How To Research An Idea For Your Internet Business - 7 Simple Steps
żby: Charles Hagan
So you want to start an internet business but have no idea or only a general idea of what you want to sell.
This article will explain how to research your idea ( or how to find one if you dont have any idea), how to find if there is a market for your idea that will make money for you, how much money you could potentially make with your idea, and whether there is room for growth in your business.
7 Simple Steps
1) If you have no idea what you want to market, you must generate some ideas. Choose something that you are passionate about.
You want success? Then it is easier to be successful at something that you enjoy and that you will look forward to every day.
Brainstorm all the hobbies/ passions/ anything which interests you. Let's say you have an African macaw ( which is a bird if you didn't know!).
You like looking after him/her and it is a real pleasure for you to do this on a daily basis....So now you have an idea.
2) Since this is a hobby of yours, you must have a general knowledge in the area of African macaws (to continue the analogy above).
If you need more knowlege, that shouldn't be a problem. It's a subject you love.
Now for the second brainstorming session. On a sheet of paper write down everything you can think of about anything related to your area of interest.
You want as many ideas as possible. One of them will lead you to develop a product that you will potentially be selling on your website.
For African macaws, (I will use the abbreviation A.m for African macaw), let's say you come up with a list including the following:
A.m food/diet, handling your A.m, training your A.m, A.m postcards/posters, suppliers of A.m's, breeding your A.m, secrets of long-lived A.m's (yes they can live up to 55 years!), cages/aviarys/perches, social behaviour of A.m, toys/playthings for your A.m, common illnesses of an A.m and what to look out for, different species of macaw.
Now that is a list of only twelve. You should try and come up with more for your own idea.
3) Now you have several target ideas in your area of interest. You want to test your idea now to see if it's something a majority of people are interested in.
You want enough of a demand for your idea so that it will eventually be profitable for you. This is called niche marketing- targeting a particular market and not trying to sell many different products to many people.
Go to several major search engines and type in these words "word popularity search."
You should get a list of websites which offer a free service where you can type in several keywords for your area of interest, in our case, any keywords such as African macaw and diet/toys/illnesses etc.
The website will then return the popularity of those keywords by telling you how many people searched on those terms at their site or on the major search engines. If you can count on your hand the number of people who are looking for your keywords, then there may not be much of a demand for a product centered around your idea.
4) Is your idea totally original? Most likely someone before you will have had that idea and will have created a website about it because there are literally millions of websites out there.
What you want to do now is again go to any of the major search engines and type in several of the keywords relating to your idea. Up will come a list of websites, some of them will be major competitors to you. Pick out a few that rank high on the search engine and write them down.
Now go back to the search engine and type in the words "traffic ranking" and you will get a listing of websites that when you go to them will give you the ranking of those websites you just wrote down.
By ranking I mean the popularity of that websites against all the other websites on the internet. This is by no means 100% accurate but it does give you an indication out of millions how popular the website is that relates to your idea. You can even get details about the number of visitors to the website and the number of page views for the site.
5) So you have come this far and found some websites ranking high in your area.
Most of them will be of two forms: either competitor websites selling products similar to your intended product, or Portal sites.
Portal sites generally don't sell anything. They usually have a bunch of links and advertising on them and sometimes have some good content. The more portal sites in your target area the better, up to a point.
When you search for your keywords on a search engine, you don't want it to return a million search results. Your market may be very oversaturated. But having Portal sites is a good sign. You can use these sites later to help build your business.
Similarly, when you do a keyword popularity search as in Step 3) above, you don't want hundreds of thousands of people searching for the same product.
There is too much competition.
6) Now just because a website is popular or ranks high doesn't mean that it is profitable.
How much could you potentially make with your new idea if you converted it into a product and developed a website around it?
Simple. Go to any of your competitor's websites. Check out their products and their prices.
If they have been around a while (this can be verified by doing a "whois" search for their website to find out when their website was registered), then most likely they have established relationships with customers who have bought from them in the past. People have paid money for their products - they will most likely buy from you as well if you sell a similar product of equal or greater perceived and real value.
7) Once you are established in your target market, you may want to expand the target market to include related products.
Going back to my African macaw (can you tell I like them?), if I initially sold the best macaw bird cages, I may wish to grow my business by also selling the best food and parrot mix for macaws or by selling posters of different macaw species.
Growth of your business is essential for long term survival.
This is another aspect to consider when entering a targeted market. You don't want it to be a fad.
There are two excellent ways to find out if there is a market for growing your niche:
a) perform a keyword popularity search (as in step 3 above) for related targeted keywords. If there is a demand for related ideas, you're in luck for future growth. If you're struggling to find related keywords, go through another brainstorming session or perform a internet search for "keyword mapping" for sites that will assist you.
b) look at what other competitors are selling. It's a good bet that if they are ranked high and they have expanded their niche, then there is a demand for what they are "selling."
In summary, you want the following characteristics for an idea which can turn profitable:
- targeted for a specific market
- idea can be turned into a popular product
- intended target market is not oversaturated
- price for potential profit forecasts.
- room for expansion/growth.
All the best for profitable idea hunting.
About The Author
This material is copyright 2006 by Charles Hagan. All rights reserved.
Charles is a budding Internet entrepreneur who has built and managed
many successful offline business for over 30 years.
He is making the successful transition into the online marketing
world by teaming up with a real life mentor, one who walks the talk.