LESSON #21: Surveying the Market & Focusing Your Topic

By | August 23, 2008

In the previous two lessons we talked about how to select a niche market, and how to determine whether there’s money to be made in it.

Today we’re going to refine your topic to make sure you’re zooming in on the desires of your niche audience. If you fail to do this, your product runs the risk of missing the target…

(Watch this video…)

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Main points:

  • You need to figure out what information people would be willing to pay for.

    In general, people may be willing to pay for information that will…
    – ease their pain
    – fuel their pleasure

  • Most successful infoproducts are focused on a problem/solution.

  • There are some niches in which people are not going to pay for information. If you find yourself in one of these niches, then I suggest you do one of two things…

    1) find a different niche
    2) figure out different way to monetize it (ie. give the info away for free to build a list, and monetize the back end through physical product/affiliate sales)

  • The best way to find out exactly what your niche wants is to conduct a survey.

  • If you have as list of subscribers in your niche, survey them. Here are three ways you can conduct your survey.

    1) email replies

    2) self hosted survey – You can put a survey on your own website using a script such as this one (available with Master Resale Rights)

    3) 3rd party survey – I recommend doing an ASK Campaign

    UPDATE: I now use Instant Form Pro for most of my surveys. That’s what I used for my twitter survey, and other surveys. I like how easy it is to set up, and how it enables me to export the data to Excel to sort it as I wish.

  • If you don’t have a list, there are several other ways to conduct a survey…

    1) Hire a market research firm (generally not recommended, due to the high cost)

    2) Make a deal with a list owner in your niche. Create a win-win situation where the list owner benefits from the data being collected (or some other mutually beneficial arrangement).

    3) Use PPC. You can send targeted traffic to a survey on your own site, or to an ASK Campaign. This will cost you some money, but very cheap compared to some alternatives (as few as 100 respondents may be enough).

    4) Find free traffic. Get involved in forums in your niche, and then poll other members. Use social networks, etc.

    5) Do it offline. Call people you know who are in your niche, text them, email them… do whatever it takes. Poll your neighbors, your church members, whatever you need to do to make sure your product hits the bulls eye.

  • Incentivizing your survey will result in a higher response rate (just make sure the incentive is targeted to your desired audience).

  • Examples of questions you can ask…

    What is your biggest problem regarding _________ ?

    How difficult is it to find the answer to that problem?

    What would you most like to learn about ________ ?

    How much would you be willing to pay for a solution to ____________ ?

  • Be sure to include at least one or two open ended questions. Multiple choice are easier to analyze, but open ended will give you more valuable feedback.

  • Dig as deep as you can. (8 questions is a good target, but you may want to do just a few questions if you’re polling your own list)

  • If you choose to not do a survey, it is imperative that you do some additional research, which could include the following resources.

  • Go to Yahoo Answers: http://answers.yahoo.com

    You want to know what PROBLEMS they are having. So pay special attention to questions like…

    “Can someone tell me how to fix/improve/avoid… ______?”
    “Is there a better/cheaper/faster way to… ______?”
    “I need help with… _______”

  • Check out Board Tracker: http://www.boardtracker.com (search engine of forums)

    Look for problems related to your niche that people are discussing on the forums.

  • Look at Ezine Articles: http://www.EzineArticles.com

    This is the biggest article submission site, and will show you what is being done by other internet marketers to provide information in your niche. Are all of your audience’s most burning questions already being answered for free in these articles? Look at the author bio boxes to see how they are attempting to monetize the articles (ie. do they have a competing infoproduct?)

  • The more competitive the niche, the more important for you to have a strong USP. (There are ways to break into a market without a USP, but I generally don’t recommend it)

  • USP = Unique Selling Point, or Unique Selling Proposition

    Action steps:

    1) Survey your market and/or

    2) Research the market in detail to find out exactly what they want

    3) Decide what the focus of your topic will be

    4) Come up with a USP for your product

    I want to give you fair warning that this is where a lot of new marketers miss the boat. If you end up with a product that nobody wants to buy, more than likely you can trace it back to this lesson and see that you didn’t dig deep enough into your market to find out what they really want to pay for.

    Once you’ve narrowed down your topic, it’s time to envision your product and come up with a great brand name. I’ll be talking all about that in the next lesson.

    As always, you are welcome to post your questions and comments below 🙂

    Have a great day!

  • 292 thoughts on “LESSON #21: Surveying the Market & Focusing Your Topic

    1. Chris Downs

      I have surveyed a lot of my friends on the Niche. I have to focus on a more pinpoint area, rather than on all of the planet caretaking. I will start with Estate management as far as the outside and inside landscaping/Food/Garden are concerned. I have some affiliate plans with ecological gardening, as well as ace hardware. When we managed the private island in the San Juans in Washington, Ace hardware usually came through and guaranteed their products. That was 20 years ago, and there are not that many around any more,

    2. Nombulelo

      Hi Eric
      Thanks again for these lessons. I ca not begin to tell you how I appreciate Lesson 21. In all my activities to start this business, I never thought of it in this way. You have corrected on major error in my thinking about it. I have been looking at what I like not what the market likes. Lesson 21 is full of learning material that I need to work through. I can see I will take a little time but I intend to work through the steps you suggest. Meanwhile, I look forward to the next lessons.

    3. Nombulelo

      Hi Eric
      Thanks for sending me Lesson 21 a second time. I could not access the internet yesterday hence I seemed to have missed the lesson. As I say in my comment above, I am very grateful and appreciative of the lessons. I strongly believe that if I continue to follow your teaching as I intend to I will this time succeed to start a business and be successful. Thanks for your encouragement. I do have some challenges though with my internet connection in the part of the world where I’m at right now. But I have no intention of giving up. I’m bookmarking the lessons so I dont lose them by any chance and I will work through them kowever long it takes me.
      Thanks for csring

    4. David

      Hi Eric, Thanks for sending me Lesson 21 a second time. i am do very well here i will not quit at all here

    5. Douglas

      I wish to thank you one more time for your unique videos and the chance for this poor man to become a successful internet marketer.
      Attending school online is helping me with my overall research, seeing research from your and the school’s perspective is a great help to me in defining my topic and coming up with a USP.

    6. Nedra

      Love and appreciate all your detail. Your are making this process not only understandable, but exciting to tackle.

      Thanks much..!!

    7. Neda

      Quiting is not an option..!!! Remember that line in a movie? Well, that’s MY mantra. I determined what I did to not have succeeded and given that information, I am equipped to make a success of my ventures.

    8. Susan

      Hi Eric,

      Looking at your example of the clickbank person with the “100 tips and trick” ebook for ipods, you said that she should use each tip as a page by itself. Do you mean she should write a report based on each problem solving tip as a give away report for opting in…so she could have about 100 different opt-in pages? Am I understanding this correctly?

    9. Eric Post author

      That’s one possibility, and the “report” could easily be delivered automatically by your autoresponder (AWeber) when they opt in. Another option would be to post the tips publicly on the pages (A WordPress site would be ideal for this), and optimize those pages for SEO. You could still incorporate list-building by putting an opt-in form on those pages, with an additional free report/incentive.

    10. Kevin

      Hi Eric.Dont have a niche and feel totally lost! All these web sites are giving me info overload.This approach is so time consuming.I begining to feel this isnt for me.Your comments appreciated.

    11. Marija

      Hello Eric,
      I am back again. My computer crashed twoo days ago and created me a big stress. I can receive your mail again becauce

    12. Marija

      Hello Eric,
      I have returned back again. My computer crashed 2 days ago and waits at the servis with all my internet material. At the moment I uses my husband device that I can receive your mails. However, send me please the next lessons. This is the last I have received it.The lesson today forces me to think about my own niche product. This probably will be leadership content for young beginners. The main topic for me is still a hope in affiliate associates program where I have started to use AmaSuite software for WP. But still I loose a lot of time to study WP and other skills. Thank you for your attention you have found me. I hardly wait for all lessons I still miss and want to lern them. Marija

    13. Marija

      Hi Eric,
      Please send me new lessons 22# and further. I don’t get any mails from you and I miss them. Thank you! Marija

    14. Roxey


      How can I expand the screen to make it easier to read the text? At the moment, it is way too tiny to be visible. Thanks.

    15. Marija

      I kindly ask you again, please send me lesson #22 and all next you have sent them other people.
      I am in trouble with my computer that is at the servis and use a borrowed computer. I am afraid of missing to much your education. Thank you! Marija

    16. Mary

      I had a few problems with this lesson.
      1. When I did a search on Yahoo Answers, it did not give me the # of questions asked in that field?
      2. wwww.boardtracker.com would not load.
      Good lesson though. I am ready!

    17. Wilma

      Hi Eric,

      Thanks for all informations. I’m a newbie and tried really hard to learn. I came out with weight loss as a niche. Any advise? I paid for traffic for it but not making money.


    18. Micah

      Hello Wilma,

      You might want to try another niche, or get more specific. Weight loss is a very wide topic, with a lot of competition.

    19. Micah

      Hello Roxey,

      I’m able to zoom in by using Ctrl plus the + key.

      That’s working for me in Google Chrome.

    20. Nosa

      Karen, you’re spot on. Eric lessons are priceless. Contain so much valuable marketing information way exceeded any training, webinars or lessons ever taken place online.

      Most gurus are not helping us to succeed online but making us a lucrative source of their revenue, recommending and promoting one product or the other to us for their heavy bank balance. This is the first blockage on away to internet business success. Eric is simply the opposite.

    21. Mark Lewis

      Wow, Eric, these lessons are getting more and more enticing, i love it. They challenge me which just makes me try harder.

      Thank,good going.


    22. Lois McKenzie

      Hello Eric this is lois I have a clickbank account and need to make some money now I have been listening to you classes but they have not told me how to make money now I reg my account with you please take a look.

    23. bob

      Hi Eric

      What is name of entrepreneur you mentioned recently on one of these vids who is able to stay ahead of the algorithims of google search engines?….sorry i didnt write it down and now cannot find it in video…

    24. Doreen Line

      It is us that should be grateful in the fact that we found a person as honest and obviously very professional in the way you present yourself although I am relatively new to the online business world I have been biten many times,I will stand by you right to the end giving you 105% attention to my lessons and actions, thank you Eric so much John is right these lessons get better and better I would definetly recommend you to follow.

    25. Doreen Line

      Hi Trevor why dont you place a blog or wordpress page up on the life of a auto machnic tell people about yourself and the love of your job and build a survey into it like eric suggested,
      That way you will get more idea of what people want and write an ebook on the solutions
      Give out some of your great advice first as sometimes you have to give the best secrets away to find what you are looking for, hope this helps a little it would definetly open your mind up to new ideas.

    26. Michael

      Is there a way to directly take advantage of the questions on YahooAnswers. For instance Ad for Free Report on the Questions page for your particular product or topic?

    27. Deborah Creech

      Eric this comment is written to you out of thanks, you saved me! From going down!
      Don’t Quit is exactly where I was after 24 mo’s of this. What shined through to me was the certain niche, I have chosen one were my heart wasn’t. I am finally going to go after the niche I wanted all along, but can’t say feared, more if I do it I want to do it right.
      I haven’t wasted 2 years but….I will just have to let you know. Thanks for being there for me.

    28. edowati

      Great tips Eric1
      for a beginner like me, very easy to understand and very clear!
      thanks. How can I retrieve a few of your tips which I missed due to holidays?

    29. Micah

      Hello Edowati,

      The next lesson will be sent to you soon. You can also visit the following link to see the latest lesson updates and revisit earlier lessons:

      Here is the direct link to lesson 22:

      LESSON #22: Branding and Naming Your Product

      You may also simply change the number at the end of the link, to go to a different lesson number (example: /lesson1, /lesson2, /lesson3, etc…).

      If your email happens to block some of the lessons, we recommend that you view this tip on whitelisting an email address:

      How To Add a Sender to Your Whitelist (Safelist)

    30. Nsima

      Thank you so much Mr Eric for all your lessons.
      Please I am Nigeria and I am finding it difficult to buy your products because my country is not in the list,,,please how can i get all these products?
      I am a newbie but I am interested in online businesses so I need you as my mentor.
      I created a site @ http://www.homeonlinecashsystems.com but i am stock because i dont know how to include a newsletter sign up/opt in ? i am just confuse i dont know how to move further please can you assist me? thanks a lot you are so wonderfulhope to receive your response soon thanks again

    31. Ben Upaka

      I am just getting tuned up on these lessons.I have paid for some scrap tutorials on info marketing in the past and never got these details.In fact there was one info product I bought on IM,the seller never even responded to my questions after my study of the product but he kept on promoting more products for me to buy,I was surprised.Now look at this,you sell me a product on how I can set up my Info Marketing or Internet business,I buy the product,I study and try to implement what you teach,I stumble on certain issues that need clarification,I send you an email expecting you to give solutions to the issues I am raising,you ignore me with no follow up,but you keep on marketing more of your scrap products to me to buy when I have not settled myself on the first product you sold.I was completely pissed off.What can you expect from me–I ignored him and his promotions too.I cannot buy any more products from someone who will not be available to answer to my teething difficulties as I try to implement the ‘strategies’ taught in his lessons.
      Well Eric,keep it up as you are doing a marvelous job.I am following up on you because you seem to be sincere and really willing to assist.Thanks.God be with you.

    32. Joe

      Hey Eric, I got a question for you. Say I am launching my first product but don’t have any testimonial’s for it, would I need them for the product and if so how would I get them for my first product? Thank you for all the lessons!

    33. Roger Li

      Hi Eric,
      Please advise if your $25k fire sale which including 39 Forex software templates (for Metaquotes) also including the software with the function of buying & selling foreign currency automactically.
      Tks n regards

      Roger li

    34. Micah

      Hello Joe,

      Testimonials can help, but they aren’t necessary. It’s also getting trickier to comply with the FTC’s rules on testimonials.

      Soliciting testimonials isn’t always hard. Eric simply invites submissions right on the blog here:

      Testimonials Page 55

    35. Gary Hogan

      Hi Eric funny you picked the patent niche – I have been through that process — inadvertently lost my shirt – however there are many things in life you only have to learn once and carry on — perhaps a e-book on what to watch out for is in order. Thanks — Gary

    36. Dina Pinirou

      I am so excited I can’t wait to get the lessons and read them over and over I was with SBI but they just over deliver so much that you feel like you are going in circles especially if you are new… also I want to have my website that can be mine and only mine not if you decide to leave you can’t take it with you
      Keep up the good work and Thank you

    37. Emily

      That’s what I do superbly, and, yes, it does make money consistently. I maintained an elk and other large-animal sanctuary for twenty years doing that.

    38. Mj

      Eric your tips are awesome! Thank you so much, I think I’m going to have to go over this video again, to get it for sure.

    39. Kathy


      Thanks for the great information. I’m not one of those fortunate people who is able to think outside the box very often. It seems that every idea I come up with, someone else has already been there and done that many times over. I must not be a true marketer, but I’m trying. 🙂 Perhaps in time I’ll be able to train myself to think less like the majority. The lessons are great and much appreciated.



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