Market Research 101

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We’ve touched on Market Research a few times on this blog in the past. Today I’m going to share with you the “Big Four Magic Markets” to look for sub-niches within plus six key questions to answer before selecting a target niche.

Those four magic markets are: Business/Finance, Health/Fitness, Relationships/Fulfillment, and Passionate Pastimes. Most products and services sold fall within one of those four broad categories. Some products will cross over into another category, but for the most part, you can easily identify which of the big four your product or service falls into.

Here are some examples of sub-niches within each of these four categories:

  • How to make money online (Business/Finance)
  • How to lose weight (Health/Fitness)
  • Personal Development (Relationships/Fulfillment)
  • Golf (Passionate Pastimes)

And, of course, each of those topics listed above are still very broad. Note how Personal Development can also cross over into Health/Fitness, because if you need to lose weight, you won’t feel as good about yourself, as well as Business/Finance, because if you aren’t confident, you won’t do as well in the business world. But primarily, this topic is about self-improvement to enhance your self-fulfillment (happiness) and strengthen your personal relationships. We will later learn how to drill down and focus on specific sub-niches.

If you’re not yet sure which of the big four you want to market to, continue reading this series of posts. Then you’ll have some ideas about how to find a good market plus where to look for products to sell to it (if you haven’t developed your own). Then, after you have an idea of which market interests you, go back through through this post with a clearer idea of where you want to go.

Six key questions to ask about your market:

Is it big enough?

Some marketers have drilled down into niches so deep that there isn’t a market large enough to support their product. A silly example would be an ebook on how to give a miniature dachshund a manicure. Yes, the pet market is huge (falls under the passionate pastimes or even business for those who show their dogs), and even though you’ve probably heard to drill down until you find a specific niche within a niche, this is an example of going down one step too far. A better product/niche idea would be an ebook (or video course) on “pet grooming,” which could include a chapter or video on how to care for a dog’s toenails no matter what breed of dog. It’s not that pet owners wouldn’t be interested in learning this procedure, but if you limit yourself to something so specific, you’ll waste valuable hours marketing to an eensy weensy group.

A good rule of thumb for checking if your niche is large enough to market successfully to is this: Does the market have a magazine? If the market can support a print magazine, then it is large enough to easily support online information products. There are several print magazines geared toward dog grooming.

Another item to look for when checking the size of your market is whether or not it has a trade organization. Some do, some don’t, but if it does, that is a good indication that the market isn’t too tiny. Also check and see how many books are out on your proposed market. Are there at least five books available for your topic? If people are risking the money to publish and promote a book on your topic, then chances are the market is of sufficient size to be profitable to you.

The next five questions are these, and we’ll learn how to find the answers to these questions over the next few posts:

  • Is it needy?
  • Is it passionate?
  • Is it competitive?
  • Does it spend money?
  • Do I have any experience/knowledge/interest in this market? If not, can I pursue it anyway?

Until next time,

Happy Blogging!

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#1 Marcie on 08.05.10 at 6:27 am

This is great information. I started my blog with the goal of being the South Side of Chicago largest online resource sharing resources and information on culture, education, employment, youth programs and activities and health. Although it sounds like a huge undertaking (and it is), I realized that many communities have their own publications and resources, but there is not a central resource. And Shorty: Your Chicago South Side Resource is going to be that unifying source.

#2 Linda Fulkerson on 08.05.10 at 6:37 am

That’s awesome, Marcie! I’m sure your site will be a great asset to those who live in that area. And you’ve hit upon a growing online trend — localization. Most marketers have considered the web as a global outreach to their customers, and it is, but recently, many, especially those in large urban areas like yours, are focusing their promotional efforts to the local area.

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