How Chinese B2B markets can leverage digital marketing in the post-Covid world

Before the pandemic, many B2B businesses in China relied on forms of offline marketing such as business fairs, trade events and face-to-face marketing opportunities. However, Covid changed this landscape dramatically and forced businesses around the world to rapidly expand their digital offering.

In China, the already sophisticated digital landscape made it relatively easy for firms to adapt to online marketing and to maximise these channels, but there are still plenty of opportunities for those businesses to maximise.

Let’s look at the steps that B2B businesses can take to go digital in China in the modern, post-Covid world.

1. Be clear on your brand and values

B2B businesses need to have clear brand values and a proposition in the same way as B2C brands. By choosing a strong and relevant brand and accompanying values, it becomes far easier to target and engage with your target B2B audience. The right brand also acts as a platform for your content strategy, informing your key messages and making it far easier to create your digital ecosystem with ease.

2. Do your research

Depending on your industry, the Chinese B2B market can look quite different to Western equivalent markets. It may be structured differently, have different types of incumbent providers and offer different degrees of opportunities. It’s also important to note that Chinese business cultural practices are different to the West and it’s very important to understand this before seeking to engage with B2B decision-makers. Good, in-depth research can help to inform your sales and marketing activity and improve your successes with targeted digital marketing.

3. Optimise your website

It’s vital to optimise your B2B website as part of a broader and holistic digital ecosystem. This means checking that it works for your target audience’s intended journeys, has the right landing pages and calls to action (to which your Baidu PPC campaigns point), is hosted correctly, operates quickly and is optimised for mobile. A Chinese digital marketing agency can ensure your website looks professional, is correctly targeted and is fully optimised for human readers and search bots alike.

4. Consider your ePR strategy

Online PR can be hugely powerful for B2B businesses, especially when you can secure coverage in relevant industry publications. The right agency partner can secure you this kind of placement and linking through high-quality PR content, relationships and networking – leading to introductions and referrals that begin to ease customers and clients through the sales funnel.

5. Look to KOLs

In many B2B markets, it is also possible to find relevant KOLs who have a business or professional audience. By working with an agency that can secure the right KOL with the right targeted following, you have the opportunity for a valuable paid partnership or sponsorship arrangement. In today’s digital world, the right influencer may have a smaller but more niche and relevant audience, so it’s important to be strategic when identifying potential influencers that could add value to your brand.

6. Invest in Baidu PPC advertising

Baidu PPC can drive instant and qualified traffic to your website, as Baidu is the largest search engine in China. Baidu is usually the first choice for launching a highly targeted PPC campaign and the results can be excellent with the right set-up, campaign management and optimisation.

7. Invest in other online advertising

This includes investing in online advertising on other search engines, relevant social media platforms, aggregators and relevant industry websites. A digital marketing agency can identify the right platform and campaign upon which you can host highly relevant, targeted PPC campaigns, optimise their run-time and evaluate your ROI.

8. Work on your SEO

A well-built Chinese website should always include Chinese SEO considerations, such as correct and full meta-tagging, alt tags, structure and hosting. It should also include content and linking strategies that meet the latest SEO algorithms and their preferences. The right digital marketing resource can ensure that your presence is optimised for SEO terms over time. This may mean targeting less obvious terms and phrases which are still highly relevant to your audience, so that you don’t directly compete with big-budget, established competitors online.

9. Create a powerful content strategy

Once your digital ecosystem is built and optimised, your content strategy can bring it to life and tie in all of your channels – including website blogs, ePR, social media content, video, email marketing and more. Your B2B content strategy will need to be considered, targeted and seasonal, with specific campaign themes and focuses that always add value to your target customer. Good content must be managed over time, with careful repurposing for maximum value, and a strong focus on your end reader.

10. Measure and evaluate

With all B2B marketing activity, it is essential to carefully measure and evaluate what you do so that you can continue to refine and adjust your campaigns over time. This will also ensure that your budget is being leveraged in the most powerful way. B2B marketing is a specialist field that must integrate carefully with planned sales activity and map your expected sales cycle and pipeline. For this reason, expert digital marketing support will tend to yield the best possible results, especially if your B2B brand doesn’t have its own comprehensive in-house digital marketing team.

Find out more

Market Me China is here to help you to achieve the best possible results from your digital B2B Chinese marketing campaigns. We offer our clients an extremely experienced and skilled team of native Chinese language speakers, with the ability to offer comprehensive, integrated digital marketing campaigns that work. We work flexibly around our client’s needs and naturally we evidence our results to prove our value to your bottom line. Keen to find out more? Please contact us in the first instance for a no-obligation chat about your needs.