It wasn’t all that long ago when small businesses were constrained by the borders where they operated. By definition of being small, they were local or, perhaps, regional entities. But the internet and access to digital tools have changed all that, completely redefining the idea of a small business. Today, you don’t have to be big to be global.
Over one-third of the clicks on Google ads posted by US businesses come from abroad.
Online tools have allowed marketers to cross those geographic borders and market products and services to anyone, anywhere. We’re seeing that play out on our own platforms. Over one-third of the clicks on Google ads posted by US businesses come from abroad. And, on average, over 60% of watch time on YouTube content produced by US creators comes from outside the US.
The demand is there – you just have to find it.
Market insights are the starting point – and often the main challenge – for businesses looking to export. I regularly talk to small and medium-sized businesses in my role as Director of Grow with Google, an initiative to help people grow their skills, careers and businesses. They’re time starved and resource constrained – and most just don’t have the budgets necessary to conduct extensive market research.
Access to digital marketing tools … can change the trajectory of a business.
If you can relate, tools like Google’s Market Finder are a good solution. Market Finder provides economic data for different countries, details around local search trends and purchase behaviours and an 'ease of doing business' index by region.
Access to these global insights can help marketers be more agile and responsive to people’s needs. And access to digital marketing tools, sometimes the best and only option for startups or smaller companies, can change the trajectory of a business.
We’ve seen this play out in our Economic Impact Reports, which highlight smaller businesses marketing their products on a global scale while impacting local communities in a positive way.
For example, Strider Sports International, Inc. a bike manufacturer in Rapid City, South Dakota, has sold 2.5 million bikes in 78 countries, using digital platforms like YouTube to reach customers overseas. Nearly half of the company’s total sales come from exports.
Likewise, The Bow Tie Club uses online ads to drive demand globally. The Gaithersburg, Maryland-based company has sold more than 30,000 bow ties in 50 countries. Export sales drive 20% of its business, and the brand’s entire international ads budget is dedicated to Google Ads.
If business slows in one market, there are other markets just a few clicks away.
The ability for small businesses to go global increases profitability, competitiveness and innovation. And it enables marketers to be more resilient and adaptable. If business slows in one market, there are other markets just a few clicks away. It’s an exciting time for marketers. With the right insights at your disposal, the opportunity to connect with more customers and break into new, global markets is unprecedented.