Starting From Zero

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Researching Marketplace Trends

What opportunities are there in the marketplace and where should I place my bets?

There is always risk involved in business, so it’s important to study the marketplace as closely as possible - using the data - to make sure you put your focus where you have the best opportunities.

Where is the audience gathering?

First of all, you need to know which platforms have the best audiences and which are most appropriate to your business.

For example, you may be selling services for ecommerce sites but how do you know which are the main sites your customers are using?

Google Trends is a free tool you can use to see which sites or platforms are the most popular. This is a fast and easy way to find the information, although be aware that the data here is scrubbed i.e. it’s weighted to benefit their advertising.

Search for the main ecommerce sites, for example WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, and you’ll see them displayed side-by-side on a graph.



From this quick search, we can see that Shopify is way ahead of the competition at this time. You can also see that Shopify is on the rise, indicating that there is an upward trend for ecommerce. Very useful information for you in terms of looking for opportunities.

You can use Google Trends to compare other types of platforms. For example, website builders or advertising platforms. In this graph we can see how the advertising platforms of different social media companies compare to one another.


 Doing a Google search of the same companies will show you how many searches these ad platforms are getting. Putting this information together will help you get a picture of where people are spending their time online.

However, in terms of where you should be putting your focus, it’s important to look at not only how much traffic or searches these platforms are getting, but also how much money people are spending there. Even if there are huge audiences in some platforms, if these cannot be effectively monetized then they might not be worth your time.

Where is the money going?

To find out where the money is going, there are simple Google searches you can do to find out ad revenue. For example, search for ‘Amazon financial statement’ or ‘Pinterest ad revenue’. You can often find information about ad revenue in this way.



Again, bear in mind the source of the data and take the exact numbers with a pinch of salt. Getting data from as many different places as you can will help you avoid biases and build a more accurate picture.

When looking at this data, it’s worth considering trends as well as the actual numbers. Trends are almost more important as they will show where future opportunities lie.

Where are businesses focussed?

It is quite easy to see where consumers gather on the internet but it’s a little more difficult to find where businesses are focussed.

The Udemy marketplace has some useful analytics that can help if you know where to look. Udemy is the place to go for online courses on all kinds of topics, and businesses will use it to fill knowledge gaps and provide training to their staff. By finding out how much interest there is in certain courses, you can see if there is demand for the kind of services you are offering.

For example, if your company is offering digital marketing services, do a search and you will see some analytics on demand, the number of courses being offered, how much companies are spending on them, and other related search data.



If you think about the reasons why companies might be searching for courses on digital marketing, it may be that they lack internal expertise in that area. If that is the case, then at least some of them may be looking for external providers to help them with this. If there is interest, then there are opportunities.

What are the pain points?

Once you have identified a company’s pain points, think about how you can solve them and make money in the process - this is key to the success of your business.

As a service provider, there is more value in going for established businesses and helping them to grow. Beware of small businesses who need help getting off the ground. If they haven’t been able to do this themselves, they are going to end up monopolizing your expertise and draining your resources.

From your research, look at the upward trends and ask yourself whether new businesses are being minted because of this. One great example of an area with a lot of growth and where there are lots of new businesses being minted is YouTube.

According to this blog, there are over 16,000 YouTube channels with over 1 million subscribers and 160,000 channels with over 100,000 subscribers. With this many people making more than 6-figure sums from their YouTube videos, there is a great market for new business owners who need help with their content marketing.

Going after these successful and profitable businesses on YouTube is possibly one of the greatest opportunities out there at the moment. Here are some simple steps you could use to do this:

  • Use SparkToro to find some of these YouTube channels and then target them specifically. For example, search for ‘Videography’ and see which channels are talking about this topic. In this way you can find the most successful channels. 


  • Another useful tool is SocialBlade which gives you stats on popular social media platforms so you can find those successful channels. Although the most popular channels probably already have teams to help them, you can look at the ones a bit further down the list or the ones who are new but growing fast. 



  • Once you have identified some of these channels, take a look at their social media accounts and see how they’re doing; how many views, followers, subscribers, etc. Identify some ways you think you could improve their numbers and reach out to them directly.
  • You can also do a simple search on Twitter and see who is talking about what you are offering. This can be a great way of finding people who are experiencing the pain points you are trying to solve.
  • You could offer to; increase traffic, increase subscribers, increase revenue, etc. Make it easy for them to say yes by offering to do the work for free on an initial basis. Then, once you have demonstrable success, you can use this to win more clients.

In summary, when looking for opportunities as a service provider, one of the surest ways of doing so is finding a way to help a company make more money.

Key Takeaways

There are three things to remember that you will need for success:

  • You need the right information based on quality research. You can do that now!
  • You need the passion to know you’re going to do something and follow it through, even if there are set-backs along the way. Without this, your business is not going to work!
  • You need to be able to see the opportunity and have the focus to get to the point where you can make yourself profitable as a business
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