Just the best “report” 2019 that you can find on google about Digital Marketing in China.
Why is having a good digital Marketing strategy in China
China is the largest market
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1 – UNDERSTAND PERFECTLY YOUR TARGET
It is essential to do your research before getting into the process of implementing your brand in China. Of course, there will always be some incertitude because it is impossible to calculate everything and to forecast everything that could happen. However, you will need to study what are the expectations of your target, analyze what are their need and how you can give a solution to these need while adapting your already existing solutions to the specificities of Chinese users.
You have to understand your Final CLient or work with an agency that understand them for you.
2 – MASTERIZE CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA
Chinese people are the most connected web users of the world, in 2018 Chinese internet users reached the threshold of 800 million of users (with 788 million using smartphones). They have a particular approach to social media, they give a huge importance to other users feedback, they’re fond of pretty new ways of communicating (live streaming in particular). They swear only by WeChat which is the main app for managing every aspects of their daily lives (we will go more in depth on this subject on point 8!). The Chinese social network landscape is very different and complex, if companies want to be successful they must get the functionalities that these
3 – BANK ON 3RD AND 4TH CITIES
Of course if you want to implement your brand in China you should consider implementing it on first and second tiers cities, however, third and fourth tiers cities have
4 – WORK ON YOUR SEO
BAIDU is not DEAD (not yet)
As you probably already know, Baidu is not Google, it is very important to know the differences between the two so you can adapt your strategy to the Chinese search engine (get to know Baidu better on our article). For your
Baidu’s SEO is radically different than Google SEO. Baidu has nearly 73% of market share, you definitely should focus on how to be highly ranked on SERPs. So here are few tips to start your SEO adventure in China.
First and foremost, your website must be in simplified Chinese, indeed, Baidu is struggling to read foreign languages. If you can, make sure to host your website in China, the loading of pages and accessibility will be improved and the probability to be better ranked is higher! Focus on your selection of keywords (some precisions about this on the next point!). Be careful on your content, respect China ’s restriction on articles / videos / photos themes, Baidu is watching and will impact your position in the ranking if your content isn’t respecting the law. You need to bring fresh content frequently to have a better ranking. Finally try to have quality and quantity of backlinks !
5 – WITH BAIDU : GO LONGTAIL KEYWORDS!
This strategy is closely linked to the previous one. But this point is particularly important in the crowded market that China is. Basic SEO strategy would be to choose basic keyword based on your business (you work in the fashion industry and you choose the word « fashion », « clothes » ,… you get the point). Chances are that you are not the only one on the market that operates in this field. The new age of marketing will probably recommend « long tail keyword », at the opposite of the concept of keyword, long tail keywords are in fact sentences that you can use as keyword for your SEO strategy, for example you work in the house furniture field, instead of using « furniture » and « traditional » you probably want to use « traditional French renaissance table ».
This type of keyword will bring very little traffic to your website but will definitely bring quality traffic. Another advantage to
6- THINK MOBILE
As said in the beginning of the article, 788 of internet users are smartphone users, therefor companies should make sure that their content is readable from a smartphone.
Also M-Commerce is more and more appreciated by users, tech companies are developing new ways of purchasing for their users (like WeChat mini programs which allow users to purchase products from their favorite brand directly from WeChat without having to download a native app), China is a pioneer on digitalization, they implemented the QR codes and now they have largely popularize phone payment (with Alipay and Wechat). Chinese users are early adopters, in 2018 nearly 70% of internet users were using a mobile payment method for nearly 15% in the US and lets not talk about Europe. Creating an optimized website for it to be seen on phones depending on the method you use might be costly however leveraging this opportunity can bring various opportunity and may rise your revenue! Leverage this opportunity! The main example of this enthusiasm for online shopping is the 11/11 event (also known as single’s day) in a day the e-commerce platform generated 9 billion US dollars and 40% of the purchases were made from a mobile shop.
7 – MAKE YOUR CONTENT UNIQUE AND DIVERSE
Your content is very important when you will communicate with your users, it needs to be special. To be different from the competition to stand out. Because they meet hundreds of content on their social networks app, Chinese netizens literally don’t have the time to read/ watch/ listen to content they don’t like at first sight. This might sometimes be complex, your content needs to be attractive, useful and informative and creative. Also your content must convey the values of your brand because that’s the purpose right? Work on your story telling, what your brand is representing. Your content must have this special something.
8 – WECHAT WILL BE YOUR BEST FRIEND
WeChat or « Weixin » (micro message in Chinese) was firstly introduced on the Chinese market as an app offering messaging (text and voice!) and calling services. But nowadays it has developed to be the most used app in China. It created its own ecosystem, Chinese users can basically do anything with Wechat : text, call, video call, surf on the internet, grocery shopping, buy clothes, book flight and train ticket, book an hotel, order food, and I am not done listing all the features! Companies must leverage to gain visibility, have a good reputation, communicate with their users and so on. WeChat is essential to a good digital strategy in China (here’s an article that goes more in depth on the subject : How leverage WeChat).
You need to create a corporate account and to choose between subscription and service account (advantages and drawbacks are listed in the article above) and then you will be able to put in place your strategy. You will have access to the specific features of WeChat that will make possible to reach Chinese users. Among these features: publish on Wechat Moments (which is basically like the facebook feed), use Wechat ads, the use of QR codes to share on your other social network to gain followers and visibility, also you can create a store (through WeChat html or via the mini-programs), etc.
9 – CHALLENGE OF BRANDS : THE E-REPUTATION
In challenging market like China, a good reputation is essential, Chinese users are very attentive on the image of the brand they use mostly due to the concept of « mianzi » which is the face, it is a very deep concept in the Chinese culture but in a word it is the reputation of a person. So the whole concept of reputation is very important to Chinese people. And because users value what their peers, friends, colleagues think about a product or a brand, it might be very difficult for a brand to penetrate the Chinese market with a bas reputation. You must manage your e-reputation if you want to succeed.
To do so, you need to create relevant and creative content around the spirit and the values of your brand. Share it on
10 – KOL : WHAT PEOPLE TOLD ABOUT YOUR BRAND ?
For your strategy on Chinese Social Media you will need to include KOLs. What are they ? KOLs are influent personalities on the digital ecosystem, they grow a community that will follow every one of their steps and moves. They most of the type have one particular interest (makeup, sport, comedy, music, dance etc) or they can be what we called « lifestyle » influencers who are sharing their daily lives even though they don’t have any specific interest.
Their community usually identifies with them so they are very loyal and influential. That is the main reason why KOLs are so important, they are authentic, and they have a special link with their followers. You can work with KOL to raise awareness around your brand through different action : sponsor their post, make them review your products, make them create something creative around your product, sponsor a giveaway for their followers etc.
11 – LEVERAGE VIDEO MARKETING
If Video services are still used for specific content (live for games, events, …) in the Western countries, in China these apps are booming and used for every day life content. There are two types of videos in particular : short videos and live streaming. The main actor on the Chinese market is Douyin (also known as Tiktok) but nowadays more and more Chinese app are adding the video/ live streaming features to their platform (like Taobao added the live for girls to show wha they bought and their opinions on the products). These apps are growing, and creating opportunities for brands to promote their products through their platform.
These video are very popular among KOLs, because they can showcase some of their talents (especially dancers, singer, comedian), but it is also a good feature that allow KOL to promote the brands product/services.
12 – THINK ECOSYSTEM IN CHINA: bAT
What’s BAT ?
BAT is the digital behemoth trio of China : Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. These three digital giants are essential for the companies to create their digital strategy. Even further, the strategy should be build around these three group. Alibaba and Tencent have their own ecosystem with their star APP. Baidu has its own branch covering many different digital field. These three companies cover most of the digital market and because of their monopoly it makes it difficult for other companies/ APP to develop their business on the Chinese market. And this is the reason why you should work with these three in order to stack all the odds on your favor. An average Chinese netizens will use at least one of the three ecosystem (if not more). Also Tencent and Alibaba are offering mobile payment service which you will need to leverage because it’s part of the Chinese users lives.
So if you want to get the most of the three companies you should implement your business on each one of them and manage it independently (because the trio is not working together they will not mention the content a competitor displays).
13 – O2O : MULTICHANNEL MARKETING
O2O is basically a digital marketing strategy to push users to go into physical shops through incentives on the digital platforms. In China this process is already very popular, Chinese users enjoy discovering products online, choosing the one they like, looking at the features and afterwards going to the offline shop to experience the physical product. Some brands are even linking the whole process together. Hermès for example is giving a very personalized O2O service by texting their client through the Wechat app, they can discuss products and then they plan an appointment and they go into the flagship. Once there, sales associate already have all the products prepared to optimize the selling process and enhance customer satisfaction.
14 – CUSTOMER SERVICES :THE CENTER OF STRATEGY
If you want to improve your reputation and increase customer satisfaction, you should establish a customer service. Make yourself available to answer to your users need, even if it can be sometimes annoying. However these kind of details may what makes the difference with the competitors, customer service not only increase satisfaction but it might create a word of mouth dynamic in your favor
15 – MAKE USERS MORE ENGAGED
Chinese users are very popular and sought by many brands, it is important to create engagement with them to remember the brand, but engagement can also serve as a support for interactions with users and customer service. Tool apps like Wechat can help create engagement through its primary service: the messaging service. This service not only allows you to interact with the customer but also to personalize the exchange with the user to improve customer satisfaction.
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