In the past, distributors didn’t play the online marketing game because selling through a distribution channel meant dealing with other businesses. There is no direct mechanism to consumers in channel selling, so the idea of digital marketing and online purchasing seemed a little out of place.
Things are changing as more and more distributors are seeing the benefit of an online environment. They realize to stay relevant, even B2B businesses have to play the marketing game.
What is Distributor Marketing?
Distributor marketing works much the same way as any marketing platform, but it focuses on the B2B audience. The goal is the same, though:
- To build brand awareness
- To increase product awareness and appeal
- To drive sales
The same rules that apply to B2C marketing are essential for distributors. For example, the first rule of any marketing strategy is to know your audience. With distributor marketing, the audience is retailers or corporate buyers, instead of soccer moms or homeowners. You can follow that same logic with other marketing musts. Consider six tips for making distributor marketing work for your business in 2021.
1. Develop Content The Fits the Device
Online ordering is extremely common these days, even for business. A B2B survey conducted by Google found that 42 percent of buyers used their mobile device while purchasing and to do research.
Creating websites and content that is mobile-friendly is critical, as is doing search engine optimization for mobile searches. At the same time, you want websites and search engine rankings for traditional browsers, too. Cover both areas to make sure the buyer gets the information they need to choose your channel.
2. Develop Content The Fits the Device
It’s not enough to focus on your audience when building distributor marketing campaigns. Audience segmentation can further align the products with the right buyer. Distributors need to educate multiple categories when creating content, such as:
- Channel partners like retailers, agents, and brokers
- Sales employees
- Company employees
- Business-to-business customers
Add to this list the one time only buyers and lifetime customers. By adopting a segmentation strategy for distributor marketing, you ensure the messages get the buyers that need to hear it.
3. Make Product data and information part of the strategy
Distributors should dedicate some of their content marketing efforts to providing information that their buyers can use to answer questions and increase their sales. The more they sell, the more the distributor does, so providing them with resources they can use to solve pain points is an investment worth making. Some resources you can offer as part of the distribution marketing include:
- Product photos that provide unique details and use options
- Dynamic videos on the product with tutorials and demonstrations
- Tools that deal with questions faced by buyers such as FAQs
4. Make Emails One of Your Critical Marketing Channels
One way to divvy up an audience into segments is through effective email marketing campaigns. Email marketing allows for granular batches that target key buyer groups. The right information to the right buyer at just the right time helps build relationships that stick.
5. Make Effective Communication a Priority
Poor communication, especially regarding product updates and changes, is a pet peeve for buyers who work with distributors. Consider setting up a knowledge center or channel portal where buyers can go to find updates and product information.
This is an area where social media can be a practical resource. Smaller distributors can set up social media groups that buyers can go to get information and ask questions directly. If you establish such a group, though, assign its management to one person, so it doesn’t fall by the wayside. Buyers will get frustrated if their questions go unanswered. You can also use this group as part of a segmentation strategy and offer specific deals to that audience.
6. Ask the Buyers What They Need
As a distributor, it’s your job to ensure your buyers have what they need to sell the products you provide. It’s up to you to create information that helps them answer questions and communicate effectively with their audience. The question is, do you know what their key pain points are for 2021?
Chances are you don’t know what they need, so why not just ask them? You could do that personally with phone calls if your list of buyers is manageable enough. Perhaps an end of year survey will provide some insight. Combine the survey with a discount offer to those that answer. What’s important is that you have the data necessary for you to continue to provide your customers with what they need to grow.
ManoByte helps distributors develop and implement marketing strategies that lead to growth. Contact us today to learn more about what we offer distributors looking to go into the new year with an effective marketing strategy.