Market Research for Blogs

Market Research for Blogs?

Today I want to talk about Market Research and why it’s crucial to do in order to find your niche online. But first I want to talk about why no one wants to do it.

As internet marketers, we often have great ideas, and we can’t wait to put them into action. We get an idea for a blog, an eBook, or an online course, and we start launching it because we know how awesome our idea is.

However, we get into trouble when we skip researching the market to learn if people really want it. I’ve done this, so I’m not here to get on anyone’s case. I’m here to help you avoid my mistakes.

For example, many people know that I’m a musician, and my first foray into internet marketing was teaching musicians how to market themselves. I knew how to market myself, and a couple of friends were interested in what I was doing, and that was good enough for me! I wrote articles, ebooks, books, taught workshops, etc, but I didn’t make much money from that work. That work actually got me work as an independent consultant to a music publicity firm. For this firm, I blogged, I created course content, I trained interns, I moderated online forums, but my ebooks and workshops weren’t the cash cow that I hoped for. But it didn’t matter at the time because I was being paid well as a consultant.

Fast forward to 15 years or so later when I became part of a musical duo, Curtis and Carla. Our performance schedule was heavy, and we toured a lot through New York State and the Northeastern United States. Suddenly, I no longer wanted to have a job that ruled my life. I wanted to have an income that was independent of time and location. And to do that, I wanted to create digital products that would sell “in my sleep”.

WATCH: Create Your Audience Before You Create Your Digital Product

This was when I started taking courses with Pajama Affiliates, and learned about “Buyer’s Markets”. Because of Robin Cockrell and Lesley Stevens, I learned that all markets were not created equal. By doing the research they taught me, I learned the hard way, that musicians aren’t a buying market for information. Regardless of how important I thought it was for musicians to promote themselves properly, and to learn everything they can about marketing, I was in the minority.

Sure, musicians bought instruments and gear, but as a singer who played guitar sometimes, I wasn’t interested in creating a blog that earned commission based on instruments and gear.

So while I’ll never say that that was a waste of my time, I say now that I could have saved myself some time if I would have known to research that niche first.

Once I learned that lesson, I dabbled in the dating and relationship market, and realized that while that was a super lucrative market, I also found it emotionally draining. I wanted to have an online business in order to have freedom, but the reality felt more like handcuffs.

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So I eventually found myself teaching online marketing. I a different marketing course, and learned how to spy on my target market. I learned how to find where people were online, and what they were searching for. And I learned that my ideal client wanted to know how to build an email list, how to to get traffic to their site, and how to make money from their product.

The first distinction was that my ideal client wasn’t a person with a local brick and mortar business that they wanted to promote online. I discovered that my ideal client already had an eBook, online course, or membership site, and they wanted to learn how to sell it.

This lesson revolutionized my business because I now knew that I would no longer be chasing brick and mortar businesses. Instead I would focus on the people who had online businesses that they wanted to build. Mind. Blown.

Now the other part of this equation is finding out where I stood out in the market. And that required for me to know who my so-called “competitors” were. I use quotes because I believe in collaboration more than competition. But the point is that I needed to know who were the other people teaching online marketing out there.

I’m going to take a second here to note that I’ve noticed that many of you seem to feel squeamish about knowing who else is out there, like it’s a bad word to check out the other people who do what you do. But I want to let you know that if you don’t know who else is out there, you will never know how you stand out. By the way, checking out your competition is not a reason for you to beat up on yourself, or compare yourself unfavorably. Take the emotion out of this, and simply observe. The point of this exercise is to know what other people are offering your market, their style, their delivery, and make sure that you are not doing the same thing that everyone else is doing.

WATCH: Finding Customers Online: 4 Ways to Spy On Your Ideal Client

A few years ago, I took an entrepreneurial class in New York City, which required market research as part of our homework. This was a 16 week class, that if you did your homework, not only would you receive a certificate of completion, you would also have the information necessary to create a business plan. A business plan is what brick and mortar businesses need when they are trying to get a bank loan or other resources. And the banks would also want to know who your competition was, and how you were different. This is what is called your “differential advantage.” Once you knew how you stood out in the market, that would be your edge.

But somehow, when I talk to some online entrepreneurs and ask them who their competition is, they get a little offended. And even say things like “There’s no one else out there doing what I do.” When I hear this, I have to bite my tongue.

As I’ve mentioned before, as a musician, I know that there are only 12 tones in the Western musical scale. It’s unlikely that you’ll be creating a brand new musical genre. And when it comes to business, it is also highly unlikely that you are doing something that no one else does. The thing that sets you apart, though, is what you are bringing to the table, your personality, your perspective, and your experience. This is what makes the difference between Bach, Bowie, and The Beatles. They each have the same 12 notes, but it’s what they do with those notes that makes them sound totally different from each other.

When I looked at the other online marketers, I noticed that they were selling the dream of making 5 and 6 figures with their business. Now while I don’t begrudge them that, I understood that if my ideal client was struggling to get 100 people on their email list, they might not even be mentally prepared to make 5 or 6 figures. If you have yet to make $100 from your eBook, how do you expect to make $10,000 a month. There’s a disconnect there, and I realized that my strength, my differential advantage is teaching people how to make their first $1000.

So I want you think about the people in your industry. Who is your ideal client, and what do they really need from you? Where do they hang out online to talk about their struggles? Who are your competitors, and how are you different from them? What is your differential advantage. Knowing the answers will revolutionize your business.

Market research for blogs can be fun!

Carla Lynne Hall is a Digital Business Coach who teaches online courses for bloggers and online influencers who  want to grow an audience, build a profitable online business, and enjoy a lifestyle to outside of the regular 9-5.  She also runs the Internet Famous VIP Mastermind Group on Facebook, where she provides group coaching and challenges. Join today at

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