What happens if nobody’s looking for you?

Here’s a problem which many of you might have: why bother investing in getting your website to perform well in the search engines, if nobody’s searching for the product in the first place? This might be because you’ve come up with an innovative product or approach which nobody knows exists, and therefore isn’t looking for; or it could be because it’s such a niche product that the tiny number of customers don’t think they’ll find anything through search. Either way, it seems a shame to just give up on search marketing, the most effective form of promotion available today.

What you need to do is to work out what the potential customers are looking for, and to muscle in on that territory. Just invented the world’s first red widget, which nobody thought would ever happen, so nobody’s looking for? Write some articles about boring old blue widgets, get the widget buyers to your site through natural or paid-for search, and then drop the red widget bomb on them.

One of our AdWords clients produces some specialist equipment of interest to surgeons. The problem is, surgeons don’t know these great products are available and few are looking for them. So the smart response has been to brainstorm what surgeons are looking for, and the client came up with “information about professional conferences”. Now – as a user resource – the company has created a page on its website listing forthcoming conferences worldwide, and we can get to work promoting that through AdWords and in the natural search results. Needless to say, nobody’s going to leave that information page unaware of the company’s product range.

There’s a good discussion of this topic in How to Do SEO for Sites and Products with No Search Demand on SEOmoz.

Discussion

  1. Susan C.

    Your opening question:

    “why bother investing in getting your website to perform well in the search engines, if nobody’s searching for the product in the first place?”

    really hits home as I work with entrepreneurs and start-ups in the software applications area. They have developed something cool and potentially lucrative, but no one is searching for it just yet.

    We have tried to create buzz around the idea through social marketing and press releases, but your idea of “coming in through the side door” is very effective. Unfortunately, it is sometimes a hard sell to the inventor of the great new product. Their ego gets in the way as they consider their new widget to be so far above, unrelated, and in a completely new class from all of the existing widgets. Of course, showing them results is the best way to win them over. The defined/limited risk involved in PPC makes it the perfect vehicle for this.

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