Targeting Chinese businesses either online or offline successfully may not be rocket science, but neither is it usually just a piece of cake. What it does require is a flexible attitude and a willingness to listen and adapt to the Chinese market.
In this article, we examine the ways that Chinese businesses prefer to be targeted by potential business partners or suppliers, based on surveys done by market research company B2B International.
- Live events such as conferences, trade shows, and exhibitions
This one came out top of the list, with around 39% of participants considering it their most favoured method of contact, even though this might not normally be the most popular choice for Australians.
Live events can provide the following opportunities – making initial contact with potential clients, answering queries, handing out promotional materials, and to persuade attendees of the value of your product.
This method also enables the face-to-face contact that is so highly valued in China. In addition, the fact that attendees have taken time to attend the event most likely shows a willingness to be open to business opportunities – so make the most of this method if you do use it.
- Email contact
Email was also highly favoured at around 37%. However, not just any old email – it needs to be personalised, professionally structured and preferably include Chinese versions of marketing materials such as brochures. It should also ideally be preceded by a phone call to make that initial contact.
- Websites and online communities
This one came ranked relatively well for most-favoured method.
Websites – it’s vital that your website is well designed, has high quality content and a clear and concise ‘About Us’ page. It’s also important to develop a Chinese-language version of your site when marketing to China.
Online communities – social media offers a low-cost marketing method just as it does in the West. Business platforms include LinkedIn and Chinese sites such as Tianji and Wealink.
- Workplace meetings
Visiting potential clients at their office shows you are serious about doing business, especially as face-to-face contact and relationship-building are so highly valued in China.
- Phone calls
While this was not the most popular method, it can be effective for making initial contact prior to using other methods such as email or meetings, but not so much for ongoing negotiations.
- Old-fashioned mail
This one was favoured by 10% of respondents. It can be effective for sending high-quality hard-copy materials such as bi-lingual company and product brochures. However, it is best used in conjunction with other methods.
The importance of having a customer focus
There is no one ‘right way’ to target Chinese companies and a combination of methods may be required. But whatever methods you do use, you need to place your focus squarely on the needs of your potential clients. It’s also important to have excellent communication skills – especially if you hope to persuade companies of the awesomeness of your product offering!
For assistance in B2B marketing to China, contact one of our marketing experts.