There are too many entrepreneurs who think that upfront research is a useless step when it comes to developing and selling a new product or service. After all, won’t customers flock to the new offering like hotcakes because they’ll love it as much as you do?
Contrary to popular belief, researching your niche market before you start can move you leaps-and-bounds ahead of the competition. It can help you discover the real wants and needs of your potential target market so when you do launch, you hit the ball out of the park.
Being able to zero in on what your prospects want can save you massive amounts of time. On the other hand, discovering that no one really wants the new offering, which you think is amazing, can help you cut your losses and move on to something profitable.
Another benefit of doing your research before you start is that you’ll likely discover additional “wants” that you can develop into add-on products or services after you've completed your initial offering.
Thanks to the Internet, you have a treasure trove of information right at your finger tips. Researching your niche isn't hard and doesn't have to take a long time—it can take as little as an hour or as much as a couple days or more depending on how in-depth you want to go.
Here are three tricks you can use to get you moving in the right direction, and they’re all free.
1. Let Google Help
You’ll want to begin your research by using the free Google Keyword Tool. If you don’t already have an account, you’ll need to set one up.
Once inside, you’ll want to search for key phrases and words that your prospective customers might use to seek out your product or service.
Simply enter your keyword or phrase, press “Get ideas,” and Google will return its search history along with average monthly search numbers. This will confirm that you're either on the right track—or not—with what you think your target market is looking for.
2. Facebook Is a Goldmine of Clues
Facebook is one of the most data-rich research sites you can use. In addition to finding out more about your niche product or service, you can also find out about the people who make up your target market. Plus, it’s a network where conversations take place, so you can see what type of discussions people are having and what problems they need solved so you can develop a solution for them.
Begin your search by entering your keyword in the search bar at the top of the page. As you type, Facebook will return what it thinks you want to know about. You can then choose where to go next.
What’s really cool about this is you’ll get specific pages along with their number of “likes,” giving you an idea of popularity. You’ll also have an opportunity to find all pages and groups that are listed under your keyword or phrase.
You can then dig into the results on each page to find out what types of things your prospects are saying about this topic.
3. Survey Says ...
The best and most reliable research you can do is to actually find a way to talk to your target market. This can be accomplished with a survey.
If you have a mailing list of prospects or previous customers who fit the market for the niche you are researching, the best thing you can do is ask them.
Once you’ve completed your research, you should have a better idea of what to offer and how to position it for your target market. Make sure you document it all and stay focused, so you can hit your goal on the first try.
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