Lead generation in China, and especially for the B2B sector, might seem a bit challenging at first but doesn’t have to. In the past, many Western brands relied on LinkedIn when reaching out to new prospects in China, but since the platform transformed itself into CareerIn late last year and removed its social interaction component, it became quite obsolete in terms of lead generation.
If your company has an official WeChat account registered on WeChat (the biggest app in China) then you’re on the right path. WeChat, contrary to Western social apps which are largely used for personal communication, is used for both private and business purposes by Chinese users. This difference can be a big advantage for B2B brands in China (WeChat for B2B sector). Because emails or website are not top of mind for brand communication, Chinese users expect to find detailed information and receive updates from brands on WeChat. Staying within the WeChat ecosystem can actually make it even easier to guide your lead through an exciting and successful brand discovery journey – see our previous post-WeChat Marketing vs Website Marketing.
In the B2B lead generation on WeChat and nurturing funnel, it’s vital to figure out how to grow your visibility as a B2B player, automate the processes while also allowing customer care and sales reps to better identify and close deals. Let us walk you through some of the most relevant tactics depending on the stage of your relationship with your leads on WeChat.
Lead Generation – How to Grow Your Exposure?
Since WeChat is a semi-closed platform, meaning that non-followers don’t receive updates from your brand, it’s not always easy for brands to immediately grow their fanbase. However, depending on your budget or time, you can try different approaches to grow your exposure on WeChat among users who haven’t connected with your brand yet.
Tencent’s WeChat advertising allows businesses to place promotional messages on users’ timelines, WeChat Official Account articles, and even third-party mini-programs. Brands can use WeChat ads to increase the number of followers on their official accounts, boost traffic to their official website or mini-programs. Cost-per-fan for a B2B brand can get quite high with sometimes approx. 70 RMB (USD11) and is not without some industry-specific restrictions but it is still a great way to get exposure and unfollow rate for industry accounts are significantly lower than for B2C brands.
WeChat advertising has 3 major types – How To Promote Your Account On WeChat?
A great way to gain your visibility is working with your industry hot accounts. We can compare this cooperation to KOL (Key Opinion Leader) influencer marketing but on a B2B level. A bigger account with sizeable exposure and authority reshares your article directly. There are two other whitelisted sharing options:
1. Displaying a link to the original Official Account: At the end of the article, as the original content creator, you can request (or not) to provide a link to your official account (the link will be automatically added).
2. Permission to edit: The original material created may grant permission to edit the article to the partner account (otherwise it will be forwarded exactly as the original version).
You can also reshare articles from other official accounts. Please note that some restrictions for international accounts might apply.
Channels – for brand discovery
WeChat Channels is a video platform within WeChat that allows users to produce and share short video clips and photographs to their own WeChat Channel. It was released for beta testing in early 2020 and two years later it’s becoming one of the most important WeChat components actively improved and promoted by Tencent. Check out our Beginner’s Guide to WeChat Channels.
Thanks to hashtags it’s much easier to discover new content on WeChat than before. Also, because WeChat is the first choice for professional communication it’s only natural that B2B visual content has a much higher chance to gain traction there than for example on Douyin (TikTok).
Only this month, Tencent introduced a new set of features that B2B brands can enjoy right away on WeChat Channels. Brands can now add service menus to the WeChat Channels main page greatly improving user experience and adding new functionalities to the account. WeChat added also new options for WeCom and Channels integration.
WeChat SEO-friendly articles
Yes, WeChat has its own search engine (SouYiSou, 搜一搜) and it’s getting more and more precise to index content across the whole Tencent ecosystem. To have your content featured in search results publish articles with a focus on keywords with regularity. Content authority is important too so don’t forget to encourage the right engagements. Leveraging the rest of the Tencent ecosystem like WeChat Channels can further improve your results.
WeChat, like other search engines, prioritizes the most relevant content. It is critical for brands to use keywords in article text and headlines when developing content. The viewer engagement rate is another parameter that WeChat search looks at. This covers impressions, clicks, and post-reactions. A higher interaction rate means a better ranking in the WeChat search results.
Not to forget, QR codes are the lifeblood of the platform on WeChat. Ideally place them on your physical product, marketing materials, and online.
When a user scans a code, it can land on your official account directly. A code that also leads to a mini-program or a mini-site within the WeChat ecosystem. These may be readily customized to display your most critical information (much like a landing page). Since it does not require users to install any third-party programs, this direct presentation of information has been able to deliver a smooth customer experience for businesses.
Nurturing Your Prospects – Maintain Meaningful Relationships
WeChat users are already actively interested in your brand and landed on your official WeChat account welcome page. This is a great situation and you can leverage it. With account optimation, regular articles, and other tools you can reach out to your fans and keep in touch. It’s your turn to meet, or ideally exceed their expectations.
Welcome message and menu
When new users start to follow your official account, they are automatically greeted with a welcome message. This micro-moment can help them to understand your brand better and encourage them to take the next steps if your welcome message is optimized to give them the details and information they need – apart from the text you can add links, images, mini-programs, and more in there.
The menu is another element brands shouldn’t overlook and you might even decide to allocate more effort to it. Treat menu as always-on content. We talked more about what the menu is and why is it so important and how to optimize it in our previous posts.
If your business has many departments and clients are interested in different topics it’s a good idea to segment your followers. This way you can send them articles relevant to their departments. Ask users about their preferred departments in the welcome message and manually label them in the backend. This method works when you have a relatively small fanbase and only if followers reply.
More advanced segmentation and targeting require a proper CRM (Customer Relationship Management). To maximize the impact of the WeChat unified ID, brands must establish a link between WeChat OA and CRM. If you want to run more complicated campaigns, you may need to connect them to a marketing cloud. Take, for example, Salesforce CRM and Marketing Cloud.
Tencent’s (WeChat’s parent company) version of WeChat for businesses, previously known as WeChat Work, is gaining traction among businesses.
WeCom is a business communication and office application that offers the same communication experience as WeChat. At the same time, it offers a broad set of open-source applications connected with the WeChat ecosystem.
It can assist businesses in connecting internally, with ecosystem partners, and with customers. It’s also worth noting that WeCom has an API that allows you to access and combine WeChat’s capabilities with other apps.
The use of private traffic is another element of WeChat B2B lead generation marketing. Setting up, monitoring and activating a WeChat group can take time. It’s a really great way to keep in touch with the followers and clients in real-time and initiate meaningful discussions.
Essentially, this is direct communication with lead segmentation. The scaling effect might convert more deals from a promotion campaign in the private chat group as more leads opt-in.
WeChat – A Great Tool for B2B Brands
As you can see, WeChat is more than just a social media platform. With its multitude of customizable tools, it offers a great approach to engaging with customers and increasing brand awareness. Bridging the gap between online and offline with a segmentation strategy and CRM can truly enhance communication with your prospects.
Though WeChat lead generation has its challenges, it is a worthwhile process. If you want to get into the Chinese market, don’t miss out on this opportunity.
If you require further support with setting up your account or generation on WeChat, please contact our team. We use our knowledge and expertise to help businesses build meaningful partnerships and develop their network among Chinese customers. For additional information, please contact us by phone – Shanghai or Hong Kong.