Last Tuesday, we spoke about how online niches work and that the placement on the market is most critical for the growth within a niche. Countless online shops are all competing for the attention of the customers and therefore must choose their advertising channels carefully. One of the most important online marketing channels is paid search, which we will be writing about in more detail today.
PPC is the key
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC), in other words the placement of ads on Google or similar search engines, is unlike other online marketing channels, because it’s a “pull channel”. It offers the possibility of reaching a large target group – namely when they’re looking for products and thus are definitely motivated to make a buy. PPC can be especially helpful for niche shops.
With advertisements in search machines, a wide visibility and presence can quickly be established. With every search for a product that you offer, theoretically your ad can appear and generate attention. This is how you can directly reach your exact target group and quickly gain new customers. For this, paid search can usually be quickly implemented. Google uses AdWords and AdWords Express to offer its own advertising platforms for relatively simple and intuitive creation of first-time ads. The more extensive the advertising campaigns are, the more complex the handling is. If internally the necessary knowledge of how to build PPC campaigns is missing, there are countless agencies that offer support.
In addition to the wide range of paid search, the advertising success can be measured immediately and directly with the proper tools. PPC is also always associated with financial expenditures, because you have to pay for every click on your own ad, regardless of if the customer bought something from your shop or not. Through reporting and tracking tools it is ad hoc apparent how profitably you can win customers via this channel. This also enables rapid adjustment to promotional activities, in the case that the desired results do not occur, and unnecessary costs can be eliminated.
PPC advertising is an online marketing channel that delivers fast results and, when well implemented, enables profitable growth. Of course the topic of niche shops always begins with the same question: Should expertise be brought into the company or should an agency be commissioned? The development of your own PPC team during the establishment and build-up of you niche shop is not recommended. Experienced PPC managers are often very expensive, and the costs are rarely in proportion to the profits. At this point it is an advantage to bring the expertise and experience of an agency on board. Good agencies not only maintain PPC campaigns, they also give advice for the expansion of the web shop.
For PPC to be successful in the niche, it’s important to clearly establish the positioning. Those who want to “spice up” their offer with products from other areas run a risk because competition can usually offer a better deal. The goal must be to have the biggest product range within the niche, to offer the customer a wide choice and to switch on as many product ads as possible. When this is the case, you can always think about expanding the choice at a later time. Not only the offer is responsible for the success of the niche shop, but also the use of the advertising budget must be seriously thought through. Especially in niche areas, search terms must be carefully chosen and with the help of negative lists, in other words search terms in which no ad of the shop should appear, kept in check. This helps to make sure that the customers who wind up on the website actually have an interest in purchasing the available products.
If you want to make sure that your advertising budget is being wisely and profitably used, you have to measure the success of a PPC campaign from the start. In addition, you need to decide, based on your own goals, what requirements a tracking solution needs to fulfill. The deciding criteria is usually profit, costs, the quantity of sales, the number of new customers acquired or the customer lifetime value (CLV). Google’s own Conversion Tracking offers a good way to measure certain parameters, but reaches its limits when it comes to, for example, the integration of customer lifetime value or the individual products in the shopping cart. Tracking solutions from third party providers usually offer more measuring functions. Furthermore, the compensation for the agency should be based on predetermined key figures that correspond to the aim of the promotional measures taken.
Cleverly distribute your budget
The implemented advertising should always be controlled while keeping an eye on the costs per click (CPC). For many niche shops, the long tail range (long, specific search terms, for example “adidas football cleats Predator Instinct FG”) has proven itself, particularly with brand specific keywords, since the competition is usually low and therefore the CPC is lower. In addition, customers who are searching for a specific term usually know exactly what they’re looking for and therefore are more likely to spring on a buy. The catch of this though is that the customer finds the matching product by clicking on the ad, without having to click through the entire shop. Therefore, tailored landing pages, among other things, are a crucial factor in the success of the PPC. In addition, a clear and user-friendly search and selection process within the products is just as important as a simple and clearly structured ordering process.
The shop has to offer a structure which allows the following: the linking of products of a specific brand, to a certain product group within a brand or, for example, to products only for women or only for men. Campaigns and ad groups for tailored landing pages and advertising copies must be clearly and carefully structured. Both work to raise the quality of the PPC campaign and to reach a better click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate. In addition to that, better positions are reached with lower CPCs and high-quality campaigns.
Those who sell niche products are also often subject to seasonal requirements. So, for example, a supplier of golfing equipment will have his high seasons in the spring and late summer, while in the winter a weaker performance will have to be reckoned with. In the case of PPCs, this aspect needs to be considered when it comes to the distribution of the budget and determining the click price. In the generally weaker months you can cut costs so that they in turn can be profitably invested in the high season.
Summary: 5 to-dos for niche shops
Despite their risks, niche shops present a good opportunity to find a place in the e-commerce market and to be successful. But for that, some basic criteria needs to be met:
- Specialise your array of products in one niche – in all its width and depth.
- Make sure that your website has simple navigation, an easy ordering process and above all a good search function. Of course the design should be appealing, too.
- Provide specialised, professional customer service that sets you apart from generalists.
- Optimize your website for search engines to meet the best visibility in the search results along with advertising.
- Search engine ads are an extremely vital marketing channel for niche shops, to (quickly) effectively reach and gain new customers.