B2B: How can you use digital marketing to build your B2B brand in China?

When it comes to successful B2B marketing in China, a well-conceived and expertly delivered B2B marketing strategy will be needed to support the efforts of the sales or distribution function. As with the West, in Chinese B2B markets, the purchase cycle tends to be longer and more complex, with sales and marketing functions needing to work closely together for the best results.

Considering the B2B user journey

To more intuitively understand the role of digital marketing for B2B businesses in China, it is useful to work through the user journey of a prospective B2B customer, or prospect in China.

1. Your prospect may have been introduced to your brand and its products by a salesperson or distributor, and they may be asking why they should switch to your offer, and away from the product or service they have been using until this point.
2. Your salesperson or distributor will respond to their concerns with your USP and product benefits – highlighting key points such as your reputation and brand strength, via channels such as third-party portals and media websites. If the prospect needs further persuasion to consider a shift, the distributor may provide feedback to the sales force for further analysis and response.
3. The prospect will ideally now carry out further online research about your product offer and find extra forms of positive feedback as well as recommendations from third-party websites, and ads on Baidu. These channels will help them to feel positive, secure and trusting about your brand – and convinced about the quality of your overall offer, from its physical attributes through to the ongoing service and relationship that business markets value.
4. At this point, the salesperson or distributor will follow up with the prospect, in the hope of securing a conversion.
5. The prospect will now make a decision based on their own research and their understanding and feelings towards your brand and its products.

As you can see, once the salesperson or distributor has engaged with the prospect with the initial key messages and USPs, it is essential that the potential customer can find plenty of information about your brand in China using the digital marketing channels that you have developed to their full potential.

Recommended digital marketing activities

Whatever your industry or B2B business, Market Me China would usually recommend that you develop the following four areas in order to ensure that the marketing and sales functions of your business are working as effectively as possible together and to help secure those all-important conversions.

1. Your B2B Chinese Website

Now is the time to really invest in a high-quality Chinese website that meets your B2B customers’ needs. Carry out market research as necessary to create your B2B target personas and to understand what they want from products in your industry. Create meaningful Chinese language content and user journeys that are optimised for Chinese customers – recognising how elements such as cultural references, graphics and Chinese characters influence everything from Tone of Voice through to graphical placement and effective calls to action. Ensure you have an integrated digital eco-system which works seamlessly together for a smooth experience – using the services of a Chinese digital marketing agency as necessary to ensure that everything works as it should; from fast loading speeds and correct hosting through to engaging content that really speaks to your end-users. As ever, regular analysis should be carried out to allow your website to be developed, refined and optimised to maximise conversions.

2. Chinese online PR

Online PR activities can help you to build a strong online reputation for your brand – something that is vital to cautious, information-hungry Chinese buyers who like to be fully informed and engaged with a brand before they choose to patronise it. The more you can highlight the positive image of your products in relevant press and media, the better you can support your sales force and distributors in China. It’s vital to choose right trade publications, verticals and other media outlets so that your business is referenced in trusted publications and portals that business readers recognise and trust – something that is particularly important in a country where the state media is largely untrusted.

3. Baidu PPC

Run a quality Baidu PPC campaign to ensure your adverts show on the top position where your target end-users search for your brand terms, product terms and generic terms on Baidu. This will drive targeted traffic to your Chinese website and generate leads. It can be challenging to set up a Baidu PPC campaign without the support of a Chinese digital marketing professional as the website is entirely in Chinese, but Market Me China can help to expertly set the parameters of your campaign for maximum results, and evidence those click-throughs to allow you to measure ROI.

4. WeChat marketing

Make full use of your WeChat official branded account for your business and host a manned customer service channel via the platform. Business customers will value the legitimacy of the account and the ability to rapidly speak to someone from your business who is informed and able to provide them with necessary information about your products and brand. Make sure the account is manned, that queries are responded to rapidly and that your customer service function is trained and able to fully use WeChat in a way that offers real value to prospective Chinese B2B customers.

Other digital marketing activities may also be appropriate for your B2B marketing in China, and we can support you with the development of a full marketing strategy as required, focusing on initial quick-wins through activities such as PPC through to longer-term gains in areas such as SEO and sponsorships.

Find out more

Market Me China can help you to create or develop a highly-effective B2B Chinese marketing strategy, whatever your industry and whatever stage you are at in your marketing journey. Our highly skilled digital marketing professionals understand the market and deliver the full spectrum of digital marketing services, working closely with your business on a bespoke basis, according to your unique needs. Contact us in the first instance for a no-obligation chat about how we might support you with your Chinese B2B marketing journey.