I was always asked the question by brand owners and marketers: Why should we invest in digital marketing in China when we don’t have a distributor?
The analogy I usually give is:
You might not want to invest in Facebook Ads without setting up an eCommerce store or having a sales channel which carrying your product. But you do want to have a website set up before going to meetings with Vitamin Shoppe, GNC or Bodybuilding.com. Setting up your WeChat and Weibo accounts serves the same purpose in China.
1. WeChat Official Account --- Your Website in China
Though it is easy for brands to manage and maintain their websites, without servers based in China, users will have difficulty accessing content on the website. Companies also have difficulty driving traffic to the site as they can’t advertise using traditional strategies like Google Ads, which is blocked in China. They also can’t use Chinese search engines like Baidu without having a legal business entity in China.
Companies’ WeChat and Weibo accounts serve the purpose of traditional websites. The content is updated regularly and fits well with mobile devices. Consumers can leave text or voice messages to the brand’s page account for any questions they might have regarding the services or products. WeChat’s mini programs provide more functions for brands to engage with consumers. Ecommerce stores can be set up within WeChat, where consumers can finish a transaction without leaving the app.
2. Maximize Brand Exposure and Get Quality Business Leads
For brands that are actively seeking opportunities in China, most likely, the primary focus for your sales and marketing team is to get more business leads and establish partnership with companies that are good fit, exclusively or not. But how can you get more business leads? How can you get the attention of the most established distributors and companies in China?
One approach is to reach out to every single distributor or broker you can find on the internet, most likely from your competitors’ websites. However, many Chinese companies don’t have a strong presence on Facebook, Instagram or even LinkedIn. There are simply limited quality leads you can find with this approach.
Moreover, China’s fast-growing fitness and wellness industry attracts capitals from other industries. Many investors are looking for the right brand to invest. How can you get their attention? Many investors from industries like pharmaceutical, manufacture and food production might not speak English fluently and visit websites that are relevant to fitness industry such as bodybuilding.com Don’t forgot, with Facebook, YouTube, Google and Instagram blocked in China, your company and product info is not a click away for these investors to reach.
Setting up WeChat and Weibo accounts is like having a trade show booth in the digital world in China, except it has a much further reach and lower cost.
3. Distributors are more willing to work with brands with a marketing plan
There is much more competition in China’s sport nutrition industry than 3 or 5 years ago. Brands from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, U.S. and Japan are seeking opportunities in China; domestic brands like CPT is expanding aggressively in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Distributors have become more selective when choosing brands. Distributors and investors prefer brands that are already well-known in China, such as Muscle Tech, or brands who are willing to invest in marketing and long-term growth, such as Nutrend. Otherwise, they might would rather invest in private label brands which have better margin and more control.
The role of sales and marketing of any companies or organizations essentially is to Communicate and Persuade. Communication comes first. Delivering a brand’s message and content from one language to another, from one cultural context to another, from one platform to another, helps to overcome the communication barrier. It gives your brand more exposure to attract business partners, distributors, investors and brand ambassadors in China. Brands that take this critical step will have a competitive advantage.
Tiger Social would love to assist your brand with WeChat Account Registration and Setup, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.