Google today announced an extension of its 'Go Global' initiative to help home-grown brands tap into markets across the world. In a well organised, seeing is believing event, Google invited two out of an approximate 1,000 SMEs who have befitted from the program, which was originally launched in 2015, to talk about their digital journey.
There couldn't have been a better showcase to present to SMEs who have been sitting on the wrong side of the digital fence. Google’s simple three step counsel; establish your digital presence, get discovered and you will conquer the world was put to life by the young and dynamic co-founders Ian Ang, Managing Director of Secretlab and Declan EE of Castlery.
To expand its outreach to SMEs, Google also announced new partnerships with the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF). These collaborations will help Go Global in reaching NTUC’s and SiTF’s combined base of 13,650 member companies.
Gilberto Gaeta, Head of Google Marketing Solutions for Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Emerging Markets, said, “The partnerships we have in place with UOB, NTUC and SiTF will help us spread the voice and make sure that we reach as many Singapore SMES as possible. Our Go Global portal has been visited over 8,000 times since its inception. There is a lot of interest. We will train 2,500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by 2019.”
The expanded 'Go Global' programme will continue to help SMEs with little or no digital experience to get online, and explore new markets. Dedicated marketing consultants will help SMEs get comfortable with running their own online campaigns, SMEs will be able to attend Masterclasses on practical advice on growing digital presence and take the Squared Online for SMEs programme for building in-house digital expertise.
Furniture retail store Castlery was one of the first few to embark on the 'Go Global' initiative. Castlery is an furniture retail store that was founded with the ambition to reinvent how furniture retail works. With 'Go Global', they were able to give life to their strategy of cutting out the middleman and keep their inventory lean, thereby keeping their costs down and extending savings to customers.
Co-founder Declan Ee shared that digital outreach "gives young start-ups like us a fighting chance. Through the use of Google AdWords, YouTube adverts, re-targeting, content marketing and Electronic Direct Mailers and more, Castlery scaled monthly revenues from $2,000 to $200,000 in the first 18 months of operations in Singapore.”
He also added that, “as we grew, the data we gathered from our digital platforms have also helped us tremendously in making better decisions offline to continuously create delightful experiences for our customers."
Secretlab, born out of a desire to create comfortable seating for gamers, founded by competitive gamers Ian Ang and Alaric Choo has gone from one to nine countries in three years. "We are glad to be one of the first companies to tap on the Go Global programme. This came at a critical juncture — as we were expanding into overseas markets last year (2016),” said Managing Director and Co-founder of Secretlab, Ian Ang. “We optimised our digital marketing strategy using Display and Shopping ads to reach customers in Australia and America, resulting in a 171% growth in paid conversions year-on-year compared to a 30% increase in Singapore in the first half of 2017.”
Partnerships with NTUC and SiTF to scale outreach efforts to SMEs
Talking about the importance of digital adoption, Yeo Guat Kwang, Assistant Director-General, NTUC, said, “In this age of digital and technological disruptions, SMEs must constantly look to grow beyond the Singapore shore and adapt to the ever-changing employment landscape. U SME’s collaboration with Google’s Go Global initiative is a good opportunity for SMEs to attain digital capabilities and tap on technology to be global-ready.”
Ho Semun, Executive Director, SiTF, also added that, "SMEs are important to our nation as they account for 99 percent of our companies and employ 70 percent of the workforce. Singapore is a small market. Therefore, going regional and global is necessary in order for our businesses to thrive, (and) companies can leverage on digital technologies in Google’s Go Global program to expand their outreach in their internationalisation efforts."