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Market Research Case Study – Back Pain Niche

Recently, we’ve talked a lot about curation. What it is, what it does, and whether it can work for you. Today I’m going to share a process I use to conduct market research.

I’ll share the five questions I ask when choosing new, potentially profitable, niches.

I’d like to show you the process in action.

The niche I’m researching is back pain.

I’ve been in physical therapy for almost a year with lower back pain from an accident, so why not make a few bucks from a topic I’ve grown to know well?

After all – lemonade from lemons, right?

So let’s get into the specific research I did that convinced me to do market research in the back pain niche.

Here are the five questions I suggest…

  • Do they read?
  • Are they talking?
  • Do they buy?
  • Is there advertising?
  • Are there products you can sell?

If three or more can be answered “yes” then I’m interested.

If all five can be answered “yes” I know right now I can make money in this niche.

I don’t know yet how long it will take. But because I have a proven process for testing a market before making a big-dollar commitment I know that the profits will come.

Believe me when I tell you this — you can do the same thing. It’s just a matter of learning a Common Sense Internet Marketing process.

Now let’s look at each question and allow me to share the answers that encouraged me to take action.

Do they read?

When you enter a new market the last thing you need to do is waste time and money finding the buyers. You need to be able to find them quickly, easily and with minimum effort.

That’s why you need to know if they are reading. If they are reading then you can compete with articles you write (or have written) special reports, webinars and more.

Knowing if a market is reading is step 1.

So we go to the inevitable Google to find the answer.

And what do we find?

 

We find that there are over 61 MILLION sites in some way about back pain.

Interesting, and encouraging.

But, by itself, not enough.

Lots of terms generate high search results in Google. Although 61 million is big, some search terms bring back even more results.

The term Steve Jobs returns over 250 million hits. While it can be done, making money from this term is pretty hard to do.

So we dig a little deeper.

Now we need to know the answer to question 2, which is …

Are they talking?

Many people wrote to say that “Do they buy” should be the second question. While I respect everyone’s opinion, I remain committed to “Are they talking” as the second step for this reason.

If they are talking I can join the conversation.

And once I join the conversation some very good things can happen.

  • I know they are real people and not robots (this is very important)
  • I can learn more about their needs
  • I can get to know them
  • They can get to know me
  • I can offer helpful information (more on this in another article)
  • I can ask what products they like
  • And more

I don’t do this on day 1 of course. Rushing into a forum and peppering members with questions (or sales pitches thinly veiled as surveys) is like meeting a pretty girl in a bar and asking her to marry you.

You might not like the answer you get.

Because I’m in business for the long haul, and because I want this niche to be super-profitable, I will spend an hour a day for a week getting the lay of the land.

A worthy investment, IF all five questions get a “yes” answer.

So how do we know they are talking?

There are many ways. One of the best is to find forums and visit them.

Here’s a search for back pain forums.

Now we’re cookin’!

Over 9 million results. But that number doesn’t matter as much.

What does matter is the huge number of forums about back pain. And how active they are.

We’ll save analyzing the activity for another article. This one is getting long already.

Think there might be some customers there? I guarantee you there are (and guarantee is a word I don’t use lightly) IF you don’t go rushing in with guns blazing.

On to question 3 …

Do they buy?

It will be hard to make money online from a market that is not buying online. So we need to know if they are buying.

What is the sure way to know if people are buying online?

Simple really — all we need to know is if people are selling online.

If multiple people are creating products for this niche then you can be sure that some of them (or many of them) are, in fact, selling products.

IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ THE NEXT STATEMENT THREE TIMES!

If they are selling products online there is no reason you can’t sell products to this niche as well. No reason at all.

So let’s go to our friends at Clickbank to see what’s happening on the product-selling front.

Notice something about my search at the Clickbank marketplace?

According to Clickbank there are a whopping 1764 products with the word “back pain” in their listing.

Even if there are not 1764 — even if there are only 10% of that — it means I have my choice of what to promote.

  • I can choose price points.
  • I can choose products based on how well their sales letter performs.
  • I can look to see if they have a follow up system.
  • And more.

And I like having choices.

But doing business with Clickbank can be tricky, so I want options.

Now I cruise on over to one of my favorite affiliate networks, ShareASale, to continue my research.

Rather than bore you with another long list, let’s zero in on one product.

The image above is from ShareASale and is for a good looking product that pays — wait for it — a huge 80% commission!

That is encouraging. With a bigger commission (even on a smaller sale) I have more options. I can afford to market more.

And I like having options.

Okay, now my heart is going pitter pat.

But can I reach this market? If not, I’m dead in the water.

So I need to know …

Is there advertising?

Now I need to know if there are ways to advertise to this market.

NOTE: I’m going to write an article soon about a GREAT tool that will let you know exactly who advertises on which sites, so stay tuned for that.

And tell your friends! 🙂

The quickest way to know if there are ads is to return to Larry Page’s wonderful site, Google.

If there are ads on Google, there are going to be ads on Bing. And Yahoo. And Facebook. And more.

We can check all that later. For now, let’s look at good old Google.

Sure enough, back pain relief sellers are having a field day advertising on Google. Just look at those ads!

There are AdWords ads and sponsored ads too.

Very encouraging. Because if they can advertise there, I can too!

Notice the suggested searches under the yellow box?

It’s nice how Google helps me by suggesting even more keywords I can use to do my research! Gotta love that.

Okay, there are pay per click ads. For now, that’s enough to know. Later in the process I will search for more ad avenues.

I will also look back in time to see how long these pay per click ads have been running.

But for now I need to confirm one final piece of information.

Are there products you can sell?

I say I need to confirm this because I already know there are products I can sell as an affiliate.

Because I chose to do my research using Clickbank and ShareASale, instead of Amazon or eBay, I know right now I can sell products and make money.

So now I know that my five questions are all “yes” and it’s time for me to get to work!

In an upcoming article I’m going to share the steps I take to get ready to make money from this market.

For now, why not apply this process to a market in which you are interested?

If you do I believe you will find it encouraging.

While there are about a million tools you can buy to do market research (or it sometime seems like a million!) I believe that taking a Common Sense approach works well.

  • It saves time.
  • It saves money.
  • It gives you immediate feedback.
  • It lets you know where to focus your efforts first.
  • It let’s you know all of this without spending one thin dime.

And those are beautiful things indeed!

 

Charlie Page
 

Happily married for 44 years, Charlie is the dad to two wonderful daughters. He is the author of 12 books on Internet marketing and creator of over 16 membership sites. You can see all Charlie offers using this link Click Here

  • Juha Salakka says:

    Hey Charlie
    Again, rigt on the nailhead. Awesom article, and just shows that doing a little research won’t have to be your hardest work on the week, exellent!!

  • Ake Hedman says:

    What took you so long?
    That will help me, thank you

  • […] also a great way to do market research for free to find out what people […]

  • […] my next article I will show you exactly where and how to do this market research. I’ll include screenshots from my own […]

  • Mike says:

    Charlie,
    This was really interesting. I am looking forward to the next article where you show how to monetize the niche.

    Thanks!

    • jim says:

      Great article Charlie,
      what would your approach be for marketing a back pain or similar type product on facebook?
      jim

      • Charlie Page says:

        Jim,

        Facebook is the perfect vehicle for this tight-niche marketing. While back pain can be niched down even more (things like exercise vs. medication vs. devices like a TENS unit) I would do this.

        1. Create a Facebook page just for this and create engagement.
        2. Use LeadPages (or something else) to create a squeeze page.
        3. Create a lead magnet that is highly valuable.
        4. Promote the lead magnet over any one product.
        5. Profit from the engagement and list with specific recommendations.
        6. Use polls and surveys to establish need and create or find products to recommend.

        That’s a rough plan but a decent starting point.

        Hope this helps.

        Charlie

  • […] Think about this for a minute. When you’re an affiliate, which means a commissioned salesman, the person who owns the product does the market research. […]

  • […] next article covers those steps in detail so I won’t cover that here except to say […]

  • […] my next article I will show you exactly where and how to do this market research. I’ll include screenshots from my own […]

  • Jacob says:

    Hey Charlie,
    First time reading your blog and this is the very first article I have read from you. This is great stuff first of all, you covered all the bases in an easy step by step fashion. Cool!! Quick question how is the back pain niche going? Do you have a website?Thanks!

    Regards
    Jacob

  • Dear Charlie,
    It’s interesting that as you are looking to improve your health you would also like to make use of the knowledge you have acquired about your condition to gain wealth. Now, if your back pain is associated with radiculopathy (pain radiating to your leg and sometimes numbness, also termed sciatica) then you should contact us. We can offer you both the best nutraceutical treatment for your health condition and a business (wealth) proposition.

    I would love to hear from you.
    Best regards,
    Gad

  • […] Research your answers. You will be shocked to discover the career possibilities online. Pick your favorite search engine, start a bookmark folder just for this, and find everything you can about your passion. […]

  • […] of you have asked about my health challenges after I mentioned briefly that health problems were forcing me to reconsider priorities for […]

  • Rick says:

    Hey Charlie have you made your follow up video relating to this post where you said we can look over youe shoulders as you implement the steps

  • Guy Pierce says:

    Great article Charlie! I’m pretty familiar with most of the techniques but one that I’d like more clarity on is the “Are they Talking” question and how you go about it. I know you mention that you spend an hour a day for a week “talking” but could you expand on that a little more? Were you planning on that?

    Thanks again Charlie, I am learning from this series.

    Guy

    • Charlie Page says:

      I am going to write about this again. I spend more time listening than talking. I want to know if they (the people in the market) are talking. When I lurk around I’m specifically looking for problems that need solving, topics that generate the most discussion (good or bad does not matter) and look for the loudest voices as well.

      Mostly, I want to get a sense of how I can be of service. Listening in on even only one or two top forums for a few hours total can give you that sense.

  • Luther Wood says:

    Charlie, I knew if I stuck around long enough I would get a simple step by step way to build an Internet Marketing business. Thank you very much for the simple way you have laid this out.

    I have been stumbling around for a couple of years trying this thing and that thing, bumping my hard head against a harder wall and coming away more confused and disappointed. I have been a DOE member almost two years and I have liked your honest approach from the beginning. The learning curve has been more like a paper clip for me. I consider myself to be as smart as the average Bear but this IM thing has been tough for this old man.

    I will use this system and the following material you have coming to break the code…. I hope! I look forward to it.

    By the way I have suffered from chronic back pain for many years and I’ve learned a few “tricks” to tame the pain. I will be following your research closely to see if I can learn more about back pain.

    • Charlie Page says:

      Hi Luther,

      I’m so happy you like it and that it is helpful to you. I’ll have much more to come. Would love to have you comment on the work I do in the back pain niche when the time is right.

  • Nicki says:

    Great article – I’m looking forward to the follow up ones. Right now I’m researching products to add to my existing blog, as well as writing a couple of my own ebooks for Kindle. I’ll be using the 5 steps you’ve outlined to help me choose.

  • Paul Warner says:

    I am extremely impressed with this article, and the reason why is that you went into a niche of high competition without being concerned as to whether it is glutted or not, which if the follow ups to this article are done in the same common sense frame of mind and, it is shown to me that this works, I will probably change my whole approach to finding niches to build my sites on. So I will be very interested in how you do your research, develop content, get links, do your SEO according to Google and so on. As it stands this is a well written article considering that I just read an article on building your sites based on under served niches, which left me baffled as to how I find an under served niche. I am looking forward to the rest of this. Paul

  • Amin A.J says:

    Thanks Charlie for this wonderful work you do for us like always.

    God bless..

  • Leigh Grant says:

    Hi Charlie, Thanks for the article, very well presented and I ‘m sure that it has opened some people’s minds as to what is possible. I might just add that if the niche is a profitable one, I would take it a step further and build a SNIPER site or a MINI site around that niche. I would offer 3 top products on the site that focus on that niche. Offering more than 3 would confuse people. Then, write about 10 articles and offer some great tips to folks who suffer from “Back Pain” then, reinforce the problem solver, which are the 3 products that you sell on your site that have helped you overcome your back pain.

    This could be quite an effective way to promote your site in a forum, because your site offers value first with the articles and great tips you have shared with your visitors as well as giving them 3 options that will help solve those problems. I would NOT use hype to get them to buy, but would come across as a helpful person who shares a similar problem. Doing it this way, people may trust your recommendations and visit the official website to learn more. And YES, I agree with what you said about the vendor having a follow up system in place, this would be a CRITICAL part to the success of a sale. I mean, if they didn’t have one in place, there would be no point in promoting that product in the first place.

    Just my 2 cents worth,
    Best Regards
    Leigh Grant

    • Charlie Page says:

      Leigh,

      Interesting points. I appreciate your viewpoint but actually disagree with some of your points. For example, I would never limit myself to promoting only three products.

      I agree totally with delivering value before asking for the sale but don’t feel that 10 articles gets that done. I’ve visited literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of sites that have the “sniper” look. Ten articles, banner ads, ads for products under the articles, etc.

      Another point – I don’t want the vendor to have a follow up system because I want to use my own. I can work with a vendor that has one but I feel I can make a better one than they can. Sorry if that comes off the wrong way. I’m not trying to be boastful. But follow up email marketing is what I do.

      Nothing wrong with the model you outlined if it is working for you. I’m not saying that at all.

      I’m just saying I do things a little differently.

      Charlie

  • Chery Schmidt says:

    HI Charlie Great article I am off to watch your video. Always love to stop in to see what you have to offer YES VERY HELPFUL Thanks Chery 🙂

  • John Racine says:

    Charlie,

    What an awesome post! I have been giving some serious thought to staying in the make money online niche and possibly venturing out into others but did not have any strategy to consider what or how.

    5 very easy steps that can help me pinpoint if my target market is worth going into. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    John

    • Charlie Page says:

      Thanks John. Nothing wrong with the Internet Marketing or Make Money Online niches but SO many people fail at that due to the competition and fickle nature of the audience.

      I’m happy my article helped bring some clarity.

  • Kevin says:

    Hey Charlie
    Well presented process. It’s hard to believe it’s that simple so I’ll be watching for the followups on this. And thanks for making it an article and not a video – I know video is all the rage but I find so many are time wasters –

  • Hamant Keval says:

    Hi Charlie

    Thats Great to hear – I am involved in quite a few non IM or MM niches and would love to get involved with it when you get going with other profitable niches. – yes I realise the learning applies to all niches but it;s great to get going with ready made niches – takes a whole lot of work out of the process
    Thanks Charlie

    • Charlie Page says:

      I agree that it can be a jump start. Learning is good as well – really sets you free when you can create an entire system for any niche at will.

  • It just so happens. That is my niche but I am a newbie with no experience trying to make money

  • Barry says:

    Thanks for simple step by step process. 🙂

  • Celia says:

    Just wanted to say thank you Charlie.. I’m still very much on information overloaded, but will REALLY Follow these action steps you are giving here to really understand and do what I need done. Thank you again for your heart pouring out for me to be successful. God bless..

  • Mark Hundley says:

    Great article Charlie! It’s nice to see the step by step “common sense” type research – as you call it. I’m looking forward to the next article in the series. BTW – how is your brother doing?

    • Charlie Page says:

      He is doing wonderfully well. Thanks for asking. He’s my wife’s brother actually but feels like my own brother as Sonia and I have been married going on 39 years. I’ve a whole series of articles coming from these ideas so stay tuned!

  • Hamant Keval says:

    Hi there Charlie

    You know you make these tasks so easy to understand and step by step approach that anyone can learn the ropes.
    Can you tell me Charlie – In your Follow Up selling systems – i am assuming you use the same techniques?
    Also one thing I was not sure about was – in your membership – FSS – do you have other niches that are not in the IM niche ?

    Thanks again for a great read.
    Love reading your articles

    • Charlie Page says:

      Follow Up Selling Systems is very step by step. Very. I do teach this technique inside Follow Up Selling Systems but also teach many other market research methods.

      One of the things I like best about Follow Up Selling Systems is the product research area. I show members exactly how to determine if a product is going to be a good seller or not.

      We do cover other areas that the IM niche. The principles inside Follow Up Selling Systems can be applied to any business, including offline.

      And we are developing non-IM (or make money online) TurnKey Marketing Packages too!

      Thanks for asking.

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