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Establishing trust with potential buyers in the competitive B2B landscape is no small task. Unlike in ecommerce, where transactions are quick and prices lower, B2B sales cycles are lengthy and high-stakes. In this era, community is paramount as people rely on trusted peers for advice when making crucial business decisions, even as they search and check social media.
To ensure B2B content stands out and garners trust from the target audience, influencers and subject matter experts (SMEs) have a vital role to play, particularly when expanding into multilingual international markets that fall under influencer marketing tips and influencer marketing ideas.
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B2B companies can leverage the reach and reputation of well-known SMEs in local markets to amplify their international content marketing efforts, effectively resonating with diverse audiences.
Through collaborations with SMEs, B2B companies can cultivate a robust community around their brand over time, leading to inbound leads and growth across international markets.
Extensive research plays a significant role in the B2B buying process, as evident from the following points:
The common thread in these points is that B2B buyers seek a trustworthy source to validate the information gathered during their research.
Therefore, partnering with SME influencers is crucial for establishing brand trust, especially for global brands expanding into diverse international markets. Up to 86% of B2B brands have reported success through targeted influencer marketing.
However, selecting the right influencers for specific markets is vital to ensure that content resonates with the local target audience. For example, an expert influencer from New York City would have limited influence when targeting customers in Tokyo, on the other side of the world.
This is because:
If influencers do not share cultural values with the local target audience in the local influencer marketing guide, their recommendations will fail to resonate with that audience.
Now, let’s delve into the process of identifying the ideal SME collaboration to enhance your business’s authority in a new market and explore how to establish a mutually beneficial relationship to encourage their collaboration.
So, how can you effectively pinpoint the right SME partnership to expand your business’s influence in a new market? Furthermore, how can you cultivate a strong rapport that incentivises the SME to collaborate with you?
Let’s now explore the intricacies of this process in detail that are followed by influencer marketing agencies.
The process begins with thorough audience research to determine their preferences. SparkToro, a free tool, can be invaluable for this purpose.
By utilising SparkToro’s search filter, you can identify the trusted sources followed by your target audience. This tool reveals the credible SMEs who are regarded as reliable sources of information by your audience. Curating lists of relevant SMEs for your desired market expansion becomes easier, including both well-known experts and lesser-known yet highly credible SMEs who have an engaged audience.
To illustrate, consider an example of a consulting services and document automation SaaS company aiming to expand into the German market. By setting the filter to “my audience frequently talks about” and entering “document automation” while selecting Germany as the location, SparkToro provides specific insights.
After completing the research and pinpointing the suitable SMEs for collaboration in the local market, the next crucial step is devising an effective approach.
It’s important to remember that an outreach strategy should highlight the value of the partnership while making it effortless for SMEs to see the benefits. Merely requesting their time without offering anything in return is not effective.
One approach is to invite them to participate in a panel discussion centred around a highly relevant topic within their industry and local market. This provides an opportunity for them to share their expertise while adding value to the discussion.
Once you have successfully connected with an SME and convinced them to collaborate, it is essential to nurture and strengthen the working relationship to increase the likelihood of future collaboration opportunities. This is crucial as it can lead to valuable referrals and potential customers.
Maintaining an ongoing relationship with SMEs holds long-term strategic value as it directly impacts high-quality inbound lead generation. Here are effective ways to strengthen these relationships:
With the process of SME collaborations in mind, let’s explore concrete examples of how to integrate them into content marketing efforts.
Below, we will delve into various types of content marketing, highlighting their application on both a global and local scale. This will provide further insights into leveraging SME collaborations effectively that are seen in global influencer marketing tips.
As stated in the previous example, panel discussions are an excellent way to initiate engagement with SME influencers as they involve minimal preparation time for participants.
These discussions, whether conducted live or virtually, offer a valuable platform for industry experts to exchange insights and recommendations with attentive audiences.
Panel discussions serve as a resource that enhances your brand’s authority among your audience, primarily due to the participation of respected SMEs.
Here’s an example of a global live panel discussion that addresses the secrets of successful influencer marketing in 2023 and content creation. This topic holds relevance worldwide as brands across the globe face challenges in this area.
To align this example with your content strategy, it is ideal to invite SMEs from multiple markets, especially those you intend to expand into internationally. This ensures a diverse range of perspectives and insights.
It’s important to note that global in-person events should be treated as annual occasions. Hosting a one-time event that brings together prominent influencers in the industry is a special undertaking and not something to be done regularly, considering the higher resource costs for both you and the participants that are seen in the infleuncer marketing tutorials.
When implementing the concept of a panel discussion at a local level in influencer marketing guidelines, it is beneficial to opt for a smaller scale and preferably conduct it virtually. This provides flexibility to organise recurring panel discussions throughout the year.
To begin, choose a topic that is relevant to the local market and your target audience. For example, as an IT company targeting German businesses, you could host a panel discussion on “How German Companies Can Finance Digital Transformation” (in the German language equivalent).
Utilise your SparkToro account to identify prominent German influencers in the IT industry and extend them an invitation to participate in a special panel discussion focused on scaling digital transformation across Germany.
By hosting a panel discussion featuring local SMEs who are fluent in German, you can provide valuable insights to your target audience in Germany within a localised setting and context.
This allows you to deepen relationships with key influencers guide followed by your target audience and subsequently create localised content that resonates with the local market buyers, guiding them further along their purchasing journey with your brand.
Whitepapers are highly valuable assets in B2B content marketing, particularly when they contain exclusive data and information not found elsewhere.
By leveraging SMEs, you can create whitepapers with unique data by gathering insights from their expertise and knowledge.
SMEs often appreciate being cited in whitepapers as it enhances their brand and credibility with their followers. Being associated with an in-depth report elevates their standing in the industry.
A global approach to this strategy involves selecting a topic with universal appeal. Digital transformation, for instance, is a subject that impacts brands worldwide. Creating a comprehensive whitepaper on this topic becomes globally relevant when it is supported by insights from highly credible SMEs.
An excellent example is the “Data and Digital Transformation: Insights From Shipping Leaders” whitepaper by S&P Global Market Intelligence. It features contributions from six prominent SMEs representing various international markets.
Follow a similar approach in your content strategy by ensuring that the SMEs included in your global content also resonate with your international target markets.
Learn More: Building a Content Marketing Strategy
When adopting a local approach, the key distinction from the global strategy is to focus on analysing and presenting the findings of the whitepaper within the context of a specific region.
In line with the global subject matter, you can create a whitepaper that delves into the ideal digital transformation journey for the shipping industry in a particular local market.
For instance, let’s consider the Port of Los Angeles, which has faced supply chain challenges following the COVID-19 pandemic. Your whitepaper can address the pressing questions that have hindered supply chain businesses in Los Angeles by engaging SMEs with expertise in managing port operations to contribute valuable information.
While the example is presented in English, this concept is applicable across markets that use different languages.
By adopting a more localised approach, you gain specific insights to share in your content, positioning your brand as a thought leader in that specific market. This also enhances your chances of building relationships with key local stakeholders and generating leads and referrals from the target buying audience.
Podcasts have emerged as a rapidly growing medium for B2B content marketing.
Through collaborations with influencers and SMEs on a podcast, you can leverage their expertise while reaching new audiences through engaging audio content that millions of people listen to during their busy routines.
When establishing your podcast, begin by identifying influential global figures and SMEs with a substantial following in your industry.
For instance, if you operate an HR consulting company, collaborating with a senior HR specialist could be valuable.
Select a topic that appeals to both the global audience and the local influencers marketing guide.
For example, you can create a podcast episode on “The Future of Work in a Post-Pandemic World.”
HubSpot’s podcast team, known for their show “Culture Happens,” can serve as inspiration. In one of their episodes, they explore the future of remote work.
Consider reaching out to these presenters and inviting them to participate as guests on your podcast, approaching the topic from a similar yet unique perspective.
Through such collaborations, you can tap into their extensive audience, enhance your brand credibility, and generate new leads and referrals through your podcast.
The localised approach to podcasting entails identifying SMEs who have strong followings in specific markets and are proficient in the language you intend to target.
For example, to localise the podcast mentioned earlier for the French market, you could create an episode on “Streamlining New Employment Regulations Around Remote Work in France” and invite an HR specialist from the French market to share their expertise and experience in managing these changes.
This strategy aids in building a devoted following in concentrated local markets, resulting in an increased influx of inbound leads that contribute to the international growth of your business.
In the competitive realm of B2B, where trust and reputation are crucial, harnessing the expertise and influence of SMEs is a potent strategy.
As you venture into international markets, remember that collaborating with trusted local influencers empowers your content to stand out, resonate, and drive B2B success.
These partnerships with SMEs not only facilitate the creation of valuable and reliable content but also foster a strong community around your brand.
By offering informative and actionable content, you establish yourself as a thought leader and trusted source of knowledge within the B2B industry.
Most importantly, by leveraging the networks of global and local influencers, B2B businesses can generate inbound leads and fuel growth in international markets.