When you finally decide to take the plunge and enter the world of the internet entrepreneur, you need to decide on a product or service you wish to offer. It is best to start with something you are knowledgeable about as this will make it a lot easier for you. Once you have decided on a product or service you need to determine whether there is any demand in that particular niche or whether it will be a waste of time.
This is one of the most common mistakes newcomers make – they decide on a product that would be of interest to them but do not conduct any market research and then become disillusioned if there is little interest.
It is vital to determine the demand in your particular niche before you start, and, if there is little opportunity, to change course and try something else. There are numerous ways to research your potential niche.
Surveys and polls
This is one of the best ways to conduct your research. Ask your potential customers what THEY want, what influences their buying decisions, and what they may like and/or dislike about the current market options. This way you can tailor your product or service to meet their needs. Two way dialogue is critical with potential customers.
You can post questions and polls on your blog or website or send to your email list. This also encourages customer interaction and will gain their trust so they will be more likely to consider purchasing your product.
Use tools like Survey Monkey or Poll Daddy to conduct your own surveys and polls and act on the results to maximise the earning potential of your niche.
Search engine data can help you determine the demand for specific keywords or phrases pertinent to your niche. Do a search for your product as a potential customer and if that search is very popular it means that there is a healthy market worth pursuing. But it also means that their may be a lot of competition for that particular phrase as competitors optimise their own websites to capture these customers.
Is there any way you can drill down further into a sub-niche which may be more profitable? If so try doing a search for this and if it is still popular but less so than the original search then this means that there is still a healthy market but there is likely to be less competition.
Use Google AdWords. It is a great free keyword research tool specific to Google which is by far the most popular search engine used. Type in your keyword and evaluate the results to target your niche appropriately.
Another great tool is Google Trends. This allows you to investigate keywords and you get a graphical representation of historical data which will show you its popularity over the last several years. It also allows you to see demographic data which shows you the places that are most likely to search for that keyword/phrase.
You could also use Google Insight to investigate search trends by category, seasonality, geographical distribution or properties.
Check out the competition
Take time to investigate the competition and to develop your unique selling proposition to make you stand out from the rest. You can use this information to target your strengths against their weaknesses. The internet has made it very easy to investigate your potential competitors. Look at the product or service they supply, their pricing strategy, and customer service. You could even sign up to any newsletter they supply and use their own strategies against them. Be bold and this could give you the edge that persuades a customer to spend their money with you rather than them.
I hope this has given you a few ideas about researching your niche and how important it is to do this before you produce your product or service. Conduct it thoroughly, target a great niche and milk it dry! Good hunting…