Although Chinese social networking sites have made it easier than ever to build a following and grow your business, the truth is that a good strategy takes time. It’s virtually impossible to build brand awareness and loyalty overnight, even with an unlimited budget and every influencer promoting your products. But there are ways that you can “cheat the system” and bypass the traditionally slow process of building a Chinese brand for your business - and we call them “quick wins”. Granted, they’re more expensive than the organic methods, but they are an option to consider if you’re ready to start selling to a Chinese consumer base quickly.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best “quick wins” that help you achieve super-fast results…
If you wanted to promote your products and services to consumers in the UK, you might turn to Google to run pay-per-click advertisements at the top of search engine results pages. The same is possible in China, though you’ll use Baidu rather than Google to find customers.
Baidu is China’s answer to Google. It handles around 6 billion searches per day, servicing more than 1.8 billion consumers both in mainland China and in other territories. Because of this, Baidu pay-per-click is a popular advertising choice for businesses in a wide range of sectors, from tourism and ecommerce through to law and business-to-business sales. Unlike waiting months to build an SEO campaign to rank organically on Baidu, pay-per-click means you can bypass the usual protocols and appear at the top of users’ search pages in minutes.
And whilst the average click-through-rate of a paid ad on Google is around 2%, the figure can be much higher in China. That’s because Chinese consumers trust Baidu and online advertising much more than consumers in the West. They see advertisements as something that helps them find the products and services they want, rather than ads getting in the way.
To maximise your ROI with paid advertising on Baidu, you should work with a digital marketing agency that can create a highly targeted campaign, optimising your parameters to reduce waste and reach warm leads every time. Remember, Baidu is a Chinese-language search engine, so you’ll need a native that can craft persuasive ad copy and segment your target audience effectively. Don’t scrimp, as a poorly-managed campaign can be expensive.
Hosting live streams to sell goods
Another strategy that’s grown in popularity in recent years is live streaming, as consumers love to engage with influencers and hosts and ask questions about products in real-time. It’s possible to pay for your products to be featured by an influencer on a live streaming platform like Taobao, with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) pushing the benefits of your products, selling directly to their thousands of followers and helping you shift inventory in a matter of minutes.
Ecommerce live streams are fast-paced and designed with conversions in mind. The benefit is that consumers get to see your product “in the flesh” before they buy it, and hear stories from an influencer who’s tried it out. What’s more, you’re able to connect your own social channels to the live stream to build your following and engage with your new customers. Whether you’re selling shampoo or whisky, fast-moving consumer goods are popular on live streaming websites, particularly low-cost products that can be sold as an impulse purchase.
Note: it’s not just Taobao that’s suitable for live streams. We’ve put together the best ecommerce live streaming platforms in China: Kuaishou, Douyin, and Weibo are popular alternatives, whilst WeChat offers live streaming capabilities and in-app purchases.
Advertising on social media
Finally, paying to have your products and brand featured on Chinese social networking sites is another option to consider if you’re looking for instant results. Last year, the social media ad revenue in China reached 65 billion yuan, up from 51 billion yuan in 2018. WeChat, Qzone, and Sina Weibo are the three biggest players, offering brands multiple ways to engage with their target market, including display advertisements and Stories-style ads.
Most of us find Facebook and Instagram advertisements annoying, but consumer attitudes are different in China. Many shoppers consider brands advertising as being legitimate and trustworthy businesses. Therefore, they’re far more receptive to advertising when targeted effectively. Remember: Chinese consumers are more likely to fall victim to counterfeit goods, and so they place greater emphasis on verified ecommerce brands and their social profiles.
How you advertise on Chinese social media can vary from platform-to-platform, but most often, you’ll choose between directly pushing your landing pages, selling products with a tap, and gaining followers on your social media profiles. Outside of the official channels, you can pay influencers to promote your products to their millions of followers. Data from JingDaily suggests that WeChat influencers charge between RMB 0.5 and RMB 1.5 per post view, though this is negotiable and direct campaigns can also be agreed to lower your costs.
There you have it - a few of the best ways to gain instant recognition in China and develop your business in the country. If you’re looking for assistance with your expansion, reach out to the digital marketing team at Zudu - we have experts on the ground in the UK and China, allowing us to offer a comprehensive, unified service that ultimately delivers a strong ROI.