SMA Solar Technology AG is a German solar energy equipment supplier with offices in 18 countries. To improve their brand awareness and online lead generation in Mainland China and Taiwan, SMA decided to use Baidu and Google PPC to promote their websites.
How to promote your B2B website in China
How to promote your B2B website in China
The Internet world in China is different from the rest of the world. When a B2B company wants to promote its business in China, they need to choose the right channels.
In China, Google, Twitter, and Facebook do not work at all. You need to use local channels to promote your website.
Below are the channels and ways B2B companies can utilize to promote their websites:
Search Engines Optimization (SEO)
Baidu is the biggest search engine in China. If you need to choose only one search engine to do SEO, Baidu would be the first choice.
It is always easier for a B2B website to do SEO, due to a specific market. Yes, it takes at least 6-12 months to see the results, but the results also last longer.
Besides Baidu, there are other search engines you can consider. There are SoSo, 360, and Bing. If you can have better SEO on these search engines, they can also bring a certain amount of traffic.
Search Engine Paid-ads
Unlike SEO, search engine pay-ads is a different game. If you want to see the results immediately, you should use Baidu pay-ads to drive traffic. But below are the things you should know before using search engine pay-ads.
- Understand the keyword cost of your industry. If it is too expensive, you might not get into it at the beginning stage of your promotion.
- Do keyword research. You should do a keyword research before you start your campaign. A good keyword research is the foundation of search engine paid-ads and SEO. It will save you a lot of time later and increase the probability to see good results.
- Do A/B test. You need to keep testing and fine-tuning your campaign. Search engine paid-ads and SEO is the process of experiment and improvement. You need to constantly test your ideas and improve the results.
- Have enough samples. You need to place enough ads to see the results. That is the rule of doing online ads. You need to have enough samples to test and optimize the campaign. If your budget is very limited, you should not go with paid-ads at first.
- Have right offering on your website. Make sure you have the right product and service on your website for your paid-ads visitors. You can even have a specific landing page for your campaigns.
If you don't have the right offering, most people will just click and leave. In other words, the website conversion rate will be very low. It will end up wasting money.
Industry portal website
Compared to a B2C company, it is much easier to identify industry portal websites. You can place ads or publish articles on those websites.
Since the portal website is for a specific industry, you can target the audience more accurately.
Since industry portal website normally doesn’t have high traffic, the ad cost would be much lower than a B2C portal website.
How can we talk about digital marketing in China without WeChat? The normal perception is that WeChat is mainly for B2C business. It is actually changing right now, due to growing user base.
Below is how a B2B business can promote their website via WeChat.
- Public account. You can set up a public account in WeChat. It is a little like the facebook page, but it has much more features. You can push posts to your followers, engage with your followers, and drive traffic to your website. There are many things you can do on a public account. It could be another article.
- Influencer marketing. It is easier for a B2B company to identify industry influencers on WeChat, due to narrower market focus. The success formula of influencer marketing is good content, right offering, and right influencers.
- Online training. Yes, you can have online live training via WeChat. You can have an online Webinar to engage with your prospects or current clients. It is a very powerful channel to engage with your prospects or current clients.
- Mini program. WeChat mini program is something new from the WeChat ecosystem. With a mini program, you can improve customer stickiness for the public account. Mini programs for B2B business could be tool app to help clients solve a specific problem or find information. It can be shared easily and highly-integrated with WeChat.
- WeChat CRM. Yes, WeChat could be a CRM for a B2B business. Once you have enough followers, you can start to analyze them to have user profile or life-time value.
However, you need to use WeChat API to have a WeChat CRM. The current WeChat backend doesn’t have this feature.
Offline events play a very important role in the B2B world. Most B2B companies will attend or host the off-line events, like trade shows, seminars, or training, to promote or educate their business.
You can convert offline clients or prospects into online clients or prospects. The advantage of converting them from offline to online is you can obtain the data and reach them easily later. It is a good chance to promote your website.
Company online yellow page
There are company online yellow pages, like qichacha.com, in China. Some of them have high search engine ranking. You can list your company information. It will help drive traffic to your website.
Weibo is like Twitter in China. It still has a large number of users. The big difference between WeChat and Weibo is, unlike WeChat, Weibo is not mobile-only and but open to the public. In other words, Weibo can help you approach more target audience in a more direct approach.
Also, you can find Weibo through Baidu, but you can not find WeChat accounts through Baidu search engine.
Baidu verification service is that you will have a specific logo next to certain search engine results. It will catch more eyeballs and show the genuineness of your company link. You need to submit an application to get verified.
Zhihu is like Quora, a question-and-answer community site, in China. It is a good place to promote your business, especially B2B business.
Generally speaking, B2B businesses require more knowledge of their products and services. You can promote your products and services via knowledge sharing. Also, you can build your authority on this platform.
LinkedIn is the only world-wide mainstream social network platform not blocked in China. Yes, it is not fancy as Weibo and WeChat. But, as a B2B company, it is easier to find the right prospects on LinkedIn, especially if your target audience is middle or high-level managers.
Digital marketing is all about content, data, and experiment. Now you know the channels to promote your business in China. Some may work for you, some may not.
All you need to do is keep testing different channels, getting results, and fine-tuning your promotion plan.
Also, you need to identify your target audience first and have the right offerings on your website. This way you won't waste your traffic.