With the world’s second-largest population and its elite digital natives, China is an opportunity for your business to grow rapidly.
Launching a business in China can be a profitable venture, but you must consider the country’s unique marketing challenges.
The Chinese Market
The Middle Kingdom boasts nearly a billion mobile users and many more who access the internet via their mobile phones. Those figures make the country a goldmine for digital marketing strategists.
Websites in China are blocked by government censors, so the chances of getting an audience are low. Even social media sites such as TikTok and Weibo have faced crackdowns from the government.
That means you have a significant audience to market to, but getting your product in front of them can be difficult.
The Great Firewall
Apart from censorship, China also suffers from a lot of competition. While the United States and Europe struggle with sluggish economic growth while keeping up with consumer demand, China is a powerhouse that continues to grow rapidly.
If you’re looking to enter the Chinese market, or if you’re already there and want to expand your business, you must consider the Great Firewall.
The firewall was designed to stop the kind of widespread internet access that fueled the viral spread of information online during the Arab Spring. Since then, the Chinese government has stepped up its game, beefing up internet censorship and surveillance.
This is an area where digital marketing expertise can be highly beneficial. By understanding the various tactics the Chinese government uses to restrict access to information, you can proactively navigate these challenges and give your business the best shot at success in the Middle Kingdom.
How to Market Your Business Online in China
Even if you can get your products in front of the right audience, motivating them to buy what you’re selling can be another challenge. While consumers in developed markets are used to relying on their smartphones for all their shopping needs, in China, you’ll need to capture people’s attention with other means.
One of the best ways of doing that is marketing online – showing ads, promoting products, and encouraging people to interact with your brand. But you can’t just throw money at the problem and expect to see instant results. The Chinese market is too big, too competitive, and too wealthy for that.
Instead, you need to use tried and tested techniques to maximize your chances of success. To get you started, here are a few ways of marketing your business online in China:
1. Create a Professional Website
A professional and polished-looking website will do wonders for your business – bringing in customers, attracting investment, and boosting your global image.
Even if you’re not particularly skilled at digital marketing, you can get a website up and running quickly with a little help from friends and colleagues. If you’ve got a business partner who’s a talented web developer, you can even get the site professionally designed.
Then you can sit back and enjoy the benefits as your customers discover your brand, company, and products – all on your website. Think of all the money you’ll save not having to spend on ads, social media accounts, and other marketing activities.
2. Establish Your Email List
Getting emails from real humans is a great way of establishing trust – a critical element in any kind of business, including online marketing. When you build up a list of regular email subscribers, you can use that to your advantage by regularly sending out useful, helpful, and interesting emails. The key is to keep the content fresh and the pitch clever so that your subscribers will want to keep reading your emails.
You can also use your list to promote your products. Simply find a relevant product that your audience would be interested in, and introduce them to the benefits of your product through an email marketing campaign. The more you engage with your audience through email, the more they’ll come back for more.
3. Generate Leads With Google Adwords
If you aren’t particularly savvy when it comes to digital marketing, you can still generate leads for your business with a bit of Google Adwords. With Adwords, you can create ads that are relevant to your product or service, and target them at certain locations, devices, and user demographics.
You can set Google Adwords to show your ad every 1, 3, or 5 ads on a page – which will help you determine how effective Adwords is in bringing in business. You can always test out different combinations of ads and keywords to see which works best for you.
4. Test Out Social Media
With over 500 million users, TikTok is one of the biggest and most influential social media platforms in the world. If you’re looking to market your products online in China, you can’t afford to ignore this elephant in the room.
TikTok and other social media platforms can be used to gain valuable insights into what resonates with your target audience and encourages them to take action – whether that’s signing up for your email list or purchasing your product.
You can use social media to monitor and analyze public opinions on your brand, product, and services – and what they say about you. This is referred to as social media listening – and it’s an essential tool for any marketer. You can even track the number of times your product or service is mentioned in relation to competitors.
5. Get Established In The Local Market
If you’re looking to enter the Chinese market, the best way to succeed is by establishing yourself in the local market. While it’s important to be mindful of national marketing campaigns and digital influences, you must also understand the importance of SEO (search engine optimization) and content creation for online marketing in China.
Even if you have the best product in the world and the most advanced marketing strategy, you’ll never gain significant traction in a market you’re not known in – and you certainly can’t expect to gain customer trust if you don’t have a presence in the first place.
That means you need to carefully consider the cities, regions, and communities you enter into – doing your research, getting the lay of the land, and identifying the right market niche for your product.
Keep An Eye On The Future
While it’s important to take action and develop solid business plans, it’s also important to keep an eye on the future – whatever that might hold. Once you’ve launched your business in China, it’s far from over – especially since the country is rapidly expanding its e-commerce industry each year.
If you want to stay in business, you’ll have to continuously expand your horizons and be creative in the ways you present yourself to new audiences. Luckily, with the right attitude and plenty of effort, you can still succeed in Chinese markets – even if the world doesn’t want you to.