1. Read Magazines – Magazines may be going the way of the Dodo but they still offer a first hand look at what people in a particular niche are interested in. The advertisements are especially telling.
Get into the back of a trade or niche magazine and you’ll find local and national ads targeted at solving particular problems in that niche. Tap into those ads and you’ll usually find quite a few interesting product ideas. You will also learn more about what people need in that niche.
2. Use Amazon.com – Look for products on Amazon.com that have a solid number of reviews. Any book or product that has at least 20 reviews can honestly be said to have thousands of buyers. In fact, estimates put review rates at 1 in 1000 or worse.
Additionally, you can review table of contents in books through the "search in book" tool that Amazon offers. This will allow you learn more about what your target niche is interested in learning about from these books.
3. Use Clickbank.com and Other Affiliate Networks – On affiliate networks you can review the actual products that are selling. If you find a high gravity for a product, review the sales page and record the specific problems that seller outlines for their readers.
If a product sells well in a niche, you can bet that your target customer has those types of problems. Even if you’re not selling the same product, you can learn a lot about what sales strategies work well for these readers.
4. Interview Real Prospects – If you want to know about someone, just go ask them. This is doubly true for Internet marketing. There are a few ways to do this. You can contact people on Facebook or Twitter and ask them questions – a great way to use your social media accounts.
You can also contact people you already know that are interested in a niche. In many cases, you’ll probably know someone who has the problem you’re researching. Ask them where they turn for information, how they research their purchases and what they’d believe on a sales page.
5. Enter the Target Market – Delve into forums, social media groups, and email lists to learn more about the niche. You can troll the forums to learn more about what people are saying (and how they talk) in that niche, or you can actually interact to ask questions.
Subscribe to any online newsletters and trade publications as well to learn as much as you can about these prospective customers.
6. Quantcast and Compete – These sites will provide a bevy of valuable demographic data about niche websites. If you are interested in selling dog training guides, search for DogFancy or PetSmart and see who is on those sites.
This is a very important part of the research process. You want to rule out any niches with high proportions of teens under 18 years of age or with limited spread. A small demographic that doesn’t spend much is not ideal.
7. Checkout Your Competitors – Your competitors are important parts of your research process. You’ll want to learn what type of content they are posting, which keywords they’re using for SEO and what ads they run in PPC.
Also keep in mind there are new emerging markets all the time. It’s worth noting that researching any market in depth before diving in is extremely important. But one thing is for sure, niche marketing – whatever niche you choose – is still a sure fire way to build a profitable online business.
Market research is a fundamental aspect of any good online marketer. If you skip it, you’ll never know what your potential customers actually want out of your sites and products. Want to know why so many people fail in this business? They skip these foundation laying steps.
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