Use this three-part validation guide to see who showed interested in your product/product category in past, who show interest at this moment, and whether they will actually put up any money for your offering.
Using historical information.
Where people are searching:
Google: Google Keyword Planner tool (Google.com/adword), Google Trends and plain Google .com search
Classifieds: Craigslist, and other places
Where people are buying:
Physical products: Amazon.com, Alibaba.com, Ebay.com, and wherever they are buying stuff related to your category - Search 'buy product X', or 'buy Product Category X'
Your circle of friends, family, colleagues etc
Places and events where your product/product category are sold: Markets (downtown, specialty markets, wholesale markets)
People who use these products
Find how many people are searching for/interested in your product/service:
1. Use Google keyword planner tool (it is available in Google Adwords, which is free to access to anyone having a Gmail account).
There is no fixed criteria of how many searches a month mean a healthy demand. If you are selling something something very few people want (but you still make a living), then a monthly search volume of say, 500 would suffice. How?
- Let's say out of 500 searches for the product type, 100 people come to your website (this is a very healthy rate) and 5 people end up buying (@ 5% conversion rate), and you are making $1000 profit per sale, it is good going.
- For most consumer products, look for 2500+ monthly searches, resulting in at least 250 clicks to your web site, getting 10 customers @4% conversion rate.
The Keyword tool also helps you know what else the searchers want to know about your product type - which is very essential with your product development and web content planning for the product.
The Google Market Finder helps you with keywords costs worldwide. http://translate.Google.com/globalmarketfinder/g/index.html
2. Use Google trends to see search trends for the product over several years. You can also compare this with search trends for other products, competitors etc.
What customers are saying in your industry
3. Reviews: Search Amazon, Ebay etc for what people have said about products in your category in the past. You will have an idea of top selling items, common kinds of customers' complaints about the product.
If you are selling a service, also look for reviews on Yelp etc.
If you are selling an educational product, which is not a book, but a course etc, search for related products and customer testmonials on online learning websites such as Udemy.com, Skillshare.com etc.
Or, just do a plain Google search for 'Product type X reviews'
4. Online groups related to your industry
Search for 'Google group industry x', 'Facebook group industry x', or 'Linkedin group industry x'. Look at the submissions and comments left by people. These are good places to test interest levels in your product or general networking, or help with some issue you are facing with your product development.
For this, you will need to learn to
- Create great 'benefit headlines' (e.g. ' Buy this all-in-one career guide and create a happy career for yourself', followed by sub-heading that gives more benefits) Explain your benefit via a highly clickable headline
The headline and the page's content must match the headline and keywords used in your online ads (see below)
- Create great landing page: Which explain your offering in PAS (problem - agitation - solution) format, or provides a free guide/tool that contains helpful information on the industry - say, top 100 questions and answers for buyers in Industry X (or product type x)
You give out these guides for free in exchange for people's email ids.
Or, You put up a page for your product ('Coming soon'), say you will you will give 10% discounts for people who want to learn more about the product.
- Adwords text ad: Ad headline and keywords should match those on the landing page, for maximum effectiveness.
- Ads on Facebook: Ads with questions perform better on Facebook. - 'Not satisfied with your cable provider?' Our Brand X cable service is 25% cheaper'.
Use the keywords found via Google Keyword Tool to find people and groups to target in Facebook.
Create a series of articles related to main customer problems in your industry/product type, or one huge page with all the 100 problems, for example, and then getting traffic to that page with your ads.
And/or selling a product that also helps solve customers' problems.
1. Use the blog with 100 problems tactic mentioned below and offering a pdf version of a guide with all 100 questions in exchange for people's emails. This takes time to get you enough email ids, compared to paid methods.
2. Answer all the big problems using YouTube videos and get people's comments, and offer a premium product on the side.
3. Create a Twitter account for your product, with an effective 'benefit bio' (e.g. 'The all-in-one-career guide'). Search for your product/industry, find people doing the same thing, and find people with most followers in your industry (search 'top Twitter users in Industry X, for example), start interacting with them Or, have a bunch of @influentialperson X replies ready.
Offer the 100 answers, one Tweet at a time. Follow 100 new people daily (later, you can unfollow) but keep making new connections for now.
With enough followers of your own, you can test drive your product idea. Survey people (one question at a time). Just add value.
Like other free methods, this method also takes time.
If you have a good budget, you can test drive Twitter ads.
4. On Facebook (build a page for the page) or Linked In, offer the same set of 100 questions and answers one by one or sets of 5/10, along with an accompanying graphic (FB users like sharing graphics). Start creating a community for your product. Offer goodies in exchange for people's responses to your questions about your idea.
5. Surveys/poll: You can put up a big list of question using survey tools - search Google for 'free survey tools - link to the survey from your website/blog/Facebook page/ Linkedin page and Twitter page.
If you are hosting the survey on your own web site. Use ads to bring in more answers. See above.
Tip: Put up price ranges for your offering as survey questions.
- Create mockups or actual prototype. Approach people on your all your online outposts (web site, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin etc), posting product details (pics, description, price) and ask for pre-launch buy. Or, ask them to name their price.
- Another method is to put it for sale ('only 3 left') on Craigslist or other site.
- Go with the prototype to actual markets for your product and get people to buy.
- Use Crowdfunding sites, create a page for your idea/product, asking interested people to pay in advance for great discounts.
- Just ask your circle (friends etc).
Tip: Another smart method to get people's attention is to be seen using the product in public places (public transit, parks, or any captive audience)
Thank you for reading.
This guide is from The Success Manual, which contains 200+ guides to succeeding in business, career and personal life. Get the pdf ebook for $12 only.