Looking for immediate results in China? Digital marketing channels for rapid returns

Every Western brand looking to succeed in the China market knows that a carefully-crafted marketing strategy is the key to success. Full-spectrum marketing strategies will seek to build a brand’s reputation within the target market, and gain conversions through digital channels. But in many instances, a western brand will want to leverage digital marketing channels for rapid returns. For example, you may have a new course to promote to Chinese students before the new term, a new product to sell to Chinese customers via your e-commerce platforms, or a newly re-opened travel destination to promote to Chinese outbound tourists after the Covid-19 lockdown period.

With this in mind, which Chinese digital marketing channels should you focus on, for the best – and quickest – results? These are three approaches which can offer an attractive return on your investment if they are correctly leveraged.

1. Baidu PPC

Baidu PPC is hugely powerful in China as a marketing tool for many sectors, including education, tourism, B2B, e-commerce, real estate. Chinese customers like online adverts as a sign that the brand behind the ads is reputable and trustworthy, and they find online advertising as a whole to be useful to aid their purchase cycle – rather than something intrusive. of The key to success with Baidu PPC lies in creating a tightly targeted campaign that uses narrow parameters to avoid any waste. Even small brands with a limited budget can ensure that relevant online traffic sees their advertising if their campaign is set up expertly, using the full scope of Baidu’s ad platform. However, the platform is entirely managed in Chinese, so native Chinese language skills – as well as Chinese digital marketing expertise for audience segmentation and targeting – is essential.

2. Social advertising

Social ads are big business in China, especially for the e-commerce sector. As we mentioned above, Chinese customers appreciate online advertising and find it useful. Those companies that advertise are seen as being trustworthy and legitimate. This is a different attitude to that of western consumers, but it is easily understood when you consider that most Chinese customers have been the victims of counterfeit products.

Western brands can choose different social platforms for different purposes. For example, WeChat ads not only could be ideal for building followers, but also very popular for e-commerce brands that are looking to generate leads or to drive sales, and WeChat KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) can also be used for the same objectives, either as a standalone activity or in conjunction with other forms of social advertising as part of a holistic and integrated campaign. Some brands may choose to advertise across multiple platforms and others will find it more appropriate to focus one or two and to measure the results to establish a baseline. A Chinese marketing agency can provide advice and practical campaign set-up help for this.

3. Livestreaming

E-commerce brands can particularly benefit from livestreaming in China; one of the many ways in which the country loves innovation and tech-driven experiences. Taobao is the most obvious example of a popular livestreaming platform, and it offers brands the chance to livestream their content via Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in order to drive sales directly to their integrated Taobao or Tmall stores. The livestreaming experience is high-tech, ideal for mobiles and really taps into the Chinese love of innovation, KOLs and online shopping. It is rapid, integrated, extremely engaging and a powerful way to rapidly move customers along the purchase cycle. What’s more, Chinese customers are highly receptive the livestreaming experience and it works particularly well for products which can be brought on a whim or without the need for extensive decision-making. The platform that you choose isn’t limited to Taobao however. For example, a WeChat mini-program can also use livestreaming to drive sales directly to a brand’s WeChat store. Not sure which platform is right for you? We can help you to identify the most appropriate choice for your brand and message.

Steps to success

Whatever route you choose for your ‘rapid return’ digital marketing campaign, it is important to have several factors in place first for the best possible chance of success.

1. A strong digital hub and relevant landing pages, which you can point your online advertising towards. Make sure that all landing pages are mobile-optimised and designed for Chinese customer user journeys (which differ from the typical user journeys of Western customers.)
2. A brand which will resonate with your audience (with adjustment or localisation as required beforehand if you are new to marketing in China.)
3. Your relevant online e-commerce stores for livestreaming integration – such as Taobao or Tmall (both of which naturally incorporate the payment platforms that Chinese customers know and trust.)
4. A deep understanding of your target customer; brought to life with an accurate user persona.
5. Richly engaging and relevant Chinese advertising content which appeals to your audience’s needs – telling a brand story, bringing your offer to life and offering trust, quality, fun and other important values which resonate with Chinese customers (depending on your brand and its values.)
5. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of your digital marketing activity, so that adjustments can be made as required and outcomes quantified.

A Chinese marketing agency can also make the entire process quicker and easier, and improve your outcomes with ‘right first time’ digital marketing campaigns that are evidenced at every stage. From providing native language skills to a high degree of Chinese market awareness and professionalism, the hep of a Chinese marketing agency acts as a fast-track to success for Western brands.

Find out more

Market Me China works with brands from a variety of industries in the West, including e-commerce, travel, education, tech and B2B. Our team of Chinese digital marketing natives work on a flexible basis with brands of all sizes to provide the online marketing expertise required to succeed in the lucrative – but challenging – Chinese market. We can work on a virtual basis that supports social distancing where clients prefer this approach. Please contact us to find out more.