Imagine having a business and clients coming by themselves buying your products or services. It would be awesome, isn’t it? No need to do the endless emailing campaigns or cold call sessions. Time-saving, cost-saving. It sounds like a dream…
In this article, we’ll detail for you the power of Lead Generation and how to get most of it in China.
To do so, we will:
- Explain to you in detail “What is Lead Generation?”
- Tell you how it works
- And what solutions you can use to develop your Leads
Step 1: What is Lead Generation?
A couple of years ago, if they wanted to buy something, buyers were expecting to talk with a salesman, and as for him, he was expecting to speak with one more uneducated early stage buyers not qualified to talk about the product itself.
But everything changed.
Nowadays, any buyers can do online research and find a variety of information and resources through search engines, social media, and other channels. From now, buyers can be as knowledgeable as a salesman about a product or service even before talking to a salesperson.
And it’s even more true for China. A country composed of +800 million daily internet users. A country where trust is ruling any commercial relationship. A country where its netizens don’t trust corporate communication but are ready to spend months to search for online information concerning a brand or a product.
Even among media, companies used to buy an ad in a magazine or on TV, but it’s not as efficient as it used to be. The environment is too noisy and the market so crowded that trying to “rent” clients’ attention is becoming less effective. Even while watching TV, most of the peoples just change the channel or use this ad time to do their own things.
Instead of renting attention, marketers try now to own it while becoming trusted advisors, by publishing valuable content and through direct leadership actions.
The world has been growing with the internet since 1950, to reach a state of information abundance. But the problem is that the more information people find, the less they pay attention to it.
For example, if tomorrow they’re playing your favourite movie on Tv, you’ll probably be happy to watch it. If they play it twice, you may find it surprising but why not, it’s still your favorite movie and you’re a big fan. But if they start playing it every day, I’m pretty sure you’ll get bored and stop paying attention to it at all.
With the abundance of information, it’s the same. It turned out to be a noisy environment full of brands spreading their ads, meanwhile, the consumers turned out to be professional at ignoring the messages. In fact, they don’t want to hear anymore but rather do research on their own.
As said Eric Schmidt, chairman at Google: “there were 5 Exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization and 2003, but that much information is now created every two days and the pace is rapidly increasing”.
The buying process has changed a lot, and both companies and marketers have to do something about it. They have to find a new way to reach buyers. Spending time and money in mass advertising and mailing campaigns is not worth it anymore. It’s better to focus on being found and learn how to build strong relationships with buyers.
That’s the purpose of Lead Generation. It’s a marketing process which is stimulating and capturing interest in order to develop a sales pipeline.
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This methodology mostly goes through digital channels and the process has been improved a lot thanks to the rise of new online and social techniques.
Step 2: How does it work?
Nowadays, more and more companies increase their budget to lead generation tactics. Particularly in Inbound Marketing, the banner of Lead Generation, a creative way to break through the noise and get the client’s attention. Probably the main technique used to get new Leads. It consists in attracting new clients through relevant content.
Where do companies invest their budget to develop Leads Generation?
- Website optimization
- Social Media
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Mobile & Marketing technology
Many companies are expert in Website development, SEO, content creation etc. But they’re expert in their local countries. And if you expect to drag new leads from China, you’ll have to consider the following points.
- China is a country operating with a closed communication system, meaning that they do not have access to our occidental media: Google, Facebook, Instagram, and others.
- For Chinese people, building trust relationships is a must-do before any commercial transaction. If they don’t know you, they won’t buy your products or services. And in that case, advertisement is not a solution.
- Chinese people will check all the information available to be sure that you’re not a scam, but also that your products are high quality and trustworthy.
To get new leads in China, you’ll have to work on two main steps.
- Develop a new website
It needs to be in Chinese (yes, it’s still their mother tongue), with a Chinese domain name. Plus, we recommend you to adapt your website features to the local market. Due to cultural differences, their design is usually different than ours. Use Chinese servers as well to optimize the loading speed.
- Open a Weibo account
It’s like the Chinese Twitter. The most popular social media in China, it’s also an excellent platform to develop a KOL strategy. If you plan to target a large audience and engage with your customers, Weibo is a must-do.
Once you gave them the opportunity to know more about your company/brand, you’ll have to attract them. And if you want to follow the Inbound Marketing principle, consisting in attracting clients without your company looking for them, you’ll have to develop your reputation.
Thousands of brands are coming to China every day. And having a nice ad and foreign brand name won’t be enough. In China, people use to buy the most reliable products. And for them, it goes through the brand’s fame.
Develop your reputation in China.
WeChat is like the Chinese Facebook. Everybody uses it in China. A great messenger APP that also gets a “moment” system allowing people to share content (messages, pictures, videos) and personal feedback. Through this app, people use “WeChat groups” to communicate solutions about their problems and therefore recommending brands or products. Not very efficient for direct advertisement but a super tool for community management and building engagement. You can also create your own groups through the APP.
A short video sharing app growing very fast among young generations. It’s the perfect app to generate content and spread it to a wild audience. More intuitive and fun than WeChat and Weibo, this app is also an amazing tool for KOL.
- Baidu: The Chinese Google
Having a Chinese website is good, but not enough. They don’t trust companies… Regardless of what they want to buy, Chinese people will check for information on Baidu. They’ll search for information about the product or the brand. It can be reviews, comments about something specific, forums, or general research to solve a problem they may have.
Two steps to get leads generations in China that could be resumed with the following sales & marketing funnel:
- Top of the Funnel (TOFU):
It’s when you’re using different techniques to start building trust with your potential customers. As targeting quality leads, you’ll have to develop your visibility just to make leads comfortable enough with your company. But at this stage, it doesn’t mean the lead will be mature enough to buy your product. It’s also too early to engage with him. Otherwise, you may end up being ignored or to see your client snatched up by your competitors.
- Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
To avoid any inconvenience, we recommend you to use MOFU techniques and build strong relationships with your Leads. Develop your reputation through Chinese social media, use KOL, get articles and forums to talk about you. Try to engage with your potential customers through interesting and relevant content. Make sure that you have a good process to turn leads into sales.
Including these both steps in your marketing strategy is the best way for you to turn leads into sales in China.
The higher the quality of your leads, the easier they’ll be converted.
What about the challenges?
It’s important to notice that quality Lead Generation is not something easy to do… it could even be one of the biggest challenges faces by marketers and organizations. Indeed, the lack of quality data, time, budget, knowledge about the market or cultural behavior, or any other type of resources can have bad repercussions on Leads.
A couple of years ago, a slippers company wanted to establish itself in China. They decided to act as fast as possible and invested directly $3 million in advertising, KOL, PR, and an E-commerce platform. The problem is that they were not visible, and they didn’t take the time to build a strong reputation… As a result, they only made $80K in turnover and lost everything.
We can’t blame them. It’s not their fault, they followed bad not advised and didn’t build their reputation step by step, as we suggest.
But let’s learn from it.
Step 3. Different solutions.
Regardless of the technical steps to manage to get new leads in your system, here is a couple of success factors working in China.
- Develop an amazing content
Having good content is essential. And it must really be proficient in order to stand out. You have to determine what is quality content in China and get as close to it as possible. It can be viral content such as photos, videos, graphics, gifs, etc. But keep in mind that the Chinese are very demanding. They expect top quality.
And if you can manage to develop some storytelling about your brand or company, it will always be welcome. It gives the little touch of emotions that everybody feels concerned about.
- Good landing pages
We briefly talk about it before. But an efficient landing page will be extremely important if you want to give a good first impression of your company.
The design must be clear and tidy, but also professional and smooth.
The loading of your pages must be quick, so you’d better use a Chinese server. Otherwise, your potential clients may run away.
- Online ads
There are thousands of brands spending money on banner ads and Pay Per Click method. It’s very good to use them, but you’ll have to handle them as well: know when to start and when to stop.
Like with salt on your chips, too little and you don’t feel anything, too much and you can’t eat it.
Extremely important in China, it will allow you to build a strong brand image and good reputation. If you perform good in branding, you can expect to keep your price up, cause your products will correspond to a trusted brand. In China, being trusted is the jackpot.
Your reputation is your best ROI. Good branding will bring you many leads.
Search Engine Optimization is also an excellent way to generate leads. It will allow you to be first ranked on the Chinese browsers Baidu. But you have to make up good content for your Website, your articles must be nicely written with good titles. You have to provide backlinks to increase your information’s credibility.
The higher the trust rank of your website, the more readers will trust you.
- WeChat Lead Nurturing
Very important in B2B. It will allow you to keep in touch with your potential clients. And this network will enable you to provide newsletters, e-brochure or interesting articles to them.
For any information about leads generation in China, feel free to contact us.
If interested to do business in China, you can also check on:
- Guide for Cross-Border E-commerce in China
- Guide to export meat in China
- Guide to sell products online
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