(Very) Basic Market Research

March 3, 2010 , 3 Comments

Market Research Image

Market research is usually concerned with the demographics of a market, the amount and kind of competition you can expect, evaluation of what type of content and delivery the target demographic responds to etc.

For this article, I want to take the market research down a notch and present you a very simple, very basic research “method” that you should be applying on a regular basis as an online marketer. Especially if you are new to this game.

Competition “Spying”

To get a feeling for a market (or even Internet marketing in general), go and take a look at websites and sales-pages created by other Internet marketers.

How do you find those pages? If you are already selling products or affiliate offers yourself, simply find some more offers in your niche and run a search on the product names as well as some closely related keywords. Especially for the product names, most of the resulting pages will be pure marketing sites. For your “typical” money-makers like “weight loss”/”how to lose weight”, “dog training”, “make money online” etc. you’ll also find lots of pure money-sites.

If you haven’t decided on a niche yourself yet, just go to ClickBank or CBtrends and search through the product catalogue there. Not that ClickBank is the only or even the most important online marketplace, but it’s the most easily accessible and you can find lots of product names and keywords to search for within minutes.

If you’re a member of some CPA networks, apply the exact same method. Search for the product/offer names as well as closely related keywords and browse some of the results.

What to Look Out For

As you are browsing these sites and pages, here are some things to take note of:

  • Types of Sites
    Are you encountering many squeeze pages or sales pages? How are they set up? Is there an order-button right on the page or do they squeeze your e-mail address first? Or are you encountering blogs and blog-style pages?
  • Use of Media
    What are you finding on the resulting pages? Is it mostly text, test with images, audio or video? What’s the writing style like? How is the information in the video delivered?
  • Visuals
    Are the sites visually appealing? How are they making use of colours and fonts? Are they simple or graphically elaborate?
  • Incentives/Promises
    What is being offered on the pages? Are there free giveaways or other incentives? What’s being promised?

Once you’ve taken note of these things, simply ask yourself: Could you do the same? Or could you even do better?

Remember that many of the people behind those pages you’re looking at are making money from them. Of course, not every offer and every sales-page is profitable, but particularly the top listed pages in organic search results are almost guaranteed to turn some kind of a profit for the site owner.

The reason I mention this is because especially those new to online marketing can easily feel overwhelmed by it all and not know where to start. If you just take a close look at what other marketers are doing, you’ll soon realize that there’s no real magic to it. Many a successful sales-page is not particularly pretty and you don’t have to be a genius to create something similar, or superior, yourself.

Allright, now go forth and research! And once you’ve researched, build!



About ​Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • Hi Shane,
    Great sneaky tip :) Just wanted to add as well for those doing market research, go to quantcast.com & compete.com to get a profile of your competitor. Google insights does this as well when you enter in your competitor’s keywords.

    • Hi Aimee,
      Yep, Quantcast, Compete and others are really important sources of information for many types of marketing. Especially if your paying for and specifically targeting traffic sources. I’ll definitely have to do a follow-up post with some more advanced market research info.

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