Have you ever spent a pile of money developing products and ideas, wracked your brain and worn your knuckles raw trying to sell them only to learn that nobody wanted to buy them?
I certainly have. In fact I think most marketers have. I get the impression it is almost a law of the universe that we start out our marketing careers with all kinds of pre-conceived notions about what will sell, what people will buy, what people supposedly need, only to find that we were simply wrong.
Of course some of us are lucky. We hit on a product that people really do want. We stick it in front of them. And they buy.
Marketing? Who needs marketing when you’re such a genius?
But for the rest of us, the first step in the marketing process should be: to ”Find a product that people want”, or, at least, to put it negatively, ”Don’t try to sell things people do NOT want”.
If they aren’t searching for it, they don’t want it
We’re talking internet marketing here, so the question is: ”How do you discover if anybody wants your product?”
Answer: You test market it.
Fortunately there are some very powerful and inexpensive tools available to online marketers. Virtually all of these tools are based on analyzing ”keywords”. So if you don’t know the significance of keywords, the following is a very quick primer.
Since the web presents all of us with a vast ocean of material, there must be a way for people to find the things they are interested in. Search Engines (SEs) scan the millions and millions of pages out there on the web and they use ”keywords” or ”key phrases” within the pages as hints of what those pages are about.
Then they classify all those pages according to their keyword findings.
Then a person who is searching for something on the web — say it’s something about ”pet care” — goes to her favorite search engine, types in ”pet care”, or ”caring for pets” — and voila! — up pops a list of websites about ”pet care”.
Once you understand this process it shouldn’t take long to realize that what people search for determines how you should describe your product.
Say you have a product idea for something called an ”inverted hydraulic grommet installer”. It may be a wonderful idea, but if nobody ever searches for that specific key phrase, it basically does not exist as far as the web is concerned. Nobody will ever see your website or your product, because nobody ever searches for ”inverted hydraulic grommet installers”.
Finding out what people want
As in most cases, the challenge will be to find the most productive keywords relevant to your product that people DO search for. Then you can determine if anybody is willing to actually BUY your product.
The easiest way to do this is to use a two stage process:
First, find a keyword analysis tool like the Overture keyword tool (http://www.small-business-online.com/seo-tools.shtml), and do a quick analysis of various keyword possibilities. This tool will tell you whether or not people actually search for your term, and it will suggest other derivatives or related terms you might use instead.
Then, once you have an idea of your best keywords, set up a short Google Adwords campaign to test market your product idea.
Google Adwords are those little text ads that run down the right side of the page when you do a Google search. The nice thing about an Adwords campaign is that you can have it up and running in minutes, and you can let it run for as long (or as short) as you want. All you need is some idea of the marketability of your product. And often an Adwords campaign can tell you what you want to know after just one or two days.
The other good thing about Adwords is that you only pay when people click through to your site. If you don’t get any clicks you’ve found out that nobody wants what you’re advertising. It also doesn’t cost you anything.
Of course it is sometimes difficult to run a test campaign for a product you haven’t yet produced. After all, that is one of the purposes of the test — to determine if you should go ahead and produce the product. In that case you may want to try a technique suggested by Perry Marshall in his little course called ”Five Days to Success with Google Adwords”.
Begin by defining your product in terms of the PROBLEM it is supposed to solve. Then write a short report or ”white paper” describing the problem and detailing how to solve it (using your product of course). Now create a page in your website (usually called a ”landing page”) dedicated to describing the product and promoting your white paper ”solution”. Make sure to create an opt-in form which interested people can use to request your white paper.
Then create your Google Adwords campaign around this free white paper. Point your ads to the landing page where you encourage interested people to send for your report.
As Perry Marshall says, ”if you can’t get anybody to opt-in to your report – or if you can’t find keywords that people are searching for – then that’s a good sign you should abandon the project before you throw any more money at it.
”When people opt in, send them an email (or maybe even call them on the phone) and ask them what they’re looking for. If your report is any good, they’ll be happy to talk to you, and you’ll get LOTS of input about the kinds of problems they’re trying to solve.” (from Five Days to Success with Google AdWords, by Perry Marshall)
Google Adwords can be the easiest way to try something before you spend a lot of time and money on its development. Who knows, the product might even be a winner!
About the Author: Rick Hendershot is a writer and internet publisher. He operates the Linknet Publishing Network which provides promotional opportunities for online entrepreneurs. For advertising and product information, see Linknet Products.