“He’s Called Bob!” 10 Easy Ways To Research Your Market And Better Understand Your Buyers! Knowing Your Market How well do you know YOUR market? Even though there are plenty of sources and resources you can go to online for information in this respect, it’s a fact of life that many products are released with little to no prior research at all. It’s no big surprise then that some of them fail to make many sales. The creator is left wondering what went wrong when they “knew” they had a sure fire winning idea behind their product. Does this sound familiar? It’s easy to assume you know what your target market wants. However, unless you do your research first, you’ll never know for sure. That gut feeling you had could be letting you down big time. So let’s ditch the gut feelings and assumptions and discover how you can find out everything you need to know about your market. This is the good news – your market is ready to tell you what it needs and wants. In fact the information is already out there. You just have to know where to look and how to find it. With all that information available at your fingertips, it’s like mining gold! So without further delay, let’s get started. Using Data Mines To Infiltrate Your Market You’ll notice we mentioned ten easy ways to research your market in the title of this report. We’re going to get started now by covering five essential sources of information in this section. 1: Alexa | http://www.Alexa.com Known as the ‘web information company’, it would be a real shame not to take advantage of the huge amount of data they have to share with you. On the home page you’ll see a box where you can type in any keyword or specific website address you want to look for. Let’s say you’re thinking of writing an eBook on low fat cooking. Simply type ‘low fat cooking’ into the search box and hit the search button. The results will reveal the popularity of your search term (i.e. how many people are looking for it), the amount of competition for it in terms of ads, as well as the specific URL results. In other words you’ll find out whether your idea really will be the sure fire success you thought it would be or whether you should move onward, or go back to the drawing board. One of the great things about Alexa is that underneath each URL result you’ll see a series of keywords. You can click on any one of these to reach another page full of information for that search term. This includes search popularity, the competition you’d likely have for it and the competing sites that get the lion’s share of the traffic. Depending on what you see here, you can consider whether your idea is a bust or whether to pursue it further. Alexa alone can be a huge time saver – not to mention an idea generator. 2: Compete | http://www.Compete.com The Compete.com website provides detailed analytics for any website you are interested in researching. Maybe you want to see just how well your competition is doing – you can find out here. You can sign in for a free account and see a month-by-month graph of unique visitors for the websites you want to look into in more depth. Compete.com also provides a competitive rank feature that shows you how the top competitors for your chosen site are ranking in relation to it. You can see too whether the website is up or down on traffic for the month and year respectively. You’d need to sign up to get a more accurate and detailed picture of the information they have available, but if all you need is basic figures on the other competitors in a particular area, you’ll probably find this gives you everything you need. When you use Compete.com in conjunction with the other sources given in this report, you’ll be well ahead of your competition. 3: Google Trends | http://www.Google.com/trends Are you interested in keeping up with the latest trends, hot topics and current events? Google Trends makes it incredibly easy to research your market and get to know WHO your buyers really are and what they are most interested in. Google Trends is a search engine with a difference. If you want to know more about your buyers you can find out what they’re looking for by using this source of info from Google. For example, I looked up the general term gardening to see what popped up. The map shows me which areas of the world are most interested in looking for information about gardening, which in this case are the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. You can limit your search term(s) by using the options at the side of the screen. It defaults to a web search but interestingly you can try a product search too. This could be useful if you’re thinking of launching your own product on this topic (or any other topic that you are interested in). You can also limit your search to a specific country or pick a specific category to look in. This all helps refine your information from a general search to a more specific one. But the bit I love the most, is the related terms section. Here, the word gardening gave me related terms including organic gardening, container gardening, square foot gardening and landscape gardening. Any one of these could be mined for further information. Click on ‘rising’ and you’ll also see the most popular gardening related searches right now, indicating any new and improving areas worth looking into. In short, a couple hours on Google Trends could give you plenty of ideas to meet the needs of your audience. 4: Google Adwords Keyword Tool This free keyword tool is gold when it comes to finding out what your target audience is really interested in. All you need is the basic audience you’re after and you can mine it for as much information as you need. Let’s take a look at an example so you can understand how powerful this is. If we perform a very basic search using the word ‘cooking’ we can see how useful it is to generate more potential ideas. Simply change the match types on the left to indicate an exact search instead of a broad search, and sort your results by Global Monthly Searches. You can then look down the list and see what people are searching for in this area. Among the results are cooking games, chicken recipes, slow cooker recipes and crock-pot recipes. You may not have thought of any of these possibilities without the use of the Google Adwords keyword tool, and yet here you are with a list of topics to consider for your next product. You can also see how many times people are searching for these keywords each month, which is useful when it comes to gauging whether or not there is an audience worth aiming for in your area of the marketplace. It’s an inspiring tool and since it’s free, it should be part of every marketer’s armory. 5: ClickBank | http://www.ClickBank.com Did you ever think of Clickbank.com as a source of market information? Nor do a lot of other people, and yet it’s a superb source of information worth looking into. It’s easy to start using too. You don’t need to be a member to delve into the marketplace here – the link for it is at the top of the site. You’ll see a list of categories on the next page, so you can select the one you’re interested in and go from there. The results given for each category are automatically sorted by popularity, so you can see which ones are selling best in each area. Of course, you wouldn’t copy any of these products – that’s not what this kind of research is all about. No, the idea here is to see what is selling and what other people are making a good deal of commission on. It also tells you what these items are selling for, which in itself is worth knowing if you’re unsure about setting prices for any of your own products. Perhaps more tellingly you can also sort by low to high for popularity, so you can see the products that aren’t selling. There could be many reasons for this but it gives you another source of information that could prevent you from making some costly mistakes. It’s a marketplace fairly packed with data and it’d be a shame not to benefit from it, wouldn’t it? Mining Feedback Gold: How To Create Winning Products For Your Market One easy and very powerful way to find out more about your potential customers is to find out what their opinions are. Sounds difficult, doesn’t it? And yet all the information is right there online for you to access. Once you have a product area in mind, you can delve into feedback given on similar products in that area. Let’s focus on a few sites where you can do this. 6: Amazon | http://www.Amazon.com This is perhaps the best site of all to use. Amazon feedback is easy to access and easy to understand, since it uses a five star rating system. You can read all the reviews for a particular item, or choose to focus on all the five star reviews (or those attributed to any other star rating if you wish). The great thing is lots of people will happily give in depth reviews of all kinds of things. This is akin to having your own test audience to ask questions of. Perhaps more importantly they’ll tell you what the product doesn’t do and doesn’t achieve. They’ll even go so far as to point out what they’d really like – and this is pure gold when it comes to product creation. The trick is to look at several products in the area you are interested in, and think about what they tell you. Looking at one review won’t give you the information you need – although it will help – but looking at plenty of reviews will give you a picture of whether you have an idea this audience will love. Don’t shirk on your research in this situation – there is gold dust liberally sprinkled all over Amazon.com, so make sure you devote the time to finding it and making good use of it. It’s a great tool but you can bet few of your competitors will be using it. 7: Twitter | http://www.Twitter.com If you’re familiar with Twitter, you’ve probably never thought of researching your market on there before. But since there are millions of users on there, you can be sure part of your target market is on there as well. All you have to do is connect with them. The easiest way to do this is to look up search terms related to your market. So for example if you’re thinking of publishing that Kindle book on low fat cooking, try looking up terms related to it. You might have to try a few different keywords to get a good set of results. Try the hashtag as well, so for example you can look up #lowfatcooking and see if anyone else has used the same hashtag. Sometimes you’ll come up empty but other times you could hit on a hashtag that really helps you. Twitter also trumps Amazon in that it’s easy to get into a conversation with people. Instead of simply looking for tweets written by other people, think about writing a few of your own too. What do you need to ask to get the answers you want? By getting into a few conversations, you can gather more information than you would have had otherwise. So you can see Twitter is a two way street. It can help you fill in any gaps you may have in your knowledge about your target market. Monitor your account regularly and look for any hashtags you’ve identified. It’ll help build the picture you want to have. 8: Facebook | http://www.Facebook.com Where would we be without Facebook? The good thing about this social media site is that many big brands are on here updating their own pages. People follow them and interact with the brand – and each other – giving up useful information as they do so. Of course, it’s not just big brands that have lots of information to provide. You can do a search much as you did on Twitter to find the most relevant pages to work from. Perhaps the most powerful thing about Facebook is that different users get into conversations with each other, debating all kinds of things about your area of interest. When you find and observe these conversations, you can learn a lot from them. You may even find your audience is discussing things you hadn’t thought about, expressing problems and issues you may be able to solve with your next product. In fact if you want to use Facebook as a source of new product ideas and areas to explore, you could do a lot worse. Try it now – spend just a half hour exploring the site and finding people and businesses that are related to your area of interest. You might be surprised how much useful information you can get after a half hour. 9: Other Social Media Platforms It’s not just Twitter and Facebook you can explore when it comes to harnessing the power of social media. There are plenty of other sites out there you can look into as well; some more pertinent than others depending on the market you’re interested in. Pinterest, at http://www.Pinterest.com might suit you if you’re into practical solutions, while Google+ has made great strides in recent months and is as good a place as any to find out what people think of a certain topic. There are dozens of other lesser known social media and networking sites around too, so don’t be nervous of looking for ones few people will have heard of. Some of them appeal to a particular demographic, and if you happen to be marketing to that same demographic you might actually get more info from an obscure site than you would from Facebook. It’s not just the number of members that matters – it’s the focus of the site too. 10: Target Appropriate Forums Just as there are many social media sites in the world, so there are plenty of forums too. In fact, this could be one of your most powerful sources of information when exploring a new market to make money from. Forums exist for all kinds of people and subjects. If you are thinking of making a product for dog lovers, you can bet there are plenty of forums out there focusing on this very group of people. Similarly, if you want to write a book on saving and making money, well, you can be sure of finding groups of people wanting to do just that in specific forums as well. A quick Google search using the words ‘forum’ coupled with your particular area of interest will turn up some fruitful results. It’s up to you whether you want to sign in and become a member of these forums or whether you want to lurk from the sidelines, or not. However, it’s often best to become a member – they’re free after all and you can initiate conversations that can get you the information you want. Just be sure you add value to the forum if you do join. It’s not good to tell people you’re creating a product or using them for research purposes. Becoming a regular member of the community will actually get you better results in the end than acting as if your from the outside doing research on it. One final word here – don’t be tempted to join too many forums. It can get difficult keeping up with them all. Find one or two of the top forums with the highest memberships and most active user bases and stick to those. Final Words If you are really intent on making the most of your market research, make sure you use all the above methods to get the best free research you can. If you do this prior to launching any product – particularly if you’re aiming at a brand new market – you can be assured of getting much better results. Before you started reading this report you were probably a little skeptical about whether you could get free information from the Internet in this way. Market research has to cost money, right? Well no, it doesn’t, although it will cost you a little time. All the information you will ever need to help you research your market and create the products that your target audience really wants and needs is out there – all you have to do is tap into it. As we’ve seen, there are a number of ways to do that. We put the data mines section first for a reason. This is where you should always start if you’re literally on step one – finding out which market you want to target and which audience you need to be aiming at. Once you’re armed with that information you can go on to step two, which involves finding out more about that specific market or audience. As you can see, it doesn’t pay to rush things. As time goes on and you try this method a couple times, you’ll come to realize it is an important step in your product creation strategy. Why pay for expensive market research services when there is just no need to? Try it with your next project and see what a difference it will make in both your creativity and in the actual quality of your products. When you know your market, you know exactly how to dominate it!