Does Your Idea Have Potential? 9 Ways to Start Researching Your Niche

9 says to start researching your business niche for free
Artwork by Kimberly Eddy. Background Photo by Vero Photoart for Unsplash.

Coming up with an idea for a business is one thing. Actually making that idea work is quite another. This is where researching your niche comes into play!

Thankfully, you can start researching your niche idea easier than ever online with free tools. Yay!

(not sure what a niche is? I wrote more about niches here)

You can use any or all 9 tips below to research your niche idea.

Start researching your niche with a Quick Google Search

Start researching your niche idea with a quick Google search. Type your idea into the search box on Google.

How many results came up in the search?

A million or so search results don’t mean a flooded market in this niche. Someone with a unique spin on a popular niche can succeed. A large volume actually shows you there is interest.

Note that several of the top results in Google are often ads. They are usually marked as such. The number of search results is in the box.

Also, you have to consider this. Sites appearing in Google for this search doesn’t mean they are what you’re thinking of doing. When researching your niche this way, check a few of them out to see if you searched for the right words. You may need to narrow down what you’re searching for if the topic is too broad or the top results are too far off course.

Google offers related search results, which are helpful when researching your niche or narrowing down your niche.
Google helps you out here with some suggested related searches. This can help you narrow down your search and your niche, as they’re based on phrases people actually search for.

Check Google Trends to Research your Niche

Coming up with a business idea is one thing. Actually making it work is quite another. 

Thankfully, you can research your niche idea easier than ever online with free tools. 

Here’s 9 fairly easy (and free!) ways to get started.
Artwork by Kimberly Eddy. Background Photo by Vero Photoart for Unsplash.

Google Trends is a Google feature for what is trendy right now. When I opened it up, we have World Cup, Taylor Swift, and the Kardashians.

You can narrow it down by typing your topic into the search box, thus researching your niche to discover timely related topics. Google Trends will show you the search volume of that topic recently. You’ll also see some demographic information on those who search for this topic on Google.

Researching your niche or website idea in Google Trends.
This search in Google Trends shows how many daily searches for my topic happened in the last 12 months.

Researching Your Niche with Google Keyword Planner

No matter how you feel about Google, they have SO MANY tools to help you when researching your niche.

The Keyword Planner tool works with your Ads account. Without an Ads account, you’re not going to have the same level of free access that others have. The Keyword Planner can still be helpful.

Keyword Planner will show you how many average monthly searches happen for your search. The tool also suggests alternative related words to use as Keywords on your site or in your ads. In the Keyword Planner, you can also see how competitive a keyword is.

Doing market research with Google Keyword Planner in Google Ads. You can see how popular a word or phrase is and how competitive it is too.
Information in Google’s Keyword Planner about the Keyword you searched for, and how it stacks up. You can see how many average monthly searches this word or phrase has, how competitive it is, and how much you’ll pay per click for Google ads.

I prefer LongTail Pro for actual Keyword Research because they are so much more thorough. But, that is a paid program. When you’re trying to confirm an idea, you don’t need something so involved.

Check out YouTube for researching your niche

YouTube can also help you gauge interest. It works like a search engine and can give us valuable insights. Start off by running a search on YouTube for your idea. Are there videos on the topic?

Check out the engagement on those videos. Look at:

  • How many views does this video have?
  • Number of comments on the video
  • Does the video have likes?

All these aspects of engagement on videos relating to your topic show you how much interest there is on the topic. A low number of likes, watches, and comments can mean the topic doesn’t have much of an audience, at least on video.

Researching Your Niche on Pinterest

When I suggest clients, readers, and friends use Pinterest to validate ideas, they usually assume I’m not serious.

Depending on your niche, Pinterest can be a great gauge for interest on a topic. I find it handy for researching your niche if your target audience is likely to use Pinterest.

Most topics that appeal to women do well on Pinterest. This means home, family, fashion, health, fitness, child-rearing, and education. Yet, a growing number of guys have been getting in on the Pinterest action lately.  A large percentage of my website traffic comes from Pinterest, and yet I’m not very engaged on that platform.

How does this work, exactly?

Run a search on Pinterest. See how many pins come up. Pinterest doesn’t tell you the number, unlike other search engines. That’s okay. You’ll eyeball it.

If the results seem too general, you can select one of the boxes near the top. These are search suggestions to narrow your search based on other searches from other users. They are in order from most searches on down.

Using Pinterest for Market Research. This is a sample search results page.
In the box, you can see related suggested searches in Pinterest, based on what actual users have looked for. This helps you narrow down your search. When doing research it can also help you narrow down your niche.

So, if you need to narrow your niche idea down too, this is a great way to find ideas on that topic.

When you click on a Pin in your search results, you can find out if this topic is interesting to searchers. You can see how many times repinned it as well as how many comments it has.

Here's an example of using pinterest for market research.
By looking at the number of repins and comments on a pin, you can gauge how popular a topic might be.

If the topic of the pin relates to the Pinterest user, you can also gauge interest. You can see how many people follow this person or brand AND how many people follow the board with this pin.

Amazon Helps You Measure Interest Too

In the same way as YouTube and Pinterest, Amazon can help you measure the interest in a topic. Once you run a search, you can see how many results there are. You can also see how many reviews there are on products (whether books or other products).

If you’re trying to figure out how to set yourself apart from the competition, these reviews can help. You can use negative reviews on related products to educate you. What frustrates these customers? How can you do better to set yourself apart?

Using Facebook and Other Social Media for Niche Research

Search Facebook for groups or pages on the niche. This also can show interest and involvement.

Finding groups and pages in your niche on Facebook.
You can search for pages and groups on Facebook. You can narrow down your search as much as you need to, including by geographic area (in the box).

Don’t look for a sparse niche. Look for one that has interest and involvement from potential customers. If the niche is popular, there’s room enough for everyone to succeed.

Facebook groups on the topic can help you do further research as you build your business and your brand. By listening to the needs of engaged customers in your niche, you can figure out ways to better serve their unmet needs.

A caveat: do not promote yourself on the Facebook groups unless there are specific days to do so. Research only. Don’t be a jerk.

Do Some Recon on Niche Blogs and Websites for Research

Next, look at some of the blogs on the niche topic.

In particular, look at the engagement on the blog. Are people interacting with the content? This indicates a good topic.

While looking at this, think of ways to set yourself apart from the competition. What are some things you can offer on this topic that are in your wheelhouse?

Research your Niche with Surveys with Typeform

If you have access to potential customers in your niche, test your idea with a survey. Typeform allows you to build free surveys. They have paid options available for heavier use. Their forms are easy to use and attractive.

Ask questions to gauge interest in your product or service. Your questions should also find out more about your ideal customers. In particular, look for pain points and areas with unmet needs in your niche. What can you offer this niche that people need?

A Caveat to Niche Research

Keep in mind, as you test your niche idea, you are only getting a general idea of interest in this topic. Success is never guaranteed.

A little research can help you figure out if you should pursue a topic further or move on. The research can also help you narrow down your focus even more. Niche down as they say.

Coming up with a business idea is one thing. Actually making it work is quite another. 

Thankfully, you can research your niche idea easier than ever online with free tools. 

Here’s 9 fairly easy (and free!) ways to get started.
Artwork by Kimberly Eddy. Background Photo by Vero Photoart for Unsplash.

To get you started, I’d like to send you my free ebook, “7 Questions Everyone Must Answer Before Getting a Website”. This ebook will help you think through what you need and why with regards to a website.

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