B2B: The client engagement journey

The B2B marketing trend 2022

With travel constraints remaining in the foreseeable future, businesses continue to enhance and sophisticate virtual engagement with their markets, from product specifications to aftersales online. While buyers welcome the convenience of online transactions, the increasing number of vendors and platforms also requires them to take a more cautious approach towards the plethora of choices available.

Interestingly, data suggests longer buying cycles as customers research and analyze the larger volumes of sources and information.   For the seller, to simply be waiting on B2B eCommerce platforms (Alibaba International, Global Source, TradeKey, DHGate, etc.) for buyers to make purchasing decisions could be, in a word, fatal.

For most less-established brands, the premium required to appear on the first page search of major eCommerce platforms is usually a cost too high.  Even if you appear on the first page, there is significant competition targeting the same clients. Pricing, product visuals including initial impressions) and descriptions are all important. Other competition on the same page represent similar products or alternatives, which acts as a kind of retargeting that discourages clients from leaving the site to go elsewhere.  At the same time, the platforms themselves create a host of undesirable distractions.

If you are the sole supplier of a product, your closing may relatively high. But this rarely happens, and if it does, the demand for your product is usually quite low.

A more sustainable solution is to be discovered by potential customers when they search online. You can buy keywords on search engine, such as Google or Baidu in China, as your first step to ensure your brand can be found at the top of relatively few listings in a search result and your customers are quickly directed to your website.

Then, as soon as clients click into your website, your sales pitch must begin.  What you need is an effective landing page that convinces buyers not to leave until their purchase is complete.

Whether or not a customer makes a purchase on your B2B platform depends on the perceived product value. If you are the only seller in your market, prospective buyers will search you out, no matter how low key your promotion.   In a competitive market, however, you will need to distinguish yourself:  differentiate and standout.

Like a picture, visual content speaks a thousand words.   The good use of keywords in captions is crucial for useful search results.  Content is generally of two types:  one, inside-out – e.g. a product introduction, best incorporated into your website; and two, outside-in – drawing in potential customers through a ‘hook’.

In their search for products, buyers seek assurance of production quality as much as they do information about specifications. Effective marketing meets buyers’ emotional needs.  Every element of your website – visual, verbal and auditory – is critical and reflects your brand and brand quality.  Your website image is your product image; the impression your website creates is the impression your customer has of your product.

Your social media partners your website in your B2B marketing as it functions to track customers’ digital footprints.  This enables you better understand their objectives and requirements and to position your brand and products to serve these.

Click here for an overview of today’s buyer journey.

In digital marketing, being the first to be found online is crucial to a brand’s market value and status.