I am wondering what some of the most effective ways to market my product and see if it gains traction in a market segment. This is preoperative so I don't have the product yet. I'm looking to test my idea to see if it's worth seeking capital and building a business structure.
I just answered a similar question for another entrepreneur. I am sure you have heard of the various methodologies: Lean Startup, Design Thinking, Agile development.... but where do they all fit? I created this video and the others in the series to describe just that.
To directly answer your question is there are several
It is hard to explain everything in text, and most people won't read it anyway so, here is a video diving a little deeper.
Hi Thomas, You can create a single page website and capture early invite email. You can also list your startup on Beta/Early startup listing sites (there are 20-30) such websites that list beta startups. Here, you will start getting some referral traffic and share the demo link with them. You can also create a facebook group and add relevant members who can validate and share more feedack about your product.
Hi, Thomas. There are several ways to test the market: 1) Make sure your research efforts focus on the target user of the solution, 2) That you are solving for an unmet need of the target user, and 3) That the target user is willing to pay for your solution. I'm happy to talk through a more specific strategy if you want to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All the best!
Research can be useful when you’re still in the ideation stage or searching for a product to sell. Exploring the current market can also help you mitigate risk and build confidence in your idea before investing too much time and money.
The first and arguably best way to validate your product is to prioritize making a few initial sales. Nothing is more important than customers seeing the value in your product and exchanging money for it.
Remember that while talking to potential customers is an important part of building your business, until people pay you all you have is a list of assumptions. Market research, surveys, and feedback from friends and family can point you in the right direction, but real product validation only happens when money changes hands.
Evaluate the market for your product as it stands today to ensure there’s enough demand to build a viable business. One way to make sure there is a healthy market to sell to is to look closely at your direct competition. Find out what they are doing and how it compares to what you are planning to do;
If there are competitors out there, you’ll at least confirm there’s existing demand for what you’re selling. Businesses that don't make money don't stay in business, so learning about how long your competitors have managed to stay in business and roughly what their trajectory has looked like can provide some rough validation that this is a market you can successfully sell in.
Remember not to get discouraged when you see competitors that have already grown big businesses. The fact that they exist will give you a good sense of whether what you are offering is unique or different than what’s currently in the market, which can point you toward untapped opportunities or help you figure out what to focus on going forward.
The purpose of a product is to fulfill an important need that customers have, which will lead to a growing market for the founders to act on. To validate these assumptions the founders need to present a solution that is complete enough for the potential customers to understand how it could provide value for them, and this unfinished solution is referred to as a minimum viable product (MVP).
Here is a very short answer that I learned from lean startup (though it is probably very similar in other systems): go out and talk to people in your target market. The number depends on your market but skimping on this will cause issues down the road. The main thing (which is often the hardest for entrepreneurs) is that it is not a sales pitch, it is showing your product or idea and getting their reaction.
Great answers already from everyone who has contributed here. I definitely would like to build on the thoughts shared by Marc and David.
Definitely, the clear articulation of what are you solving, for whom and how deep is the impact for whom your product/service is providing the solution; matters a lot. The last part of how deep is the impact will quickly translate into an understanding of how pervasive is the need and that will, in turn, lead to answering whether users will pay for this and whether this will be a sustainable offering too.
Now David definitely has a great point and i.e talking to people. From my own personal experience - reaching out to CEOs of home appliance & device manufacturers in India through email and actual zoom calls helped me and my friend understand a timing mismatch we would have got into with the kind of solution that we were envisioning of creating. So it was not something wrong with our thoughts of the problem and solution but a timing aspect which is of supercritical value too, that we had slipped on in our initial thoughts.
Now apart from this, if you already know the market segment then figure out where are these groups hanging out online? Not just Facebook but look out on meetup.com, reditt.com, or are there any influencers whom your market segment is actually interacting with, try and get a connection with those folks.
Why do all this?
Because you want more eyeballs on those useful surveys that you want to run to get actual data on the facets, that you want to investigate about the product/service that you want to build.
So for validating your product you need to have a good diverse pool through which you can run the data that you have collected previously in your alpha- or beta- runs of the product and gather feedback which should help you understand and validate the core product aspects or assumptions.
Also in some cases you may not have a product yet but there is no harm in building some wireframes (of how the pages of your future website/app will roughly look like in the future). Balsamiq is a great tool that will quickly help you build a wireframe of your idea and you can then promote it through Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms and this exercise too should bring you very valuable feedback which will help you test your idea and understand the interest of market segment much better. This will also help you validate the main functional workflows of your product/concept that you are trying to build, promote and sell.
Hope my 2 cents help you Thomas!! All the very best to you!!
I am writing a white paper on this as we speak, if you send me an email, I can send you a copy