How to survive and flourish using the internet in China

It is no secret: search engines are the most important online marketing channel for B2B in China. This is important not only for the exhibitions industry in matching buyers and suppliers, but also for business event planners and venues seeking to shape their product to the needs of potential clients and, indeed, track down prospective clients.

According to the 5th Chinese SMB Internet user adoption research report published by The China Internet Network Information Center in January 2013, 23 per cent of the Chinese small- to-medium businesses (SMB) had invested in Internet marketing. CNNIC also found that among all the online marketing channels, the most popular choice was search engines, which had been used by 53.2 per cent of SMB in China.

It is vital for overseas companies that have set up local business operations in China to obtain deeper insights into how to use search-engine marketing for domestic lead generation and to engage with buyers.

DMCs, event planners and venues setting up in China should know which type of businesses actually carry out internet searches and the best practices they use; how to understand their intentions; how the keyword tools and search suggestions in Google and Baidu compare; fast-track vertical searches, and how to give their own sites a five-minute audit.

The audit is crucial in testing how people recall your brand and learning how popular your company name or product is among search-engine users in China.

The research white paper, The B2B Search – Make Scientific Lead Generation Practical, prepared by Frontiers Digital – the digital arm of Asia-based Milton Exhibits Group – goes into further detail.

Regarding Google’s market share in China being far less than Baidu’s, I nonetheless encourage planners and venue operators not to avoid using Google in their site audit or for researching buyer intentions. You will still get meaningful data.

I would also stress that search engine marketing for B2B can be a solution that goes beyond marketing. In fact, the value of the information and the insights obtained from the analytics will benefit your business development process at all levels.

Eddie Choi is a digital marketer and founding partner of Frontiers Digital, a digital strategy agency co- founded with three other global marketers from AOL, MySpace, and UK-based MediaRun Network. Frontiers Digital is now the digital arm of Asia-based Milton Exhibits Group


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