Friday 25 April, 2014

Market Research Online – Find out What They Want

The Internet offers lots of ways to find out what your target market looking for. Once you know this, it’s just a matter of offering it to them. In years past, marketing agencies paid ridiculous sums of money to obtain the information you can get from just visiting the right websites. The Internet offers a wealth of information about your market if you know how to use it.

Before we get started on places to look, let’s define what market research really is. When you research your market, you want to discover who your customers are and how they think. What kind of people are they? What do they like to buy? Your goal is to find out everything you possibly can about them so that you can match them with the goods and services they’re looking for. Market research also tells you how much they’re willing to pay and what your competitors are offering.

Social Media

You can use social media websites like Facebook and Twitter to find out what your target market thinks. You can be a ‘fly on the wall,’ listening in to their conversations by reading their posts and updates. Most social media sites also give you demographic data. You can find out exactly who likes the products and services you’re offering.

Online Forums

People also love to talk on online forums. These are sites where people get together to share their common interests. You can find forums on your niche and follow their threads on them. You can conduct market research directly by starting a thread asking questions or soliciting their opinions.

Google’s Keyword Tool

Google’s Keyword Tool gives you one valuable piece of data – the keywords people are searching on Google and their search volumes. You can see how many searches per month certain words or phrases are getting, and this is good for assessing demand for your products. Google’s Keyword Tool also gives you an idea on how many others are competing for those targeted keywords.

Affiliate Networks

Affiliate networks are sites that offer products for marketers to promote. This includes sites like ClickBank and Commission Junction. By looking at products in your niche in affiliate markets, you can see what people are searching for and buying. They help you decide how much to charge.

EBay

EBay gives you the same kind of data. Search for items that are similar to yours. On the lower left-hand portion of the screen, select ‘completed listings’ to see items that have sold. It will show you the finished auctions and how much they sold for. This gives you an idea of how much people are willing to pay.

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

The Internet gives you lots of options for gathering information on your target market, but these are all secondary sources. Primary sources, which include information you gather yourself, are more reliable. This means conducting your own data collection through surveys, interviews, etc., rather than relying on data gathered by others. Use the websites above as secondary sources and invest some time and energy in conducting research of your own for best results.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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