Small business owners often make the mistake of creating and marketing products and services that they are passionate about without learning first if there is a need or demand for them in the marketplace. This can lead to unnecessary struggle, frustration and disappointment. You think you're doing everything right but the sales just aren't rolling in.
It's important not to get too emotionally attached to your product or idea. Instead look at the range of what your skills, talent and knowledge can offer and then see how it matches up with what people are searching to buy. When there's a match--Bingo! You've got a much easier sale. You've found a Market Bubble- a place where there is a big demand and not quite enough supply.
You might be excited at this point; already envisioning how much easier your life would be if you could just find that sweet spot, but you're not sure how to do it. Well here are some tried and true methods:
1) Keyword Research
Keyword research is the foundation for the online portion of your business--and more. Good keyword research will tell you what people are REALLY searching for, which believe me, is usually not what you think they would be. I've seen this happen over and over again with my small business clients.
It will tell show you where there is an unfulfilled need. It will allow you to see who you're competing with online and what products and services those top competitors are selling successfully. Which leads us to . . . .
2) Competitor Research
Do a search in Google for the keyword phrases you think your potential customer would use. Then visit the top 3 websites that come up in the organic results (not the paid ads). See what their website looks like, what language they use, how they position and market their products and services. This will give you some insight into what is selling now and give you an idea of where the "sweet spot" may be.
Look at the hottest selling books in your niche. What are the titles? What are they about? What do the online book reviewers say?
4) Social Media
Look for groups of your target market on Facebook or Linked In. Follow people interested in your topic on Twitter. What are they talking about? What do they need? You can even do a mini survey and get some great response.
5) Client/Subscriber Survey
Yearly, I survey my thousands of online subscribers to find out where they are in their business growth, what they need to learn, what services they need, and what they are willing to pay for. They tell me what I need to offer during the upcoming year. It's great and you can do the same.
Research may seem time consuming but it's actually a smart short cut. So before you decide on what you want to sell, discover what your customers what to buy and give it to them. You'll generate more sells with much less effort and your business will grow much faster.
Janis Pettit may be contacted at http://www.smallbusiness-bigresults.com
Janis Pettit is a small business coach and marketing expert who has owned successful small businesses for 21 years and has coached hundreds of small and solo business owners, showing them how to dramatically increase profits and build wealth. She is co-author of 136 Ways to Market Your Small or Solo Business and creator of numerous business marketing home-study courses and coaching programs. Get her free e-book, 12 Secrets to Building a Profitable Small or Solo Business, plus access to business building audios. Visit her blog at http://janispettit.com.