Nowadays it’s easier and cheaper than ever before for anyone to start a business. While there are a whole lot of benefits in that, it also makes for a much more competitive and demanding marketplace with industries evolving at lighting speeds.
What worked and was popular yesterday, is already obsolete and taken over by something else today. As jobs disappear and get replaced by technology and the world becomes more globalized, more people take their chances at starting a business.
But before you spend thousands of dollars, and more importantly – your precious time that you’ll never get back, how can you test your business idea before going all in?
Because your business idea is really just a set of assumptions that haven’t been validated by the marketplace yet.
Sure, your friends and family tell you it’s a great idea – but they won’t be the ones you’ll have to convince to pull out their credit cards to buy your web or mobile app, product, or service.
Even if you were to interview or survey or potential customers, you still wouldn’t get accurate feedback – since customers might tell you one thing, but behave differently in the real world. Not to mention that customers don’t always know what they want.
And the last thing you want to do the spend months (or even years) working and investing into something, only to later realize that people don’t even want it.
Also with web and mobile apps, it’s even more difficult to explain your idea and get proper validation on your assumptions.
So how can you really test your idea with potential customers and find out if your idea is worth committing to?
There’s no better way!
But how do you do that if you don’t have anything made yet?
Big companies spend hundreds of thousands on focus groups, which don’t even work – since you’re not actually putting your product or service out in the marketplace to get real world feedback from actual customers.
Thankfully for you, there’s a MUCH cheaper and effective way to test a business idea FAST.
This first thing you need to do is create a landing page for your app, product, or service. Just one page to present your offer just like how you would once your product is ready for sale.
You want to focus visitors to take your one desired action. The action you’ll be tracking and keeping a close eye on.
Typically, you want visitors to fill out a form and enter their name and email address so you can follow up with them. You can also ask for a phone number (if you plan to call), but it will lower your conversions.
Here are the elements to include:
A captivating headline that draws people in and tells people very quickly what’s in it for them – in a easy to understand way.
Below your headline on the left hand side of the page you need an explainer video.
Since you don’t already have anything created – an explainer video will bring your app, product, or service to life.
This way, potential customers can get a clear understanding of what you’re offering.
To the right of your video is where you want to have your form with call-to-action telling visitors to fill out the form to get what you’re offering (free trial, consultation, quote, demo, etc.)
A headline, explainer video, and form are the main things you need to have on your page.
Below the video and form you can add anything that will build more trust and credibility. Testimonials, features, logos, FAQ’s, etc.
Once your landing page is setup, you need to bring potential customers to it. The best way to do this is by advertising on Google.
It’s the only platform that allows you to advertise to people who are actually searching for what you have to offer, and you only pay if someone clicks to visit your landing page.
Google AdWords can be complex and expensive if you don’t set it up and manage it properly. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll understand why it’s the best advertising platform – especially for testing an idea quickly.
You’ll also gain some great insights when you research the keywords your potential customers are searching for, and how often – using the Google AdWords Planner.
And if you’ve created a product or service that people aren’t yet searching for, or don’t know exists yet – you can just use more generic related keywords, or ones related to solving their problem.
As people start coming to your landing page, you’ll be able to start gathering real live feedback.
Here are some ways you can do it (no specific order):
1) Conversions – the percentage of people that take the desired action on your landing page is great feedback in and of itself. What percentage of people who come take your desired action?
2) Analytics – make sure to install analytics and/or heat map software on your site to see what people actually do on your site.
3) Survey – once someone fills out their name and email on your landing page, take them to a survey to fill out on the thank you page.
4) Phone or Skype call – if you asked for their number in the form, give them a call. If not, email them to arrange a phone call. Even better would be a Skype video call so you can see their body language (which often times says more than words).
5) Email – if they don’t want to talk on the phone (preferred option), get some feedback from them via email.
6) Sell Something – if you have a service business, sell them the service you’re planning on offering. If it’s an app or product, offer them a pre-sale discount to buy your app before it’s made (think Kickstarter).
7) In-Person Meeting – there’s no better way to get feedback than to meet someone in person. And this is really easy to do since Google AdWords allows you to target the specific locations you want.
8) Test Google Ads – you can gain valuable feedback from testing different Google ads to see which gets more clicks and conversions.
9) Test Landing Page – split testing your landing page can give you some SUPER valuable insights on what your potential customers want. You can see which landing page they engage with more (clicks & time), which gets more conversions, etc.
Hopefully this gives you a good framework on how to test a business idea before spending your money and time on it. Testing ideas like this will allow you to swing the bat more often – so you can find your home run idea much faster!