Are You Fully Using The Power Of The Internet To Conduct Market Research?
You’ve heard the stories of entrepreneurs creating social networking sites from their garage, generating millions of dollars. You’ve heard the stories of the person who was laid off from their job, who then turned to the Internet to provide their skills, resulting in earning a full-time income from home. Also, you’ve also got the stories where people are generating full-time incomes by being the middle man and promoter of other business owners’ products and services. These are stories where regular people, young and old, have turned to the Internet to generate a second income, build a business, or have the opportunity to join the ranks of entrepreneurship and free them from working for someone else.
You usually hear of these stories “after” these internet entrepreneurs have achieved their success. So what were the steps taken that allowed these Internet marketers to get started online in the first place? Regardless of where they are today, everyone started out with a few steps to getting started with Internet marketing. Before becoming a successful Internet marketer, your first thing you should do is: 1.) Conduct research, then 2.) Select a business model, and 3.) Generate attention to gain customers. I will be discussing each of these topics in a 3 part series to provide a deep look into how you can get started with Internet marketing.
In the first part of this series, I will be discussing about the resources and steps to conduct effective research. Research is the most important part to getting started building an online business, as well as getting started with Internet marketing. The Internet is the most useful tool to be able to gather information, however, with so much information it can seem difficult to find what is useful. Here are a few resources that you can use to gather and conduct an effective research process:
Utilize these search engines to conduct research on a topic of your choosing. The best method is to simply analyze what the trends are within each of the searches based on your topic. Write down the relevant sites and articles based on your keywords that are being promoted, not only on article directories, social networks, but also direct product or services sites.
Next, take note of the number of ads that are displayed based on the keyword that is being search on. If there are a lot of ads for your keyword topic, this is a good thing. This means that marketers are spending money promoting that keyword and there is market potential. Lastly, take note of how many search results were generated based on your keyword. If you have a keyword with a high volume of search results, simply means that there are lots of people searching for information on that keyword.
Encyclopedias, Databases, & User Generated Content
- Google Knol
- Yahoo Answers
Many people tend to forget the value of an encyclopedia, whereas, the Britannica, and other online encyclopedias provide a compendium of knowledge from various resources. So you get a range of factual information in summary format quickly & efficiently.
Wikipedia is the free online encyclopedia, a project developed by the Wikimedia foundation. This project allows for user generated content to be created where any one can contribute neutral, cited information. This has become a very large database of information that has a pretty high accuracy rate.
Another user generated content platform is Google Knol and Yahoo Answers. Utilize these to gather information on what knowledge people have on a topic, and gather research on what people are asking, and what answers are being provided, respectively.
Personalized Research & Polling
- Global Grind
- Page Flakes
- Survey Monkey
- Poll Daddy
Given that there are millions of websites online, and millions being created everyday, one individual simply can’t keep up. However, you can keep up on what is relevant within your specific interest and keep tabs on market trends by using personalized research methods and polling.
Use online platforms such as Netvbies, iGoogle, Global Grind, and Page Flakes to personalize the content you are looking for. Create your own digital news paper by simply researching what blogs and websites that are updating regularly, and use that sites RSS feed to automatically update your personalized Netvibes or iGoogle account. I find this very useful in keeping track of trends on a particular topic on sites that I’m interested in.
Lastly, if you have a website with significant traffic, use tools such as Survey Monkey and Poll Daddy, or even Vizu.com to create your own surveys and polls to directly gain access to insights about your visitors and readers.
Governmental websites have tons of factual information about markets, demographics, and even psychographics that will be useful in conducting market research. These are sometimes taken for granted, however, local, state, and government sites provide Census data which gives marketers a good picture of what type of people might have an impact with your product or service. Also, gives you a good picture of the number of potential buyers and demographics within your selected market.
Lastly, a great resource to use to analyze market trends is to go where people are shopping and buying. Two successful websites that not only provides this information is Amazon and EBay.
You can analyze and learn about EBay trends by simply going to: pulse.ebay.com. The information provides 1.) Popular searches, 2.) Largest stores and 3.) Most watched items. This will give you a sense of what’s hot in the marketplace right now.
Discover new sales trends with Amazon. Utilize the Amazon bestsellers list within the main categories and subcategories product sections of the site. Additionally, you will find in banner format the top 5 best selling items within a particular product category.
Steps to Conduct Research:
- Focus on your topic by selecting a keyword or keyword phrase.
- Utilize the above resources to gather information on your topic.
- Set up an Excel Document that will list the relevant links to the information
- Write out what the top 10 products that are selling
- Write out what the top 10 trends are stating
- List the number of Ads, their websites, and Ad sales copy based on your search results.
- Market Summary: Create a market summary based on the research you have found. Write a short statement of what you find. This will be used to form your initial online business goals.
Overall, the first step to getting started with Internet marketing is conducting proper research. How you synthesize it, focus deep on a particular topic, and take action on the information provided will allow you to be knowledgeable about your product and market, and allow you to be very effective on the next step of getting started in Internet marketing, which is selecting the right business model.
These are the methods and tools that I use to be effective in conducting market research and analyzing what market to get when starting an Internet marketing campaign or business. What methods do you use to conduct Internet marketing research?
Be on the look out for the next article in my Getting Started with Internet Marketing Series: Selecting a Business Model.
Darrin Kuykendall (@profitdoctrine) is a new media expert & publisher. He writes for ProfitDoctrine which is dedicated to Practicing the Principles of Internet Marketing and is founder of
Memento Marketing — a new media publishing firm focused on developing emerging and innovative educational courses & informational products. Their motto is “Converting The Non-Believers.” You can learn more about the Profit Doctrine