Gauging Market Opportunity With Free Online Tools
Have a great business idea? Need to convince the boss to move into a specific market? Need to show a client the market potential your services could offer them? There are numerous free online tools that can be used towards any of these ends.
Let’s just take a simple example and say we’ve invented a revolutionary new fishing fly that outperforms flies currently on the market. Now we need to answer the question of whether or not there is a large enough market to support a business selling such a fly.
We’ll start with search. Head over to Google’s Keyword Tool and type in some terms relative to your business. In this case you might try “fishing fly” or even get more specific with “trout fly” or “streamer flies.” It also helps to search around in Google first and read some sites related to your topic to get more word ideas to input into the tool.
The great thing about the tool is that it not only gives you a long list of related terms, but it also tells you how many people search for each of the terms every month, giving you an indication of how many people could be interested in out business. Go ahead and export all the words into Excel and graph the information to show visually how interested the market is in each specific word.
Web Surfer Interest
Now let’s go back to Google search. Type in some of your relevant key words and visit the sites that pop up. Bookmark a few that are the most relevant to the market you are researching, and head over to compete.com. Sign up for a free account, and input the url’s of the sites you found to get an estimate of how many visitors each site gets per month. Important types of sites to put through this type of analysis would be blogs, news sites, ecommerce sites, and informational sites dealing with your given business idea. Below is the one we performed on fishing fly ecommerce sites.
Another good indicator of web interest is simply how many blogs or web pages that exist that relate to your business idea. How many blogs exist that talk about fishing? Technorati and Blog Catalog are two good places to look. Finding this out also gives you a good idea of how many bloggers you could potentially reach out to so that they will feature your new product and spread it to their readers.
Social Media Interest
Let’s check out interest on Twitter. You can do this by hitting twitter directories such as Twellow and Wefollow to see how many people come up when you search for your key terms. What’s more, you can see how many followers these people have to figure how much influence each would have if they tweeted about your product.
Facebook is another important one to check out – do a search for groups or fan pages related to your business. How many pop up? How many members or fans do they have? Again, this gives you numbers representing people interested in your business that are on Facebook – and the amount of people you could potentially reach through that medium.
Now you have a decent look at the market potential for your business, and an idea of how many people you could reach using online channels and search optimization. And the entire analysis can be done in about 1 hour, for free.