In the world of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, companies that bring to market a medication or medical device to treat a rare disease find themselves looking for very small populations of patients. It could often be 0.1% of the United States population. So where do you start when faced with this proverbial needle-in-a-haystack scenario?
Immediately launching a paid search program has several distinct advantages when targeting a niche audience. Let’s take a look at some pivotal strategies that can yield immediate success and also inform the development of your long-term marketing plan.
Real-Time Market Research
When considering any potential audience, it’s critical to dodge the trap of anecdotal or false reasoning. Shared experience does not always translate into shared consumption habits online. Choose keywords that are relative to your product at launch; however, be prepared for them to change over time.
What makes search an effective channel for gaining market insight is that it is straightforward, yet powerful. My personal favorite tool, the search term/query report (STR), connects the dots from your initial assumptions on keyword targets to the actual phrases your searchers are using. This report is critical to both the short- and long-term success of your campaign.
Navigate the Google AdWords STR
When you begin, you’ll notice a fairly standard keyword report that provides metrics to help gauge performance. But there are a few important distinctions to note about AdWords:
- It gives you the campaign and ad group from where the search term was triggered
- It also provides how the search term was matched
- And the “Added/Excluded” column reveals whether the keyword has been included (as a standard or negative keyword) in your account
From here, you can select individual or groups of keywords and determine how you want to add them to your account. This can vary from specific ad groups with thematic copy to account-wide lists of negative keywords.
Beyond the STR, AdWords also provides a wide range of dimensional data to help you learn more about your audience. In summary, you can review the following range of information about users who engage with your paid search ads:
- Geographical: from country down to zip code
- Demographic: age/gender/household income
- Time: day of week/time of day
- Device: mobile/tablet/desktop
With all of this information at your fingertips daily, you’ll be able to make confident decisions about who your audience is and how to target them. Combine this data with your STR, and targeting your niche audience becomes a clear, objective, data-driven strategy.
Speak the Language
Something else will become clear through developing an understanding of syntax and search behavior using the STR—how best to speak the language of your unique audience. When your keywords evolve, your ad copy and how you’re responding to your audience should follow suit.
To start, consider letting automation do your heavy lifting. Dynamic search ads (DSAs) will take exactly what someone has searched for and embed it within your ad when it is served. Circling back to our launch scenario, this approach can alleviate the pressure of executing what can otherwise be a time-consuming process of developing and testing new ad copy. When launching a new campaign, it’s a good idea to have at least one of these units running.
Next, consider disrupting the market. Search engine results pages are typically dry and predictable. People come here for answers and facts, not noise. Getting familiar with the various phrases and methods that your audience uses while searching can assist in creating a disruptive ad. Consider using those insights to ask a question in your headline that will resonate with your target audience. It’s worth your time to consider testing various methods of disruption has improved our click-through rate by nearly 50% for various small audience targets in paid search.
Inform Your Broader Plan
Knowing who your audience is and how best to communicate with them are essential when developing a long-term marketing plan. Using paid search can give you knowledge and insight and also ignite an increase in traffic to your website.
The learnings you’ve accumulated will now assist in developing other aspects of your digital strategy. On-site content should be updated to reflect key phrases and terminology that resonate with your audience. Multimedia channels and creative development can be grounded in performance data to breed effectiveness. Social outreach and digital platform strategies can be launched with a leg up in targeting. The list goes on and on.
When used to its full potential, the value of paid search is enormous, with little to no opportunity cost. Using these strategies can go a long way to help you find your audience, echo their voice, and put your product on the map.