This was originally posted on Pantelope.com and is being reposted here for portfolio purposes.
So, you think you’ve found a problem that needs to be solved and are willing to take the plunge and present your solution. But will it work?. Business is a risk; if it wasn’t everyone would be doing it. For those that do, you quickly learn that the days of “if you build it they will come” are the days of yore. The simple marketing ‘tactics’ you see advertised online no longer cut it in order to build a successful business. Building a business is hard enough work as it is; why work harder doing something that may not even be wanted by your potential clients?
This is where validating your business idea becomes an integral part of your strategy. Testing out your idea and building relationships doesn’t have to begin after you’ve built your product — you can start right now before you even have a full website up!
What Are the Best Ways to Validate?
You can start by finding the areas where your audience currently seek answers to their problem. There are a few ways we can accomplish this:
- Reach out to your existing network for validation of your product and gather your first couple leads.
- Utilize social media and share about your product to build excitement around the launch of your product. a reputation around yourself as being an authority to this audience–they will appreciate your knowledge, and begin to trust your advice.
- Build a landing page that talks about your product.
Start talking up your product to everyone in your network – Here is where you can begin building a reputation around yourself as being an authority –your audience will appreciate your expertise and begin to trust your advice. Like-minded people hang out together, so chances are you’re already part of a network that has the same problem as you’re addressing. Go to those networks and become an active member; chime in on the conversation! Start by talking to them; are they actually having the same problem? Do they even know it’s a problem? It’s time to let them know about it all, and to see if they’re interested in your solution.
When I helped start Feedonomics, we knew people had a similar problem, so we reach out to other eCommerce clients and agencies to use the product and used that feedback to help improve the product and the marketing.
Build a landing page – As opposed to waiting until you have a completed website, I would recommend putting out a landing page for your product or service. On this landing page you will flesh out the problem, identify why it needs to be resolved, and how you can help. You also need one key feature – a way for people to get in touch with you by email or phone. Using this information, while you may not have the product or service fully fleshed out, you can start conversations with these people in order to get helpful feedback that you can use for developing your product or service and the marketing for it.
Share more – Don’t ignore the people who have gotten behind your product. Remember, they aren’t just potential customers; you’re all a part of one community. Make them feel like they are a part of the production process of your product; in a way, they are! Give them updates; let them know where you’re at. Build company social networks and communicate with your interested audience frequently as you get ready to unveil your product to the world.
Taking the time to build your audience prior to your product even launching is a difficult task. However, putting the work in now will save you money by validating it first and greatly pay off when you official launch and are able to see sales immediately because of all the background work you did. Remember, your audience is out there, you just need to find them.