With a rise in expendable income and living standards, traveling abroad is no longer a luxury for Chinese citizens. Their spending habits and preference for high-quality products and luxury class brands has by no means gone unnoticed, and as such, Chinese e-payment methods have become more widespread across the globe. According to the latest statistics from the China Tourism Academy, Chinese tourists made 140 million outbound trips in 2018, up 13.5 percent on the previous year. And with only around 7 percent of Chinese nationals owning a passport, this figure is set to grow as traveling abroad becomes a norm.
Facing a significant number of Chinese customers, even though western brands outside of China are aware of WeChat, they do not really know that they can do a lot more to serve them beyond accepting WeChat Pay. In this article, we will explore WeChat and its different features which can be used as valuable tools for engaging Chinese tourists with a brand.
1. Traditional forms of advertising
Once closed to advertising, WeChat has opened up significantly as a platform for brands to market to their users. WeChat is host to a variety of marketing methods. There are three main traditional forms of advertising on WeChat, they are:
- WeChat Moments – the most popular method of promotion for brands, adverts pop up on users’ ‘timelines’. It is also possible to launch campaigns that incentivize users to share adverts or promotional material onto their Moments.
- Banner adverts – these adverts appear at the bottom of messages posted by WeChat accounts.
- Cross-platform advertising – adverts that appear on other platforms within the Tencent ecosystem.
WeChat allows advertisers to choose where users are redirected to if they interact with any of their adverts, such as a dedicated landing page, an Official Account, a Mini Program, or even a WeChat store where they can purchase products or services.
2. WeChat Official Account
A brand’s Official Account is a key platform to publish media and push marketing content. An Official Account is a WeChat user’s first port of call if they are interested in a brand, and users’ voluntary subscription eliminates the need to identify priority audiences. Furthermore, incentivizing subscription by launching promotional campaigns and exclusive offers helps attract followers.
3. WeChat Mini Program
Mini Programs are sub-applications that operate within WeChat and serve as a tool to provide services without the user leaving the WeChat application. From a marketing perspective, Mini Programs are another platform in which to advertise. Because of their convenience, mini programs see a lot of traffic and can host Banner Ads, Mini-Game Ads, and Pop-up Ads.
4. KOL marketing
Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), otherwise known as ‘influencers’, are also an effective means to advertise to WeChat followers, The way in which they advertise a brand can vary depending on the collaboration agreement, from publishing a whole article about a product or service, a ‘mention’, or a banner advert at the end of a piece of content. Having a KOL praise the quality of a product or service is an effective way to bolster a brand’s e-reputation as they can tap into a greater audience and afford a brand wider exposure, often causing brands to go viral.
5. Tencent location database
The Tencent location database identifies points of interest in commercial areas by collecting information about users’ usual whereabouts. With this information, marketers can pinpoint key interest areas and find out which areas users have visited within the last month. This service has extended to an overseas location and identifies its position by login location. This allows brands to push adverts or offers to potential customers when they are near a physical store location, leveraging a brand’s offline presence and generating more traffic in a brand’s store outside of China. Other background information such as gender, age group and social behavior can be used to tailor advertising campaigns to them.
6. WeChat Pay
WeChat’s Payment system WeChat Pay is also a good way to create brand awareness and provides users with a quick, easy and safe payment method. WeChat pay is more prolific abroad and rivals Alipay as a certified online payment service. As such it is a valuable tool to incentivize Chinese tourists to spend with a brand abroad.
7. Wi-Fi spots
Wi-Fi spots are a key interest for Chinese tourists and can be leveraged as a valuable opportunity to push a marketing campaign. Often regarded as a basic service, free Wi-Fi will be a crucial interaction point for tourists.
Presenting all aspects of WeChat across the entire travel journey
A carefully planned marketing campaign can prove highly effective with the right methods and timing using WeChat’s wide variety of features and platforms. With creativity and a strategic plan, brands can tailor their advertisement to Chinese outbound tourists so that they are serviced at every step of their travel experience. From original marketing content to KOLs, tourists can be inspired to travel to certain destinations because shopping experiences can be prepared for their departures. Their accommodation, transport, shopping and other activities can also be catered by brands while being abroad. Ultimately, thanks to the feature of WeChat Moments, Chinese tourists are highly accustomed to sharing their experiences with friends and family back home.
Splio is a New Loyalty Marketing Platform that combines WeChat Loyalty and Marketing Automation, to enable marketers to acquire, activate, engage and retain customers with personalized communications on all channels, driving loyalty and revenue for brands.
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