You manage a Brand in China for a while, you get bored with simple tips, and you want advanced Marketing Strategies to level up your Brand.
- You struggle to Engage with more potential Clients
- You do not have the E-Commerce results you expect
- You have problems to go to the next level
This article is for you…
You have been here for some time and gained certain achievements with a solid presence across China’s most popular platforms including Wechat, Weibo (for social media), Baidu (for search engine Marketing) and Taobao, JD.com for e-commerce… Now, you aim to push up your competition and further expand your businesses but are not sure how to do so. In this article, we will provide you with advanced strategies on both social media marketing and e-commerce so that you can make a checklist for your overall marketing plan this year or next year.
You need to deeply understand you target, know what they like, dislike and what other competitors are doing.
1. Nurture and maximize existing customers with custom content marketing
Instead of always focus on Acquisition, you need to nurture contacts, prospects.
Education them and understand what they miss to take the first order.
- 100 Prospects see you, contact you
- 20 People follow you
- 2 people Buy
What do you do with you 18 other followers?
What you plan to do with 80 other contact.
Content marketing is your secret weapon to nurture prospects.
You’ve also got to nurture and retain them.
5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%.
To do that, you need custom contents that truly engage your existing customers. In other words, the content will be tailored to suit the specific knowledge needs of the target audience that you’ve already built. This can be resourceful guides around how to maximize your products or services; answers to popular questions within your niches; advanced information for people who are already familiar with the basic concept…
When you produce profound knowledge, you reinforce yourself as an authority, create a deeper connection with your readers as well as improve the brand visibility on search engine and brand credibility since people tend to discuss and share insightful information.
How to create killer content?
A Kind of Content that your client think OH MY GOD
You are producing content… and you need to change something.
CHANGE to improve.
CHANGE to go to the next step
- Understand deeply your customer’s persona
With your existing customers in focus, map out their persona to hone your understanding of your target audience. A persona is not merely about a customer’s background and demographics but also their goals, challenges, common objections, biggest fears and the qualities/ personalities that they have.
You can dig for insights from your own customer data; or online sources such as the website analytics, social media, discussion groups, online communities…
- Research and target customer-centred keywords.
Before you work on custom content creation for your known audience, you need to research and pick more relevant, more niche keywords to answer their specific concerns. Generic keywords just won’t get the job done in this stage. You can increase the conversion rate dramatically when you optimize for the right keywords.
- Produce irresistible content in the most desired format
If you want custom content to work for your business and engage your customers, then you’ve got to make it irresistible.
Your site is by you, but not for you.
What content format do your customers enjoy?
- Blog posts and articles?
- Infographics and images?
Always focus on and work primarily with the content format that your audience prefers.
2. Go NICHE, explore niche Social media to reach well-targeted audience
High chance that you have already built a solid presence on Wechat, Weibo and Baidu. Those are the most powerful platforms in China. However, it is increasingly competitive to get your brands noticed by customers in the noise of millions of posts, tweets and campaigns happening every second on those well-known sites. It is time to level up the social media game by tapping into specialized platforms which serve unique niches. These smaller, passion-based networks are growing in popularity, and allow marketers to connect with conversations that really matter and drive authentic traffic to your business.
- Xueqiu (Snowball): Equity & Finance Social Media Network
Founded in 2010, Xueqiu is the one-stop platform to discuss and learn about a wide range of financial services. With over 12 million monthly active users, Xueqiu plays the role of educating young people on financial management as well as provides investors a place to gain insights and converse about financial assets such as bonds, stocks, funds, trusts, and Bitcoin … One unique feature of Xueqiu is that any registered user can contribute content on the platform such as financial news or trading strategies.
This could be the ideal social media platform for brands in the financial or real estate industries. Brands can take advantage of the dominant user base of well-educated, male Chinese through suitable marketing activities.
- Keep: The Hub of Health and Fitness Enthusiasts
Launched in February 2015, Keep is a platform dedicated to health and fitness niche. It offers a variety of training courses and fitness videos along with dedicated activity trackers where you can record and analyze your progress. Users are also able to follow each other’s workout progression and even share their progress on other social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo. Additionally, Keep aims to engage further with their users by operating offline gyms in Beijing and Shanghai, which creates an endless opportunity for omni-channel marketing.
This platform is a great choice for brands that want to take part in the rise of the fitness industry in China.
- Mafengwo: Chinese people’s favourite tour guide
As Chinese travellers are increasingly sophisticated and knowledgeable, they prefer to create their own unique travel experiences. Many navigate to Mafengwo to help them plan their trips.
Mafengwo was launched in late 2010 and has since then acquired over 100 million active users. According to 2018 statistics, there are over 130 million registered users. Unlike Ctrip, Mafengwo is popular thanks to its social aspects, in that users can share information about their trips and post content for other users to discuss and up/downvote. Today Mafengwo hosts more than 1 million user-generated travel guides and has seen massive amounts of engagement on its content.
For those in the tourism industry, this is the ideal platform for social media marketing in China.
- Xiao Hong Shu (Little Red Book)
Xiao Hong Shu was originally a social media site for cosmetics and fashion but later developed into an e-commerce platform. Users can post their own contents, interact with contents from others and join discussions. Contents on the platform focus on product reviews and shopping experiences, including those abroad. Users can directly purchase products on Xiaohongshu after reading about their reviews, tips, advice shared by others. Brands or KOLs on this platform can directly influence sales through the content that they generate, making this a very attractive platform for cosmetics and fashion brands.
Read more about marketing strategies for Xiaohongshu here.
Douyu (斗鱼) is an online live-streaming platform designed for sharing and talking on video games. It’s mainly for users to broadcast e-sports competitions, showcase strategies, and share content related to videogames.
According to SimilarWeb, Douyu’s total visits reached 95.6 million in December 2018 with an average visit duration of around 8 minutes. As of September 2018 the platform had 7.6 million daily active users on the platform.
If you’re involved in the video game or e-sport industry, this is the best platforms to start with for social media marketing in China.
- Maimai (like Linkedin)
Maimai is a China-based career and professional networking platform, similar to Linkedin in the West. It was founded in 2013 by Fan Lin with its headquarters in Beijing. The platform claimed to have a registered user base of 30 million in November 2017 & a monthly active user base of 10 million.
By using this social media platform, you can find your potential Chinese employees, customers as well as investors for your business. While it’s still growing we anticipate this will be a great tool for social media marketing in China going forward.
3. Level up your SEO strategy with these tips
I know SEO do not work… WRONG
I know Baidu Do not work WRONG
It does not work for you, with simple Paid Ads Strategy YES
It does not work with non traffic acquisition YES
It does not work with my Business Why NOT
If there is a need, a demand… If people need to search for something … There is a Market for SEO
SEO can be Baidu, can be Taobao, can be Mafengwo, can be RED
People need to search for information… and you need to do SEO where they search.
With nearly 80% of market share in 2018 on search engine in China, Baidu is undeniably the top Chinese search engine. That is the reason why every company that wants to involve in the Chinese market must constantly improve their Baidu SEO strategy.
- Optimize for more long tail keywords
For additional traffic, it is important to use “long tail keywords”. Unlike the classic keywords, they are much longer and therefore generate less but quality traffic on the pages. As they are less sought on the search engine, they give more chance to small businesses who are often very low on the SERP for very popular keywords.
Long tail keywords are a good way to stand out against the strong competition on highly exploited search engines like Baidu.
Moreover, choosing long tail keywords for a pay per click advertising strategy is a smart strategy because the costs are obviously more affordable.
- Get more SERP space with rich snippets
While Baidu and Google SERPs were largely similar in the past, Baidu has distinguished itself in recent years by adding rich snippets to enrich the SERP. These snippets are mostly the properties of Baidu itself and it is not uncommon that the first page is mostly constituted of Baidu’s rich snippets. This is one of the reasons why SEO strategy in China is unique and must be correctly built.
Baidu has different forms of rich snippets, such as:
- Baidu News: is the information channel of Baidu where it gathers the contents from other websites
- Baidu Baike: is the Chinese version of Wikipedia
- Baidu Music: allows users to search and listen to music directly from the Baidu search page
- Baidu Map: allows users to directly search for a location or desired routes.
- Baidu Zhidao : a question / answer site where brands can join the conversations and thus gain a chance to appear on SERP.
- Baidu Images
- Baidu Tieba : which are like mini forums for different topics
Qunar 2: (Simplified Chinese: 去哪 人 meaning “Where to go?”) Allows you to book trips directly from the Baidu result page
It is also possible to find rich snippets that Baidu (unofficially) designed for some big companies that are partners with them.
- BAIDU TRUST (More important than EVER)
Baidu trust is a service of Baidu that verifies the level of reliability of a website. The service gives different level ranging from V1 to V3. Websites wishing to benefit from this trust and confidence label must apply to Baidu to have their site verified. Obtaining this certification improves the ranking on the SERP and the credibility of the site.
- Employ quality link building
To gain traffic to a website and climb in ranking on the Baidu SERP, the quality and quantity of backlinks are important. Baidu’s algorithm favors Chinese sites over foreign sites. You have to create backlinks in a natural and creative way; otherwise, abusive link-spamming method could lead to penalties from Baidu. Meanwhile, the amount of backlinks is also important to rank on SERP. Therefore, brands should find a right balance to have both enough and quality backlinks to have an influence on the ranking results.
- Mobile optimized website
China is a mobile-first country. Therefore, you need a proper mobile version of your site. Also create content with mobile in mind (without sacrificing value). That means avoiding any formats that have trouble loading on mobile devices.
4. Create more buzzes with short-video content
Short-videos have become all the rage in China, with multiple apps focusing on this particular form of content including Douyin (Tik Tok). Douyin boasts a user base of over 500 million and users spending an average of 52 minutes per day on the platform.
In a survey compiled by PHD Media China only 22% of marketers responded using short videos in 2017, while this number rocketed up to 62% in 2018.
However, to take advantage of this trend is not that easy. Creating 15-second videos which both feature branding content while being entertaining enough that users are willing to share can be incredibly difficult. However, this challenge also creates a significant opportunity for more creative marketers.
Engagement with ongoing trends can also be effective to create buzzes for brands. Douyin for example posts daily challenges for users to engage with the platform then promotes to other users through its recommendation algorithm. Participating in these challenges can be a great way to reach a huge amount of users with little cost.
5. storytelling, live streaming, gamification… to drive e-commerce
Brands should shift from seeing eCommerce as a transactional environment to incorporating social engagement and storytelling at the core of their customers’ digital experience strategy.
Largest eCommerce players such as Alibaba or JD have shown their focus on enriching customer shopping experiences by incorporating into their sites trendy features such as live streaming, videos, virtual reality, games and quizzes, online communities and KOLs. It’s crucial that brands cooperate with these platform operators and utilize their new functionalities to create marketing and promotion campaigns that engage better with customers and drive more sales.
Tmall’s “see now, buy now” runway show extravaganza on October 23, 2016 in Shanghai. (Courtesy Photo)
While product and value are core fundamentals, brands are differentiating themselves through experiences. By blending rich editorial content, social commerce aspects such as user generated content, KOLs and livestreaming into their eCommerce strategies, brands can create distinctive experiences for consumers.
Brands need to offer more than just low prices to draw consumers from third party platforms.
Read more about Advanced strategies for e-commerce in China 2019.
6. KOL is now an important sales channel
Marketers for China must have been very familiar with influencer marketing for the past decades since this is a crucial way to reach and build trust quickly with Chinese consumers.
KOLs are used to generate awareness, but now in China, they have become a powerful sales channel.
- They can sell for you (if your brand is Attractive enough)
- They will be your online Distributor
- They will sell via their Taobao, RED or WeChat store…
In 2017, Mini hired Becky Li, a KOL with nearly 5 million followers, to promote a limited-edition Cooper, valued at US$280,000. Within 4 minutes, all 100 available were sold and full payment was made within the hour.
Chinese digital influencer Becky Li sold 100 cars in five minutes on her WeChat blog, Becky’s Fantasy.
Last year, Neutrogena retained 张大奕eve to launch a new range of beauty products. Within four hours of the launch, 20.000 pieces were sold through social channels.
Moreover, fashion or cosmetics companies can collaborate with KOLs to create limited-edition collections and utilize the branding power of both sides to push sales.
7. Consider spending more on digital advertising to amplify brand awareness
In a study conducted by Admaster, in which they spoke to 110 advertisers and 130 digital marketing professionals, 79% of companies advertisers said they intended to increase their digital marketing budgets in 2019.
Ad spends on mobile is increasing faster than on PC since 98% of Chinese consumers now access Internet through mobile devices.
Spending on native ads also increased dramatically in 2018 thanks to China’s increasingly powerful native advertising features.
8. Have you reached out to online media?
Public Relations is one of the most cost-efficient forms of communication used to develop the image and reputation of a company, a product or brand in China. The majority of Chinese people, with increasing purchasing power, read more news on the Internet rather than on printed media.
Here are the main online newspapers in China :
- Sina: the most important web portal in China
- Sohu: the second most important
- 163 / Netease: news.163.com
- QQ News
- Renmingwang (the People’s daily)
- Xinhua (New China) Press agency
- Fenghuang (lfeng)
Media publishers look for stories that can attract and excite people. Pure branded content will not be favored by these players. In contrast, good storytelling strategies that both resonate with readers and echo the brand message will win the media battle.
Consider online media as another powerful channel to expand your brand awareness, but again, devote time and effort to creating unique pieces of content that readers will love is the cornerstone in any marketing campaign.
The Real Question is : Do you target read Media? Which one?
Once you know this… your decision is easy to make
In my opinion, marketing in China or elsewhere is more the strategy game than the money game, especially when the digital landscape in China is quite complex with a matrix of platforms and constant changes. If you have completed the first step to establish your brand name in main playgrounds, congratulations! It proves that you have somehow understood and adapted with China’s unique media environment. Based on our recommendations above, we hope you have new ideas to level up your marketing game and skyrocket your sales in this market.
GMA : A DIGITAL MARKETING STORY
- Start in a small flat… in 2012
- Story of 2 guys focus on Performance and ROI
- Pioneer of online Marketing in China (when People do not even know what Digital Mean)
- fan of Mad Men
- Digital Expert
- 650 clients already
- A team of 70 marketers train to perform in China
Why you need to contact us NOW
- We can do an audit of your brand
- We can imagine the right marketing strategy to level up your Brand
- We can send you our Case studies
- You can speak to an expert (ask our Expert for Brand Level 3)