Testing Your Market For Free (Almost)
Smart market research is the most important aspect of running an online business. What is market research? Wiki describes it as “the process of systematically gathering, recording and analyzing data and information about customers, competitors and the market.” No point in selling menswear to a dominantly female audience, right? You can see why it is imperative that that you choose the right market.
So how can you do this on the web?
I have touched on keyword research before and how important it is to your online campaign. Also I have written about what I personally think is the best keyword research tool around. With any research tool you can get estimates on the amount of times people are typing in a particular key phrase per day or month. The main word being ESTIMATES. Assumption is the mother of all fu#$ ups, right? So how can you get exact, accurate numbers that will tell you exactly which search terms to target on your SEO crusade?
We are going to use Google Adwords. Thats why this is *almost* free. On the internet we are lucky because in the offline world businesses pay big bucks to find out exactly what consumers are looking for. In our online world we can find this out in days, it will cost us hardly anthing – in fact, you will probably even make some money off it.
Here is what you do:
Use the Adwords Keyword Tool to come up with a list of the best keywords YOU think are relevant to your website. Now you will get some average search result numbers but now we are going to see which ones are REALLY getting searched. Divide them up into little groups (the more similar the better), put them in your Adwords account and make a few ads for them, pointing to the relevant pages on your website. Set a maximum of $10 a day and make sure you bid just enough to be on the first page of the ad results. Remember, we are not after clicks here, we are after impressions.
Because this will give us a great idea of which of the keywords are being searched for and which aren’t. Soon you will start to see impressions racking up in your stats and you will be able to determine which keywords you should be targeting with your SEO efforts.
So remember, there is no point in launching an entire website without knowing exactly what your target market is looking for.