Internet searches are extremely effective in finding not only how popular your topic is, but how to set up your autoresponder for maximum results.
A vast majority of internet users find what they’re looking for by searching, whether they use a general web search engine like Google or a site-specific engine to wade through consumer mega-sites like e-Bay and Amazon.
A quick search on your topic will reveal how many people are interested, and what convinces them to check products out.
Without a doubt, Google is the most popular internet search engine—so much so, its name has become a synonym for the act of running a web search (i.e., "I couldn’t find that site that posts the winning lottery numbers, so I just Googled it.")
Many internet marketers make increasing their site ranking—the "place in line" the site appears in Google results using their keywords—one of the key components of their advertising campaigns.
Obtaining a top 10 Google rank (appearing on the first page of search results) is akin to winning an Olympic gold medal in the marketing world.
How can this help you with your market research? By studying the top search results for pages you find through keywords relating to your topic, you can find out what these sites are doing to achieve search engine success.
The following steps will help you run an effective and informative Google search.
1. List keywords and keyword phrases relating to your topic. For example, if your topic is "working from home", your list of keywords might be: work from home, working from home, work at home, telecommute, telecommuting, at home jobs.
2. Go to the Google home page and type in your first keyword or phrase, then click on "Google Search".
NOTE: If you are not familiar with Google, clicking on “I’m Feeling Lucky” will not produce a list of web sites; it will take you directly to what Google has determined the most relevant site for your keyword. But if you’re in the mood for a laugh, you might try “I’m Feeling Lucky” just for kicks.
When you receive the search results, check out the pages that are relevant to your topic (search engines are by no means exact, and sometimes you will find results that don’t relate to your topic—or at least, not in the way you had in mind). The best way to do this is to right-click on the links you want to visit and choose “Open in new window.” This will keep the Google search results page open so you don’t have to backtrack through your browser to find it again.
3. Note the way the sites are laid out (is it appealing and easy to read, or does it make your eyes bleed?), what kind of text is on the front page (does it seem informative, or is it all hype? Are there a lot of spelling and grammar errors?), and whether there is an obvious available product. If there is a site counter, note how many visitors the site has received.
4. Repeat this process with the rest of your keywords. You will often find the same sites showing up in the top 10 for different, related searches. Pay special attention to these; they are the ones you may want to emulate when you create the web site for your autoresponder.
NOTE: If you run a Google search on your topic and find only two or three related web sites before the results turn up unrelated material, it may indicate there is a limited market for your topic. In this case you should either rewrite your keywords and try again, or consider choosing a different topic altogether.
It’s said you can buy anything on eBay, from cars and computers to clothing formerly worn by celebrities.
This massive online consumer marketplace and auction house is a haven for buyers and sellers looking for great deals from the comfort of their own homes.
Searching for products related to your topic on eBay can help you home in on your market. It will also help you determine how much buyers are willing to pay for products related to your subject.
Follow these steps to exploit eBay for information:
1. Sign up for a free eBay account. This personalizes your experience and allows eBay to provide you with relevant information every time you visit.
2. Go to the eBay home page and log in.
3. Choose one of the categories on the left-hand side of the page that’s relevant to you topic and browse through the listings, or search for a specific item or topic using the search bar at the top of the page.
4. Make note of the price ranges people are willing to pay for items or products related to your topic. This will give you a general idea of what to charge for yours. Also, note how many products are available related to your topic in comparison to other topics. This is not limited to books: you might find CDs, audio programs, or one of many forms your product can take.
Amazon.com, the “other” internet consumer giant, is similar to e-Bay in that you can find just about anything you want to buy. Amazon’s biggest selection is in media: books, movies and music; but they also have an enormous inventory of electronics, toys, jewelry, clothing and accessories, and much more. Where e-Bay concentrates on selling used products through auctions and classifieds-style advertising, Amazon carries new products along with a healthy dose of independent sellers touting used wares.
Your purpose in using Amazon for market research is twofold: you will identify your competition and find out how popular your topic is, and you will familiarize yourself with how Amazon works, as you will likely want to consider making your product available through Amazon.
Here’s how to check it out:
1. Sign up for an Amazon account, if you don’t already have one. Like eBay, Amazon will give you personalized recommendations based on your searching and buying history, and keep you updated with the latest available information on your topic.
2. Once you’ve signed up, go to the Amazon home page and log in (you may be automatically logged in; Amazon really likes keeping track of its customers and often will keep you perpetually signed on, even when you leave the site…)
3. Using the search bar at the top of the page, choose “Books” from the dropdown list and type in your topic or keywords. The results you get will be both print books and e-books. Since Amazon deals primarily in new product, you will be able to view the retail price of competitive products.
4. Make note of prices and the number of titles available relating to your topic. Also, you might want to consider checking out the Listmania sections on the product pages you view (you can find this by scrolling down on the page, almost to the bottom). Listmania is an Amazon program that promotes customer recommendations by allowing Amazon users to compile lists of their favorite books on Amazon. Checking out Listmania picks helps you understand what type of product your target market is interested in, and how much they are willing to pay for it.
5. Once you find a product, if you scroll down past Listmania you will find sections on “similar items by category” and “similar items by subject.” You can browse through the available products related to your topic in this way without going back to your search results page.