How to do market research

You can write create a product because it sounds like a good idea, but someone producing a passive income stream may want to take the time to do a bit of research first before iinvesting a lot of time and energy into a project. The prime example is publishing, which we’ll cover in more detail in the next chapter, but this market research stage applies to all passive income streams and should not be ignored. One of the hugest mistakes you can make is not taking time for some market research.

Method #1: See what is already selling.

Take the time to look at Amazon and other major retailers online. You’ll be able to see what some of the best sellers are in each category, whether that’s books or kitchen appliances. If you have a particular skill or interest that you believe would be a good starting point, find the category with the most popular books or products in that specific niche. (A “niche” is a focused area or topic.) Seeing what is currently trending is an easy way to get a taste for what people are buying right now. More of the same actually can and does often sell, but if you can put a new perspective on the topic or a new encouragement on what a product should be bought, then that’s even better.

Method #2: Keyword research.

With Google’s Keyword Planner, you are able to punch in keywords related to the book topic you’re considering. With this, you’ll be given data regarding similar keywords, how often this keyword and related keywords are searched for, and how much money is being spent to advertise on search results for these keywords. This data is potently valuable for a number of reasons. While this data may not be a direct reflection of sales on Amazon or other retailers, it does show trends of online shoppers and information seekers. The similar keywords provided can help you to find popular keywords or keyphrases that may not be quite as heavily saturated through online markets and websites. The competition figures will give you an idea of if you’ll be able to afford the costs involved. The more competition a key- word has, the more people utilizing it within their content, and thus the more difficult it is to place well in search engines or pay for advertising should you go down that route.

Method #3: Ask the market.

You can always take the time to ask your potential market questions and gather data from actual people to make the best decisions possible. Using a service like Google Forms to create a survey, you can source responses from websites like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk,MTurk.com/b>, to handle it yourself. Through MTurk, you can offer to pay respondents a nominal fee for their time, ten cents is typically fine for a survey that only takes a couple minutes. Alternatively, you can find survey services willing to help you find responses. For those on a budget, there are a few providers on Fiverr.com that can get you 100 responses for only $5 to $25, depending on the length of your survey and how long you are willing to wait for responses. This method is highly suggested for those that don’t want to learn MTurk or don’t expect to run a whole lot of surveys. This type of direct market research can become helpful during many stages of passive income development. Sometimes another set of eyes is the difference a product needs.

You can have people vote and comment on book covers, title names, and other details. You can ask for their opinion on certain topics to help build you get ideas for new blog posts. This type of survey work can give you answers to questions that are otherwise difficult to find. Having a peak at a selection of your potential customers is a great way to wrap your head around the tasks ahead.

Putting It Together

Now that you’ve taken the time to do some market research, you should have an idea of what topics you might want to write about, what topics are likely to be profitable, which key-words are likely to help your products (your income streams) get discovered. This research stage works wonders for all passive income streams. Don’t skip it. If you cannot viably prove to yourself that a specific niche is profitable, then don’t bother with it and expect a large return on investment. Find one that is profitable or underserviced. Now that we’ve got that part out of the way, let’s begin to focus on what income streams are available to you. Moving forward, I will provide you with some actionable steps and firsthand advice concerning passive income streams that can be handled at home, with limited budgets, and with little to no experience.

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