7 Easy Ways to Discover What Customers Are Buying

customers buyingA lot of people talk about finding out what people are searching for online.

But we need to go deeper than this.  We need to find out what people are BUYING online.

Just because someone is searching for a subject doesn’t mean they’re willing to spend money on it.   I’ve seen so many people make mistakes here.  They see a high traffic keyword phrase.  They go after it, and perhaps they even generate a large amount of traffic from it.

The visitors don’t buy.  All that time and effort was a waste.

You may say, “But what if they’re a blogger and give away free information?”

Fine…but they still need traffic that’s willing to buy.  A blog on its own is not a business. It’s a traffic method.  You need a way to monetize that traffic consistently to turn it into a profitable income source.

This could be through your own products or services.  It could be through affiliate programs.

Or if could be through selling advertising.

Having millions of visitors sure looks enticing to those advertisers, but how long will they keep advertising if the audience is unresponsive to their offers.  And let’s say you’re just using Adsense or one of the other “easy” tools for selling your space.  If your site doesn’t convert into clicks and sales for the advertisers, your bids won’t be very high.  There are stories all over the net with webmasters frustrated with just how little they’re getting paid through Adsense.

It all comes back to finding out what people are buying…not just what they’re searching.

You see me refer to this in many of my articles.  Today I’m going to show you a few of the resources you can use to do this research.   I go into more detail on this and many other strategies in my Monthly Mentor Club.

Here are just a few ways you could use these resources:

  • Research what people are buying so you can write content about these subjects.
  • Compare competition to better create your offer and fill a gap in the market.
  • Look for “hidden” language customers are using in the marketplace for your ad copy.
  • Make a list of the benefits all the leaders in the market have in common.
  • Come up with product ideas of your own – knowing they’re already selling.

Buyer Resource #1: Amazon Bestsellers
http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/

Amazon gives us a world of research.  If you get started with the best sellers list, you can then choose any of the categories available to you.  If you’re interested in information products, then go into the books category.  But you’re not limited by this.  They cover sports, pet supplies, kitchen, clothing, etc.  And you can keep digging deeper into these categories.   You’ll usually want to go at least several levels deep in a category to get more specific about the subject.

Look the best sellers in your category.  What are the products called and what benefits do they offer to the audience (look in the features and the product description)?  What are their key selling points?  These can be found by looking at the reviews.

The reviews show what BUYERS like or dislike about the products.  And not only that, but other people VOTE on whether the reviews are helpful.  Think about it.  You get customers telling you exactly what they like or don’t like.  Plus you have other potential buyers voting and telling you whether each review is helpful for making a buying decision on the product.

Plus, there’s more.  Sometimes when someone dislikes a product in their review, you’ll have others who post comments.  They answer the objections of the original review.

That’s a world of buyer research at your fingertips.  You can get ideas to improve your products.  You can “swipe” ad copy ideas from the reviews which convince others to buy (if they also relate to your product).  And you also find out the core objections…and answers to those objections.

Buyer Resource #2: Mailing Lists of Buyers
http://lists.nextmark.com/

The biggest resource of mailing lists has been the SRDS (Standard Rate and Data Service), but that requires a subscription (you could possibly access it through a large local library).  I refer to Nextmark because they have a pretty good search engines for mailing lists.

Do a search using the keywords that fit your market.  Here’s the biggie.  You don’t want to look at compiled lists.  And you don’t want to look at “survey” lists either.  You want to look at buyer lists.  You want people who have purchased a product.

For example, here is one I found in the dogs category: “PROFILE: The Only Natural Pet Store is the leading direct marketing retailer of natural pet supplies for dogs and cats. Their buyers are devoted, educated, health-conscious pet owners who are willing to spend money on high-end natural pet supplies for their dogs and cats. Only Natural’s products are chosen for their holistic approach to pet health, including natural dog and cat food, treats, flea control, supplements, holistic remedies, grooming supplies and dry goods.”

This one goes on to tell me the demographics: Average age of 45, Average income of $70k, Children in HH, Homeowners, College Educated, Active Donors to Environmental and Animal Causes.

Find several buyers lists in the market and you can begin cross referencing the demographics and get a pretty decent idea of your customer before you even start marketing.

Buyer Resource #3: Commission Junction
http://www.cj.com

Join their affiliate network.  Now you can look at their top producing sites and even some of the best offers in each of the categories they offer.  Choose the market you’re interested in and then order the sites by their 3 month EPC.

CJ lists both the 3 month and 7 day EPC for each affiliate program in their inventory.  An EPC is the average amount earned per 100 visitors.  So if the EPC is $185.28, then the average earnings for affiliates was $1.85 per click they sent to the site.

Some sites won’t show their EPC codes because they need 1,000 clicks in a 3 month period for the stats to be shown.  You want to pay more attention to the 3 month numbers than the short-term 7 day one which varies way too much by special and what kinds of promotions may be done for them.

You can look at the top producing sites in your market not just to find affiliates to promote, but also to judge what’s currently selling well in your marketplace.  Look at the landing pages, banners, and other tools the winners are offering to their affiliates.

Buyer Resource #4: Clickbank
http://www.clickbank.com/marketplace

You can use a similar strategy on Clickbank, although it is primarily for digital information products.    Drill down into the category you’re looking for, and then check out the gravity score of the top products being offered.

The gravity score keeps track of the number of affiliates who earned a commission on a specific product over the past 12 weeks.  If there is a high gravity score, then you know there are a large number of affiliates currently making sales of that product.   You don’t know how many sales are made by each affiliate, so the gravity score could be a little deceptive and a lower ranked product could be making more sales overall (they just don’t have as many affiliates).

What you know is that any product with a high gravity score is making sales and is likely being exposed in numerous places online.  It has momentum behind it.

Look at the sales pages for product ideas, bullet ideas, and how they’re motivating buyers to take action.

Buyer Resource #5: eBay
http://pulse.ebay.com

This is a daily snapshot of the current trends and hot sellers on eBay.  Think about it this way.  When someone searches on a site such as eBay or Amazon, we know they’re thinking about making a buying decision.  When they search Google or Youtube, they may just be looking for information or entertainment.  That’s why I put more weight behind what buyers are searching for.

There is a categories box near the top left.  Click on that and choose the categories you’re interested in.  Now you can see the most popular searches in this category along with the most watched items.    You can even check out some of the largest stores in the category to give you an idea of the product mix of those running some of the largest eBay businesses.

At the bottom of the page (below the fold) is another link “See more eBay Pulse Categories.”  You can click this link to dig into even more specific categories for your research.   Use this, because the initial search probably didn’t dig deep enough into your market for you.  The next page offers better targeting for you.

Buyer Resource #6: Google and Bing PPC Advertisers
http://www.google.com
http://www.bing.com

When you’re doing any Google research, always pay attention to the paid advertisers.  These are the sites at the very top, along the right side of the page, and sometimes at the very bottom as well.  They’re PAYING to be in these places.  If they’re not able to convert the visitors into income, then they can’t keep advertising long-term .

Don’t make the mistake of only checking once though.  You need to check the results on the same keyword phrase several times per day over a period of a couple of weeks to get an idea of who is coming up most consistently in the top few results.  Simply screenshot it each time you visit Google or Bing.  And then compare the rankings in the paid results during the period you’re checking it.

You could also use a paid tool to do this for you over at www.FindMarketWInners.com (affiliate link).  Just set up a “Keyword Monitor” in the system for the specific keyword you want. It may already be able to show you the winners if that have stats for that phrase.  Otherwise give it a couple of weeks and check back to see who the winners are in your marketplace.

Once you know who is winning in PPC, then you can analyze their site to see why.  What is their offer?  Who are they targeting?  What benefits are they promoting?  How can you duplicate their winning formula with your site?

Buyer Resource #7: Magazine Advertisers
http://www.magazines.com

This one is tough to do fully online unless you buy the magazines.  You want to look at any direct response advertisers who consistently run in the niche magazines.  The cheapest way to do this is to go down to your local library and get all the back issues.  You’re specifically looking for ads which have run in 4 or more months of the magazine.   Just because it runs once doesn’t mean it’s working.  And there are often specials for 3 months worth of issues.

The key principle is they must be a direct response advertiser.  This means they need to be asking for a specific response in the ad.  They’re asking you to buy a product.  Or they’re sending you to a website to optin to a list.  Or they’re asking for a phone call.  They must be tracking their ad.

Your goal here is to examine their funnel as well.  Join their list.  Visit the site.   Purchase a low cost product from them.  See what else they offer you on the backend (their income likely comes from their additional offers – not just the first sale).

Make Life Easier For Yourself

Never go in blind.  Once you find people are searching for a subject, then confirm they are also BUYING on the subject.  And using the tools above, you can even go further than this.  You can also compare what products and services are selling best.  Analyze their websites and their offers.   And come up with better ways to market your products and services.

In fact, there is never a reason to start with a “blank page” when you’re creating your websites.  You can gather ideas, questions, and benefits that relate to your audience before you get started.

And if you want to take your marketing to the next level, check out the www.MonthlyMentorClub.com.

Each month you’ll discover series methods of earning an income online based directly off what my one-on-one clients and I are doing right now.

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About The Author

Terry Dean

Terry Dean has been in full-time internet business since 1996 and has helped thousands of entrepreneurs get started online through his articles and products. He lives in Ocala, Florida with his wife and 2 dogs. Find out more about how the Monthly Mentor Club can help you today.