Some entrepreneurs use crowdfunding as a way to validate their product. They build up the audience, they launch the product and determine whether to continue pursuing it after they’ve gone through the entire process.
Since it is costly (time and money) to run a crowdfunding campaign, others prefer to validate the product idea much earlier.
There are three ways to do this:
1. Conduct social listening
This might seem like a cop-out answer, but doing conducting social listening can help you answer at least 50% of your product validation questions.
I don’t mean you should just look around to see what your competitors are doing. Of course, you should be doing this already though, it’s called market research.
I’m talking about going beyond this.
I mean you should also dive deep into forums and chat groups and anywhere else your core audience is talking.
Understand their likes, dislikes, product needs, feature needs, use-case needs and more.
Everything you can imagine has a niche group that loves it and away those members communicate with one another.
Dig deep into that to find the hidden reasons why they buy.
Read through conversations of your audience to discover the new soul of your upcoming product.
Listen to their needs and build what people want.
2. Go-to-market surveys
No one really tells you this, but surveys are like a gold nugget in the product conception phase.
Think about it this way, when you have a question you’re not sure about, what do you do?
You ask questions so that you get closer to knowing and understanding what you did not know or understand before.
When you have an idea for a product and you’re not sure if someone is interested or not, just ask!
The “formal” way of asking is putting together a go-to-market (GTM) survey. It’s a combination of questions about the product itself, the features, the benefits, the pricing, the use cases and more.
In the survey, you’ll get people across the internet to rank their likes and dislikes for each category to determine if you’re on the right path.
Pro tip: I like to pair this with a slew of demographic questions and to be better able to determine the type of person the product will be a good fit for. This also helps to start forming different personas around the product and ultimate the audience you’ll be targeting.
So what do you do with the information from a GTM survey?
If you see from a GTM survey that absolutely no one is liking the flashlight feature in your cat-distraction toy, it’s a strong cue to remove that feature from your final product.
The best combination of tools to use for running surveys is Typeform and Amazon Mechanical Turk. Typeform makes it easy to create and analyze a survey, while Amazon Mechanical Turk is the most cost-effective tool to send your survey out to the masses.
For just $100, you get hundreds of responses that will help navigate you through a large chunk of product idea validation.
3. Soft-launch the product (generate leads)
I’d recommend this tactic after you go through step 2 above and find something that “sticks”.
Since this option requires more time, effort and money, it should be reserved for ideas that are more chiseled out.
This is a tactic that multiple web stores use in order to determine the demand for a new product. It helps signal whether to place that product order or scrap it to pursue a new one.
So how do we soft launch a product?
Create a landing page for your product idea
Be as detailed as possible (concise, not wordy), include images and a link to sign up to be notified when it goes live.
Run targeted advertising traffic to it
The most affordable way to quickly run ads is to use Facebook. It’s easy to create a targeted audience and even simpler to throw up an image and write some copy for your ad.
Use $2 per email signup as your benchmark. Sure you can get leads for MUCH cheaper in this day and age, but the $2 level is for your sanity in the long run.
I’ve found that anything higher than that and it’s too difficult to scale up if you actually decide to pursue the idea.
Anything lower than that and you’re just getting looky-loos who are just curious but will never want to buy your product if you do bring it to market. That’s not the type of people you want to be building a campaign around.
If you’re able to get 250 email signups at the $2 mark within 1 week, your idea definitely has a market.
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