How to Promote and Grow Your Business Through Online B2b Portals

Published: 19th December 2011
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With the advancement in technology things have changed like never before in the last one decade, for the better of course. Be it online shopping, bills payment, travel and hotel booking, education, business deals, web conferencing, interviews, jobs - anything and everything one can think of is done online through the use of internet. The introduction of broadband connection over dial-up at affordable prices has further helped in increasing the number of internet users in India.

Social networking sites have become a part of our lives. The youth, the old, the not so old, the kids - everyone is there on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter sharing updates and tweets about just anything. These sites are also playing an important role in mobilising the masses, be it the Arab uprising against the rulers or the recent India against corruption campaign of Anna Hazare. The youth, the educated middle class has made the best use of sharing their concerns, raising voices for/ against any issue on the global social media platform.

The use of social networking sites is not only prevalent in cities but also among the people from small towns and villages, where internet is still accessed through dial-ups and electricity supply is not available for most of the day. This clearly shows the impact social networking sites have made on our lives and how deeply internet has penetrated in India.

Well, without further straying from b2b portals - the main topic of the article. I would like the readers' particularly Indian suppliers and Indian manufacturers or the export-import community to know how they can use online b2b portals for promoting their products / services, get global business inquiries from prospective clients and increase their business revenue.

What is a B2B portal?

First, to begin with let me give a very simple definition. A b2b portal is a large website where businesses are listed under different categories and sub-categories. The portal carries information about companies, their product and services along with other details. Users can register their business for free and get business inquiries directly from the interested client.

B2b portals have set a new paradigm and have changed the way businesses are conducted across the globe. They offer new business opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), helps build relationships between companies and provides a platform where small business / manufacturers can showcase their products to the global buyers.

B2b portals offer huge potential to Indian manufacturers and Indian suppliers in exploring new markets from across the globe. The registration on most of the b2b portals like tradeindia.com, alibaba is free. But one thing, I would like to point out here is that a free member is not entitled to all the services that are being offered on the website. The free member gets access to limited number of services offered.

At the same time, I would stress to the exim community and the small business owners to at least get a free listing of their company on any leading b2b portal and after seeing the response and comparing the services offered, they can opt to become a paid member and avail all the valued-added services offered by these b2b portals. These days, I have seen b2b portals like tradeindia.com offering Indian suppliers the option to post ten product photographs for free for global buyers to see and send business inquiries.

Why should a company get listed on a b2b portal?

The main reason that comes to my mind is that these portals are frequently visited by global buyers for their products. Second reason is that these portals have neatly classified all the major industries into several categories and sub-categories and they are well promoted in major search engines like google.com, yahoo.com and bing.com.

Sites like tradeindia.com and alibaba also provides the users with the option to post buy-leads or sell-leads as per their product/business interest. They also offer services like Dial B2b, online chat, tenders, product videos and a host of other value-added services. These sites also ensure maximum product visibility among the global buyers for your products or services.

How to grow your business through a b2b portal?

Before becoming a paid member of any b2b portal, always cross check the credibility of the portal among your business group. Chances are that some of your business partners may have registered on that portal. Find out the response they have got.

Also compare the services offered, price, data provided, membership plans and then decide. Check the presence of portal in major search engines like Google.com. Search (in major search engines) for your business/ product related keywords and find if any of the results are from the portal you are interested in registering with.

If you found the results, good, go and register because global buyers also use search engines to find suppliers of their products. And if the b2b portal you are registering with is found in the results, chances are that you will also get good visibility through search engines.

Apart from above, always ensure that you provide correct contact details, product details / specification, terms and conditions, product availability, sample availability and company profile at the time of registering. Do not mention products that you are not dealing with in your company profile.

Mention your correct nature of business like whether you are a supplier or an exporter, whether you are supplying in international markets or trading only in domestic markets. If you are trader, mention trader, a distributor than distributor and so on. Try to provide authentic details about your business as that matter a lot not only from a buyers' perspective but for the b2b portal as well.

If a buyer finds out that the supplier has provided false information about the business, he will not send any business inquiry and will also make a bad impression about the supplier as well as the b2b portal on which he the supplier is listed.

The main purpose of writing this article is to apprise Indian suppliers on how they can take advantage of online B2b portals to grow their business exponentially at the global level. Your feedback, comments and suggestions about the article are welcomed. You can also share your experiences of using a b2b portal. Till next time, see ya. Take care!

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