Validating Your Startup Without Breaking the Bank
The right idea, at the right time, with the right market conditions can create new products, businesses, and entire industries overnight. That said, some ideas may not be worth the time it takes to bring them to fruition.
So, when you have your next great product or service idea, how can you test it before going “all in”, so to speak?
Use what we affectionately call the Landing Page Litmus Test. The goal here is simple and is meant to answer the following question: Does the market care enough about this idea for me to bring it to life? If the answer is yes, then we can move forward. Otherwise, we move on and save ourselves time, money, and a lot of stress.
Here’s how it works
Promote the product on social media as if it already exists. Start by setting up a simple landing page. It doesn’t have to be professionally designed or super amazing. Just good enough that your idea doesn’t look sketch. Same goes for the logo.
Once you have that in place, run some paid advertising to your landing page. Google, Facebook, Instagram… they can all work. Ideally you will know enough about your audience to target the platform they prefer. If you don’t know, then just choose Google or Facebook. They dominate the market for a reason.
Set it up so that when someone clicks the ad, they go to your landing page (or Facebook page if you are using that platform). Be sure to ask them to sign up for your newsletter/promo/whatever. This is the kicker. Clicking on an ad is one thing, but signing up for something is a MUCH better indicator of serious interest.
Let’s use a very simple example.
John is a Bob Marley fan, who also paints on the side. He wants to quit his day job to paint full time, but first he needs to see if anyone is interested in amazing Bob Marley paintings.
Since he’s not yet sure what the “mass” reaction is going to be, he sets up a landing page on his website to see if people are interested in his work. Again, at this stage, all that exists is a simple signup for more information.
He sets a budget for his ads and decides to use Facebook as his platform of choice. He uses their tools to target Bob Marley fans and sees how quickly he burns through the budget and how often people sign up for more information. As an added bonus Facebook provides all sorts of metrics on which ad and text work the best, who the potential buyers are, and more.
Let’s say John’s ads seem to do pretty well and people are signing up for more information. What are his next steps? Well, he can:
- Hire a professional firm to spruce up the landing page and/or craft some great ads to boost clicks.
- Add an additional platform to try some more ads on it.
- Invest in a simple Shopify/ecommerce site to begin actually selling some paintings.
The important thing is he now realizes that his idea has some traction, and he didn’t spend a fortune to find that out.
Consider this litmus test with your own ideas, product or service.
Whether this is your first or 50th startup idea, use real data to make more strategic decisions.