New ways to develop your B2B practices in China in 2020
The traditional way of doing Business (B2B) in China is cold calls or Exhibitions. The other major way of doing business in China is via ‘’Guanxi’’: have the right connections, know the right person and have to drink a lot of Baijiu, give a lot of envelopes, etc
Well, time is changing. The younger generation of businessmen is less into who can drink the most and more into who can I trust the most. Don’t get me wrong, guanxi is still an extremely important aspect of China’s B2B-word.
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Business in China in the Digital Age
With the rise of the internet and the growth of digital marketing, the practices mentioned above have become increasingly sidelined. Using online tools instead, looking for a more comprehensive, highly visible, online presence. And we understand, why would you trouble to heavily drink, travel the country to exhibit for companies that may not be worth your attention. Instead, Business owners, do their researches online and if you are worth their attention then maybe you’ll share some baijiu.
How Internet is changing the B2B World?
The focus is now on digital, online strategies. With the internet it is easier to search, identify and compare quality suppliers. Because Chinese consumers reviews and comment, It is especially easy to do so. You can check information about companies to ensure they are trustworthy and provide legitimate services. Online buyers also learn how to get the best offer and use a variety of techniques in order to manage their suppliers more effectively.
Changing Generations: Raise of the Millenials
The new generation of business managers are born after 1980. They are accustomed to searching and checking information online. This was made possible with the raise of communication app such as Wechat.
Drinking that much to sign a contract has become a big “no-no” among Chinese Millenials. They value a healthy lifestyle and are more aware of the impact of alcohol on their body and mental health.
The anti-corruption campaign started by Xi Jingpin has most significantly affected the minds of Chinese people. Especially the younger generation who grew up in this anti-corruption era.
Chinese realized the risks of ‘Guanxi’
Most people in China seek to be more professional and prefer to get the best supplier than the poor quality company of their friend. Relying too much on Guanxy is potentially risky for one’s position and career. Young workers are particularly career-focused therefore the culture of friendly ‘Guanxi’ is diminishing. Many want to focus on their family and to develop their career in a reputable, professional manner.
Trust is the base of B2B in China
What are the new ways of doing business and attracting customers in China?
A quality and clear website
Having a good website is important in China. Distributors/buying agents/Business owners are more and more sensitive to a well-designed website. Clear offers, intuitive navigation, persuasive information. Everything on your website should be demonstrating the advantage of being involved with your business. Website content should be translated into Mandarin with Chinese-specific imagery.
Show that you are the expert with quality content
Content-based marketing became significantly more important in China. Publish high-quality content on your website and your WeChat to demonstrate your level of expertise. Buyers like to see practical tips, good content from their supplier and will memorize it. It is a good way to promote your best business practice to potential Chinese buyers and make a difference with your competitors.
The highest quality traffic comes from Chinese searching Engines
In B2B, the qualified traffic comes directly from online research. This is logical. Anyone will initially search for keywords via the Chinese search engine ‘’Baidu’’. This is the number one search engine in China.
You can appear on Baidu with paid results or natural results.
Paid results or PPC (pay per click) is good because it results in instant traffic but the quality of the traffic is often low… Which professionals actually click on Ads? In reality very few.
Organic traffic is based on natural search results. Cheap and Quality traffic but it is difficult to rank high and takes time. More information here.
Chinese Forums, Q&A, and quality blogs
Most Chinese buyers search on forums as part of their research. Chinese often put their trust in other users and are scared to be cheated. No one likes to be scammed and lose face. On the forums, they can get partial information about a company. Because peoples trust forums users’ reviews, forums should be part of your online marketing strategy. Well run, it will results in user-generated content (UGC). This content often ranks high on Baidu and is highly trusted. Forums are perfect to build organic brand awareness and e-reputation.
Banners, Ads etc…
You can try to get traffic from Banners, ads … it will increase your visibility but according to my experience it is not quality traffic and in B2B will not generate effective leads. However, when getting started, it is a good way to get traffic and boost your SEO efforts. As for the west, an omnichannel marketing strategy is a way to go in China.
Wechat for B2B in China
Wechat is omnipresent in China… but for B2B, it is not really useful in terms of increasing your visibility but rather a good tool to keep in contact with your prospective client. It is also a way to improve word of mouth, and it is a good way to connect with your prospect. Wechat is more like a newsletter.
Having a nice introduction about your company on Wechat can be good for those to share your company information with their contacts.
Most Chinese companies do not have paper brochures, they prefer to share information with a WeChat brochure. A WeChat brochure is easy to share and expected in the Chinese B2B-word.
In B2B, people prefer to send information and quotations via WeChat or qq than the traditional email.
Emails DO NOT WORK in China. Why? Peoples don’t read their emails. Emailing is not part of the Chinese culture.
Press and quality publications: Boost your trust for B2B in China
To impact upon influencers, and those people who like to keep updated about industry news it is important for a company to appear on the news.
Good news content results in trust and credibility to your company. The Chinese like established, and trustworthy companies, and appearing in the media will help strengthen this image.
Chinese public relations
Appearing in the media will often not result in leads but is good for the branding of the company.
Community Management for B2B in China
Be active in your community management as this is very important in B2B. Impress your community and professionals will perceive you as a leader in your field and you will naturally generate leads, this is because professionals will recommend you. Community management is associated with quality content and is more time to consume as you have to develop this status over time.
Regroup your community around one group, qq group, Wechat group or a professional forum, and take your time. The group has to feature useful content that others will invite their professional network to.
KOL B2B in China
In B2B in China, professionals like to be part of the group when they exchange interesting information, and if they are invited to this group, they will associate the status of leader to the admin and manager of this group.
O2O in Business: conference & networking
A popular trend in China is the relation of online and offline.
This concept of B2B is quite simple, people have to meet each other before they give a quotation/AFQ, and have to know each other before making a deal.
We meet each other online but also need to see each other.
Conferences are a good idea, invite your online prospect along to a situation where there is a shared interest, it is also a new way to meet them again and let them understand how good you are.
Connect offline and keep contact online: useful for B2B in China
Networking is a good way to gain contacts initially and online is a good way to keep in touch with these people. Networking is not really effective in the short term, meeting people for two minutes is not enough time to base a significant business relationship on. Keeping in contact online with these people is a good strategy. Most of these people are social by nature and if they are impressed by your specialization after checking your content will recommend you to other potential buyers.
Who are we?
We are a Lead Generation Company and help Businesses to develop their customer base in China.
Do you want to Develop your Business in China?
If you have any questions or are interested to know if we can generate B2B leads from Chinese clients, feel be free to contact us. (agency @ marketingtochina.com)