I recently started working with a client I’d describe as fairly niche. They work in a relatively small area, offering a particular service for customers who use a particular IT brand. Search volumes are low and so is traffic.

They’re really happy with the quality of the traffic they’re seeing and are full of praise for the uptake in great leads. But inevitably, they want more. So how can you deliver more when the traffic isn’t there?

(Hat tip to all participants in the recent #ppcchat discussion on PPC for niche clients for some of the ideas in here.)

1. Set Realistic Expectations

This step is always important, but when you’re dealing with a specialised niche you need to be particularly clear on what you can achieve. Strategies must be discussed with clients/your boss – if you want to take a risk, have you explained both the potential pitfalls and rewards?

2. Broaden Your Horizons

If you need more traffic, you will almost certainly need to look beyond keywords tightly focussed on what you do, e.g. if you only sell a specific brand, can you bid on non-brand product keywords to capture more interested searchers?

Or if location is (part of) the issue, maybe you can test targeting a slightly wider area. If you offer a niche service, people may be willing to go the extra mile (as it were) for what they need.

3. Focus on the Problem

So people aren’t searching for the product, but are they looking for ways to solve a problem? If you offer the solution to a problem (which virtually every product should do), bid on these question keywords.

By focussing on the idea behind what you do, you may tap into a whole host of potential customers who had no idea you were out there.

4. Make Every Visit Count

If you’ve got limited traffic, remarketing is a no-brainer, particularly if every potential client is highly lucrative. It builds on all of your other marketing efforts and helps to reinforce your brand.

Just remember not to be creepy about it, ok?

5. When Search Isn’t The Answer

If your customers don’t hang out at the mall, you wouldn’t go there to try to sell your wares; your online market shouldn’t be any different. Maybe your potential customers aren’t using search to find you, so where are they hanging out?

Use keywords and placements to target sites relevant to your niche, or use demographics to hit up your target market. Test messages that build brand awareness or encourage that all-important click.

6. Think Beyond AdWords

A lot of the tactics I describe are heavily associated with (but not exclusive to) Google AdWords, but that’s only one player in the PPC market. As you might use the Display Network to move beyond search, so should you look into whether there are other platforms that could deliver results.

While Bing Ads has a smaller market share than AdWords, this could be another source of traffic. Or move away from search altogether and try out Facebook and LinkedIn PPC offerings.

7. It’s Not All About PPC

Yes, I know, I’m meant to help you drive more PPC traffic. Ultimately, though, if there is no demand for your offering, you’re doomed to fail unless you can get resourceful on other channels.

As Chris Kostecki said on Twitter:

Chris Kostecki tweet

Look at how you can use both on and offline marketing techniques to generate interest:

– Smart marketers may consider using a search call-to-action as a way to boost search traffic.

– Work on PR strategies to raise brand awareness that can be capitalised on with a branded PPC campaign.

– Use social media to get people talking about your brand.

Ultimately when you’re operating in a small niche it can be tough, but if you use your creativity there’s nothing you can’t sell, whether it’s dog weight loss pills or high-end commercial spa supplies.

– Katie Saxon

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Katie Walton is Head of PPC at Boom Online Marketing. She works with all major PPC platforms, loves Excel and never met a cake she didn’t like. When she’s not at work you’ll find her walking her miniature schnauzer.