Is there enough natural demand for my product or service? If I build it, will they come?
Let’s look at some ways to measure demand before you launch:
Do a Google search for your intended product or service and have a look at the search results page. If you see a lot of ads and listings, you know the market has competition. Don’t be afraid of competition though – it means people out there are buying what you intend to sell!
Search tools and search demand
Search demand is one of the most powerful ways of measuring if you have a sellable product or not.
The more people who are actively searching for solutions you can offer to solve their problems, the more sales you can potentially make.
If you have an online shop and sell only blue widgets and there are 100 people a day searching for blue widgets, you’re not going to make many sales. But if you sell red widgets, and 10,000 people a day are searching for red widgets, you’re going to do well.
I like to go for products or services that have at least 1,000 searches a month – but remember if you have a super niche product that has very low margins then you won’t make much money.
Low search demand + low margin = low earning potential (and low competition)
High search demand + low margin = medium earning potential
High search demand + high margin = high earning potential (and high competition)
If you have a brand new product type that nobody has heard of but will solve their problems, you may find that there is low search demand – because nobody has heard of your type of product yet. In this case you will need to CREATE DEMAND using product awareness advertising. Ad platforms like Facebook Ads, Google Display and LinkedIn are some good ways of creating awareness. In fact, there are some super powerful tools in Facebook Advertising that gives you the opportunity to set objectives: create awareness, increase sales or increase visitors (and more). You need to understand what objective your product needs.
If you have a great product in an already established market, you won’t need to worry about creating demand BUT you will need to establish your product as superior to other competitors.
There are numerous SEO tools available to help you measure search demand for your product or service. My favourites are SEMRush and AHREFs but there are loads more.
All you do is enter your keyword e.g. “red widgets” and specify what country you’re going to sell to. The tool will then show you how many people from that country search for “red widgets” every month. You can refine your search to be broad or exact so you can see exactly what the important keywords are associated with your product.
People could be searching for:
- “buy red widgets”
- “best red widgets”
- “red widgets review”
- “compare red widgets”
- “Red widgets near me”
…and a whole host of other keywords.
When you understand search demand you will know how popular or “in demand” your intended product or service is and also what types of keywords are likely to bring you traffic.
A note about keyword intent: not all keywords are equal. The intention behind each keyword is different depending on where someone is in their buying journey.
Some keywords are more related to research e.g. “compare red widgets” or “red widgets reviews” and these are relevant at the start of the buying journey. People use these types of keywords when they need to discover more about the product before they are ready to buy. These types of keywords are usually higher in search volume but have a lower immediate conversion rate from visitor to sale. The purpose is not to hard sell them but give them the information to persuade them that your red widgets are the best. They may leave your site and do more research, but if your content has done a good job they will keep you top of mind for when they are ready to buy.
Other keywords have high intent for sales e.g. “buy red widget model 4451 near me”. The potential customer has already done their research and even knows the exact model number and is ready to buy from a store nearby. These keywords are generally lower in search volume but higher in conversion from visitor to sale. The objective with these keywords is to SELL. Make it easy for your visitor to buy from you, especially on landing pages where high intent keywords are driving most of the traffic.
When you do a proper keyword analysis BEFORE you start your business you will understand what the potential sales volumes will be. You can even make some assumptions about how much revenue and profit you will make by reverse engineering the process: If you make X profit and your conversion rate is Y, you can calculate how many sales you need. You can calculate estimated sales by looking at your visitor to sales rate, and you can calculate required visitors Z based on your estimated visitor to sale conversion rate. If the search demand for a product is low, your visitor number (Z) will be too low for you to make your required revenue. If Z is high and your estimated conversion rates are good then you have a business.
Be careful when making assumptions about conversion rates though – many people overestimate this and when it comes time to launch their business they don’t see the required revenue numbers because their assumptions were wrong.
Test, learn and do your research BEFORE launching a business. Learn from others. Get as much info from your competitors as possible. Compare similar businesses and try to understand their conversion rates, visitor volumes and sales volumes.
Remember too that search demand is only ONE way to measure if a product or service is in demand – try and get more data that goes beyond search metrics.