8 Effective Wholesale Marketing Strategies to Attract New Customers
Marketing strategy is an important tool for wholesale distributors. It could mean the difference between prolonged success and orders drying up over time.
Wholesale marketing is not something that should only be invested in when you’re just starting out either.
You should always be thinking of new ways to attract new customers, as well as keeping the ones you already have.
As our previous blog post showed, the future of wholesaling is looking increasingly digital so it’s worth combining more modern marketing techniques such as social media and online ads. with tried and tested methods such as cold calling and emailing.
We’ll take you through 8 wholesale marketing ideas and provide you with top tips to ensure you are using them as an effective way to reach new customers!
Wholesale Marketing Ideas: How to Advertise Your Wholesale Business
- Cold calling
Sometimes when it comes to wholesale marketing, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it old-school .
And there are few marketing tactics more old school than cold calling – which involves making a list of potential contacts and phoning them up “cold” in order to introduce yourself and your company.
Understandably, selling your wholesale product to a stranger on the phone could seem like a daunting prospect and there’s definitely an art to getting it right.
After all, people can feel caught off guard when hit with an advertising pitch unexpectedly – and don’t always respond favourably.
However, according to a study by Sales Acceleration Company XANT, cold calling still works.
With a conversion rate of 6.3% it’s well worth considering as part of your wholesale marketing strategy.
Cold Calling: Top Tips
Do your research!
Make a list of businesses to reach out to that you think would be genuinely interested in your wholesale products.
You’re less likely to be dismissed if you are offering something that could be of genuine use to them.
Make your calls in the morning.
Most people are more receptive in the morning and you will probably find you’re more on the ball with your sales patter than you would be later in the day.
Talking points, not scripts
Although it might seem tempting to write down everything you have to say before you pick up the phone, people tend to spot a pre-scripted sales pitch a mile off.
Let the conversation develop naturally, but do have a few key points jotted down to keep you focussed on the task in hand.
- Industry Directories
Industry directories are a great way of getting found by the right customers.
As your company will be categorized within the directory, your listing will only be visited by retailers seeking a wholesale product like yours – which is half the battle when it comes to securing an order.
Wholesale directories such as ours at the Wholesaler UK are also easily found by Google and are relatively inexpensive to advertise in (a yearly listing with us in three categories costs less than 1 square metre of space at most trade shows!) so it’s an effective and economic way to market your wholesale supplier.
Industry Directories: Top Tips
Size isn’t everything
There are some huge directories out there which work with wholesale suppliers across the globe.
The downside of the bigger directories is that your product listing could get lost amongst the competition – especially if you’re a smaller wholesaler or just starting out.
For this reason, consider advertising in a smaller directory which better understands your company.
Here at the Wholesaler UK we verify all our wholesalers and only list your product once we have discussed your business with you first in order to place you in the strongest possible position within our directory.
Communication is Key
If you’re investing in a directory listing as part of your wholesale marketing strategy, make sure it is regularly updated with the latest information about your company.
To do this, it’s important you can communicate any changes quickly and efficiently to the directory in question.
Before signing up with a directory, make sure that you are easily able to contact staff in case you need to submit new product photos, update contact details, add extra categories or edit text.
It’s vital that they are able to respond quickly to your request and keep your listings up to date.
Perhaps you’ve never tried advertising in a directory before and want to check if it’s the right marketing strategy for your wholesale business.
Look for directories who offer incentives such as trial periods so that you can test the water before committing to a long term listing.
Also, make sure to check that your listings won’t just be rolled over and re-invoiced once they expire. You want to make sure you are always in control of any marketing strategy you employ
- Cold emailing
Cold emailing is much the same as cold calling in that you have had no previous contact with the company and are getting in touch because you think your product might interest them.
However, it can seem a more attractive option than picking up the phone and introducing yourself to a stranger!
Another advantage of cold emailing is that you can spend time crafting the perfect introductory email.
Your recipient will also have more opportunity to think about their response than if you corner them on the phone.
The downside is that your email might not even reach its intended reader. It may instantly be diverted to their spam folder or they might delete it before reading.
You can avoid this by making sure you only ever send marketing emails to people already on your mailing list. This means they have previously “opted in” and given you permission to contact them with marketing campaigns.
Never contact a potential customer with advertising emails if they have not given permission. Not only could it damage your business reputation but it could also land you in hot water as a GDPR violation – which comes with a hefty fine.
Want to know more about how to build a successful mailing list? Find out here.
Cold Emailing: Top Tips
Make sure your subject line is eye catching
This will tempt people to open the email. However, refrain from making it in any way deceptive – people will be annoyed if they open an email which has nothing to do with its title.
Always aim to personalise the email
Where possible find out the name and job title of the person in the company you are contacting and mention what it is about their business that inspired you to reach out.
After all – nobody is immune to a bit of flattery!
Keep it Brief
Your email should aim to be short and to the point. Nobody likes a waffler!
Send a friendly follow up email about a week later if you don’t hear back. After that, though, it’s worth taking the hint and desisting from further contact.
Although persistence can sometimes pay, you don’t want to make a name for yourself as a pest!
- Sending samples
Sending samples to prospective customers is a great way of making your wholesale product stand out from the crowd.
Being able to see and touch your product will often tempt customers to place an order, so it’s well worth considering as a marketing strategy.
Along with your sample, make sure you include information about your company and the sample itself, details of any other products you offer plus an invitation for them to register as a wholesale customer with you.
Sending Samples: Top Tips
Do your homework
Sending samples to random companies is a waste of time and energy, not to mention money!
You can avoid this by ensuring you have carefully researched the businesses you intend to send samples to in order ensure your product is something they could be interested in.
Sending a sample is a great way to make first contact – it means you have the perfect excuse to call for feedback and hopefully secure a product order!
Make sure you send your parcel via recorded delivery so you can keep track of when the company has received your sample, and plan your follow up call accordingly!
- Trade Shows
Every year UK trade shows are visited by thousands of retailers with the specific aim of finding new stock for their business – making them great places for wholesalers to advertise their products.
You can choose to rent an exhibition stand under your company name – which gives you the added advantage of being able to display your wholesale product – or attend as a visitor and network with other attendees.
Renting a stand at a trade show will cost anything between £1500 – £6000, so it’s not the cheapest wholesale marketing strategy option but well worth considering if you want to connect with potential contacts from within your sector.
Trade Shows: Top Tips
Stand out from the crowd
People visiting trade shows will browse hundreds of stalls a day, so make sure they remember yours!
Invest in merchandise such as colourful banners and leaflets. These don’t have to cost the earth – you can even design them yourselves by using a free tool such as Canva.
Also consider offering product samples on your stand to ensure potential customers have something to remember you by.
Build up your contact list
Make sure you have an email sign-up list on your stand and encourage visitors to use it. This means you can target them with email marketing at a later date.
Avoid making the mistake of sitting at your stand and waiting for people to come to you – get out there and network!
Do the rounds and chat to people and don’t forget to always keep a business card to hand to swap with interesting contacts.
Don’t leave a trade show with a bunch of business cards in your pocket that you never follow up on.
A few days after the show, make sure to email everybody you met telling them how good it was to meet them and reminding them of your product.
It’s always a good idea to strike when the iron’s hot to secure future business!
- Social Media
Social media is an effective tool for growing your business and should definitely form a part of your wholesale marketing strategy.
Using your website as a launching pad, you can develop your own voice as a company online and use it to attract potential customers to your product.
As we move into an increasingly digital age, it is vital for your company to have an online presence – even if you consider yourself a technophobe!
If you already have various social media platforms set up for your wholesale company but are at a loss with how to use them, use this article on effective ways to market your business on social media as a starting point.
Social Media: Top Tips
Use the Right Platforms
Not all social media platforms will be right for your business niche, so it’s well worth identifying the ones that work for you to avoid wasting time.
Broadly speaking, the best social media tools for wholesale distributors are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin.
However, managing social media accounts correctly is time consuming – so instead of signing up for all four, carefully select two and concentrate on making them an effective wholesale marketing tool for your business.
Consistency is key when it comes to using Social Media as an advertising strategy for your wholesale distributors.
You want to strike the balance between posting regularly enough to engage with your followers and overloading them with content.
Post too little and people will forget about your company. Post too often and they will become annoyed by you and hit the “unfollow” button.
Each platform follows different rules when it comes to posting. As a rough guideline, aim to post at least 3-4 times a week on Facebook, 2 times a week on Instagram, every day on Twitter and every other week on LinkedIn.
If that seems overwhelming, remember you can use scheduling platforms such as Hootsuite to line your social media posts up in advance.
Target the Right Audience
You can spend as much time as you want creating engaging social media posts – if they’re not getting seen by the right people, it’s all time wasted!
Make sure you research your desired audience before you start building your presence on social media.
Think about who your ideal customer is and what they are interested in – for example “independent retailers” or “e-commerce”- and search for private groups on social media platforms.
Hashtags are also a good way to find your target customer. Try typing one into the search console in Twitter – for example #wholesale or #retail- and have a look at the pages and conversations that come up.
This will help you to know what your audiences are interested in and develop your content accordingly.
Vary What You Post
It might be tempting to use your social media platform solely as a way of driving sales, but this could actually cause you to lose potential customers in the long run.
Research suggests that internet users resent having the hard sell put on them constantly and it will often cause them to unfollow a particular company if it persists.
With this mind, break up your marketing content – such as product promotion, discounts and wholesale offers – with interesting articles and tidbits of industry news.
You want to establish yourself as a knowledgeable and reliable source who has authority in the sector, not just a pushy salesman!
- Google Ads and Pay Per Click Ads
If you’ve ever noticed the adverts that appear at the top of the page when you conduct a search on Google, then you’re already familiar with Pay Per Click Ads.
Pay Per Click advertising – or PPC – is a marketing technique where businesses pay each time someone clicks on their online advert.
PPC can be used across a variety of platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin, but the most popular option tends to be the Google Adwords paid search ad function.
This enables your ad to be displayed on the results pages of users conducting commercial searches – i.e. looking for something to buy.
If done correctly it can prove a successful way of marketing your wholesale business, but do you research first to ensure maximum effectiveness – or it can – and does – get expensive!
You can find out more about how to use Google Ad Words and set the right budget for your company’s campaign here
PPC – Top Tips
Keywords are Key
PPC ads work as part of an Ad Auction selection process. As the name suggests, this means only the highest bidder’s advert gets displayed on a search page.
This keeps things fair as the most successful advertisers are not necessarily the ones with the most budget, nor is it possible to pay more money to ensure your advert gets a more prominent position.
Instead, ads are selected depending on their use of keywords – these are buzzwords or phrases which enable your company to get found online by search engines.
Think of words like “wholesale products” and “wholesale suppliers” for example when considering what a retailer looking for stock might type into Google or Bing.
When they hit “enter”, the search engine performs a complex equation based on algorithms in order to establish which is the most appropriate result for their search, and in what order to display them.
As you have to pay every time your ad gets clicked on, it’s important you are only targeting keywords that are relevant to your wholesale business or products.
- Industry Publication Ads
Business owners often consult B2B publications to source products and services, so you might want to consider hard copy advertising as a way of reaching them.
As well as printed publications such as Craft Focus, there are also a great deal of online industry magazines such as Better Wholesaling and Retail Gazette which offer advertising options such as banner images on their websites.
You can also opt for a personalised newsletter advertising your company to be sent out to their mailing list.
This type of marketing is often not the cheapest but getting your wholesale product directly within the eyeline of potential customers is an effective way of boosting your profile.
To start off, consider placing an ad in at least one publication for a limited time – say one month – to see if it yields results.
Industry Publication Ads – Top Tips
Choose the Right Publication
It might sound obvious, but it’s imperative that your ad is in the right publication if you want to secure those orders.
Again, consider your target customer: what type of magazine or industry paper would they gravitate towards?
Get Googling to find the answers and then reach out to several of the publications to ask about advertising options and prices.
Use your first contact to request more information on their readership and circulation figures, too, to ensure you make an informed decision on the best publication to advertise in.
Spend Time on Your Ad
You want your advert to get noticed should you choose to invest in hard copy advertising, otherwise it’s a waste of time and money.
Invest time in designing the perfect ad – you want it to be eye catching and informative but avoid overloading it with too many images or text.
Make sure your company details are clearly displayed so it’s easy for potential customers to contact you if they wish to request further information.
If you’re the artistic type, you can design your ad yourself using a programme such as Canva or Crello, or consider employing a graphic designer if you’d prefer to have the job done by a professional.
There are a variety of strategies you can employ to effectively market your wholesale suppliers.
And while you may not have the time or resources to devote to all of the above wholesale marketing ideas, it’s well worth adopting at least a couple to promote your business.
Remember – strategy is everything when it comes to advertising – there should be a method behind all your routes to market in order to maximize effectiveness.
Devote time at the start of each year to drawing up a detailed marketing plan. This will guide you through the months and give a clear focus to all your advertising campaigns.
Also, when possible make it a habit to ask new customers where they heard about your business. This will enable you to identify which marketing strategies are working for you and invest in them further.
And remember, it’s unlikely that marketing will yield effective results if you haven’t already identified your target customers.
Check out this blog for ideas on how to find the right retail buyers for your business and get started promoting your wholesale products!
Good luck and happy wholesaling!
Looking for new ways to attract customers to your wholesale business? Look no further! Here at the Wholesaler UK, we have over 20 years experience introducing verified UK wholesale suppliers to the right buyers. Find out how you can effectively market your wholesale business with us by getting in touch today!