics. We decided to partner with these large marketplaces instead of compete with them.
Thus, we created LocalBrandAsia, which is a connection for the local brands to all the market places and e-commerce sites. We focused on our strength — a connection with the local brands, instead of our weakness, an inability to provide the cheapest prices.
By making this move, we made Localbrand.id even more focused on our targeted customer, and created a lifestyle brand for them.
Do You Have Any Advise For Someone Looking to Create A Startup In Indonesia?
Sayed: Yes, don’t give up.
“Failure only happens when you stop trying”
It is so rare that anyone will succeed on their first attempt. Make sure you learn from your mistakes and bring those insights with you to your next attempt. So many of the companies I see here give up after their very first failure. See it as a learning opportunity, pick yourself back up and carry on.