B2B Marketing in China: Guide to Master Lead Generation

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Generating leads is one of the most important aspects of any B2B marketing strategy and it is the same if not truer with B2B in China. And when it comes to generating leads in China, things can be a little tricky. The Chinese market is unique, and understanding the customs and cultural nuances is essential for successful lead generation. In this blog post, we’re going to give you a guide to mastering lead generation in China.

Thanks to the internet it has become significantly easier for western B2B companies to reach out to Chinese potential customers but this success of the internet also came with its own challenges as both local B2B and international companies have embraced digital marketing.

Within this context, only companies that master China’s digital marketing tools are able to set themselves apart from the rough competition. Thankfully for you, we wrote this guide and if you don’t think you are able to handle a B2B lead generation strategy by yourself in China, it turns out that we have 10+ years of experience in the matter.

China B2B Lead Generation: Must Know Before Getting Started

Internet is the Key to Customers’ Experience

The first step of the consumer experience in mainland China is to look for information on search engines.

China, more than other countries, is a connected country. Statistics are awesome: more the 90% of Chinese buyers start their research on the Internet. Even if the information researched is different in B2C and B2B, behaviors are similar. Research for a product or a service is mainly done on the internet and research before buying is mandatory for Chinese consumers and this is also in B2B.

Heineken on Baidu

Professionals also use the Internet to gauge the seriousness of potential business partners. They do a lot of research, find out about partner companies, and learn online. 95% of Industrial Chinese buyers use the Internet to find suppliers. Companies that work in the industrial sector tend to buy on e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba to find low-value products.

Email Marketing Does Not Work in China

In China, the communication means are very different than in Western countries. In Western countries, communication is mainly done by sending emails, in China, consumers never read their emails. Chinese consumers prefer instant messaging platforms like WeChat and this is also with professionals in B2B.

Email marketing actions are useless: email campaigns, newsletters, and others will not be read. Email marketing is not working in China because the Chinese people don’t have a lot of trust in unsolicited emails or simply don’t check their emails, they have other channels.

To reach out to your consumers, you need to adapt your strategy to be effective in the communication means Chinese consumers use. The best alternative to email marketing and newsletters in China is WeChat, which allows also foreign companies to share content with followers through official accounts.

B2B marketing in China: WeChat newsletters

Basic Steps to Take When Getting Started with B2B in China

  1. Get to know the market – Do your research and understand China’s B2B landscape. Who are the major players? What are the key trends? What are the pain points that Chinese businesses are looking to solve?
  2. Build a strong network of local partners – Having a good network of local partners is essential for doing business in China. These partners can help you navigate the local business landscape, introduce you to potential clients, and provide valuable insights into Chinese culture and business practices.
  3. Develop a localized marketing strategy – In order to be successful in B2B sales in China, it’s important to develop a localized marketing strategy that resonates with Chinese buyers. This is the part we will be focusing on.

Developing a Website in Chinese Mandarin

To become visible on the Chinese web, a website is the 1st step for industries in China. Your website has to be strong and structured. Chinese professional clients are suspicious due to all the counterfeits, copies, and tricks. They will be really reassured if you have your own official website, trustworthy and professional, available in the Chinese language.

To start, your website needs to be hosted in China mainland with a .cn name which shows that the Chinese government authorizes your website. But the main reasons are speed and ranking. Website hosted in China with simplified Chinese benefits from a higher authority on Baidu.

Haagen Dazs website in China

Foreign companies need to have a website in simplified Chinese to get to their target audience. There are a few reasons for that:

  1. First, the majority of the Chinese population is not proficient in English, so a website in the Chinese language will be more accessible and better understood by potential customers.
  2. Second, China has a huge online population (over 1.05 billion people), and many businesses are shifting their marketing efforts online. Having a website in Chinese will give your business a greater reach among potential customers in China.
  3. Third: Baidu will always favor content in Chinese Mandarin over content in English.
  4. Finally, it’s important to note that the Chinese market is unique and should be treated as such when doing marketing research or planning campaigns.

Additionally, don’t forget to adapt your website UX to the Chinese market. You can make it easier for Chinese internet users to navigate your website by incorporating commonly used elements of Chinese web design. For example, many Chinese websites use a sliding menu panel that allows users to scroll through different categories of content. You may also want to consider using a “pull-to-refresh” gesture, which is common in Chinese websites and apps and allows users to refresh.

Finally, don’t forget the most important element of your Chinese website: easy access to your contact information, the highlight of your contact form, and ideally, a live chat.

Effective Baidu SEO Strategy

SEO is extremely important for B2B companies in China because it’s one of the best ways to reach potential Chinese customers who are searching for specific products or services. By improving your website’s ranking on search engines, you can increase traffic and generate more leads from potential customers.

China’s Most Popular Search Engine Marketing Tool

In China, Baidu is dominating the market of search engines with more than 60% of the market share.

More than 5 billion queries are done every day on Baidu. Baidu is used by 620 million daily users and the Baidu app: “Baidu Search” by 100 billion users. 40% of the advertising expenses on the Chinese web are done on Baidu.

Why Does SEO Take Such an Important Place in B2B Marketing in China?

A presence on search engines is very effective for B2B marketing in China. SEO is a long-term operation to improve the visibility of a company on search engines. The goal is to be at the top of the list thanks to good and adapted keywords.

Keywords are crucial for a Chinese SEO campaign. You need to find the keywords for your target users to lead them to your website. It’s really important to use good keywords. If you only try to get all the traffic even if these people are not interested in your products and services, it’s not effective and smart.

B2B China - baidu sem

Not only a good SEO strategy on Chinese search engines will help tremendously with visibility, but it will also play a major role in your reputation management in the country and the perception potential customers have of your company. Indeed, the more positive appearances show up on Baidu, the more legit you look to a buyer, which will ultimately increase your conversion rate.

Managing Your Online Reputation is Crucial

Chinese consumers place a lot of importance on online reviews and opinions when making purchasing decisions. In fact, a recent study found that 88% of Chinese consumers consult online reviews before making a purchase. This makes it essential for businesses to maintain a positive online presence and suppress any negative reviews or comments that may exist.

forum marketing china - baidu-tieba-thailand-sub-forums-tourism-china-marketing

You can’t afford to let any negative comments get in the way of your business. We said it, Chinese consumers are very sensitive about reputation and will only deal with companies they trust, so if you fail at this task then it’s game over for sure.

Additionally, you should always pick a good brand name for your business. Indeed, your company’s identity and reputation will be linked to the e-reputation and perception that others form of it. It would be devastating to get a bad rep for a poor choice of name.

Press Relations: Is It Useful to Generate Leads in China?

Short answers: Yes, in China, professionals read specialized press online.

In general, press relations is an effective B2B marketing strategy in China, but it has to be executed correctly. One thing to keep in mind when executing a press relations campaign in China is that it is essential to have a good understanding of the Chinese media landscape. The Chinese media landscape is complex and ever-changing, and the best option for companies is often to work with a PR agency that has a deep understanding of the local market and knows how to navigate it effectively.

You’ll need to tailor your pitch to the Chinese media, which often prefers positive stories about Chinese companies and products. Be aware of censorship laws in China, which can limit what you’re able to say in your pitch or press release.

chinese companies

Benefits of PR in China for B2B Companies:

  • They allow you to inform professionals of the quality and reputability of your products and services. Press relations in China are one of the cheaper and more effective communication means to build a good image and gain awareness.
  • Chinese online media are good links of information to promote your company in China mainland. The challenge of press relations is to be the best in this “media war” and to create a good relationship with journalists.
  • Online press releases generate backlinks for your website. Backlinks are key to your success on Baidu.

B2B in China: How to Generate Leads in Practices

The main challenge of doing B2B in China is to effectively attract professionals using channels you are not familiar with and encouraging people to contact you. Fortunately, there are a few things that will help you do just that. Let’s have a look.

Optimize Your Landing Pages

Landing pages are web pages where people arrive when they click on a sponsored link of a Pay Per Click campaign.

That’s why the design and the content of the landing pages are very important. They can directly influence your conversion rate. It’s better if the sponsored links lead to a specific page that includes the keywords they used.

Landing pages need to be smart, users have to be able to quickly find the information they want or to do the activities they want.

Click to Chat aka Live Chat

Click to Chat is one of the most appreciated services for Chinese people. It allows consumers to communicate directly with an employee of the company and ask all the questions he can have. The chat is available on an instant messaging platform and users are waiting for a quick reply.

Regarding customer relationships, it’s a big advantage for companies to develop a close relationship with their consumers. It’s really effective in B2B in China because when Chinese prospects can speak with an advisor they are less suspicious. However, it’s a kind of personal relationship and Chinese consumers love the fact to be “VIPs”.

Post Quality (Unique) Content Regularly

By creating high-quality content that speaks directly to your target audience, you can attract attention and generate leads from potential customers. And as long as you continue producing new and relevant content, you can keep those leads coming in steady.

Your content can take many forms: articles, analyses, white books, pictures, and videos; The goal is to show your expertise and professionalism in your fields while sharing interesting insights. It makes you look both generous and someone to look up to for expert knowledge.

Use the techniques discussed earlier in this post to make your content visible to as many as possible.

Build a Strong Online reputation through Chinese Forums and Q&A

Q&A and Forums are popular and widely used in China and they are the perfect platforms for B2B companies looking to embed themselves into the head of their target audience, may it be through official communication or undercover one. Here is a list of tips for using Chinese forums & Q&A:

  1. Do your research and identify forums that are relevant to your target audience.
  2. Read the forum’s rules and regulations carefully before posting anything.
  3. Be respectful when posting and avoid spamming or promoting your product or service in a way that is disruptive or offensive.
  4. Try to be helpful and contribute valuable content to the forum discussions. This will help build trust and credibility with other users.
  5. Create two types of accounts: an Official and a network of regular users one that you’ll build to become a sort of forum influencer.
  6. With your different accounts create content and animate discussion surrounding your company.

User-generated content on Chinese forums such as Baidu Zhidao and Zhihu is excellent in the sense that they serve several purposes:

  • Credibility – You can easily demonstrate how you are an expert in your filed
  • Visibility – These posts are indexed on Baidu and usually appear on page 1.

Build a Relation of Trust through Customers testimonials

China is a country where consumers have been trained to question everything they see on social media platforms and in advertisements. When consumers don’t trust brands, it’s hard for them to be impressed with anything and they see all sorts of problems everywhere. Thus, potential buyers need to be reassured again and again.

For example, you can be staked on the consumer experience and use it as a testimony for potential clients. That is to say, you need to put these positive comments on your website, commercial documents, or advertising. When it comes to B2B in China, professional testimonies are seen as security. It will encourage professionals to work with you.

Manage Your Chinese Prospect: Basic Knowledge About Doing Business in China

If you apply the tips previously mentioned in this post, you should be getting prospects. The next question you may be asking yourself is “How to deal with these Chinese prospects?”. Short answers: You have to be professional and effective to convert them into business clients.

The best thing to do is to have your own team of commercials who will be in charge of signing them and later on managing the consumer relationship. If you want to close a deal, you have to be reactive and reply promptly to your potential clients and reassure them as many times as necessary.

Two figures need to be analyzed:

  • How many leads you can generate?
  • How many of the generated leads are quality leads?

In China, the e-reputation of a company is one of the main success factors in B2B. Chinese people are very suspicious of the Internet. That’s why it’s necessary for B2B professionals to manage their e-reputation. If you are not careful with your e-reputation, you will fail.

E-reputation is also really important in Chinese society especially in business relationships. It’s linked with the concept of “Mianzi“, which is always present in China. Chinese people need to feel that you respect them and you give them a particular place, they are really attentive to their image.

One rule in China: never make your Chinese interlocuter lose face especially if it’s in a business relationship because he will never forgive you and you can be sure everyone else in the industry will know not to work with you.

Our B2B Marketing and Lead Generation Services in China

We are SEO experts!

Our focus is to promote your business with your target closely in mind. After all my explanations, you understand that the key to selling online is to have a good image and to be reputable. We’ll use digital tools including Baidu SEO and SEM, E-PR, Media Buying (DSP), and community management. Then, we’ll manage the campaign and ensure its optimization & success.

Lead Generation Professionals

We are professionals in lead generation. To be effective in your lead generation, you need first to develop a good e-reputation. Investing in online advertising and creating quality content will help you develop your e-reputation. Finally, measure results to improve your performance.

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We are lead generation experienced and we apply it to our agency. We get an average of 350 leads per month by applying the method we offer to companies that use our services.

Experts in Digital Solutions

  • Website Creation, Development & Auditing.
  • Baidu Search Engine Optimization.
  • Social Media Platform Marketing (WeChat & Weibo).
  • Reputation Management & Community Development.
  • Public Relations & Exposure in Chinese E-Media.
  • Analytics, monthly reports & analysis from our team of experts.

ROI-focused Agency

We are an ROI-focused agency. The solution is to attract and re-target the most qualified traffic in order to increase conversion rates.

We are a foreign and Chinese team, here to help you develop your business in China. We understand the Chinese professionals: ‘ needs and habits, but we also understand foreign brands’ difficulties when they try to enter the Chinese market. Each member of the team is specialized in a field. They have experience and they are effective.

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I am pretty sure that now, you understand what a web B2B marketing strategy is. B2B professionals are really connected in China. Your potential clients and partners are on the web and will be more connected tomorrow. Contact us today to see the results soon!