Promoting a niche technical product online

I had an interesting conversation today with a client looking for advice on how to promote a very niche product online. Many companies have these sorts of product: the potential customer base is small, and the terminology used to describe it is difficult to pin down.

Here’s what I reckon. Firstly, although many people will find your product through web search, a higher proportion than usual will discover it through word of mouth. A lot of these will note the company name (maybe someone will tell them “so and so make one of those”) and they’ll come looking for the product on your website. So the first thing to ensure is that you have some good, easy to find content written about the product, on a page or section of its own. Don’t leave all the good stuff hidden in a PDF document which would require Sherlock Holmes to find on your site. The trail linking from the home page to the product’s section needs to describe the product very clearly.

Now, of course you can advertise the product through Google AdWords, and you should. There won’t be many searches, so make sure you appear as the top advert, even if does mean bidding £2 or £3 a click. But remember that for rare searches, your advert may not show. Google has a threshold of search volume beneath which it doesn’t show any ads at all, even if you’ve bid to have your ad appear. So it’s down to good old “natural”, or free, search results. With a niche product, there won’t be much competition on the web, so there’s a very good chance you can get right up the top of any relevant searches. But you must have the search terms on your website in the first place.

Brainstorm every way you can possibly think of to describe the product and what it’s used for, and ensure that somehow you’ve got all these terms onto the web page(s) about it. Think up questions which people might ask in searching for a product, and include them (and their answers) as well. People do type questions into Google. If there are only so many ways you can describe the product on one page, and you’ve got more possible search phrases in your mind, write a blog entry or a case study about the product, and use those terms there. Dominating what few Google searches there are for niche products is actually quite easy, but does take some thought.

Discussion

  1. Ben Arnz

    well, here is one to crack.

    What do you do if there is no “common” denomination for your product?

    Other than, of course, going for adwords for every single denomination the product(globally)may have, and ads along the name of every single of your(global)competitors.
    Which is what we do, but it is laborious and not really cheap.

  2. Chris Rand Post author

    Ben: I’d certainly go for every single denomination the product may have – that’s standard for any AdWords campaign. You’re only paying for visits, so it doesn’t cost any more than if everyone used the same term. It’s not like having to advertise in 10 magazines instead of 1.

    As for competitor names, advertising against those is rarely advisable, as your CTR will probably be awful and it’ll drag your Quality Score down to alarming levels. This is something we don’t often do for clients.

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