One of the mistakes many beginning copywriters and marketers make is failing to understand their target market.
They create products and services they think people NEED to solve a problem or fulfill a desire. However, they end up totally missing the mark and wasting a lot of time and money.
This blog post will cover 2 ways to determine what your target market wants. Research is my hallmark when it comes to writing copy (you can read more about that here) and these are the top things I do to research a target market.
1) Peruse Online Forums And Message Boards
This is HUGE. Many people go on forums to hang out, make friends, and network. Depending on the niche and forum.
However, many go to forums because they have an urgent problem that needs to be solved—and they want to ask the members how to solve it.
Forums are a literal goldmine if you want to get insight into what keeps your target audience up at night.
Here’s an example: I frequent the Warrior Forum a lot. In case you’re not familiar with the forum, it’s a popular internet marketing forum that has thousands of members.
Most of the people who peruse this forum are looking to make money online. There are some people who are experts who help on the forum. However, most are “newbies” looking to get started.
Here’s a random screenshot I took to show my point:
You can see that 3 people are internet marketing “newbies” looking for advice on how to make money online. If you were to peruse the Warrior Forum more extensively you’ll notice most of the topics are started by people looking for advice on how to make money on the internet.
So you can easily determine if there is a NEED in the marketplace by watching forum posts. In this case, the NEED is for information on how to make money online.
This is a rather obvious example—as it’s well-known that the “make money online” is a rabid market and millions of dollars of information products catering to this market are sold every month.
One more thing: the number of forums in a niche is another important indicator as well. The easiest thing to do is simply search for “(your niche) forum” in Google. Here is an example search illustrating this:
You can see there are MANY internet marketing forums online—an indicator that a niche is rabid enough that people congregate online to discuss.
Browsing forums is only one part of the equation when it comes to honing into your target market. The next thing you need to do is determine if your target audience actually spends money in that niche.
2) Determine What Other Products Exist Out There In The Marketplace
This is where you’ll determine if the problem or desires of your target market is rabid enough for them to yank out their wallet and BUY.
The easiest thing to do is go to Amazon.com and browse what books exist in a niche. Or if you have a good bookstore like Barnes and Noble you can walk in and study the books.
While you’re at it, take a look at the magazines as well. A niche that has a lot of magazines is a good indicator of market passion.
Here’s a simple Amazon periodical search on cats:
As you can see, there are periodicals devoted to cats—an indicator the market is passionate enough to pay a recurring subscription for information on cats.
Oh, and don’t forget to actually look through these books and magazines to check out the advertisements, and the topics that appear again and again.
Here’s an example: there are TONS of magazines devoted to golf. And each golf magazine has articles devoted to one thing: hitting long drives straight down the fairway.
As a result, there are many information products devoted to helping people hit longer drives and shooting lower scores. This is the #1 thing golfers want to accomplish—and they’ll do ANYTHING to achieve this result since their passion level is so high.
So looking through books and periodicals in your niche will 1) show you if people are willing to spend money in a niche and 2) provide more insight to what keeps your target market up at night.
Another thing you can do is check out if there are Google Adwords ads running when you perform a search query in Google.
Here’s an example:
You can see I typed “dating” into the search query box and you can see all the Adwords ads—outlined in black. This is an indicator that people are spending money in this market. Otherwise, advertisers would not be paying the big bucks on Adwords if they were not getting their investment back in product sales.
So to wrap things up, here are your action steps:
1) Find out if there are forums and message boards in your target market.
2) Check back in now and then to peruse the subject lines to see what people are talking about.
3) Go to the local bookstore and see what books and periodicals exist in your market. Study them and make note of common topics that appear over and over again.
4) Use a variety of keywords pertaining to your market to determine if there are Google Adwords ads being run in your market.
You’ll seriously be 95% ahead of your competition who will never do any of the above research to hone into their target market.
Until next time,
Kevin Hill – Direct Response Copywriter
“The Professor of High Response”