Chinese market is becoming more and more important. They are a lot of opportunities for foreign companies. But how to enter Chinese market? China Digital marketing is a good way to reach a lot of customers. In fact, there are 688 million internet users, and Chinese consumers are more likely to search information through internet. So China digital marketing is an indispensable step for foreign brands to open the door of Chinese market and strengthen brand awareness in China.
Here are some tips about China digital marketing strategies for your China market entry.
1. Adapted Website
You need first to have a website in Chinese, and hosted in China, for SEO reasons: Baidu, the leading search engine in China, doesn’t rank high websites hosted in other countries or websites in other languages.
Your website has to respect both Chinese standards and Chinese taste: usually there is a lot of information on the homepage, with small characters. This is very important because Chinese consumers are used to search for information on internet before buying a product, because of the problems of fake products and food scandals. The word to mouth and internet information are then very important.
Moreover for an e-business website, Chinese customers are used to have precise information immediately with the price, the product, the details, without wasting time. Chinese consumers don’t like to waste time searching for information or during the paying process for example.
The foreign red wines have also a luxury image in China, so it is important to have a beautiful website with a luxury side.
2. Search Engine Marketing
Then, when you have a good website you need to promote it on the Chinese internet. For that, you have to know that Baidu is the leading search engine in China with almost 70% market share. So you can advertise on Baidu with serach engine marketing, or Pay Per Click, which means that you have a link on Baidu, on some keywords, on top of the page, and you pay when the users click on it.
SEM is especially efficient for short-term strategy. The problem is that sometimes it can be quite expensive. You can also do SEO, which is good for long-term strategy, and efficient when all your competitors do SEM.
3. Search Engine Optimization
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a way to promote your website on internet on some keywords without paying. Baidu SEO is special, and it is different than Google SEO.
First you have to know that Baidu has its own websites and redirects 27% of its traffic to these websites: Baidu Zhidao (Q&A), Baidu Baike (Wikipedia), Baidu Tieba (forum)… It means if you want to promote your website on the Chinese internet, you have to be also present on these websites.
SEO promotion consists of two main parts: on-site optimization and off-site optimization. On-site optimization: 20% of the score of search keywords related to the selected site. Off-site optimization: It reflects the popularity of the Website on Baidu which represents 70% of the score. This is a long-term and methodical job that requires writing articles as well as increasing presence on the web to increase the credibility of the site for search engines.
Keywords: the keywords need to be carefully picked. For the controlling of the budget and maximum coverage on the potential targets, a pilot SEM campaign is also useful.
Title: The titles of the main pages are already optimized. However, the titles of new and some existing internal pages will be further optimized for new keywords.
Image ALT Tag: The site contains a lot of pictures but most images do not contain appropriate ALT TAG, simple and positioned on a specific keyword. The tag is the small narratives of the photo when the user moves the mouse over the image or when it downloads the image.
Forums: It is very interesting to talk on forums to increase the popularity of your website.
Comments: Regular comments pointing to the url of the site can help to increase the popularity of the articles published on the site.
Interventions on other websites: It is recommended to regularly publish articles on other sites, blogs, magazines… and include links to your site. This improves the TrustRank of the site on Baidu which is very low now.
Partnerships: Try to establish partnerships with websites about the field in question. Contact theses bloggers, and offer then interventions, link exchanges or mutual presence blog roll always effective on Baidu.
4. Key Opinion Leaders
The KOL are people who have a big influence on internet and on the population in general. They have a lot of fans, sometimes millions of them, and have sometimes expertise on a subject. You can make your website and your brand well known through the promotion by KOL, which enables to have a buzz effect with their followers. The aim is to make a positive influence about the brand.
You can offer to this KOL interviews and articles, which they can publish on their accounts, giving positive information about the brand. KOL are especially influent on social networks. You have to know that 95% of first, second and third tier cities inhabitants have at least one account on a social network. There exist in China several social networks, but the most used ones are Weibo and WeChat.
5. WeChat Marketing
WeChat is an application very popular in China for instant messages services, developed by Tencent, the founder of QQ Messages services. It has already 761 million active users in China. It is a very useful tool to share quickly information about events or news of a company or brand.
Having an account on WeChat enables you to promote your brand via mobile. You have to know that the advantage of WeChat is that it is geo-localized, so you can do localized marketing, and when there is a promotion in a special city, you can advertise only in this city.
6. Weibo Marketing
Sina Weibo is the most important SNS in China, with around 88% penetration rate. It had more than 500 million users in 2015, and more than 106 million users active every day. It also attracted 130,000 companies. In fact, it is very important for a brand to have a Weibo account because all the brands are present, and Chinese users like to get information about the brand on this network. In fact, more than 56% of Weibo users follow at least one brand on Weibo. Weibo is often compared to Twitter, but it is in fact different, and much richer: you can write more, and you have more functions. To do marketing on Weibo you need to:
- Open an account with the official documents in order to have the “v” of “verified”.
- Publish often some fresh contents and updates. In fact Chinese users like to have always new contents and regular updates. The contents must be interesting for the users.
- Manage the community and interact with the users.
- Do buzz marketing.
- Evaluate the results
7. Press and Public Relations
PR is useful to help generate content online on external websites. You can do partnerships with other blogs, with journalists… Then this people talk about your brand in a positive way, and publish article about it. The purpose is to make your brand more famous and popular in China, and to have a positive image in the country.
8. Buzz & Video Marketing
In China buzz marketing is used a lot because it enables you to touch a big part of the population. In fact with the 668 million internet users the information goes fast and spread rapidly. It means that you need to find an original content, which you will diffuse on the right platforms in order to surprise the internet users. A beautiful video is a good way to create buzz. To do buzz marketing, you need to:
- Define the objectives
- Define the strategy and find the idea
- Create the buzz with the right tool: video, photo…
- Diffuse the buzz
- Measure the effects
Related reading: 6 Keys to Start Your Ecommerce Business in China