Looking for more business clients in China?
Traditionally, getting leads and clients in the business to business space in China is hard, very hard. Most Chinese businesses rely heavily on 关系 (GuanXi), connection, or networking. In fact, in China, many business owners believe strongly that if you don’t have GuanXi, then you’re pretty much out of luck.
But, with the rise of the internet, you no longer have to rely heavily on GuanXi to get more leads and clients in China.
In this guide, we are going to show you exactly how you can get more leads and clients in China even if you don’t have a huge advertising budget.
The 2 Things You Need to Get Leads on the Internet in China
If you want to do business and get leads from the internet, then there are really only two things you’ll need to make that happen.
Thing Number One Is Traffic
First, you’ll need traffic, I’m sure this one should be no surprise to anyone.
To get traffic, you can either pay for it with money, this means you’re actively advertising to bring users to see your website or contents. Or you can pay for it with your time or social capital, and this usually includes doing Search Engine Marketing or Social Media marketing.
Thing Number One Is Conversion
Once you have traffic you’ll need to convert those traffic into leads or paying customers.
Many marketers believe that conversion is a single event. A user visits your website and they decided to become a lead or client. Of course, this happens sometimes, but in reality, these are the rare incidence and not the normal. In practice conversion is more of a process, most user will interact with your business or brand multiple time before they decided to take the next step.
The secret to conversion is to present the right content to the right traffic, at the right time, and using the right call to action.
5 Tools for Getting Leads in China
You’ll need a Chinese website, in most cases, a simple website will do. The goal of the website is to provide relevant information and ultimately convert a percentage of the user into leads or paying customers.
You’ll need an offer of some kind to draw the users to initiate a business conversion with you. This can be a discount, a white paper, an information session, or even. The key to a successful offer is relevance and enticing, essentially you want to make them an offer that they cannot refuse.
If you want to do business in China you’ll need WeChat as it is currently the most popular and primary way that most Chinese people communicates. The goal of using WeChat is for follow up and communication.
If you don’t have a WeChat official account you can just use a standard personal WeChat account which anyone can get, but if you can somehow get a WeChat service official account that it is even better. Service official accounts allows you to set up message bots to automatically reply and send messages to user that have subscribed to your account, make it an ideal way to follow up and segment your leads.
It is true that in China email is not widely used, however, since we are dealing with other business in China than email is a great tool to use for following up with leads and prospects. One thing to keep in mind, in China Gmail is inaccessible, to avoid any complication we highly recommend that you use another email services such as outlook, Hotmail, or even Yahoo.
If you’re planning to use email automation to follow up with the leads in China, be careful. While most email automation services such as MailChimp, or AWeber do work in China, but you might want to turn off any Google Analytics tracking options that are available and make sure that they support the Chinese language.
You’ll also need a translator if you don’t speak Chinese fluently for obvious reasons. Ideally, if you can hire at least one Chinese sales that are even better. Alternatively, if you really don’t want to hire a translator or a Chinese sale, then you can use WeChat and it’s translate functionality.
The translate function on WeChat is not that great but it will do the job. The downside to doing this is that it adds another hurdle for your potential client to overcome and some Chinese businesses may be reluctant to do business with you because of this.
5 B2B Traffic Channels That You Should Use
The 5 channel we are going to share with you here is tested and proven to be great B2B lead generation channels. Our recommended method of using these channels is paid to advertise, however, you are more than welcome to try other methods such as Baidu SEO, or Content Marketing.
Of course, you can also advertise on other channels that are not listed here, there are many great offline channels such as industry events, and partnerships, but our goal here is to only list the channels that are affordable and usable even if you don’t have a physical presence in China yet.
If we can only recommend one channel for B2B business to use to get more leads and clients, it would be Baidu. Baidu is the equivalent of Google in China, it is China’s biggest search engine. Just like Google, Baidu is great for problematic advertising, meaning you can bid on keywords based on the searcher’s intents.
Problematic advertising allows you to target the lowest hanging fruit possible, this is simply not possible with any other type of advertising, which is what make it great for B2B lead generation. Baidu also has a display network with a huge list of blog and forums, which is also another great source for B2B leads.
Toutiao is a rising star in China, it is a news and content curation mobile app that uses machine learning to serve relevant contents to its 35 million daily active users. What makes Toutiao an ideal channel for generating B2B leads and clients in China is because of the type of user Toutiao attracts.
An average Toutiao user spends about 84 minutes every single day reading news, and they’re 10x more likely to seek out information than any other platforms in China. On top of that Toutiao has a great ad platform with great targeting options.
Discussion forums are popular in China, there are lots of discussion forums that are industry specific and many of them offers banner advertising or paid sponsorship. If you don’t’ want to pay for advertising, you can precipitate in discussions.
Online Magazines & Blogs
Another great way to generating more leads in China is to advertise on online magazines or blogs that have the relevant users that you’re going after.
WeChat & Weibo
The reason we’ve listed WeChat & Weibo last is because while these two are certainly big channels with lots and lots of users but for the purpose of getting more B2B leads and clients in China, they’re not an ideal channel.
First, both WeChat & Weibo advertising is expensive, and their targeting isn’t robust enough as of today. If you are going to advertise on these two channels, the key is to use industry base targeting but not every industry can benefit from this.
Putting it All Together
To put everything together we’ve created this general flow chart that we use with most of our clients.
You always, always want to start off with market research and find the right target market that will most likely work with your business. After that you pick your traffic source, you can start with a single traffic source or multiple it really depends on your business and budget.
Then you sent the traffic to your website with an enticing offer and ask for either their email or scan your WeChat QR code. Once they become a lead you would just ask them to become your client, if they say no you put them in your follow up sequence and if you they say it you put them in your welcome sequence and that’s it.
Obviously, this process may different from business to business, and we usually customize the lead generation system depending on the type of business we’re working with.