Chinese have quickly become the most desired customers by all kind of companies around the world. Their purchasing power over the past few years is almost unchallenged, with the middle and upper class increasing at an incredible rate. Their desire to travel and buy from all over the world is a market that must be tapped into in order to benefit this ever growing opportunity. Let’s take a look at what and how you can provide for this market.
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In China, as a foreign brand, your goal is to get as many Chinese people talking about you as possible. Without an e-reputation, you are just another name. This would be a mistake. According to the statistics of the China National Tourism Administration, 62.03 million outbound trips were made in the first half of 2017, which is an increase of 5% compared with the same period in 2016 and ranked the first among all countries in the world. This resulted in $115.29 billion in spending by Chinese tourists in 2017 alone. It is predicted that the outbound tourism number will keep increasing and that the amount of outbound tourism spending will keep on increasing in 2017 from the USD 109.8 billion spent last year. How can your brand catch the attention of the Chinese and be a part of that expenditure?
Through digital marketing, brands have the chance to target Chinese tourists
Chinese travelers are a significant and ever-growing audience for brands. The trend of Chinese traveling abroad is increasing and companies are doing everything to target them. According to the latest survey, 98% of Chinese citizens were willing to take trips in 2017. 43.2 % of them were willing to take an adventure and explore natural scenery and cultural customs, 34.2% tourists want to relax and reduce pressure during the trips, 16.4% tourists would like to develop good relationships with friends, loved ones or families by traveling, 2.6% tourists hope to experience better services like medical care and educational resources, while the remaining 3.7% take trips for other reasons. You need to know your audience and cater your content to their liking. Here are some tips:
#1 Customized website in Chinese
The first step to having visibility on the Chinese market and allow potential customers to find you is to create a website in Chinese. The truth is that most Chinese are unable to speak English, therefore it is vital to provide information about your products or services in Mandarin to reach Chinese travelers.
#2 Provide relevant content
Your website should provide information about what Chinese travelers want to see. This information is not only about your services, but you also have to include information about the country and what you and the country can offer to them. The content must be useful, interesting and relevant in order to attract them. If you can provide more than one service, or provide to more than one sector, make sure your content indicates that in each of their posts.
#3 Create an on-site experience
For brands that want to target Chinese travelers, digital platforms play a very important role. Digital platforms have to provide an excellent user experience to their potential customers, therefore an efficient strategy is to allow users to share their experience via social media and upload their pictures or comments to the website or the social networks of the brand.
#4 Presence on search engines
Chinese travelers are constantly connected on the internet looking for all kind of information, therefore the knowledge of your brand depends on its integration into the Chinese search engine. If you don’t have a presence on the Chinese search engines, your potential customers are not able to find you. In contrast to Western countries, Baidu is the most popular search engine in China.
Top 3 Search Engine in China
Related to search engines, it is vital to be located on the first pages of Baidu and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the best way to do it. Users only pay attention to the first pages of the search engine, therefore if you are not well placed they’ll never reach to you. SEO is a very powerful tool to attract targeted consumers. Baidu is the source of 75% of the research made in China. Before buying everything, Chinese consumers will first spend time on Baidu to have more information about your brand. SEO is a strategy that works to rank your official website in the natural search results over time. If your ranking on the natural search results is good, you will be more visible and Chinese consumers will trust you.
#6 Integrate social media platforms
Before choosing their destination and organize their travels, Chinese tourists invest a lot of time looking for information on the internet. During this process, brands have the chance to offer relevant and interesting content which will be helpful to build their presence on Chinese minds before the trip. Chinese make their shopping lists before they travel, so it’s important to get their attention beforehand. Companies have to include social media platforms on their marketing strategies. Chinese tourists through social networks are looking for opinions and information about the products and services that you offer. Create accounts on social channels such as Weibo, Renren or Kaixin are mandatory techniques to target Chinese travelers.
#7 Leverage Press and Blog Relations
There are many conversations about travels and destinations on the internet through microblogging sites, forums, and other social media platforms. A huge number of people are sharing experiences, opinions, and pictures of their travel destinations and its environment as for example information about the restaurants, hotels, stores, activities, and places that they have visited. Brands have to participate in those conversations and interact with potential consumers through the creation of engaging content.
Weibo is a very popular social platform in China which is a mix between Twitter and Facebook. Over the last years, it has become a powerful platform to communicate and influence Chinese people. Brands must open an account on Weibo and publish interesting content in order to interact and target the Chinese tourists. Through Weibo, brands have the chance to know the Chinese travelers, their habits, interest, and behaviors. This information is very useful in order to target them.
#9 KOL campaigns
Through Key Opinion Leader, brands have the ability to influence customers. KOL is a popular tendency in China and those people have thousands or even millions of followers and integrate them into the marketing strategy will increase the brand presence. Many locations have become key destinations simply because A KOL happened to share a picture while they were on holiday there.
The first advantage of this social network is that almost every Chinese have a WeChat account, therefore is a powerful tool to reach a vast number of travelers. Through WeChat, brands have the opportunity to offer personalized treatment to their followers and engage them. Many Chinese tourists use WeChat for collecting information, commenting and sharing their opinion about services, products, activities, and destinations. Wechat allows brands to target their potential customer in an efficient way. WeChat is one of the most popular platforms to engage and attract Chinese consumers, incomparable to any western social platform. Chinese travelers are able to research, plan and purchase their trips abroad within the WeChat application alone.
By following these pieces of advice, brands have the opportunity to reach Chinese tourists. As explained, a good e-reputation is a key to reach them, due to the strong relationship between Chinese people and the internet.
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We help companies wishing to sell on the Chinese market. We are specialists in:
E-REPUTATION: Primordial before launching, we work together on your unique selling point, then on the social networks and with the help of PR, we make sure that your image on the networks is totally clean and reliable for the Chinese users.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization of your website will be essential, our team of specialists will take care of your e-reputation, the management of your social networks while setting up an SEO / SEM campaign allowing you to gain places in the ranking of the Baidu Chinese search engine.
LEAD GENERATION: Our teams are professionals in lead generation. To optimize it, your e-reputation must be irreproachable. Investing in online advertising and creating quality content will help you develop your e-reputation. Finally, the evaluation of the results will be important to guide us in the next stages of your development.
DIGITAL SOLUTIONS: Website creation, development and audit; social media marketing (including WeChat & Weibo); PR; monthly reports and analyzes by our team of experts.