In a recent mailing to my subscribers, I mentioned a great blog post by Jim Morris debunking a major myth that people can determine the profitability state of a market solely by doing enough keyword research to make such a confident opinion; in other words, “if a lot of people search for something, the probability is some people are going to buy it”.
In summary, Jim has 2 central messages to the fundamental difference between market and keyword research:
1) Keywords are also found outside the search engines, i.e. on the bus, in shopping malls, airports, newspapers, magazines, advertisements etc.
2) Keywords found outside the search engines give a stronger indication of a real market precisely because advertisers pay for ad spaces in these places, and at the end of the day, they too want to make a profit.
Years ago, I heard a famous Internet marketer said, “If a surfer put in a search term with at least 3 keywords and more, including brand name and other specifications, ready buyer interest is indicated.”
This statement may and hopefully still be a significant factor today, but it is only one of many factors. I would like to express my take on market and keyword research as a companion piece/extension to Jim’s immense wisdom and look forward that you can take away some ideas here.
Well first and foremost, if you’re in the business of making money, it is perfectly right to say before you set up a website or blog, you first enter a market. During my social networking rounds, I’ve seen blogs that seriously reflect how knowledgeable the blogger must be about the subject matter. Unfortunately the blog is just that: a platform to dispense free information. There’s not even the slightest intention to build a list or do some affiliate marketing.
What’s the difference between market and keyword research? Market research explores and digs out keywords related to an industry or niche. Keyword research examines the monetary value and search performance of EACH keyword.
Once I told a property agent that in order to fill enough ongoing content for her site and fully express her professional knowledge, she must conscientiously recall the keywords of her profession: housing loans, real estate, HDB (Housing Development Board) flats, maisonette etc. What are the keywords you have to deal most in your profession on a daily basis? Write them down. These keywords come together as composites to form the single market identity, which in her case, is property.
To examine each keyword, she can use SEOBook Keyword Suggestion Tool, WordTracker which has the new feature of showing each keyword’s Google trend and the ever popular AdWord Keyword Tool. Increasingly there is likely going to be more free keyword research tools and tutorials on how to go about it (search “keyword research” at YouTube).
What we do have is an abundance of keywords out there. The real challenge is which market to invest our time and energy in. In fact, entering a market requires a whole different way of “assessing a situation”.
Double Your Dating (DYD) has fascinated me a lot with its single page opt-in entry point. What you see on its home page is like the tip of the iceberg and underneath the ocean is one huge massive mountain of ice. It is in the dating niche; it is also in a dating sub-niche. These 2 benefit points show:
* How to use “secret” body language to keep a woman’s attention.
* How to approach a new woman that you’d like to meet—and exactly what to say to start a conversation without “pick up lines”.
If dating as an activity is an A-Z process, DYD has narrowed down its USP as the initial stage of making that first impression.
Now this is not the case where a dating sub-niche is more lucrative than the rest since it’s making like $8 million a year. I don’t know if there’s a proper name for this sub-niche. People had set up all kinds of impressive Wikipedia-like information portals and hardly made more than a month’s job income. DYD does employ Internet Marketing strategies, but more importantly, it has done what marketers had advocated all along: drill down to sub-niches to better target buyer demand and also define the USP or problem accurately without total disengagement from the main niche. Perhaps the second half of the bold statement (in red) wasn’t emphasized more clearly elsewhere.
What I know about marketers’ fear of entering sub-niches or evaluating “market size” is they would ask themselves, “If the market is this small, would I be stuck with this quantity of market demand?” It’s all the ‘fault’ of the search numbers churned out by keyword tools that influence how marketers determine a ‘size’ which leads them to think, “If I serve this 1.3% of prospects (based on so-and-so golf keyword), I’m going to miss out 98.7% of the whole golf market.”
There is absolutely no basis for a scarcity mindset! Just make sure you do not disengage from a main niche. Let me quote 3 examples.
I listen a lot to guitar music published by Windham Hill and Narada so I know some of the most beautiful tunes are played by guitarists using the fingerstyle or finger-picking technique (not using picks, not strumming). Although the phrase “fingerstyle guitar” is woefully missed in daily search statistics (according to WordTracker, only 49 daily searches. Perhaps not many guitarists know the technique name), I passionately believe guitar owners should learn to play using this technique and this applies widely to the whole guitar world.
Or how about “How to train your dog into a guard dog”. Small niche? Think again: You have effectively crossed over into the dog training market, the home security market and possibly that market of people concerned with housebreaking issues, if they don’t mind having dogs as an option.
Recently I came to hear about wine investment and in terms of search results and search demand, both have very low statistics, but this is going to be lucrative and anyone who is interested in investment programs would likely want to discover what’s this about too. Based on the information I had gathered, I know I’ve become enthusiastic because of the gut feel I have.
And I think that is all the requirement there is to entering a market: a final gut feel or impression after the evidence is accumulated. I haven’t said that you would be stuck with selling just info-products. Interestingly, such sub-niches provide great opportunities to promote high-ticket items like workshops and investment packages. I recall Dr. Mike Woo-Ming mentioned he was once interviewed on MTV because he published information about an obscure finger condition acquired from twiddling the video game console without resting, thus opening up a new door of opportunity.
All these show that keyword statistics have very little bearing on markets. They only give you a very good idea what is to be expected. It’s perfectly normal a surfer won’t buy a thing immediately after putting in a search term with at least 3 keywords and more because the human mind does not think one-track. A classic scientific study published that the mind flashes tens of thousands of thoughts within 24 hours. While you’re asleep, the mind is still working subconsciously, so what gives?
To start spotting for markets, train your eyes, ears and mind to look for industry, product and service-based keywords. You can get the best clues from categories in article directories like Ezine Articles and Article Dashboard.
Train yourself to make distinctions and correlate between generalized and specialized keywords. Example: general – guitar, specialty – guitar polish, general – golf, specialty – business golf etiquette. When you feel you have what it takes to create enough content, create specialized sites. In other words, be specialized as far as possible. 2 positive outcomes arise:
1) It’s easier for you to forge joint ventures when you can complement a fellow marketer instead of being the same as everyone else.
2) It’s easier for you to dominate the market. Think of it another way: enter a market like you would fill a gap between 2 entities.
The second point reminds me of the word ‘entrepreneur’, which apparently originates in French. The word can be broken down as:
Entre – Enter
Pre – Before
Nuer – Nerve center
An entrepreneur is someone who enters a business—any business—before others, to form or substantially change the business nerve center. You can say changing the ‘nerve’ has to do with tampering with core conventions and practices. Isn’t that what DYD does?
Another way to enter a market is via product research which Jim Morris has mentioned in his post. If there’s already a product, there MUST be a market and ready buyers. Check:
1) The categories at Amazon.
3) Affiliate networks like ClickBank, PayDotCom, Commission Junction, RegNow (software and business), Affiliate Future, Plimus (software and business), Associate Programs, NicheBOT affiliate directory, ClixGalore, LinkShare, Click2Sell and Shareasale.
4) Cody Moya’s Niche Products Package
Other avenues include tapping into conversations at Google Answers, Yahoo! Answers, Google Groups, Yahoo! Groups, MSN Groups, MySpace Groups (click on ‘Groups’) and niche forums, niche market reports and free daily niche updates.
I list out some types of market opportunities and choices:
* Specialized health problems
* Specific financial challenges
* collectibles and hobbies
* People finding people…not just MLM, but also online dating and other forms of community building
* self-development (workshops)
* Corporate training (workshops)
* Seasonal/ethnical topics: festivals, Christmas, Chinese New Year etc.
That’s all I have to say. I leave you with the words of Richard Branson. Once you arrive at a conclusion about a possible market situation, “screw it, just do it!”