by Susan Fuller
Have you ever created a product that didn't sell?
If you're like most of the coaches I know, the answer is probably yes. I know I have, and I know it can feel like you're throwing mud up against a wall just waiting for a bit to stick.
That's no way to be successful in the competitive online environment we have today. The days of putting up a website, buying some cheap pay-per-click ads and raking in the money are long gone...and they're not coming back.
The Internet is loaded with information and millions of other businesses trying to grab the attention of your potential clients. In fact, did you know that an astounding 42% of web traffic goes to the site in position #1? I'm not sharing that to discourage you but to enlighten you to how vitally important it is to get your website onto page one of the Google SERPs (search engine results page).
So how can you insure that you get there? You can't, but you can improve your chances by having good online market research in hand before starting any new project.
So what does online market research really tell you? Good research will give you crucial information about keywords, competition and commercial value.
1. What keywords are people searching for? And in what numbers?
When people hear me say I do keyword research they usually think I'm talking about search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC) but keyword research is first and foremost about identifying profitable niche markets.
Everything online revolves around keywords and keyword phrases. That's how you find what you're looking for online and it's how your potential clients are going to find you as well.
So it is imperative for you to know exactly what people are searching for and how many of them there are.
As important as this head count is, it's only the beginning of the story. Keywords with lots of searches look good, but paradoxically keywords with fewer searches are usually going to bring more traffic to your site than keywords with thousands of searches.
Why? Because of the competition.
2. How much competition is there? And what are they doing?
Knowing how many other websites are competing for your keyword phrases is, in many ways, even more important than how many searches are being done.
If you are competing with millions of other websites for that most coveted of spots in Google, it will literally take you years to build the authority and reputation to get there. You can do all the SEO you like but it's still going to take a long time to rank, and you might never get there.
What you want are keywords with some competition but not so much that you can't quickly rank for them in Google. And by quickly, I mean no more than a couple of months, sometimes less depending on the keyword.
Not only is the amount of competition important but you also want to know exactly what your competition is doing to get onto page 1. When you know that you have a very precise roadmap showing what you need to do to beat them.
Think about that. You don't have to figure out how to get ranked well in Google, you just need to follow your competition and then do them one better.
3. Where's the money?
The last piece of information you need to know is whether your keyword phrases are money-makers or not. Do they have commercial value? If you've ever done any PPC advertising you already know that some keywords are just duds when it comes to sales and some are huge winners. You need to know which is which.
Though this is the least concrete measure, there are clues in the research that can give you a good idea of commercial value. Things like the number of advertisers in Google AdWords, what they're bidding and the number of affiliate products in the market are all indicators of whether people are actually buying.
So there it is...
1. Identify the keywords people are searching for and the number of searches for that keyword
2. Identify how much competition there is for the keyword and what your competition is doing to get their traffic (and do it better)
3. Determine whether there is commercial value
This kind of research will eliminate about 95% of the bad choices.
The remaining 5% can be eliminated by testing your research. Before creating a product, for example, you could set up a simple WordPress blog and try selling a similar product that someone else has created. Choose a product with an affiliate program so that you can track your sales and earn a commission. If it sells, you can go ahead and create your own product, you have a viable market. If it doesn't, you can move on to something else knowing you have just saved yourself a huge amount of time, money and energy.
It's really that simple.
As an online business consultant and coach, Susan Fuller can help you with all your research and testing needs at New Niche Finder.