You are a B2B marketer, and you want to know what you need to do to be effective in China?
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Business in China is changing and digital is changing the B2B landscape. China’s expanding middle class and desire for foreign goods make it a profitable opportunity for international B2B companies looking to sell overseas.
The question of how to market and sell to Chinese companies is one that gains a lot of attention from foreign companies seeking to profit from this huge country.
Traditional Way of B2B is dying in China
One of conventional ways to do business (B2B) in China was to conduct cold calls, make offline connections or participate in trade exhibitions. Therefore, ‘’Guanxi’’ has become an important concept that western companies need to understand and adapt.
In today’s modern China with racing digitalization in all aspects of life, these practices have become increasingly less popular in favor of a comprehensive B2B digital marketing strategy to create, convert and maintain clients.
This article focuses on key digital marketing strategies for your B2B success in China.
B2B MARKETING IN CHINA: NOT THAT COMPLICATED!
CHINA – THE WORLD’S SECOND LARGEST ECONOMY POWER
China is the world’s second-largest economy, but that seems to change within the next few years as China competes to take over the US which is currently the world’s largest economy. It is sure to continue on its path as a global growth machine, and thus understanding how to enter this enormous market has become critical to those in the B2B sector.
- The country’s middle class is projected to boom more than 360% from 109.1 million in 2015 to more than 500 million by 2025, according to recent estimates from Credit Suisse and China-based e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
- As China’s middle class grows, the more money Chinese entrepreneurs will have to either invest in or start their own businesses and, in turn, buy products from local and overseas suppliers.
- The opportunity to sell to this large, growing class of Chinese business buyers with an increasing income and investment is greatly pushing foreign companies to involve in China market
- Additionally, many Chinese business buyers want to buy Western brands because they don’t trust the quality of Chinese brands
- The question of how to attract the attention of Chinese business buyers is really a significant one that we would help you answer.
IMPORTANT CHECKLIST FOR YOUR 2019’S B2B MARKETING IN CHINA
1.A well-organized and professionally-designed website is not an advantage. It’s a must
In China, 80% of buyers are looking for information on the Internet and 95% of industrial buyers search the Internet for suppliers.
Therefore, most local and foreign companies have a website and are increasingly using online and digital marketing as the primary way to reach and communicate with their customers. A clear and attractive company website that presents a company’s product or service offerings is therefore crucial to generating interest from Chinese buyers. Moreover, having a Chinese version of company websites is also very important. It enables the company to communicate with a greater target audience and clearly demonstrates the company’s understanding and adaptation to China market.
Having a well-structured, navigable and informative website can also help differentiate Western companies from local competition, since the standard of Chinese companies’ websites are still low, badly designed, lacking key information and generally unprofessional. An informative and well-made digital home is therefore an unmet need that Western companies can leverage on.
2. Social media for Nurturing and incentivising your prospects!
Both in China and out, people will look over your social media – potential partners, clients, employees – all of them will judge you by reading about you on social media. Here are some quick facts about social media & business in China:
- WeChat is the main way people keep in touch with their business contacts. Business cards are being replaced by scanning and becoming friends on Wechat
- There are over 700 million daily active Chinese users on WeChat and over 300 million monthly active users on Weibo, both popular with white-collar professionals.
- Only about 1/3 of Chinese Internet users use emails for communication and working.
Whether you are a Chinese business or a foreign one, there are significant sales and revenue opportunities on WeChat. WeChat is the most influential social media platform in China. However, B2B companies have not leveraged WeChat as efficiently as B2C companies.
For B2B purposes, there are two main ways we can use WeChat:
- First, Wechat is the place to update your followers on your news and information. It’s best to use a mixture of text, images and even videos in each post on Wechat.
- Second, having a nice introduction about your company on Wechat is important because it is convenient for people to share your company information with their contacts. Most Chinese companies no longer have brochures; they prefer to send Wechat information where buyers can check more carefully about their products or services online. This way also saves time and money updating brochures frequently.
- Third, you can use Wechat as a customer support tool because Wechat allow users to contact companies directly and personally. Therefore, it is a very good tool to keep in touch with your prospects.
Weibo. Weibo is more “public” than WeChat, making it easier to spread content and gain followers. It’s actually easier to generate interaction on Weibo than it is on Facebook. Weibo has more features allowing better commenting experience as well as offers different post formats. Even though Weibo has fewer users than Wechat, they still have over 200 million monthly active users. Weibo also offers advertising options which can be useful for businesses that are just starting out and want to gain followers.
Don’t forget to constantly engage with your subscribers
At the end of the day, your success with social media in China doesn’t only count in the number of followers you have, but also the relationship you have with your followers. Engage more with your followers, communicate with them, answer their comments, and cultivate a relationship with them as this will be the key to your success with B2B social media in China. You can also gain valuable insights about your audience through social media platforms such as their interests, concerns, lifestyles, and much more. This information will allow you to better position yourself as well as target your customers. To reinforce the connection, make sure to create stories and content that are relevant to these interests and emotions, and then engage with your audience.
3. Reaffirm your expertise with quality content
Using great content that solves a specific problem for audiences you want to attract is the key to getting more leads in China. Provide insights on relevant topics that add value to your audience such as white papers, guides, checklists, swipe files, or other useful contents. Keep in mind that your customers will likely interact with your contents on multiple occasions before they decide to have any contact with you. So, focus on creating diverse contents in a consistent way that address specific problems your audiences may have.
“88% of B2B companies conduct content marketing, which saves 62% of the cost compared to traditional marketing and brings over 3x the leads. 55% of B2B companies plan to increase their budget for content marketing this year.” (Source: US Content Marketing Institute & Hiten Shah & Econsultancy report.)
4. Highquality traffic comes from the search engine optimization
In B2B, the most converting traffic comes from online research. For Chinese, they will initially search using keywords on the Chinese search engine ‘’Baidu’’ to look for potential suppliers.
Baidu is the number one search engine in China.
You can appear on Baidu as ads or organically. Paid results or PPC (pay per click) is good in that it creates instant traffic but the quality of the traffic is not ensured. Meanwhile, organic traffic (SEO) generated from organic ranking is the most powerful and effective. However, it takes time and a right strategy to rank high organically. In order to reach your target Chinese B2B audience, Baidu SEO can be used as part of a long-term and sustainable marketing strategy that combines with other digital marketing channels.
5. Intensify your presence and engagement on Chinese forums, Q&A platforms and blogs
Chinese buyers also search on forums as part of their market research. Chinese often trust the opinions of other buyers and are cautious to be cheated. In forums, they will obtain the overal feedback of your company from other users. If you have many positive reviews, your company can instantly gain great trust even at first contact with clients. Therefore, here is an effective space to create discussions about your brand, monitoring all comments and minimise/solve negative ones. Some important platforms are:
- Baidu Tieba: Baidu Tieba is a forum-like platform. It’s owned by Baidu, so it is prioritised to show up in search results
- Zhihu is a Q&A platform that is similar to Quora. For marketing, it can be used to raise and answer questions about your company or you can also answer to more specialized questions to establish your expertise.
- Baidu Baike is Baidu’s wiki. Having and maintaining a proper corporate page on Baidu Baike can be helpful for optimizing branded search queries.
6. Press and official publications: further expand your awareness and boost your trust
Many professionals like to keep updated about industry news, so it is important for new companies to appear on the news. Presence on prestigious media pages results in trust and credibility for your company. Chinese highly evaluate established, and trustworthy companies. More importantly, they believe that those featured on newspapers are this type . Appearing in the media may not generate a lot of leads but is extremely necessary for the branding of the company.
OUR EXPERIENCE, OUR CASE STUDIES
YarnMaster is a French group which specializes in producing electronic products for industrial textile machines. A big part of its turnover is from exportation. They wanted to introduce their company on the Chinese market. They already had some factories to manufacture in China and wanted to find suppliers and potential buyers for their products.
Their main goal : to become a leader in the textile sector in China.
GMA helped YarnMaster to become well-known in China and highlight its expertise in the technology field toward Chinese industrials thanks to our digital marketing actions :
Optimization of the website.
- Quality communication content : pictures, videos…
- SEO campaigns with key words in mandarin and in English.
- Press relations and specialized press.
Results after few months
- 10 lead each month.
- YarnMaster was ranking on the first page of search engines thanks to good key words.
- YarnMaster became the foreign leader of the textile industry in China.
Chemistry-World is a large internationally renowned chemical group. Perfectly mastering its home market and the countries abroad where it operates, Chemistry-World is interested in a country that has very specific chemical needs: China. For this country, Chemistry-World has launched a new product line.
The results after only a few months of actions:
- 68% of visitors of the website are involved in the field.
- 42% of visitors want to know more about Chemistry-World.
- The sales department records many calls and is contacted by many potential customers.
- 25% of visitors improve the product description sheets on the site with comments.
- The SEM campaign attracted more than 4,560 visitors in just 3 months.
- In 3 months, 1,569,660 people saw Chemistry-World on Internet thanks to the SEO and SEM campaign.
- 6 leads from largest industry group in China , on the first three months, with a potential Business over 10M$ deals.
ABOUT US: WE ARE A SMART AGENCY FOCUS ON RESULTS
You can now understand that digital in B2B has become one of the most important criteria for reaching Chinese professionals. Implementing a digital marketing strategy is essential.
- Be present on the web and improve your image and your e-reputation to generate leads.
- Our agency can assist you in the development of your strategy in China.
- We are not at our first B2B project, our experience can help you.
- More information about our B2B Case studies .
Contact us to have a free consultation with our B2B consultant.
- They are friendly
- They are Professional
- and they know the cut edge of the B2B Trends in China