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I am frequently asked how to find search terms in a specialized industry--the other day I was asked specifically about the Biotech and the Medical Device industries. I think part of the reason this question comes up is that we search experts always use popular examples, such as "digital cameras," to demonstrate keyword research. But what if you sell apnea monitors? Surely a product that specialized needs a different approach, right?
Wrong. I think that marketers without much experience in search marketing have grown accustomed to the idea that some kinds of marketing work for B2C, while B2B marketers need to put other techniques at their disposal. For example, if I was doing a seminar on TV commercials, the question, "How do you use TV ads in a specialized industry?" is a very intelligent question. The questioner recognizes that using a broad approach in a specialized market yields loads of wasted spending with little result to show for it.
But search marketing, happily, is different.
If you're selling digital cameras, you approach keyword research by entering a keyword into a keyword tool, such as Google's keyword tool. Perhaps the keyword you try is "digital cameras" (good thinking).
The tool then shows you lots of variations on that keyword that add extra words to digital cameras. You can pick and choose which ones to focus on based on how close a fit they are for your business and how popular they are. If somewhat popular keywords very closely relate to your business, they make sense to target. But if you sell expensive digital cameras, it makes no sense to target "cheap digital cameras" no matter how popular it might be.
You'd do the same thing in the medical device industry, or any other specialized industry. For example, suppose your medical device company sells apnea monitors. If you type that keyword in Google's keyword tool, you find a list of related keywords, such as "apnea baby monitor" or "apnea infant monitor" or "apnea adult monitor." But you'd also find "sleep apnea monitor" and "home apnea monitor" and many other variations. Depending on what products your company sells, some of these are very close fits, and some are not.
The same approach works in search marketing for mass market as well as specialized businesses because the act of searching is an implicit act of market segmentation. TV shows are broadcast rather indiscriminately--anyone with a TV might be channel surfing to watch the show, Web searches, however, are far more specialized, so those looking for information about a specialized industry are alongside everyone else, but marketers don't need to change their approach to target the right people. The searchers do that for you.
Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, Web personalization, and Web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.
Mike's previous appearances include ClickZ Live, RKG Summit, Ticket Summit, Webdagene, the CiTE conference, and the Forrester Marketing Conference.
Mike also founded and writes for the Biznology newsletter and blog, is the co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc., and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.
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