You’ve got yourself a shiny new B2B ecommerce site? It’s integrated with your accounts package so that you are now saving money and saving time. But that’s just half of the picture. Because you probably already know that by implementing the tools and options your site has come with, you can now use it to actively sell your products and promote your business.
“Of course I know that, Elliot”, I can hear you saying from here. “It’s just a matter of content marketing. Uploading a few great pictures, giving them a load of hype with relevant copy, adding in our key words. And – whoo-py-doo look at me – making sure our Alt Tags are up to date…”
OK, we’re impressed. 10 out of 10 for knowing your content is all important. Plus an extra ½ point for getting in the Alt-Tag comment. However, if you’ve been busy in the B2B arena, it’s possible you’ve missed a few opportunities that our B2C counterparts are getting all excited over. So this article is designed to give you a little more insight into how you can encourage new customers and increase sales.
It’s about push and pull.
Traditional B2B sales are all about the push. Companies have expert sales people, expert copy, trade magazines, advertising and eshot campaigns. They push and push. And they do this because their target markets are well defined. Retailers, distributors and the like. Targets make themselves visible by taking stands at exhibitions, ads in mags, being listed in trade directories.
Also it works. So – let’s keep the push. Change nothing, or very little about this.
Instead, let’s look at the pull.
We believe that this is where you can gain the most traction. And B2C companies have been doing this for years.
The king of pull marketing is a guy called Seth Godin. Watch his TED talk here: TED talk
Short of 15 spare minutes to watch Seth? Then perhaps you can spare a few moments to learn about purple cows?
The purple cow
Imagine you are out walking in the countryside, and you saw cows in the field. Would you go home and talk about the cows in the field? No.
However, if these cows were purple. Bright shades of lilac and mauve…. We bet that you’d be taking photos, videos, telling people about them all over your social media network… you’d be rushing home to tell everyone about them. You simply wouldn’t forget those purple cows and you’d be looking out for them all the time. You would become one of a small tribe of people who know about purple cows. And you’d rave about them.
Mr Godin says: “You know what a purple cow is? It’s remarkable. You know what that is? Something worth making a remark about,” said Godin. “Almost all marketing pain is caused by organizations who don’t have the guts to make something remarkable, instead trying to use money to solve a problem.”
How does this apply to a B2B Marketer?
Tribe marketing, or pull marketing is about your ability to pull people along, to create “tribes” of raving fans. People who want to follow your organisation – not necessarily because they LOVE your product, but because they LOVE your attitude, your rationale, your attention to the environment, or just that you are so darned passionate about your hobbies.
You might think your product is boring and standard, and if that’s how you view it, imagine your customers’ attitude.
So inject life and passion into what you are doing. B2C’ers have known this for years. Tom’s Shoes (buying one pair = buy a pair for a child in need), Southwest Airlines (and their hilarious safety announcements), Social Bite, where a Michelin star chef feeds and employs homeless people, are just a few random examples.
But it’s easy for B2C – how can B2B get passionate or be different?
Granted, it might seem tougher in B2B, but make a start. Review what you can get passionate about. What makes your business stand apart. Ask your staff, ask your customers. Find your own purple cow and apply it to your marketing.
And remember even the B2C’ers had to start somewhere. Amazingly witty airline announcements weren’t easy or corporate. Free shoes aren’t cheap – that was a risky idea. And the Social Bite is a not-for-profit. For all of these, people had to be brave and stand up for what they believe in – but it’s truly paying off. Shares and views for these companies are massive. They get social media viewings that would cost £gazillions. And their message spreads and spreads. Growing their businesses with passionate, brand-loyal customers.
It costs less too
One of the greatest benefits of your bravery will be lowering your costs to market. When you do something you are truly passionate about, and you share that passion – others feel like sharing too. That “viral” thing – people want to share stories about purple cows, they don’t care about standard cattle.
Be the cow
Be the purple cow… or be a pushme pullyou. But whatever you do – get noticed and sell more. Knowing that even with increased sales your admin costs are now sorted thanks to a fully integrated ecommerce site.