Since we profiled TransferGo in November life has been moving quickly for the boys from Lithuania. They got in touch during their launch into Norway to catch us up on what’s been happening in the world of digital remittance and tell us some stories.
Speaking with Darren Oddie, TransferGo’s Chief Marketing Officer based in London, and Tomas Snitka, Head of Business Development joining from Lithuania, the first thing they mentioned was solid customer growth which has now taken them up to 30,000 users. They were also able to provide some more information about that figure that shows the breadth of TransferGo’s reach and it’s continuing mission to expand.
Now operating in 22 counties those 30,000 customers are spread throughout Europe, in as many as 2,000 towns and cities. The highest concentration is in London, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering it is the largest city in Europe, however the fact that it only accounts for 13% of TransferGo’s customers should. What TransferGo have found is that their customers are surprisingly spread out.
There’s a popular misconception that migrant workers congregate in the larger cities, but through their business TransferGo are finding that they have customers “from Lands End to John o'Groats,” as Darren put it. The top 100 cities do account for two thirds of the business, but there is a very wide distribution that they expect will only grow as they enter new countries and gather even more customers to the service.
Unlike other digital remittance services TransferGo are heavily focussed on migrant workers, those people who are looking to transfer money with every paycheck back to family in their home countries, or abroad to students, helping them pay bills and living costs. This means they see very regular Friday, and end of the month peaks of activity, 2.5 to 3 times greater than on any other day of the week. It is also reflected in the amounts transferred with the average size of a transfer being 300€. These are people with strong family ties, dedicated to supporting one another. They are probably also romantics and sentimentalists, since the other peak times TransferGo see are on Valentines Day and at Christmas.
TransferGo understand that they are tapping into the needs of a new generation, one raised with digital services available at the touch of a button, or screen. The idea that you would need to take cash out of an account, walk to the nearest Western Union branch, fill in some forms and then have someone on the other end do likewise to collect the cash, well that’s an idea that just seems ridiculous now. 86% of their customers are aged under 40, and they class them as young digital savvy workers, although it’s a service by no means reserved for the young. Darren and Tomas told me about how their oldest customer is 88 and 4% of all customers could be classified as pensioners. I’m sure the thought of being able to transfer overseas to family cheaply from their own armchairs is an even more appealing thought to the old than it is to the young.
As we mentioned last time, TransferGo runs a promotional program called Refer-a-Friend where every new friend that a customer persuades to join receives their first transfer free, and to incentives customers they also get 1% of all friends’ transfers in the first 6 months. When talking about this in the previous article, which was only in November remember, their top referrer had made over £600. Since then their top referrer has now earned over £2000 through the service.
Darren and Tomas told me about how having seen one person work their system so well they had to get in touch to find out more about him or her. Well it turns out their top referrer is a young student from Lithuania studying in the UK. He saw an opportunity to earn some money through the program and actively went around marketing it to friends, family, and anyone else who would listen. When asked what he would do with the money he said that he’d already earmarked a portion to go on a flight back home, and then would have a lot of spending money to buy a lot of stuff cheaply there, rather than in the UK. A holiday and shopping spree off the back of a referral program, not bad going young man.
One of the fascinating things TransferGo have discovered from looking into their own Refer-a-Friend program is just how popular and successful it has become. Darren told me that when he joined TransferGo he looked around at how referrers were encouraging people to use the service and found that they were already trying to make their own marketing materials. Customers were making their own banners to post to social media and running articles and blog posts through Google Translate so they could show their friends how the service worked, and why they should also join.
Amazed by the level of engagement and not seeking to dampen what had become an organically grown guerilla marketing team, Darren and the TransferGo team decided to reach out to those people and help them promote the service even better. So they designed banners in various languages that customers could post to social media, they found out which were the popular articles people were trying to translate and got someone to professionally do it.
With no ceiling to how much someone can earn through the scheme, and having heard about how much one student has managed to make, they didn’t need to do anything else to see customers incentivised. TransferGo have even gone so far as to include a number of banners and example messages that customers can use and post. You can see for yourself on their Refer-a-Friend page how they already have materials available in English, Polish, Latvian and Lithuanian.
When TransferGo launched in Norway the marketing team decided to use the occasion to try a little experiment. They decided not to spend a cent on their marketing budget and see just how much their small army of referrers could do. So the only people who received early word and marketing materials for the Norway launch were TransferGo’s customers, who were encouraged to go out there and using the Refer-a-Friend scheme, invite a whole new country to join the service.
Darren and Tomas weren’t able to give me exact figures, but Tomas could say that he was pleased with the early take up. It was amazing for him to see that even with no advertising spend, because of their already highly engaged customers promoting and selling the service for them, they didn’t need to lay that money down. There's a lesson in there for us all about the power of happy, satisfied, and motivated customers to turn word of mouth into growth and sales.
TransferGo are already looking ahead too, Norway might have only been added a week or two ago, but they’re always looking to the next country. Which happens to be Denmark, so get ready guys, TransferGo aren’t done with Scandinavia yet. After that they plan to expand into the Balklands, and are already looking for a country manager in Romania.
It’s been great to hear about how this company has been growing since we last spoke to them, and it was clear from the excitement and enthusiasm in their voices that Darren and Tomas know their right in the middle of a great adventure.