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Services: SEO, digital PR.

How We Helped the AI Startup to Get 1M+ Organic Users and Achieve $1M ARR in 149 Days

Rask AI case study
by Dennis Lazard · Written March 28, 2024 · Updated June 26, 2024
4,224x
Organic traffic
300+
PR backlinks
1m+
Organic users

About The Brand

Rask AI is one of the leading AI video localisation and dubbing tools. As a part of Brask.ai, a funded US-based company ($6.6M Seed A round), Rask was founded in April 2023.

During the MVP stage, when the team had just ended proof of concept activities as CustDev and first user-tests, Rask AI got extremely positive reviews, especially from non-native English speakers.

The company's other metrics, such as LTV, were also great, so they came to ESA Digital with the goal of finding growth opportunities, targeting the best markets, and achieving an effective marketing strategy.


The Challenges
Development of the go-to-market strategy that suited Rask AI started from a comprehensive analysis. Here are some areas we identified to focus on:

  • Although having positive reviews from users, Rask AI appeared to be a no-name brand in the global picture. That's why our first goal was to develop a PR strategy in the new market (US) to create credibility, virality and increase the website's domain rate (DR) for organic traffic growth.
  • The brand didn't initially have any US market research, so the second focus area for us became exploring demand for the product in the chosen market. For that, we proposed extensive market research, consisting of exploring the organic traffic of Google US (SAM, SOM, User growth, and ROI), identifying the competitors' gaps, and creating a compelling SEO Strategy to win the highest positions in search ASAP.
  • The brand's key goal was to scale the product, though the US market was chosen as the only option. We decided to explore different ways to verify whether the American domain was the best choice for the company or if there were others where we could enter with the product, including other languages.
  • We also needed to work with the PR, SMM, and Product teams to kick start the project as soon as possible, per the client's request.
  • At the time, bigger players, such as YouTube, announced their free versions of the product features we had, creating strong competition. Therefore, we decided to put all marketing efforts into fast distribution and improvement to stay competitive even after their releases.

Strategic Approach
Once all goals and timelines were agreed upon with the client, we defined several steps for a quick yet effective approach:

  • 1

    Step 1: Checking velocity

    We started with a thorough market research of organic traffic in the US market to identify what velocity we might have. This was our starting point since it defined the strategy we later created for Rask AI to start appearing on the market and attract attention before competitors could copy.
  • 2

    Step 2: Launch of Rask AI's Newswire

    While the Content team was working on the Product Hunt launch (where the product won Product of the Day and Silver Kitty Award 2023), we launched Rask AI's Newswire with a data-driven Press Release about the company. This helped us achieve some increase in heavyweight backlinks and the domain rate.
  • 3

    Step 3: PR topic research

    Alongside launching the Newswire, our research team did extensive PR topic research where we collected FAQs from Google and conducted a survey of 300 users. That's where we identified that the topic "AI in Education" had great coverage by journalists, big social buzz, and a small amount of fresh stats, so we chose that as our key focus.
  • 4

    Step 4: Identification of the organic user's source

    During our organic traffic research in Google US we were able to find 24 relevant sub-topic categories, identifying our future key source of organic users on a daily basis.
  • 5

    Step 5: Analysis of other potential markets

    Once we finished the US organic traffic analysis and presented it to the team, they asked us to check other markets and locales for growth opportunities. The next step was analysing Google LatAm, Spain, Brazil, Portugal, France, Germany, Austria, and Turkey.
  • 6

    Step 6: Choosing the best link-building strategy

    During our market research, we identified competitors' gaps and product categories. That's where we decided the best link-building strategy for Rask AI, according to their goals, would consist of PR activities and content from the semi-automatic creation of pages with automatic translations (programmatic SEO) for cost-effectiveness.
  • 7

    Step 7: Preparation of monthly plans for the Product and Marketing teams

    We worked by weekly sprints to stay flexible and make alterations on the go according to the changing metrics and improvements in specific areas. Along with that, we prepared monthly plans and recommendations for the product, PR, listing in Top catalogs, and SMM activities so they could contribute to the organic traffic increase in the long term.
  • 8

    Step 8: Plan B development to be ready when big players announce new features

    We have calculated the growth and velocity to ensure Rask AI brings more value to existing customers when big players announce their free features. The plan included specific niche features, great product and customer success, allowing the brand to quickly distribute it to as many markets as possible and staying proactive.

The Results:

Result 1: 4,224x increase of organic traffic in 12 months

When we started in March 2023, Rask AI's website had 58 organic clicks per month. Our research, link-building strategy, increased DR with PR strategies, and programmatic SEO resulted in 245K organic clicks per month by the end of March 2024. In total, we saw a 4,224x increase in organic traffic in 12 months, making Rask AI the #1 product in Google in 8 categories in Mexico, Argentina, and France, and #3 product in Google US.

Result 2: 1.5M MAU & $1M ARR in 149 days

With the PR campaigns and SMM strategies implemented across chosen channels, we were able to help Rask AI achieve 1.5M monthly active users and annual recurring revenue of $1M in just 149 days after launch.

Result 3: 300+ PR mentions, 1.7K backlinks, and 120+ website donors

Thanks to the extensive research ’AI in Education’ that we featured in Newswire, Rask AI got 300+ PR mentions, leading to 1.7K backlinks, 120 website donors, and 13 domain rate (+11 after launch). This also helped us to move quicker with the SEO right from the 2nd month of working together, successfully avoiding the sandbox.

Result 4: 14 product categories with potential $51M ARR

We researched 24 organic traffic types by 12 locations, identifying 14 product categories where Rask AI could quickly take Top-5. For example, we found that the US market could give 58k organic clicks per month and $1.4M in Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR), which is $51M ARR.

Result 5: From 58 to 245,000 organic visitors per month in 12 months

Our chosen PR + Programmatic SEO marketing strategy has become the winning combination to scale Rask AI as quickly as possible, so the website's daily organic visitors grew from 2 to 8,167. Overall, we were able to attract more than 1M users directly from organic traffic in just 1 year.
ESA team combine both a creative and data-driven approach in performance marketing, testing around 10 hypotheses per week for acquisition, engagement and retention. Their work on developing and executing a product growth strategy for the UK and US markets has led to a 68% increase in our number of monthly clients and $1.3M raised in Oct 2019 based on our growth metrics with ESA.”
Roman Grigoriev (www.splento.com)
CEO at Splento (fundraised $1.3M)
“​​I can't speak highly enough about ESA team! They have transformed my website from a store that functioned fairly well, to a fully optimised platform which performs better and generates significantly more income through substantially better sales conversions. We have a plan to continue building on the fantastic 7-figure revenue growth we’ve already achieved this year, and I have no doubt that with ESA team on side we will accomplish all this and more.”
Hanna Sillitoe (www.hannasillitoe.com)
Skin Healing Expert, BBC Dragons’ Den Brand
"ESA Agency are SEO and PPC team of our Spain and Portugal eCommerce shops. They created our new websites from the ground up, improving UX usability by 4x times. The result? Double the online visibility of our brand and an increase in our online revenue of 150%. We couldn’t be happier! It’s a perfect partnership."
Ilya Adamsky (www.sleep8.es / www.sleep8.pt)
CEO at Askona Europe (Brand Sleep.8)
“I met Dennis and his Google team, when they pitched their startup Smartsub. We accepted them to our accelerator program in 2017, Batch 9 and they successfully passed through it. Within a short period of time they managed to develop MVP of their product, design and implement go-to-market strategy launching the product on the US market. Their broad digital business experience and data-driven approach allowed them to make things done.”
Cristobal Alonso (www.startupwiseguys.com)
CEO at SWG (funded Smartsub in 2017)
“ESA team with their Google Ads skills, growth mindset and natural ability to mentoring are able to bring a lot of value to startup ecosystem with so many tech companies in their growth stage and businesses struggling with Google online advertising.”
Monika Synoradzka (www.hugething.vc)
CEO at HugeThing (funded Smartsub, 2019)
ESA team had outperformed my expectations working with one of our main SEO clients. They delivered X2-times organic traffic growth for 12 client’s websites, working with technical, content and link-building SEO optimisation in Google, website structure, navigation, technical code and conversion rate optimisation.”
Maria Kristalinskaya (www.bbdo.com)
Head of Retail Media at eBay (GE), Techstars Startup Mentor, ex-BBDO
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