Asia Marketing Strategy: Use Alibaba Website

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For those seeking an international directory; you should start with Alibaba. While the name may raise some eyebrows from some Western businesses, Alibaba is actually one of the world’s fastest growing IT companies in the world with millions of companies listed there.

There are many strategies relating to Alibaba:

1) It is a Global portal; you can use it to contact buyers and sellers worldwide

2) You should consider join their TrustPass; it is a paid-membership; but this provides a much better platform to contact other companies; and also will be treated more seriously by potential customers

3) A one-stop shop to browse around different opportunities across different sectors.

4) Ability to contact prospective buyers and sellers through Alibaba

5) A forum where you can report problems; the mediation / arbitration while not necessarily effective; in many cases; it is like eBay; where you can leave comments; and hence; by large; the companies listed there are serious businesses looking for deals

The downsides

There are also downsides in using Alibaba for online marketing purposes; however; when comparing pros against the cons; we will still recommend Alibaba as an effective online marketing strategy.

  • Lack of transparency is a problem faced by companies listed on Alibaba as it only lists limited descriptions; however; if they are TrustPass members; then the information available is much more extensive.
  • Language / Communications barrier: This is a common problem; but not only excluded when dealing through Alibaba
  • The biggest concern we have faced using Alibaba is getting responses from fraudulent companies; again; this is also happening through other Social Media Networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn

What kind of companies should look at Alibaba?

Alibaba is especially a useful marketing tool for companies to export into international markets; we will highly recommend this as a tool for you to build up your profile from prospective buyers. We also see this as a particular useful platform to reach distributors / resellers.

Our experience has shown this is a very effective platform especially for consumer goods; probably less so for services oriented businesses.

A Word of Warning:

Although it is a very useful medium Alibaba is also notoriously known to be used by many unsolicited users including the Nigerian Bank style scams. The popular one these days are from Nigeria, Haiti, Angola and Zimbabwe. They often use the same tactics by saying they have a large amount of inheritance and need your help to process them; do not reply to these messages as you will only be wasting your precious time.

Examples:

We have used Alibaba as part of our International Online Marketing Strategy and have achieved some success:

Cosmetics Company

We have taken on several cosmetic companies that are interested in expanding their products into the Greater Chinese markets (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and SE Asia).

Step 1: We started the marketing campaign by uploading their profile on Alibaba. We then asked the company to join TrustPass; as that would give them a better market perception that they are a serious business.

Step 2: We then conducted an extensive database marketing campaign; we had identified potential distributors and resellers through Alibaba; concentrating on companies in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore initially (our client was originally from Australia). We also took advantage of the most popular social media platforms such as Facebook and implemented it into our marketing campaign. We have used the help of third party platforms to make sure our posts got the engagement.

Step 3: To further expand the marketing activities; we then created a separate web page within Alibaba for this particular company. 

Step 4: Article Marketing: You can also do Article Marketing in Alibaba; it is a good way for you to broadcast about your products; unique points about the company.

Step 5 : Register your company in different categories; this will assist you in expanding your profile across different categories; this will assist you in reaching out to more prospective buyers.

Step 6: Write articles in Chinese; we have translated articles for our clients into Chinese and post these articles around Alibaba; and they have been very effective in getting attention from prospective buyers.

Step 7: Banners: You can also upload specific banners on Alibaba to increase your exposure to prospective buyers in Asia and other international markets.

Overall Rating: Very effective but mostly for consumer products