Market research (The longest part)
This is a highly important thing when it comes to finding out what I want to do online. This saves me a bundle of time when it comes to picking a market to enter... So what do I do?
Well first of all I get the wheel turning on some ideas, sometimes I just know what I want to enter but most of the times I don't have a clue. I start eBay and follow the guide I have in my sig. Not only do I go there for ideas, I go look at the news frequently, especially 60 minuets, I turn to the technology, medical, entertainment sections and see if there are any possibilities. You wouldn't believe the amount of niches that I have found on news site which are completely new. A good example of this would be 3d printing, I saw this before it got very popular with the main stream but I didn't pounce on it at the time (unfortunately).
Now you will notice here that I don't care about Google because I am not really interested in their traffic. What I do use Google for is Google Trends, this is a great little service which gives you some very valuable information straight away. Not only does it tell you if the market is on the up when trending, it also tells you if your website will be seasonal or not. A good example of this would be if you go and search the term "weight loss book". As you can see January and February are its best times during the year, this is obvious due to new years resolutions but the principle holds true. You will find markets which are stable throughout the year and you will also find ones which peak. This is important because you need to know when an influx of traffic is more likely but Google Trends isn't only good for that.
Google Trends also gives you the countries which are looking for that term (based off of Goggles data). Why is this good to me? Well lets say that you have the USA at the top and the UK second. There is nothing stopping me Geo targeting pages to these specific countries or even writing content which suits both countries (If the site permits of course). Not only that it is beginning to build up a demographic of my target audience.
Knowing your target audience is so important!!
So how do I find who my target audience is? I power up Facebook, you will find that most niches will have social groups. Each niche usually has a group which has a good amount of members in. Now you just want to browse through their member lists and start looking at the sorts of people frequently posting. Are they female or male? Can you see their age in their profile? Are they married? Where do they live? Are they particular to a state/county? They questions go on, all of the time I am building up a profile of the sorts of people I will want to target. It doesn't only stop at Facebook, there is LinkedIn, forums and Yahoo Groups to, each of these are little gold mines of information which pertain to your target market.
When I am looking in these groups I also take down the URL of each group because I will be joining later!
So far we know what our market is, who they are and where they hang out. Now we need to understand what they actually want... For me I turn to forums for this, there is tons of problems expressed on a forum each day, especially busy ones. Take the baby market, one frequent question you see pop up is, what baby formula is best? The games market... What is the best gaming mouse and keyboard? These are all things that people are actively searching for! These are all things which can be used to sell to your target audience. I start up a swipe file and start listing down all the frequent questions which have been asked over the past three moths. Since this is a forum this is easy to do because you just simply go through the pages.
I will then go off to blogs, I will want these later because I will be syndicating content through them! I take down all of the URL's of the blogs I can find and making myself of the types of content they are posting.
Ok now I know who they are, what they want and where they hang out but now I need to understand how...
Asking how is an amazing question, how are people already monetizing the market? Only one way to find out right, go out and find your competitors! This is simple, Google can tell you who they are, forum sigs can tell you who they are, websites linked to groups are also your competition. What are the sorts of things am I looking for when I look at my competition?
First off I look if any of them are building a list, if they are, what are they offering as an incentive to join. I will then join that list and pick apart there freebie to see if I can do better, I will then look at the sort of products they are offering via their list, all of the time seeing if I can do it better than them. I will also look at their sales pages / squeeze pages / OTO's to give me an indication where I should start when designing mine.
After I have looked to see if they offer a list, I look for adverts and the sort of things they are offering through them. Are they running CPA ads or just standard product ads? Have they written review sections on products or are they selling through their list? Are they using AdSense to monetize their site? The list goes on and on, I'm sure you get the drift, you need to know how they are selling so you know where to begin. I don't only look at websites when doing this, I will go off to sites like YouTube to see the sorts of videos being offered and if they are linked to any sites. I will look at the fan pages/twitter accounts etc... and look at how they are linking to websites.
This is getting a bit long so let me break it down into simple steps so far...
1) Find the market you want to enter.
2) Build a demographic of that market so you know who to target.
3) Where your market is.
4) What are their problems.
5) How are people solving them problems.
Now I know them 5 things above I can start finding the products that I want to offer... This will depend on the market where I will look for a product. Will it be an amazon product or it could be an e product, there are plenty of places to look for either. You just need to go out and find the products that match what your target audience want! Once you have found them, start signing up to their affiliate system!
Now, I am talking about affiliate marketing here but that doesn't mean that you cannot create your own product... I do affiliate marketing at first because I want to make sure there is a market there first before I start making my own product (niche permitting).
Now, I know everything I need to know, I put a PLAN in place!! I list down the places I want to join, I find the blogs I first want to target and I actually make a plan on how I want to find and deal with my traffic. Why do I make a plan? Simple, it gives my guidance when starting out, once I have got my feet in the water, I will write a new plan which focuses on the parts I need to!
After signing up to them I start generating content which I know will be helpful to the market place. I know it will be helpful because I have already done my research on what they want. I will not usually sell through this content but I use it to drive traffic to my squeeze page / optin box (about this in a bit). I just wet their beak as they say, I want to show them that I know my stuff and that I am not their to waste their time.
This will be quick, I will use wordpress for this. I use wordpress because it is quick and simple to start up! If you want a great list of all plugins used then head to: http://www.warriorforum.com/website-...fications.html. There are so many recommendations in there which will tell you every possible plugin you could use. When it comes down to a theme, I am a fan of Elegant Themes my self but I have also used Woothemes in the past.
When it comes down to doing a squeeze page / sales page etc., I will use a basic HTML page for this. I am able to design them myself and I can knock them up fairly quickly dependent on the niche. Plus it is quite calming for me because I like a bit of design work every now and again. I don't do nothing special with these pages, they are standard and simple ones, your find plenty of free templates online I am sure.
I am sure this is the part that everyone wants to read about and most of above will be skipped! I will not mention SEO because this is just a bonus for me, I do the on site SEO but I don't do a lot of offsite.
My first form of traffic will be syndicating my content, I want to make this clear right now. I will always get the initial index on my content before I want to syndicate it. After I have got it indexed I will go to my list of blogs (I would have had 100's when doing my research) and then begin emailing them. Don't get me wrong, some wont respond, some wont care, some will respond but want something stupid and then you get the people who are interested. These are the people that you want to syndicate your content to because most of the time, if the content is of good quality, they will syndicate more of your content. These will then go onto a separate list so I can remain in contact with them and begin to build a relationship with them. Why would I want to build a relationship with the people who syndicate my content? Simple, when it comes times for me to launch a product, they will want in because they know I am a guy who isn't going to mess about.
I will then submite my articles to eZine, I am not going to explain this because Alexa Smith has already done this on a number of occasions!
Heres the link: http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post5068872 (I strongly advise reading all of the threads in her post!!! They helped a lot!!)
Next I will find forums within my market which ALLOW sig links, if the forum doesn't allow me to link my sig to my website, I will not bother with it. I do not care how busy the forum is, if they don't allow it, I will move on! The main goal of a forum is to get people to my site, not to mess about building up something which will not benefit me. If they do not allow sig links, there is one thing which I will look into, I will see if the forum is showing advertisements. If they are, I will simply take down the URL and approach them if I create a product within that market.
Twitter / Facebook, these are great sources of traffic for me, this is where I can engage a market straight away. How do I do this, I simply join Facebook groups on Facebook/LinkedIn and others various sources and I get involved. Once I build up a little reputation then I will link to my site BUT it will not be done in a spammy way. I will only link to people if it works with the context of the discussion. Twitter will be used to offer them tips, tricks, advice so my audience there is constantly gaining valuable content and are re tweeting my tweets to their friends. A good example of this would be the Razor Naga mouse in the games niche, all I done is tweeted about a YouTube review of it and people loved it because they had never heard of it! The best thing is, I didn't even do the review, it was someone else's. Each time I am building up an authority in their mind, when I release new content I will post two links to it in the day and that'll be it.
I am sure a question will be asked on how I grow my twitter followers, well I link to my twitter profile in my forum sig. There are buttons on my website to follow me on twitter and retweet my content on twitter. I also have my twitter account in my profile on Facebook and I will also put my twitter name in my Facebook posts.
I don't do much video (Yet) this is something which I am still dabbling in so I will not mention this for now.
So what is the point of this traffic?
I will of course use this traffic to build a list, my content is their to create a relationship with my reader! Not to sell them nothing, if they want further information then they will have to join my list where they enter my funnel. Once they are in the funnel I will then begin to sell to them but not before they have entered. Of course when they have entered my list I will email them quality content which helps them and start building the trust, once the trust has been built over time it is time to start selling to them. Depending on the responsiveness of the list, creating a product will be an option that I will consider depending if I have enough sales going through my affiliate links.
Tracking / Testing
I personally use Google Analytics for it, I have always like their system to other platforms but if you prefer others then by all means, use them...
Why must you be tracking? All my reasons explained here! http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post7868257
I am not going to go into the in's and outs of split testing but I have found a nice article on smashing magazine, I hope you enjoy it (Not affiliated)
The Ultimate Guide To A/B Testing | Smashing Magazine
This is just a basic run down of what I do, I have left some stuff out but it is getting fairly long! I hope this shows you some insight and some guidance of the sort of process I will follow when I determine a market and how I enter it.
Enjoy and thank you to everyone who has gave me advice in the past !!