Nowadays China has the largest e-commerce market in the world, due to the fact that 45.8% of its population is internet connected. Businesses entering any market should be aware of cultural differences, consumer needs, and trends. In addition, businesses willing to penetrate the Chinese market should also consider such differences as cultural and economic, since it differs extremely within municipalities, cities and rural areas. Therefore, it makes the strategy creating comparatively challenging. Here are 10 secrets of online marketing in China.
In China, you have to start from scratch. The vast majority of internet research (over 97.5%) is conducted in Mandarin Chinese Characters. English content, positive reviews, and most western media platforms will not be visible on the Chinese net.
Obviously, your brand, business or product/service it will also be required to be engaged in establishing a positive reputation. In order to propose your business successfully, your company needs to in-front of the most applicable, target demographic for your business proposition. Being focused is the main the most vital factor, additionally, it also involves you to develop your status on the platforms & sources where your target is most active.
Remember that Chinese internet is a unique ecosystem that requires a fresh approach for you build your visibility & reputation on the right Chinese platforms to your target demographic.
Different locations –different needs
According to the demographic background factors of consumers, their outlooks, preferences, aspirations, and needs can differ significantly. The most successful marketing strategy is to create a marketing campaign that will be implemented and adapted to the needs of Chinese consumers. Businesses should focus on different aspects and products to campaigns depending on the type of the city which can be a first, second and third tier.
For instance, one of the major snack manufacturers in China markets its expensive and luxury products for first-tier cities, and its less expensive products in lower-tier cities. These succeeding companies market and adapt their products and its packaging in accordance with the demographics of people that they are selling to.
In terms of demographics, in comparison with Western countries, Chinese media platforms differ significantly. For instance, the average social media user in China aged as 55-64 is being far more active than the average user aged 25-34 years old in the US.
Companies in terms of product marketing to China should also take into account the fact that there is a huge difference between the generations of who grew up in the 80s and ones who were being born under the One Child Policy. First ones experienced a great increase of development of China and its rapid prosperity, other ones who grew up in more difficult circumstances are less likely will spend their money for the products that they are not in the great need that much. Consequently, in order to succeed marketers should understand that their marketing campaigns and advertisements will be influential and efficient in case if they will be adapted to the generational differences.
As soon as companies target the type of consumers, various marketing strategies might be implemented in and accordance with chosen locations, additionally they should find out which tool will be used in order to reach their consumers.
Choose right search engine
All over the world most of the companies for the purpose of increasing their brand’s awareness and get their product well known, they use SEO (search engine optimization). It is well known that Google is highly demanded in this case, the business focuses generally on getting their name to the top of the list on this platform.
Today China embraces the biggest online platform, where the digital marketing dominates incredibly, while the whole world is dyed by traditional media and offline marketing. Remarkably that there are 550 million smartphones in China and in terms of developing nation globally this country has the highest penetration rate up to 65%.
Although, in China, there is no Google, fortunately, there is Baidu which is the most common search engine, and its search optimization is a bit different from Google.
Chinese hosted website
In order to make your website well known and noticed it is better to ensure that it is based in accordance with the “Great Firewall of China”, which reflects that there is a low possibility that your website will appear on the first page of results if it is hosted outside of China. Consequently, it will be more beneficial to have a Chinese URL since it is optimizing Baidu search. Remarkably, that landing page of the website should contain the key information due to the fact that Baidu’s bots do not search as deeply as Google’s.
Chinese version of the website/app
Chinese consumers are more likely to type a search term in Chinese rather than in English, in order to enhance its ratings and to let Chinses consumers learn more about the products of your company, it is reasonable to create a Chinese version of your website.
Social media is vital
Another important step is to socialize your brand, due to the fact that in the era of social networks most of the consumer get to know brands better within these platforms since they spend most of their free time within these social platforms. E-commerce in China is a huge market, although it is a little different than in other countries due to the Chinese government censorship.
In Western countries, social media is reflected by such networks as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, however, there are no such platforms in China. Fortunately, China has its alternatives, which are the same in terms of efficiency in terms of marketing products. It has such great social platforms as WeChat, Weibo, RenRen and many others.
However, it is often accepted that such platforms are equivalent to the Western ones, in this case, Chinese platforms offer more than other platforms. For instance, in comparison with WhatsApp, WeChat offer picture messaging, voice massaging options, online payments, moments feed, and subscriptions to official accounts. In this sense, Chinese social media networks are more adaptable for different marketing campaigns and advertisements.
For instance, In China WeChat is a most famous instant messaging app with more than 877 million daily active users. Moreover, nearly 90 minutes a day on average spend user each day. For foreign businesses, which are not officially and legally registered in China in order to push paid advertisement on WeChat will be very tricky. All in all, for foreign business to do anything is pretty much harder in China. For the record, you must have at least one verified official account in order to do paid advertisement on WeChat. In this sense, it doesn’t matter either it is going to be subscription or service but it must be verified. In terms of the price, you should be acknowledged that it is not that cheap at all, but as the saying goes, there always a way to find a solution.
Marketing on Chinese social media platforms does not differ from other platforms’ way of marketing. In also involves creating an official company page, create a promotion, buy advertisements, update customers with company news and so on. It should be noticed that the word of mouth in China is very important since a lot of customers on some e-commerce websites are more likely to purchase products relying on the previous customers’ reviews and friends’ advice. Therefore, for Chinese customers, the product is attractive more because of the quality and less because of the brand name, since on e-commerce platforms it can seem hard to tell either the brand is trustworthy, and if its products genuine or not.
In this sense, Weibo is one of the platforms frequently used by Chinese consumers to interact with companies, to talk to them, leave their complaints and share enquires about the products. This means that companies need to ensure that they are replying their customers and concerns in a reasonable time and keep on top their social media profiles.
According to the fact that Chinese consumers are more likely to purchase a product basing on the reviews and opinions that are being posted on such platforms as Weibo and Dianping, these social media platforms should be highly considered by companies entering the Chinese market.
Moreover, in comparison with other countries like the USA and UK, in China the internet usage is around 80% of netizens, additionally, the main access to social media, e-commerce sites and other areas of the web is provided by mobile phones. Consequently, for mobile and tablet viewing websites should be optimized. In also involves the fact that companies, in order to attract more customers, can create a company app or make their marketing budget more focused on the advertisement on social media platforms and apps.
Despite the fact that marketing in China differs from other countries all over the world, previously listed tips are playing a significant role and should be taken into consideration by companies which are developing marketing strategies for China.
Act Fast in China
Competition in this lucrative market is growing, acting fast and entering the market is key. The pace of change and implementation is typically far quicker than in the west. Making an impression, monopolizing your presence on the best Chinese keywords and notching sales on the board is the only way to set up the necessary feedback loop for business improvement. In short, just do it!
Key Opinion Leaders are Influential
Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are established online figures that have gathered large followings around themselves. They are highly influential and can be recruited to represent a business or brand. Different KOLs allow you to tap into specific communities and demographics, providing quality targeted exposure. Ensure posts and comments by KOLs are closely monitored, merely posting is not enough, you need to fuel conversation and respond to queries. KOLs do not act as a customer service representative, you a simply using their service to reach their community and influence them with via their reputation.
To create and develop successful marketing campaign is easier when you understand needs of targeted consumers in China, which reflects that it is vital getting Chinese marketers’ insight.
In order to promote your brand and if you have any questions related to digital marketing, contact us now!