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B2B marketplaces and directories
Online marketplaces and directories are a great way of opening up new markets and business opportunities, even in regions where a company has no previous business activities. They offer a cost efficient way to create a consistent online presence, increase exposure and reach while generating solid trade leads. Increasingly, they also gain importance in facilitating the actual transactions with many providers offering one-stop solutions that include everything from online marketing to order fulfillment. Nevertheless, many traders feel insecure on these fairly anonymous platforms and are afraid of falling victim to deceptive transactions or scam. Blogs and online forums bristle with unsatisfied users who elaborate on their unfortunate dealings on these websites. As with any other business these risks will continue to prevail but by following a few simple guidelines you can significantly improve your impact on these platforms while drastically reducing the likelihood of mutual misunderstanding and preventing to be defrauded.
B2B marketplaces and directories
As mentioned before, customers in the B2B segment try to compare features and prices in the later stage of a product research. The past showed that directories and marketplaces proved their concept on local B2C companies. Customers find shops easily online, see products, location and partly evaluations of the company or that specific store. It´s already been said that B2B habits follow B2C habits (product search, marketing trends…) with an uncertain time gap. Therefore, it is expected and partly already visible that directories and marketplaces become more important in the mean of competitiveness. It also has plenty of advantages as shown below.
Inbound marketing with B2B marketplaces
Directories and marketplaces share most advantages with inbound marketing. Inbound marketing helps customers to find a specific company online. It is unlike cold calling or direct mail a more understated way to get found via allocation of content. Inbound marketing is a great way to get leads and still has a big upside potential especially in the B2B sector where companies still can be first movers. A company´s online visibility grows and 54% more leads are delivered into the marketing funnel compared to outbound marketing.1 More over inbound marketing is still a cost efficient way compared to other outbound marketing methods. Finally for outbound marketing your prospect address has to be up to date while using inbound marketing the customers find you and therefore no data is needed in advance.
Relevant and qualified lead generation
Lead generation is the biggest challenge for B2B marketers. Unlike outbound marketing where you push company ads to people that might not be interested, B2B buyers are looking for products and services they want to buy on directories and marketplaces. That logically saves a step in the lead qualifying process. These buyers leave inquiries and the seller just has to provide further information and close the deal.
Directories and marketplaces offer a spam and fraud filtering service which filters incoming inquiries for each company. Due to their long experience they know which senders and other parameters are probable for fraud. Some directories only allow registered buyers, so that it is even more unlike to receive spam (see also KYTO’s white paper “Engaging in online marketplaces – a few simple guidelines for doing business online in a safe and secure manner”).
Positive side effects
Besides the focused advantages that have been already mentioned, there are some helpful side effects:
Most directories and marketplaces have integrated SEO effects, which improve a company´s visibility in search engines
Entering new or foreign markets through directories and marketplaces has low risk and is at low cost
Directories also forward traffic to a company´s website, because customers can find the website address in the listing
Find out more about the opportunities online directories and market places can offer your B2B business in our section on B2B platforms.
*2013 State of Inbound Marketing, Hubspot, 2013. Available at: http://offers.hubspot.com/2013-state-of-inbound-marketing
For more information please read our white paper Engaging in online marketplaces