Desperate Buyers: 3 Proven Techniques to Find Them

Desperate Buyers

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Have you ever had a serious medical condition or been in deep financial trouble? If so, you probably spent a lot of time actively looking for a solution – whether that was talking to friends, consulting with trained professionals, or searching online for answers.

One of my sons has asthma, which flares up whenever he gets a cold. During the Canadian winter, kids tend to get a LOT of colds. So when my son was a toddler, we spent a lot of time in hospital, nervously waiting to see a doctor while our son coughed, wheezed, and gasped for life-sustaining breath.

In the eight years since our son was born, my wife and I have also spent much time trying to find a cure for his asthma. We’ve tried allopathic, naturopathic, and Ayurvedic medicines – and we’ve put a lot of energy into preventing him from getting colds, so his asthma wouldn’t be triggered.

Do you think we’d pay a lot of money if someone offered us a proven cure for asthma?

You bet we would!

When it comes to our son’s asthma, we fall into the “desperate buyer” category – a type of buyer that every Internet marketer needs to be on the look-out for – because desperate buyers can be the easiest to convert into sales (IF you have a proven solution to their problem).

In this post I’m going to describe 3 techniques that I use to find desperate buyers in health markets, which are the markets I operate in.

Let’s jump in!

3 Proven Techniques for Finding Desperate Buyers

Technique #1: Research Keywords that Imply Intent to Solve a Problem

Okay, I probably could have worded the title of this one more simply. Basically, what this technique involves is doing keyword research to find searches that suggest desperation in the mind of the searcher.

As I described in my post on the keyword search cycle, not all Google searches are the same. People often start their search with a generic term (“best laptops”) and, once they’ve gathered enough information, they use specific search terms to find a website to accomplish their task (“buy 13 inch Apple MacBook Air 2010”)

Richard Stokes puts searches into one of 3 categories:

– “Browse” keywords are typically short and generic. People typically know very little at this point, and are looking for basic information.

– At the “Shop” keyword stage, searchers have usually already gathered basic information, and are now comparing their options (by looking at review sites, for example).

– “Buy” keywords are self-explanatory – they’re what people type in to a search engine when they’re ready to buy.

Desperate keywords can follow a similar path. Here’s a (completely unoriginal) example using the term “acne”. Take a look at the screenshots below:

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

Notice how the searches go from one word (“acne”) to two words (“acne treatment”), then even longer and more precise (“get rid of acne”, and “how do you get rid of acne”).

The length of the latter searches implies that people are keener to find a solution – but there’s something else important going on: as the search terms get longer, they also seem to contain more frustration. Compare the terms “acne treatment” with “how do you get rid of acne” – the first term expresses mild displeasure; the second is closer to “get these frigging zits off my face!”

That leads me to the first technique for finding desperate buyers through keyword research: doing one-word searches using “pain” keywords. Here’s what to do:

1.        Go to the Google Keyword Tool

2.        Type in single words that imply a strong desire to solve a problem.

By doing this simple search in the Keyword Tool you can gain pretty strong insight into the types of problems that people are looking for solutions for online.

Here are some words that you can try out: cure, remedy/remedies/natural remedy, help, problem, how to, advice, get rid of, prevent, treat/treatment

And here’s the result I got by typing the key phrase “get rid of” in the Tool:

Click on image to enlarge

A few observations on this:

  • Searches that contain the words “get rid of” have 5 million searches per month! That’s a lot of people looking for solutions.
  • Acne is a HUGE market! It also has a relatively high cost-per-click (CPC). I’m sure the acne market is pretty competitive online, but the combination of (1) a lot of people actively looking for solutions, and (2) a good CPC makes it a prime candidate for a newbie to set up a small portfolio of acne cure sites. You could monetize those sites with Clickbank products, Adsense, CPA offers, etc.

And here’s another benefit of the acne market, from an audience point-of-view: what demographic do you think needs acne help? Young people. Do young people need help in other areas of their lives? Yes! They need help with relationships, getting into college, finding a job, etc.

Are you seeing the potential here? Okay, I’ll get off my soap box…

  • There’s also a LOT of search volume for the terms “get rid of stretch marks (a desperate market if I’ve ever seen one), and “get rid of bed bugs”. (You can’t see it on the screenshot above, but both of those markets have many search terms containing the words “get rid of”.)

I hope you’re seeing my point here: there’s no need for any newbie to complain that they “can’t find a niche”. This simple technique alone can generate dozens (if not hundreds) of ideas for niches to enter.

The second keyword research technique I use is a variation of the first one. It involves doing a URL search on the Google Keyword Tool, using the URLs of websites associated with “pain” keywords.

It’s a bit complicated to explain, so let me just show you the steps:

1.        Type a “pain” keyword into

2.        Copy the URL of the first site that comes up (you’ll have to make sure the site is relevant to your keyword. When searching the word “cure” on Google, for example, the first site that comes up is one related to the band “The Cure”).

3.        Paste that URL into the Google Keyword Tool, in the “Website” text box

4.        Take a look at the results the Tool gives you

Here’s an example, using the term “get rid of” again. First I typed the term “get rid of” in

Click image to enlarge

Then I pasted the first couple of URLs into the Google Keyword Tool. Here’s the result for the URL

Click image to enlarge

So we can see that Google associated the site with keywords like arthritis, lice, and dermatitis, along with a topic we’ve seen before (bed bugs).

If you actually do this search yourself, you’ll see that Google associates this website with some other huge-volume topics like “plantar fasciitis”, which is a health condition I had never even heard of before, but gets hundreds of thousands of searches per month.

So to sum up this section: the Google Keyword Tool can be used in simple and creative ways to find desperate buyers. The data is there – you just need to know how to find it!

Technique #2: Research Forums Using These Two Tactics

Forums can be a goldmine of market intelligence, but you have to know where and how to look. Similar to the approach to keyword research I described above, you need to focus on forum posts in which people are expressing a sincere need for help (and also aren’t getting the help they need).

How do you do that? Here are two easy ways:

(1) Look for forum posts that indicate a need for a solution

Some people seem to hang out in forums just for fun, while others go there specifically to look for help with a problem (or to help others with problems). Here are some ways to pinpoint posters who are looking for solutions:

– Look for post titles that use emotional language (“Help!”, “At my wit’s end!”)

– Look for post titles that use emotive characters (e.g. an exclamation point)

– Look for posts that are long

– Look for posts that go into great personal detail/mention specifics

The last point is worthy of further explanation: just like people who are closer to a purchasing decision will often use long-tail keywords, people who are desperate for a solution will often get into greater detail about their problem in a forum than people who are just mildly interested in others’ opinions.

Here are the steps to find posts that indicate a need for a solution:

a.       Choose your niche topic by brainstorming a niche

b.       Use a forum search engine like Board Tracker, Board Reader, or Omgili to find a niche forum that has a lot of recent posts (which is a sign of an active forum)

c.       Optional: Instead of using a forum search engine, you can simply type in “niche forum” into, where niche is the name of the niche you’ve selected

d.       Scan the posts for titles that use emotional language, characters, etc.

e.       Focus on the posts that are long and detailed

Another example: say you’re interested in “plantar fasciitis”, the health condition I mentioned above (by the way, plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammation of the foot’s heel). I typed the term “plantar fasciitis forum” into, and a bunch of decent forums popped up:

Click image to enlarge

Notice that the first couple of forums have multiple threads on the topic of plantar fasciitis. That’s a sign that these might be good forums to use for our research.

I clicked on the site, and scanned through the threads. One that immediately caught my eye had the title “Dilema of Surgery?” This is a person who obviously has been told that surgery can cure their plantar fasciitis, but they’re reluctant to do it – a prime audience for a “natural cures for plantar fasciitis” product!

Take a look at their original post:

Click image to enlarge

You can see that their post meets a number of our criteria: it uses emotional language and characters (“I’m at the end of my tether!”; “This is effecting my life…”; “Help?”); the post is relatively long; and it goes into detail about their condition.

To complete this niche research, I would go through the top two or three forums that come up on Google, and copy and paste all of the threads/posts that meet the criteria above.

Now, on to the second way you can do forum research:

(2) Look for forum threads that have a high interest/solution ratio.

In plain English, a “high interest/solution ratio” means you want to find forum threads that have LOTS of views, but FEW replies.


Because it means that there’s a lot of interest in a topic, but nobody has a solution.

Here are the steps to find forum threads that have a high interest/solutions ratio:

a.       Follow the steps described in (1) above to find a forum related to your niche

b.       Ideally, you want to find a forum that has some recent posts (last post is within the past day or so)

c.       Sort the forum threads by number of views (if you can)

d.       Starting from the top of the list, look for the threads that have the fewest replies

Once you’ve identified a handful of threads that have a lot of views and few replies, read through the first post in the thread to determine if it relates to a problem (you might also be able to do that by just reading the thread title). If the thread was written by a person looking for a solution to a problem, dig into it!

Tip: combine tactics (1) and (2) above, and you’ll home in on the most serious problems that people are having that ALSO don’t have a solution!

What to Do Once You’ve Found Desperate Buyers

Finding desperate buyers is one of the first steps in building your online empire. But in order to actually HAVE an empire, you need to start selling something!

There are obviously a bunch of steps that you need to take once you’ve found buyers who are desperate for a solution. Those steps include:

  • Deciding on a product. You need to either find an affiliate product to promote, or create your own product. My bias is strongly toward creating your own product, because with your own product you control everything – the contents of the product, the price of the product, the elements of the sales page, etc.
  • Creating your sales process. This includes setting up your website, creating a compelling sales page, etc.
  • Getting traffic. No traffic, no sales…no online business!

Covering all of those steps is enough for an entire course, and an entire course is what some internet marketers might need.

But there’s also an excellent book for IMers who are looking to learn the essentials in one sitting. That book is called Desperate Buyers Only.

Desperate Buyers Only: The Quickest Way to Create a Product and Start Making Sales


I bought Desperate Buyers Only two years ago, when I was still taking in a lot of information on how to find a niche. What I found in the book was an excellent road map to creating information products quickly and easily, and how to start making sales.

At this point in my online career, I’ve come to the conclusion that a person needs to fail FAST. The quicker we fail, the quicker we learn the lessons that are going to propel us to the next level.

Alexis Dawes, the author of Desperate Buyers Only, also believes this. She also believes in not mincing words, and in focusing on OUTPUT. Desperate Buyers Only stays true to her beliefs – it lays out a road map for getting an info products business up and running, but it does so without blathering on. (“All killer, no filler”, as the saying goes.)

Alexis also practices what she preaches and, last I heard, her info products were on track to bring in $500k annually in a range of niches (yes, including the IM niche, but other niches, too).

If you’re looking for an excellent guide to finding desperate buyers, get your own product made quickly, and start making sales, I highly recommend you check out Desperate Buyers Only.

Here are the sections in the book:

How to Choose Topics That Attract Readers Like Bees to Honey (It Has Nothing to Do With “Doing What You Love”)

In this section, Alexis covers 7 steps to find topics that have desperate buyers. She has an interesting approach, and it’s one that complements the methods I teach on this blog. Alexis also includes a nice little cheat sheet, so you can see the whole process on one page.

Quick Content Creation – The Formula to Short, Sweet & Valuable

I find that product creation is one of the things that really trips people up. It’s the sort of thing that people make un-necessarily complicated. But the reality is that there are some techniques you can use to create valuable information products in less than a day. Alexis covers some excellent techniques in this section.

How to Eat an Entire Army of Competitors for Breakfast and Still Come Out Smelling Like a Rose

Alexis is a great writer – her style is informal yet compelling, and she really knows how to reel you in with her copy. Which is probably why she calls her approach to writing sales pages “The 5 Point Fish Hook”. In this section of Desperate Buyers Only, Alexis covers 5 essential criteria for sales page copy, and takes you through a live example of one of her sales pages.

Alexis also provides you with an excellent lesson in sales pages by looking at the sales page for Desperate Buyers Only itself. Here’s the lesson you learn: that a sales page doesn’t have to be “slick” to convert. The sales page for Desperate Buyers Only is one of the crappiest I’ve seen. And yet it still makes consistent sales for Alexis. (By the way, my own experience confirms that “amateurish” sales pages can convert better than “professional” ones.)

Marketing Survival Guide – How to Thrive Like an Olympic Gold Medallist in a Sea of Mere Trophy Winners

Traffic is obviously the lifeblood of any online business. Even with an amazing offer, no site will make money without traffic. In this section, Alexis covers her favourite traffic techniques, and tells you why she likes them so much.

(One of the things I like about Alexis’ business is that she takes a set-it-and-forget-it approach to traffic. As she says: “I create many different information products for many different niches. So I don’t have the time to promote every single one of my products on a daily basis. I develop an efficient system up front, so the site can sustain itself and continue to deliver sales without any intervention on my part”)

Anatomy of a $200 a Day Site

In this section, Alexis gives you the URL for one of her sites and describes exactly how she promotes it, and the lessons she’s learned in doing so.

In a nutshell, here’s why I like Alexis’ e-book so much: it’s a compact and practical guide to finding desperate buyers, and it offers a lot of practical tips (with “live” examples) that can be implemented by anyone TODAY.

What do I NOT like about Alexis’ book? Well, I’m a research nerd, so I like to be really rigorous in the niche research I do before entering a market. Alexa’s research methods aren’t as rigorous as mine. Having said that, I know that her techniques work, and I also know that some people have less interest in research than I do.

And to sweeten the pot, I’m offering a free copy of my “Proven Niches” report as a bonus if you buy through my affiliate link here. In this 53-page document I’ve grouped the 1,874 Dummies books into niches, and I’ve included the titles of all Dummies books in each niche. Why is that valuable? Because the publisher of the Dummies books doesn’t enter a market until they’ve thoroughly researched a market and KNOW that there’s demand. This is a GREAT complement to Alexis’ Desperate Buyers Only e-book.

Disclaimer: while I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Alexis’ book (I’ve bought it myself, have read it several times, and think it’s well worth the money), please keep this in mind: purchasing Desperate Buyers Only will not cause buxom wenches to descend from the heavens and shower you with hundred dollar bills (or £100, €100, or ¥500 notes). Building an online business takes hard work, persistence, and experimentation.

But you knew that already, right? 😉

Summing Up

Desperate buyers are some of the most coveted creatures on the internet, because they’re often searching with credit card in hand. In this post I covered three unique techniques that have worked for me in finding desperate buyers.

But finding desperate buyers is only the start. To build a successful online business you need to create your product and your sales process, and get traffic. An excellent resource for learning how to do that is Alexis Dawes’ Desperate Buyers Only.

P.S. It’s been my lifelong dream to use the term “buxom wenches” in print. Having done so in this post, I now consider my life complete.

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  1. says

    This is an extremely valuable post Moe, and thanks for the link to the book. I’ve found it very hard to get specific case study information, as obviously no one using niche site marketing wants to give up their cash cows. But when you have like 20 sites, one can be okay I suppose 🙂

    • Moe says

      Thanks, Robert. Alexis is pretty generous with her information – as you say, when you have a bunch of cash cows, you don’t mind letting other people milk one of them 😉


  2. says

    Wow, what a powerful post.
    You pulled back the curtain here, Moe. Just reading this had me generating additional ideas but what most stands out is the ability to locate niches that are likely under-served, ones that few even think about.

    I can relate those 3 categories of keywords from my own experiences. 🙂 This all ties together quite nicely.

    Thanks for the valuable info.

    • Moe says

      Yep, when you use the right research techniques you quickly see that there are literally THOUSANDS of niches that have potential, Jimi. I can spend hours on the Keyword Tool and browsing around forums…

  3. Alwyn says

    That’s some sweet stuff, Moe ! As the keyword tail gets longer so can the level of desperation – nice ! You said, ” a good CPC makes it a prime candidate for a newbie to set up a small portfolio of acne cure sites.” Why set up a portfolio ? And an example, please. I also like the “fail fast” creed, something that I have adopted and will (failingly) implement ! Ta, Alwyn

    • Moe says

      Great question, Alwyn. There are two approaches an IMer could take to the acne niche (for example): build one big “authority” site, or a network of smaller niche sites, each one dealing with a particular aspect of acne.

      The benefit of setting up an authority site is that as the site ranks for more and more keywords, the search engines tend to rank new content quicker (at least in my experience). The drawback of an authority site is “putting all your eggs in one basket”. If you only have one site, and it gets slapped by Google, you’re buggered. So I think it’s safer, from a SEO perspective, to build a network of smaller niche sites.


  4. says


    Finding a profitable niche is a very difficult task. This detailed post on this topic is very useful because it helps one to get started. It eliminates the many pain points that a newbie usually come across. The “Desperate Buyers Only” seems interesting. I might need to check that out.


  5. Duy Nguyen says


    Another great post from you, this blog post alone valued $67 I suppose 😀 And thank you for recommending us such a great product like Alexis’s Desperate Buyers Only. You know what, now I know why people buy even when they know that the link is an affiliate link! Because they trust the man who recommends it! And you’ve gained my trust as a real Niche marketing guru 🙂 Waiting for more posts from you!


    P.S: Best wishes for you and your family, especially your son, I know he will get better!

  6. says

    Hi Moe
    What a very detailed post this was about keywords and ‘desperate buyers’.
    Just when I think I’ve got a grip on keyword research – you throw up a post like this that makes me think all over again.
    The only downside to this post was………………….
    “please keep this in mind: purchasing Desperate Buyers Only will not cause buxom wenches to descend from the heavens and shower you with hundred dollar bills (or £100, €100, or ¥500 notes). Building an online business takes hard work, persistence, and experimentation.”
    The mind boggles! … I really did laugh at this (LOL)
    My immediate reaction (like a spoilt child) was that…….
    I’m not going to buy it then!!!
    Great post

    • Moe says

      “My immediate reaction (like a spoilt child) was that…….
      I’m not going to buy it then!!!”

      You and a million other people, Graham! It seems that the IM shysters have conditioned us all to expect instant gratification. Boo hoo…

  7. says

    Extremely valuable information and a well documented process as always Mr Moe.

    What I like about you is your ability to think outside the rational thought processes that usually accompany keyword research and go beyond the stats and documented reasons for why you should go ahead.
    What am I on about? Keyword Research and finding a niche is about understanding the target audience, their needs and most importantly – the language in which they are going to ask the questions in.
    I think this is the key to my success where others have failed and I enjoy reading these posts as they validate my processes as well as give me a wealth of information and ideas I can apply on top of what I already do!

    Respect Mr Moe. Respect.
    oh and as for the niche used as an example here – I have been toying with the idea of building a site within a niche related to extremely embarrassing health issues, like pubic lice for example, because not only are your audience ‘desperate’ from the offset, they are also EXTREMELY unlikely to search for solutions offline.

    And not that I have them either just so you know, but if I did it can only be those buxom wenches to blame.

    PS: is Niche Sherpa closing down now that your life is complete?
    PPS: Seriously considering buying that book from Alexis.

    • Moe says

      You’re the most effusively complimentary dude I know, Alex – and I love it! 😉

      Re. the pubic lice idea, sounds like a great one. There’s another niche that does hugely well online (I’m told) and is also an embarrassing health issue that people are unlikely to search for solutions offline. I won’t tell you what it is – let’s just say it rhymes with “simp wenis”.


  8. says

    Awesome post @Moe!! I will add that book to my reading wish list behind “Crush It”, which is my next one. Much thanks for the promo and insights.

    PS–Kick it up a notch and put the BW in the headline like this:
    Buxom Wenches = NO! Desperate Buyers = YES!

  9. says

    Great post Moe… First time visiting your site… I’m currently on a mini retirement looking to make it a permanent one (from a 9 to 5) and information like this is key!

    • Moe says

      Great concept for a blog, Papa GZ. “Mini retirements” is one of the most compelling concepts from Tim Ferriss’ book, in my opinion. For those of us who enjoy working and just want to incorporate regular travel into our lives, it’s a great idea.

  10. Atif Bashir says

    Hi Moe,

    Sorry to hear about your son. My wife has asthma.

    Healthcare seems to be far behind in the UK.

    I have a medical background.

    I saw a documentary about asthma problems in Latvia a few years ago.

    The best way to help prevent asthma attacks is by using a process called “Dust Elimination”, you might have heard of this, but it means hoovering (Dyson) the whole house, not just the floor but also the shelves, curtains, etc, everyday! Wash your duvet and mattress covers at 60 degrees celcius every week. Get an allergy mattress cover. Open you windows everyday, hang out your duvets.
    Get rid of carpets (major dust holders, use laminate or hard flooring).



    People are still not doing this in the U.K. and constantly suffer.

    Maybe this could be a good niche to go into!

    Thanks again for your superb articles. I decided to stop reading and researching on the 1st March but came across your blog and thought, I cannot miss these so I have hammered your blog!!!


    • Moe says

      Thanks for the asthma tip, Atif. I’m not sure how effective that would be for my son, though, because his asthma is largely triggered by colds. But I guess every little thing we can do might help!


  11. Des says

    reat post Moe! I have bookmarked your site because I have learnt so much from you in the last half an hour!! I intend coming back again and again. One of the best sites I have seen and your information is clear and sooo usable. Thank you.

  12. Desi says

    It’s nice reading through your insightful piece always. I admire your writing style and wish to be like you some day. I am in the Navy of my country, and I am an aspiring webmaster. Your techniques point one to how to attract visitors to a site, but I also think what you say to them and how you say it to sustain their interests is also important. I then, would greatly appreciate it most if you can advise on how to get and build contents in the most cost effective manner for a content or an authority site. Thanks again.

  13. Teddy says

    Your piece was an insightful one and I always wished to grow up to become an authority some day like you. I am a Nigerian, and there is a restriction on people of my country to register on clickbank. Bearing this on mind could you please suggest to me some credible alternatives to clickbank?

    • Moe Muise says

      Thanks for the compliment, Teddy. It’s too bad about Clickbank restricting access to Nigerians – but I guess they do it for a reason. Have you looked into using other shopping carts like Paypal?



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