Pay Per Click for Niche Clients

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up a lively, and at times NSFW, question set titled “PPC for Niche Clients.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How do you define a “niche” PPC client and/or industry?

  • One where there’s little precise search volume? Specialty markets, small geos, etc. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • I had a client that sold used nuclear imagers (MRI & CT machines) for doctor’s offices on a budget (I guess) Hows that for niche? – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
  • I define a niche as a business that is either local or a subset of another larger niche. – Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
  • Search volume can be a factor that helps determines how ‘niche’ an industry is. – Justin Freid (@Justin_Freid)
  • Specialized market. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • Every client’s in a niche of some sort, some are just far smaller than others! – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • When the head terms come back with “low search volume." – Christ Kostecki (@chriskos)
  • I determine niche by asking if people are searching for this product. – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • Volume would likely be the main way to define niche. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
  • Niche can also be audience: trying to reach a specific person/demo/geo etc. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • Look at niche from industry perspective but also from CPC and impressions. Sometimes real world niches aren’t so much on PPC. – Ginny Marvin (@GinnyMarvin)
  • When the niche is not a commonly known industry and search volume (awareness) is minimal. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • It’s like watches – if someone sells ONLY used, red watches it makes them a niche. And makes the potential search volume low. – Theresa Zook
  • Niche refers to a specialty market — since when does that imply that it must be small? – Cassie Allinger (@CassieAllinger)
  • niche clients have limited search volume and research material to help with campaign creation. – Harris Neifield (@HarrisNeifield)
  • A niche client is one that benefits from a specific strategy within our ppc efforts. – Logical Media Group (@LogicalMediaGr)
  • Niche is defined as clients who don’t have money to spend on PPC. – Jesse Semchuck
    • I actually disagree. Have a niche client with plenty of money, but traffic is so specific volume isn’t there. – Noah Brooks (@noahbrooks)
  • A true niche campaign is one where you ask yourself if Facebook would be a better option than AdWords. – James Svoboda
  • Niche clients are the ones that don’t have the traffic to support their SEM goals, gotta innovate and expand! – Gil Hong (@ghong_af)
  • If the companies product or service is differentiated in the market with a certain feature or cost it is niche. – Cody Blair (@TheCodyBlair)
  • “Most” people do not know the service exists. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)

Q2: How do you drive PPC traffic for terms that “people don’t search for?"

  • The GDN can help for PPC terms with low search volume. search and content volume sometimes aren’t close to each other. – Harris Neifield
  • If its an issue of branding, then running display image ads on related audiences and keywords. – Gil hong
  • Display for demand generation. Also, look at related terms where your ads will still get clicks and be relevant. – Jeremy Brown
  • Lots of tail terms from keyword research – not just google kw tool, but search query report and ubbersuggest as examples. – Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
  • Bid on “usage” terms or problems/complaint queries. Put the solution in ad copy. Profit! – Aaron Levy
    • Yes, focus on the idea and specify in copy. – Matt Umbro
  • Content/Display advertising. – Theresa Zook
  • Facebook, LinkedIn and Remarketing. – James Svoboda
  • Search reflects demand, if no demand, need to use other channels to start the conversation. – Chris Kostecki
  • We’ve had success with clients “creating” demand in other channels. Start using new terms = new keyword searches. – Melissa Mackey
    • IMO, this is where multi-channel conversion attribution is a godsend in analytics! – Theresa Zook
  • Search patterns are constantly evolving. You should have a strategy to catch terms “people don’t search for” regardless of volume. – Cassie Allinger
  • Broad match modifier has revolutionized the way we build the niche terms “no one searches for." – Emily Las (@emlas)
  • Often with a niche as it is being discussed, other online & offline efforts are required to build awareness/market. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • Be creative. Use content/display, local PPC (KSL in my area), focus on like concepts. RTB has been extremely successful too. – Jesse Semchuck
  • Also test other “related” terms for “related” industries, but have to be very careful. – Mark Kennedy
  • If not able to generate audience/demand, then rethink business. – Chris Kostecki
  • Use are your other tools to help drive traffic. GDN, Remarketing, Social media sites etc. – Cody Blair
  • MBM offers the opportunity to build less of those long tail terms but still catch traffic off the queries. – Emily Las
  • Create demand (and thus search traffic) through branding and other awareness efforts. – Cassie Allinger
  • Seems like a good fit for remarketing audience of visitors to your content on that topic. – Robert Brady
  • Awareness: Social, Content, Display > Remarket > Search > Remarket. – Chris Kostecki*****
  • Create SEO landing website for long tail keywords with remarking pixels on them for your main product. Long term strategy. – Jesse Semchuck
  • Target through social media, GDN or offline to bring in volume. – Laura McDonald (@lauramcdonald0)

Q3: How important is remarketing for “niche” clients? Why or why not?

  • Always important, but critical for niche clients. Need to make every effort to convert anyone who has shown an interest. It’s okay if there are only 100 visitors a month, if you can get 90 of them to convert! – Theresa Zook
  • Can be a great add on to your campaigns. With proper messaging it can really boost performance. – Justin Freid
  • It works, but don’t think it works any better/worse than for big sectors (popular niches – not sure of word to use). – Richard Fergie
  • Extremely important. People have already indicated some interest by visiting your site and should be more qualified. – Jeremy Brown
  • Directly speaking, not very (low vol). But, helpful to use audience behavior to gain insight & find placements. – Aaron Levy
  • If it’s a new or niche market, then the research/sales cycle may be longer. So remarketing keep them thinking about it. – Mark Kennedy
  • If niche site is performing well, remarketing is not important. If conversions are tough remarketing is more important. I dont think it is specific to niches though. Social may be better to hook the lost sales or email. – Chris Kostecki
  •  For some it will be critical. Especially if used in combination with Content Marketing. – James Svoboda
  • Short answer – very important. Don’t lose someone who found you already. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • Very important. Get them in, you have to get them to return. Can remarket for converters or for certain pages. – Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)
  • Essential. Some client sites are visited 6x before purchase. People shop around, if you aren’t remark., you’re losing them. – Jesse Semchuck
  • Great if they’re new to the niche. Build up that brand recognition! – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
  • The less traffic there is, the more important it is to service what you’ve managed to find. – Theresa Zook
  • Extremely. Volume may be low, but insights can be very powerful especially with a very specific niche. – Cassie Allinger
  • With the low website traffic for niche clients remarketing is key getting interested customers back to your site. – Cody Blair
  • Remarketing performs very well for niche clients, but I’ve seen volume disappoint. – Harris Neifield
  • Very! There is the potential to remarket to expand reach so products/services can start to become less ‘niche’. – Laura McDonald
  • Very important. Showing ads to customers that are likely interested in converting can be very effective. – Logical Media Group
  • You could have a PPC account where your only campaign(s) is remarketing. – Matt Umbro
  • Why would remarketing perform better in a niche? I can see why it is more important but not why it should be more powerful. – Richard Fergie
    • Because a niche is likely to have fewer competitors also trying to sell? – Theresa Zook
    • Remarketting works well to hit targeted objectives, works ok generically. – Russel McAthy (@therustybear)
      • i.e good remarketing works well, “bad” or not specifically targeted remarketing doesn’t work so well? – Richard Fergie
    • Great point. I don’t know that it would necessarily perform better. Rather, the insights are more powerful? – Cassie Allinger
    • People in a niche can be mistargeted by generic inapplicable offers tailoring a message w/remarketing is appreciated. – Harris Neifield
    • It’s all about having a goal – understanding how re-marketing can support that goal and targeting the right people. – Russell McAthy
    • I suppose, in a niche, if anyone even hit the site, you vaguely know they’re interested in the niche itself. If a more general site, requires much more time/care to define the same level of distilled ‘audience interest’.  - Dan Barker (@danbarker)
      • Yes, that makes sense. Knowing someone has been on Amazon homepage tells you nothing => big sites have to work harder. – Richard Fergie
  • Wouldn’t a more substantial reminder (social, email) have more mileage in a specific niche industry than a remarketing ad? – Chris Kostecki
    • That depends on how overt you want to be with your follow up. – Julie Bacchini
    • That would depend on the niche & the customers it serves. – Cassie Allinger
    • True but it also can keep your brand top-of-mind on more generic queries. Great for increasing wallet share. – Emily Las
  • Remarketing can be huge for niche advertisers. It can turn non-brand/generic keywords ROI-positive! – Emily Las
  • VERY important! If the niche client is limited in search volume, best use remarketing to make the most of each engaged user. – Gil Hong
  • What about using search remarketing for negatives? Suppress current customers, focus on new ones. – Emily Las

Q4: Talk about your most “niche” client you’ve worked with? What did they provide/sell?

  • Horse Deworming. – Mark Kennedy
  • Ah, NDA’s. Makes this question hard. – Harris Neifield
  • Christmas tree wrapping. – Luke Alley
  • Single Cup Brewing Systems and their respective (licensed) beverages & accessories. – Chris Kostecki
  • Menopause Informational DVD’s for Men. – James Svoboda
  • High end, commercial spa supplies. Not a lot of demand for handmade italian leather spa chairs. – Aaron Levy
  • Argon & Krypton lasers for universities & research facilities. – Robert Brady
  • European Underwear. – Brian Gaspar
  • Nuclear imagers, industrial loading systems in Europe, chicken soup for parents to send to sick kids, what else? – Neil Sorenson
  • Dog breeder of only highly trained, pure bred, Ukrainian imported, German Shepherds to be purchased as police dogs. – Jesse Semchuck
  • Cryogenic pumps. GDN worked very well 4 this client. Produced a lot of cheap but quality leads. – Eric Bryant (@GnosisArts)
  • Religious Supplies. – Brian Gaspar
  • Converting old family movies to digital files was one. – Theresa Zook
  • 2mm to 4mm steel tubing. – Russell McAthy
  • We have some clients that are “Geo niche” specific – we only target areas of a specific city and surrounding towns. – Logical Media Group
  • Vaginal Mesh. – Janine Monico (@JanineSEM)
  • I have one now–a co selling s/w so arcane that I’ve mgd the acct for over a year & I still don’t understand it. – Theresa Zook
  • Baby Safety Equipment (I was in house). Things like stair gates, corner cushions. – Ravi Sodha (@ravisodha)
  • A budget face lift system that involved scotch tape and strings. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • Special car quotes for club members (sam’s club, AAA, credit unions, etc). – Gil Hong
  • Swimming pool covers. Custom garage shelving/organizers. Stairlifts. Niche iOS apps. – Jesse Semchuck
  • Niche market = power plants. Client tested remarketing too, although only 500 clients worldwide. – Chris Gutknecht (@ChrisGutknecht)
  • Stop motion animation kits was one small niche product I worked with. – Jason Manion (@JasonManion)
  • Button-less (velcro) button down shirts for the elderly. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • I just remembered another client who sold, um, “erection rings.” – Neil Sorenson
  • My most niche past PPC clients = luxury resort in asia, high-end baby furniture, champagne/other booze. – Emily Las
  • One more niche client that I learned a TON from. Timeshare Rentals for Military Personnel and their families. – Brian Gaspar
  • My biggest niche client was a high-end luxury Drug rehab center in Malibu California. – Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)

Q5: How can “niche” clients make use of social PPC channels to drive traffic?

  • Social is huge for certain age demographics. Those impressions have value beyond their clicks. – Jeremy Brown
  • Target based on any demo data available & focus your targeting to top performing states/geos. – Aaron Levy
  • Target by demographics like age for velco shirts, and likes for erection rings to tap into your audience. – James Svoboda
  • Niche is often B2B, so I like LinkedIn. I’ve found YouTube video ads to be a good way to educate, running them for a client now. – Harris Neifield
  • Super niche targeting for FB/Twitter etc, & signals for users – i.e. reviews + likes. – Sam Owen
  • Huge. It starts really with social, getting the followers and engagements and then using PPC to direct back to site. – Brian Gaspar
  • Clients often can describe target audience, so use that to target FB/LI ads. – Melissa Mackey
  • In B2B, promoted tweets around specific industry events. You need a good story though. – Chris Gutknecht
  • You can take advantage of the many different targeting options that are available in social PPC & not available in search. – Logical Media Group
  • If your customers self-identify an interest (FB like?) why not do some social PPC. – Robert Brady
  • Social networks congregate those interested in the niche you serve, go get ‘em! – Chris Kostecki
  • One of the main touch points. Easy to tell one talking about stables on FB that show horses need weaves than wait for search. Graph search seems pretty key for this as well. – Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
  • Love using customized lists w/ emails to remarket on Facebook. – Noah Brooks
  • Also, someone likes horses and horse breeding then target that, and fathers for that “southern mesh” product mentioned earlier. – James Svoboda
  • Use FB ads and target audiendes that have liked client’s competitors. – Chris Gutknecht
    • That’s an interesting strategy. And pretty easy to do on FB due to its targeting options. – Eric Bryant
  • You can use social PPC to reach customers in new environment. Increase digital touchpoints. – Emily Las
  • Social PPC’s value is definitely there, but it seems both more limited and more possibility than search PPC, paradoxically. – Eric Bryant
  • Social PPC has different targeting. Good way to reach an audience who don’t know that they want what you’ve got. – Richard Fergie

Q6: In your experience, can “niche” clients have successful PPC campaigns? Why or why not?

  • Yes, if they’re flexible and open to new/different ideas. Have to be creative w/niche PPC. – Melissa Mackey
  • Definitely if expectations are properly set. Often times there are big advantages to being the 1st in a new space. – Jeremy Brown
  • Hate to give a lame answer, but really depends on the client/business. Don’t tell anyone I said this but PPC isn’t for everyone. – Noah Brooks
  • Yes, as long as expectations/goals are set from the get go! – Gil hong
  • All dependent on the client. If the niche client has high priced, low margin items that sell with minimial costs. – Brian Gaspar
  • A thousand times yes! The internet is BIG shame on us if we can’t find where the niche congregates. – Harris Neifield
  • Yes! If investing in search to sustain or grow their biz, they are successful. Even more if you cant find product in every store. – Chris Kostecki
  • Yes, but may not make sense to hire an agency to run it. Fees can trump spend/data and make it unprofitable. – Aaron Levy
  • Yes if you define “success” and expectations properly for the client. – Julie Bacchini
  • Of course niche clients can have successful PPC campaigns, but “success” is different on small scales. – Robert Brady
  • Oh yeah, just as long as the client can deal with low volume! – Elizabeth Marsten
  • Absolutely – may be low volume, but high quality. – Janine Monico
  • We find that cpcs are lower for niche words and we have refined geo targeting. Win, win. – Logical Media Group
  • Agree on B2B. Some clients don’t realize this isn’t retail and there aren’t 50,000 people searching for your product. – Jeremy Brown
  • If people look for it using search engines then yes. Out of examples given I think horse worming = YES. Vaginal mesh = NO. – Richard Fergie
  • Yes, if they’re willing to be patient while the acct manager builds the volume. (Can take a while.) – Theresa Zook
  • Niche clients can have success, it’s just harder. Takes experimenting, creativity. But once you crack the code it can be great. – Jason Manion
  • Yes, (with some exception). May not be volume campaign, but effective form/piece of your overall marketing. – Mark Kennedy
  • Average order value plays a big role. Profitability will be tough w/ low cost niche products. – Sevanko (@sevanko)

Q7: Based upon your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to account managers taking on niche clients?

  • Educate the client. Quality > Quantity. – Mark Kennedy
  • As has been mentioned, set expectations correctly right at the beginning. – Robert Brady
  • Understand and communicate web marketing options beyond search with client. – Chris Kostecki
  • Set expectations and experiment. – Ginny Marvin
  • Get clear short and long term goals and set realistic milestone expectations. – Brian Gaspar
  • Expectations are key. It probably take longer to bring to a point where it’s considered successful. – James Svoboda
  • Set expectations. They don’t act like normal PPC where demand is there on search side. Testing will take a little longer. – Luke Alley
  • Be very CLEAR about goals/expectations/limitations of SEM with the client. SEM is GREAT but its no miracle worker. – Gil Hong
  • Know your clients niche! There will be odd SQ’s & LinkedIn groups to target. If you don’t know the niche in & out it’ll be hard. – Harris Neifield
  • Think outside the box…think about personas, cause you’re going to have to find niches within niches to build volume. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • Learn about the niche. Know what’s going on before you dive in. – Stephanie Cockerl (@nextSteph)
  • Enjoy it. You’ll learn so much about all sorts of weird things. – Richard Fergie
  • Really try to get into the mind of the searcher. Where are they in the buying cycle, what are they trying to accomplish, etc. #1 be patient and make sure you have significant volume to base your decisions on. Don’t be too quick to stop trying things. - Noah Brooks
  • Focus! Don’t try to test too much, you’ll likely spread data too thin. Focus on tests with the most impact. – Aaron Levy
  • If there isn’t direct search volume, decide if the potential volume elsewhere justifies the effort to find those customers. – Jason Manion
  • It also takes more time for Account Managers to understand the little nuances of a Niche campaign. – James Svoboda
  • Do it for the experience and growth but realize it will take a lot of time and may not be as profitable. – Bryant Garvin
  • Expectations by far. Often niche requires more experimentation and also time to build up volume. – Jeremy Brown
  • Initial data gathering is important towards determining actionable next steps. Take what it gives you and respond accordingly. – Brian Gaspar
  • Get a sense of their vision of “success” right away so you can meet their actual goals or help them adjust it! – Julie Bacchini
  • Also get your hands on everything else they’re doing – how can SEM tie-in with their other efforts? – Ginny Marvin
  • It’s just PPC. The same as you do for a big account. Except more creative and less boring grunt work. – Richard Fergie
  • Also, like others are saying, learn the niche well. Think like your niche: guides where you find them and messaging. - Jason Manion

Resources

More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.

Participants

Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
• Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)
• Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
• Cassie Allinger (@CassieAllinger)
• Chris Gutknecht (@ChrisGutknecht)
• Christ Kostecki (@chriskos)
• Cody Blair (@TheCodyBlair)
• Dan Barker (@danbarker)
• Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
• Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
• Emily Las (@emlas)
• Eric Bryant (@GnosisArts)
• Gil Hong (@ghong_af)
• Ginny Marvin (@GinnyMarvin)
• Harris Neifield (@HarrisNeifield)
• Janine Monico (@JanineSEM)
• Jason Manion (@JasonManion)
• Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
• Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Justin Freid (@Justin_Freid)
• Laura McDonald (@lauramcdonald0)
• Logical Media Group (@LogicalMediaGr)
• Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
• Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
• Noah Brooks (@noahbrooks)
• Ravi Sodha (@ravisodha)
• Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Russel McAthy (@therustybear)
• Sevanko (@sevanko)
• Stephanie Cockerl (@nextSteph)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
 

Talk About Niche – Google ‘Streamcaps’!

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking SEM Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, SEO Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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