If there’s one thing I’ve learned about conducting effective niche research for tshirts, it’s this: Ask more questions.

It’s a simple plan of attack that has suited me well.

Never assume to know what niche audiences want most just from their previous purchase history. That’s an incomplete picture of the needs within a niche.

When we attempt to ascertain what an audience wants based solely on what it’s been given, our research is hardly adequate.

To find new information about a niche that could better inform your design and messages, there are four questions you should be pumping into Google every chance you get.

  • “What do” questions
  • “What are” questions
  • “Why do” questions
  • “What is” questions

Let’s say, for instance, you want to give the hunting niche something fresh that hunters can relate to and will actually want. You could pose any or all of the following questions to Google for some valuable insight:

  • What do hunters actually do on a hunting trip?
  • What are some weird facts about hunting?
  • Why do hunters enjoy hunting?
  • What is the hardest thing about hunting?

When I search “What do hunters actually do on a hunting trip?” the very first article returned tells me that some states have a “waste of game” violation. In Texas, for example, “if you’re not prepared to consume it, you have no business hunting it.”

This is interesting. You see, most hunting tees on MBA are about hunting, shooting, etc. How many are about eating?

According to findings from the one question I posed, the vast majority of hunters have eaten or will eat something they’ve hunted. How many tshirts on Amazon read “If I’m Hunting It, I’m Eating It,” “I Hunt to Eat,” or “I’m Hunting for a Snack”? I can’t find any with that language.

In less than two minutes, a simple niche research question led me to the discovery of a fact-based niche idea pertinent to my target audience with few competing designs on Amazon.

I didn’t assume to know what hunters do, want, or care about. I simply asked a question.

If we spend less time being mind-readers and spend more time asking questions, our sales will reflect it.

Ask more questions.