Don’t Chase New Customers-- Have Them Come to You
What can you do when sales inquiries start to fall? You need to take immediate action to prevent an otherwise inevitable drop in revenue.
You may be tempted to cold call customers or commission some telemarketing to identify potential customers whom you can visit. However, you should resist the temptation. Even telemarketing professionals are having increased difficulty contacting anyone of relevance through cold calling. The chances of finding a new corporate customer, not necessarily even an attractive one on the telephone are disappointingly low. The outcome of B2B telemarketing in Japan is illustrated below.
There is a better way to do this. Online. Where you do not chase the customers, but they come to you.
This does not mean you can just sit back and expect customers to come knocking on your door. You need to guide new customers to your web site and give them a strong motivation to contact you. However, once you have figured out how to do this, you can replicate the process quite easily, increasing the number of paths to your web site and therefore the amount of inquiries that you have coming in and are able to pass onto your sales channels.
Keyword advertising (such as Google Adwords and Yahoo Japan Promotional Ads) can be a very cost-efficient means for a small sales team to capture search traffic. However, the niche-like nature of many B2B products means the amount of related search traffic can be quite small (even more so in markets like Japan where a language other than English is used). Many keywords are also quite expensive to purchase, particularly those mentioning the actual product.
Search traffic from expensive keywords mentioning actual products is of variable quality. Despite the best attempts to filter, there is always a significant amount of unrelated traffic included and a skew towards price sensitivity, as persons in purchasing roles tend to search using keywords mentioning actual products.
The key to generating a continuous stream of traffic to your web site is to aggregate search traffic based on issues of concern to customers. The amount of search traffic generated from each keyword is lower. However, the cost of purchasing keywords is also lower, unrelated traffic is greatly reduced, and persons searching with issue-related keywords tend to be less concerned about price.
Here are some examples of prices for product- and issue-related keywords in Japan.
There is an abundance of issue-related keyword traffic as B2B customers are continually looking for answers to perennial issues such as how to lower the cost of production, how to make something smaller or lighter, how to make something faster or more accurate, etc.
Understanding the difference between product-related and issue-related search behavior will enable you to position yourself in front of the kind of customers you are seeking and to do it on a smaller budget.
Many of your competitors do not make wise use of keywords. This is one area where you can catch up without placing burden on your local sales team. If you are not comfortable working with keyword advertising, you can always consult a bilingual marketing agency in the country concerned.