New to marketing in China? Where to Begin

If you’re new to marketing in China, you may be feeling a little daunted by the size, scope and complexity of this market. Yet the attractions of building a brand in China are undeniable, in a country this vast, where consumers have the money to spend and the desire to shop with quality Western brands.

Crafting a Strong Chinese Digital Marketing Strategy

For brands entering the Chinese market for the first time, it makes sense to spend time crafting a solid Chinese digital marketing strategy before launching your brand. The more preliminary research you can do to identify your target customer, build customer personas and understand the complex and myriad factors that affect Chinese customers (including culture, language, city tiers and social media preferences), the more likely you are to succeed. The time spent preparing your strategy and knowledge base also gives you a higher chance of gaining a strong ROI on your spend, rather than risking any costly errors or misjudgements.

With this in mind, here are some good starting points to begin your journey to marketing success in China!

1. Do your Chinese Customer Research

The Chinese market is vast, with some 1+ billion internet users, so spend time on preliminary research to pinpoint your target market and focus on any niche elements that will assist your targeting efforts. Seek to understand your target customers and their demographics, and use this insight to build customer personas that will make it easier to pitch your Chinese digital marketing messaging.

2. Underpin your Digital Hub with a Chinese Website

Your website will act as a digital hub for your broader Chinese digital marketing efforts, so it makes sense to begin here. Most Western brands will now create a specific and dedicated Chinese website with bespoke content, imagery and UX (for example, Chinese readers scan web pages very differently to Western readers, which is important for developers to know.) Be mindful that you will need to host your website locally, have a Chinese domain name and avoid any links to Western websites that fall foul of Chinese censorship (including Google, Facebook, YouTube and so forth.)

3. Building Rankings with Baidu SEO

In China, a successful SEO strategy will inevitably focus on Baidu. This vast search engine offers profound SEO gains to brands that invest in a solid programme of consistent SEO work. Consider your Chinese keywords, create fresh and relevant content that includes these keywords and follow other steps that build your Baidu SEO, including tagging, social links, reviews and so forth. Remember that Baidu is hosted entirely in Chinese so you will need access to these language skills, especially to create and analyse campaigns. As you invest in this work you should see your website begin to rank favourably in SERPs for your keywords.

4. Drive Traffic with Baidu PPC Campaigns

Once your Chinese website is in place, you can drive instant qualified leads and targeted traffic to it with a good PPC campaign. Baidu PPC campaigns are quick to set up with the right expertise, and they can be incredibly powerful, building your brand’s exposure, recognition and engagement amongst your target audience. Ideally, you will combine your Baidu PPC with SEO efforts to blend short and longer-term results.

5. Build your Brand with Chinese Social Media Platforms

Social media is huge in China – far more so even than in the West. Although Chinese customers can’t access Western social media sites such as Facebook, Snapchat, Interest or Pinterest, they have access to a huge range of highly sophisticated social media platforms in China, including WeChat, Weibo, DouYin (TikTok) and Little Red Book. These platforms go far beyond the offerings of Western social media platforms and integrate a huge range of high-tech functions, including mini-stores, live streaming, and gaming. Many Chinese users use their favourite social media channels to run huge portions of their digital lives, from booking taxis to trying out products on their personal digital avatars, so the scope for creative marketing is huge.

But the beginning step is to understand which of these platforms might best suit your audience (there is significant variation between different age groups, geography, income brackets and so forth) and then to begin in a manageable way and build your presence and engagement over time.

6. Partner with the right KOLs

Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) are the Chinese equivalent of Western influencers, but their role in marketing and e-commerce is arguably even greater. Chinese customers greatly trust the opinions and recommendations of their chosen KOLs and a good KOL partnership can greatly enhance the success of your brand. You don’t need to choose a KOL with a huge following either, as niche KOLs with a smaller and specialist audience might map your own target market very well and offer excellent results.

7. Maximise Word-of-Mouth Marketing with ePR

A good online PR strategy will help you build your brand’s value, reputation and trust within your target market. Word-of-mouth marketing can be incredibly powerful in China, as Chinese customers really value peer-to-peer recommendations and brand authority when considering purchases.

8. Get Measurable Results with a Chinese Marketing Agency

To get the best results from your Chinese marketing activity, it can be extremely valuable to partner with a Chinese digital marketing agency. This will give you instant access to the professional marketing skills, local knowledge and native language skills that you need for success. This kind of support can help you to maximise your ROI and access better results, faster. From negotiating KOL arrangements to managing Baidu campaigns and social media accounts, this is one relationship worth investing in for your brand’s success.

Find out more

Market Me China is here to help your brand grow and succeed in the China market! Our highly experienced team of native language speakers and digital marketing professionals have the skills and knowledge needed to help our clients achieve their goals. We work flexibly according to your needs, and support clients across all industries, whether they are new or more established in the China market.,

Why not contact us today to find out more, and to discover how we can help your business navigate the China market with quality Chinese digital marketing services? Get in touch today.