Using Amazon.com For Market Research

I just noticed an interesting post at Terry Dean’s blog. He shares a Jay Abraham video that discusses doing market research on Amazon.com. I do this too.

Essentially every book title can be viewed as a headline. Most non-fiction books also have subheads. In fact, many non-fiction books also have bullet copy you can look at.

I was also glad to see how Jay uses the site to collect information. He reminded me to check out user reviews to find out what matters to the customer. This is extremely valuable. And probably even more so than the cover copy.

That’s because there are so many variables that can make a book a bestseller other than cover copy. A great title may help book sales, but if you have your own TV show the chances of making the top seller’s list is much greater. And that’s not all…

Michel Fortin wrote to me in greater detail about some of the drawbacks of Amazon.com for market research… and some ways around it. Here’s the email:

Amazon is a different beast, in that there are WAY too many variables do to any kind of research that’s statistically significant. For example, Amazon sells a lot using suggestive selling, monthly specials, affiliate marketing, etc. It would be impossible to determine the validity of a book’s copy when so many other factors are at play, here.

But that said, there are certain ways around it. If the book listed is fairly new, then suggestive selling and affiliate marketing are new and probably non-existent, too. If top-sellers are new, then the copy may play a role.

But sometimes, you also have to look at affiliate marketing. Many top sellers, who are new, have an affiliate machine in place. (How many times have you seen contests or campaigns by top marketers who are trying to get their books onto Amazon’s top seller list? Many, I know.)

So you might want to do a bit of digging, first.

What’s cool is to determine if book sales DO come from affiliate marketers, and then check out what those marketers are doing, what copy they’re using, what traffic they are driving, etc to extract some valuable nuggets.

And on those sites proper, do some digging to see what kind of rankings they have or keywords they use—and using tools like Quantcast, Alexa, Compete.com, SpyFu, etc.

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