20 tips for B2B companies to succeed in China
The most practical article about B2B marketing in China in 2022 done by experienced B2B marketers.
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- Have ever felt overwhelmed by the Chinese market potential?
- Have you ever wondered how to reach your target?
- Do you feel like you would need an army of sales ?
- that they will have hundreds of calls every day to reach potential customers in China ?
Well with this strategy you might go right into the wall. In the end, after spending your time and money, you have no serious leads. You will feel defeated and think China is not for you.
Here is the truth: Chinese B2B buyers are super busy.
They already receive hundreds to thousands of solicitations every week from sellers. Your chance to succeed in reaching them out the “traditional way” (phone, e-mail) is low. As finding a needle in a haystack.
Even if the luck of the evil is on your side, and you finally manage to reach them, timing isn’t likely to be on your side. As a result, they won’t need your product or your service at the moment.
So what’s the secret? Should you use some magic voodoo to put all the odds in your favor?
Well, you may try, but first, we advise you to understand the Chinese buyer mindset.
As you may know with its 1 billion netizens, 1million factories in China and China is a digital nation. Everyone uses the internet which also applies to B2B buyers.
Most of the Chinese buyers are quite young, and they don’t have a solid network. So when it comes to finding a supplier they will simply check on the local Chinese search engine (Baidu). They will research whatever their need: «industrial pumps suppliers», «interior car design ». Then will get in touch with the first suppliers that appear on the first page of the research engine, and ask an RFQ. Et voilà! It is that simple! that’s called digital business/digital lead generation.
Strategic Tips for B2B in China
Well on paper it seems simple, to make sure Chinese buyers will find you here are our top 5 tips to succeed:
Have a dedicated Chinese website optimized for the local search engine Baidu.
You may already have a multilingual website on Google. But it will not be reachable on the Chinese search engine Baidu. Indeed the websites indexed on Google cannot be found on Baidu; here is what you have to do :
Have a Chinese-only website:
Baidu only indexes content in Chinese. Besides, Chinese buyers will do their research on Baidu not in English, but only in Chinese.
Have a PROFESSIONAL translation
Thinking of using an automatic translator? Or asking the intern who knows some Chinese to handle the translation? That’s a bad idea that might jeopardize your success and lead to bad translation. Make sure to have it translated by a Professional industry and native Chinese speaker, to make sure the content of your website is solid.
Baidu and users dont like to wait 1minute to open a website
If your website is hosted out of China, your website is gonna get dramatically slowed down. Or even blocked by the Chinese firewall. Your site will be too long to download, the buyers won’t wait and run, and in the end, you won’t get any traffic on your website.
The best way is to host your website in China (requires an Internet Content Provider license). Or hosted nearby like in Hong Kong, to make sure your website is fast and easily accessible on the Chinese web.
Click to Chat
Everything is fast in China, and so does customer service. Don’t use online forms, you must have a live chat to answer your customers’ questions in real-time.
Make sure that your website will adapt and look good on all reading support. That means to say screen size (computer, phone, tablets…).
As it goes for Google, don’t forget to submit your URL to Baidu to be indexed on Baidu.
SEO on Baidu
have a website is good, get visitors is better.
Can you imagine to have a shop without visitors?
Now that you have an optimized website for China, you need to generate traffic on your website. Allowing your website to be visible on Baidu and allow your buyers to find you.
You need to appear on the first research page to increase your chance to reach your audience. Needless to say, that competition is fierce so buckle up and follow these pieces of advice.
Natural result on Baidu
Find the right keywords
Make sure to avoid generic keywords that will be too competitive. Instead, focus on long-tailed keywords.Take time to analyze the search volume for each keyword you intend to use. And find which one has the best conversion rate.
Backlinks : make your website famous for search engines
The more backlinks you have the more authoritative and trustful your website will be. And the better it will be ranked on BAIDU. (backlinks are hyperlinks from one website to another one)
Constant care and adjustments:
Search engines loves UPDATES
Who like old news, old websites?
Because your competitors will try to outrank you. Or because the keyword results volume might change over time. You need to adjust your strategy constantly to maintain your ranking. Not to mention the Baidu algorithm changing frequently. You might appear on the first result today but it doesn’t mean it will last. Do not rest on your laurels and apply constant care to your SEO strategy.
Baidu PPC, aka SEM strategy
Baidu PPC is like a Google ad. PPC stands for pay per click. As SEO is considered an organic way to get traffic, PPC is a « chemical » way to get traffic. Like chemicals help vegetables grow faster and bigger, it’s not sustainable. It’s a way to advertise on the search engine and appear on the first results of the first page quickly. Every time a visitor will click on the ad, that will redirect him to your website. Meaning you will have to pay a fee to the search engine (Baidu).
We advise you to set a limited budget on this, in money and over time. Indeed, PPC will only allow you to give you the primary traffic you need on to bring your website at the very beginning to boost your SEO.
Plus tip: Don’t forget to set a limit of budget per day, to avoid seeing the monthly PPC budget burned in only a few hours. Yes, it happens!
Douyin: video content (aka Tiktok)
Video are more and more use in digital content in China. Douyin is a very good way to target buyers if they have the right Tag , or “point of interest”. not for all businesses, but it can be a very good way to develop prospects.
All buyers or engineers like to watch douyin as main entertainment channel
Zhihu : the quora of China.
Many engineers follows deep research on Zhihu, have a corporate account on it and publish super high level content on your niche can be a good way to target right buyers.
White book, report
It is always good to provide professional content for your audience to activate the word of mouth in China. You can be copied yes, but be innovative can be efficient to reinsure your leadership position.
BUILD A STRONG ONLINE REPUTATION
Chinese buyers are very savvy. They will check everything about your company’s credibility and reputation.
You may know that there are still a lot of fake companies in China. Thus false websites and false offers (some Chinese factories claim they are foreign). You can easily understand they are highly cautious. Especially when it comes to spending their companies’ money.
So they will check about you before making any business with you.
To do so, again, they will check on Baidu.
The importance of word of mouth on online forums:
They will look for word-of-mouth reviews from their peers on specialized professional forums.
They need to find good reviews, in quality and quantity, from similar users of your service or product. Then they will consider you as reliable and will consider to make business with your company.
If they don’t find reviews about your company they will never take any risk. They won’t work with a company that has no reputation in China. Needless to say, if you have bad reviews that will compromise your chances of success.
Work on your media coverage online
Chinese buyers will read what Chinese media say about you, because what matters is what others people will say about you.
- Are you a serious company?
- are you a scam? an anti China business?
- Are you innovative?
- Are you improving? dynamic?
They are striving to learn new information. Online media are one of their favorite ways to quench their thirst for knowledge. Chinese trust their media. Having frequent PR releases is important to increase the credibility of your company. Indeed, PR is not like an ad. Having a neutral third party speaking about you, will increase your legitimacy. And increase the trust among buyers.
On the plus side, having PR will increase your website authority and help you have a better ranking on Baidu.
Reputation is the quintessence of your success in China. You may have the best product in the world. But if people don’t speak about you, then trying to sell your product or service is like having hope in hell.
Nuturing in China aka WECHAT
If you are not familiar yet with Wechat, it is a super app on steroids. It’s a one in all app: social life, chat, video calls, payment, networking, shopping, transportation, ordering a taxi, marketing, finance and so on. There is a myriad of functions available at your fingertips. Most netizens in China have a WeChat and use it for both personal and professional use. Yes, the line is thin between work and private life in China.
Once potential buyers found you on your website, they will try to follow you on WeChat. A Wechat account will help you to maintain contact with them. Don’t forget to add your WeChat QR code on your website.
E-mail is dead:
Indeed e-mail in China is an old-school way to communicate, no one uses emails anymore. Professional buyers prefer to maintain contact via Wechat because of its convenient use.
Get an e-brochure:
In Wechat you can integrate an e-brochure to your professional account that buyers could consult any time very conveniently, on the plus side Wechat allows you to create interactive designs (you can integrate audio, music, videos…) that are very engaging.
Nurture your prospects (leads):
Wechat is a recognized way to engage with your potential buyers. It helps to build credibility by sharing useful content.
Share tips and news with your users:
Wechat allows you to post weekly content on your account. A good medium to share about your company’s new products, services, accomplishments, new ideas, or product applications. It can replace the traditional newsletter.
Don’t expect to have millions of views and followers on WeChat. As a B2B business, focus on getting qualified professional followers. Set your goals on quality over quantity.
When you get leads, or to engage with prospect, efficient sales are the key to any B2B strategy.
You have to close, explain well your solution, your differenciation, your advantage.
Good sales usually make a big difference.
To conclude :
If you apply all these tips, then you will increase your chance to succeed at your lead generation strategy. Which will help you grow your business in China.
Chinese buyers will find you easily on Baidu. See you have a good reputation (forums, reviews, online media). They will contact you meaning they have a qualified need. That’s mean that you have a lead= serious demand= RFQ. Now it’s up to you to do your sales job and to transform this prospect into a client!
Don’t forget patience is a virtue. you will not rank n°1 overnight and will not receive leads right away. It might take a few months before seeing results but it is worthwhile. And in the end, you will be proud of the results.
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Send us your situation, your problems, what’s your goals in China, and let s see how we can help you.
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