Online and Offline Marketing for Wholesalers
Traditionally wholesalers have demonstrated a reluctance to use online marketing a as a way to connect with new customers, but as the pace at which other industries are taking advantage of online quickens, so wholesalers will find it less viable to ignore the internet entirely. That being said, when a business is coming from a culture where offline has been the most important marketing platform, a balance between both platforms is absolutely crucial to a best practice marketing strategy.
So what mix of mediums can be used to connect with new opportunities?
Building Relationships with Customers
At the heart of a successful wholesale business is an excellent relationship with retailers. In this instance, the parties have a unique business relationship in that they’re very dependent on each other.
It is in both parties’ interests to maintain a long-term, healthy relationship. No retailer wants to have to hunt down a new wholesale distributor on a regular basis and start a new relationship, likewise retaining long-term relationships cuts down on resources spent acquiring new customers for wholesalers.
A bit like brand loyalty in the consumer world, long-term relationships in the wholesale world need to be cultivated. This is why the offline and online approach is so important and can work so well.
Inevitably retailers will start their search for a suitable supplier on Google. They might not find anything suitable, as not that many wholesalers have invested in their online presence, but it’s likely that their search will start there. If you can catch them at this point, before they have to do any further digging around, then you’re in a great position.
Investing in internet marketing then is worth your while. PPC, SEO and some kind of social media campaign can all combine to boost your presence and authority. You should also make sure your website is up to scratch, including a blog which you update reasonably regularly. It might feel like this belongs to the world of retail, but digital marketing has its place in the wholesale sector to.
There are also several online directories which are often used by retailers to find a suitable supplier. Retailers know that wholesalers aren’t very present on the search engines, so will often take a look at online and offline directories to see who is out there after an initial Google search.
Like online directories, print directories are also a valid way to let customers find you. Magazines like The Trader are worth listing in.
Trade shows are more of a staple than internet marketing in the world of wholesale. Obviously they’re a great opportunity to show off your products, but they’re also a good place to have those crucial face-to-face meetings and build relationships.
A business relationship is enhanced by the individual relationships your employees have with your customer employees. Trade shows are a great way for individuals from both sides to meet with each other and talk about business, but also just get to know each other.