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Sunday, June 05, 2005

 

The Internet Entreprenuer

Find Out What Products and Services People Are Searching For
on the Web

1. Use Overture. The easiest way to find what the Internet population is searching for is by going to Overture.com (a pay-per-click search engine). When you get to Overture's website, click on the Advertiser Center button. On the Advertiser Center webpage, click on the Keyword Selector Tool link.

The Keyword Selector Tool displays a dialog box where you can type in a keyword or phrase to search for. For illustration purposes, let's say the market you want to target is brides-to-be -- and you're looking for what your market wants. So you type the keywords "wedding invitation", for instance, in the dialog box. The dialog box will display not only how many times the keywords 'wedding invitation' was searched last month -- which was 244,360 times as of the time of this writing.

The number 244,360 gives you a quick indication as to how many people are searching for wedding invitations in general. Remember that the results are from the Overture.com search engine and its partner sites only and does not include how many people searched for the keyword in the other search engines. Nonetheless, 244,360 people searching for wedding invitations is a huge market.

In addition to the number of times the key phrase wedding invitation was searched last month, Overture's Keyword Selector Tool also displays related searches that include the keywords wedding invitation. For example: unique wedding invitation, discount wedding invitation, wedding shower invitation, etc.

HOT TIP:
How to Know Whether People Are Looking to Buy Products
-- or Just Doing Research

If you type in the key phrase gift baskets, in Overture's Keyword Selector Tool, you'll find that 812,900 people searched for that key phrase during the previous month. That might prematurely lead you to believe that 812,900 are looking to buy gift baskets -- when in actuality, many of them are just researching instructions on how to make gift baskets, or trying to get gift basket ideas. .

Remember that the Internet is the information superhighway, and a good percentage of the people who are searching for information about gift baskets may be looking for free information -- not information they have to pay for.

A good guideline for finding out whether Internet surfers are simply doing research -- versus looking to buy something -- is the number of words they use in their search terms.

When they use 1 to 2 words --> Surfer is doing research
When they use 3 or more words --> Surfer is looking to buy something

For example, when people type in the search term, gift baskets (2 words), they're probably just researching general aspects concerning gift baskets. But when they search for corporate gift basket (3 words) or gift basket supply (3 words) or orange county gourmet gift basket (5 words), they're probably looking to buy. It's easy to see that when an Internet surfer is determined to buy something, they use more words to refine their searches, instead of using generic terms that may yield untargeted search results.

Overture's Keyword Selector Tool tells us that the above key phrases were searched as follows in the previous month:

corporate gift basket - searched 33,187 times
gift basket supply - searched 12,274 times
orange county gourmet gift basket - searched 1,010 times

The important thing to remember is that although the above key phrases were searched considerably less times than the generic term, gift baskets, the people that searched for them are often motivated, highly targeted buyers. For instance, those who searched for corporate gift basket are probably people who are looking to buy gift baskets to give away as corporate gifts.

If you're thinking of starting a gift basket business in Orange County, finding out that 1,010 people are looking for gift baskets in your area is pretty significant because that's a substantial number for a small geographic area.


2. Do Research using PayPal, Amazon, Google and eBay. In order to supplement the product demand information you gathered from Overture, you might also want to try the following:

*

Go to PayPal.com. Click on the Shops link at the bottom of page. All 42,000 websites that accept PayPal are listed here by category. There's a Categories column on the left side of the page. Click on the category of the product you're researching. PayPal will display the top shops in that category, ranked by volume (i.e., number of sales made through PayPal). For example: If you're thinking of selling tooth whiteners, you'd click on the Health and Nutrition category. You'd find a listing for a company that sells a Teeth Bleach Kit, and they made 16,736 sales through PayPal. (Remember: They also have other sales transactions, such as credit card transactions, etc.) Since the company seems to have robust sales, they're obviously making money. It's, therefore, a good product to sell.

*

Go to http://www.groups.Google.com. In the search box, type in the name of a product you're interested in possibly selling. Example: human growth hormone. The search results will list the news groups discussing the product (human growth hormones had 18,000 as of the time of this writing). Click on the links and find out how many people are posting to those news groups. If there are many, then there is much interest in the product, and it's probably popular or very much in demand.

*

Go to Amazon.com. Click on the Top Sellers tab. The most popular items are featured there, organized by category, and updated hourly. Amazon may be best known for being an online bookseller, but they also sell a wide variety of other product categories including computers, jewelry, apparel, automotive, personal care, cell phones and electronics, among others. This will give you a good cross-section of the items people are buying on the Internet.

*

Go to eBay.com - In the search box, type in the name of a product you're interested in possibly selling. Example: billiard tables. eBay will display how many items are available for sale in that category. In the case of billiard tables, 534 items are available. This gives an indication of the activity surrounding the item in question -- not necessarily how well the product sells. Click on the Sell tab at the top of the home page. Then, click on the Seller Central link at the bottom of the Sell page. Scroll down the page and click on the Hot Items by Category link. This is where you find out which categories and products are hot -- and where demand is outpacing supply!

3. Do a product survey. People who do business offline usually conduct a feasibility study before putting a new product out in the marketplace. It's a curious fact that most people who do business on the Web seldom conduct a feasibility study to find out how marketable their product concept is, the price that the market is willing to pay for the product, etc. The Internet is probably the most responsive medium for conducting such marketing research very easily and inexpensively. You could even do it for free -- and you can get the results in record speed.

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Go to chat rooms, discussion groups and forums that focus on topics related to the product you're considering. Example: If you're planning to sell memory foam mattresses, you can go to groups that discuss conditions that can be helped by memory foam mattresses, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, sleep disorders, etc. Post some questions as to where people are buying the mattresses from, what challenges there are (if any) in finding good quality foam mattresses, how much they're paying for them, etc. You'll be surprised at the quality of information you're able to gather from the responses you get -- information that will help you market your product better.
*

Send a product survey to your target audience. Doing this is actually easier and simpler than it sounds because there are countless survey services that are available online -- some of them free of cost. Many of them allow you to simply send out an e-mail, including a link in the e-mail that, when clicked on, <>

http://www.FreeOnlineSurveys.com
http://www.Zoomerang.com
http://www.SurveyConsole.com
http://www.SurveyPro.com

After you've selected marketable products and/or services that you want to sell on the Web, it's time to move onward to Step 2.

 

Paris Hilton engaged to Greek shipping heir Paris Latsis

They are happy and excited," Hilton spokesman Rob Shuter told People magazine, which reported the engagement Monday on its Web site.

Well - the guy hooked up with a semi-porn star but also one of the hilton's heiresses. Not a bad combination. The couple marked the engagement Saturday with a barbecue for 75 friends and family at their Hollywood Hills home.

Looks like we won't be seing any more videos of paris, or will this spawn a media frenze and requests for more videos? We'll see.

I know the SERP's will be going crazy and don't discount the domain grabbers on this one.

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