Validating your product
In a previous blog we evaluated the product with secondary research. Now we will be validating our product with first hand research, obtained directly from potential consumers. Validating and evaluating a product are two different things. Using our buyer persona profile, we will do market research on the actual interest in our product. I will explain a few methods on how to conduct first hand research on the interest in the product.
Before we start, gather your research from previous blogs, make sure you have an estimated asking price, a picture of the product, its pro’s and cons and a potential sales pitch to attract consumers.
Methods of validating your product:
Social Media – Choosing the best social media platform to do your research on will depend on your buyer persona profile. I will use Facebook as an example, but this method can be used on and adjusted for the other social media platforms.
I will explain how to use social media groups, your business page and personal page to enquire about the interest in your product.
You can choose whether you want to create a new Business page on the Social Media platform for the time being or just use your own personal profile to validate your product.
Business pages on Facebook can be made public or can be unpublished (unavailable to the public). This will be useful when you want to create your business page and use it for doing your market testing. After doing the testing, you can hide your business page if you need to adjust certain information or your product. Don’t necessarily delete it; you might loose the name when reregistering again.
The best would be to use both your personal profile and a newly created business page. If you already have a business page and the necessary permission to use it, you can use it now.
(Follow this link to learn how to set up a new business page on Facebook)
Social media groups – In a previous blog I discussed how to identify groups that are relevant to your product. You can navigate back to these groups now.
Use the following methods in groups:
- Start participating in discussions on the group and provide solutions for other group members that are beneficial to them and other members. When you have participated in some discussions, place a post to enquire if there would be any interest in your product.
- Place a post in the form of an “advert” (without being too promotional), add a picture (or similar picture) of your product and ask people whether they would be interested in your product, and, if not, could they make a suggestion. You can either place a post as yourself or as your business in these groups.
Note: A post is a status update (on Twitter they call it a tweet). Everyone that follows you can see this post in their news feed.
Use your buyer persona profile to identify other groups that you can target to obtain more information. In a previous blog we used the search bar in Facebook (all social media platforms have one); use this method to search for more groups.
Use your personal profile to ask people who follow you what they think of your product, what they like about it or what they don’t like about it. Make sure you use a picture to attract attention and give people a better understanding of the product.
If you have a couple of questions you can make it easier for them by creating an online survey on survey monkey (you can create a free account) and add the link to your post to make it easy for people to navigate to your survey to fill it out. Survey monkey will capture the results for you.
Ask family members and friends to share the post and encourage their friends to fill out your survey or place their answer on your post.
Your survey or post should have questions that will help you answer the following:
- Verify the target audience (which buyer persona would they fit into?) For example: Age, Gender, geographical area, etc.
- Their interests – are they interested, what do they like about your product, what don’t they like your product, etc.
- Would they purchase your product? By using a survey with this question it will help you get honest answers from people. Don’t be shy to ask them in the survey why they wouldn’t buy your product.
Don’t be scared of negative feedback as it helps you to improve your product from the beginning or to realise that you need to do more work before starting. Don’t take negative feed back personally; see it as a positive and improve on it.
You can use your emailing list to attract people to fill in your survey. If you already have a mailing list, Mailchimp is an easy emailing platform that you can use to send one email to many email addresses at once. Mailchimp allows you to customise your email and make it look more professional.
For our next example you will need a business page and your buyer persona profiles. When you have a business page you will have access to the Facebook Ads manager page. You can access the Ads manager page by clicking on the dropdown arrow on the top right hand bar on your personal Facebook page. The dropdown list will look like the one below:
Note: This is not a free method, but will help you see if there is a demand from consumers or not. If you want to learn more about Facebook’s Ads manager, click the link.
Now create an ad for your product with a picture, but keep in mind that on Facebook you only have 90 characters to say what you need to and you are only allowed to use a picture with less than 20% text in. Although this doesn’t sound helpful to you, by adding a link to your ad, consumers can navigated to your Facebook page or to your survey monkey link to fill out your form. Remember to encourage people to fill out the form and do not just expect them to do so (make it fun). Make sure that while you run your ad, you inform consumers on your Facebook page what the purpose of your ad is.
By the time you create your ad, your Facebook business page has to be filled in completely (all the information that a consumer would like to know). It should have a logo in, a cover page and look professional already. Remember that even though you are not selling your product yet, these are potential clients that could be lining up already to buy your product. You have to impress them.
Don’t upset consumers; make sure they know what you are trying to do with your ad. The best option would be to create an ad, then let the consumer navigate to a page explaining that you are either testing out your product demand, are out of stock, the business has closed down, etc., but if they could fill out a few questions for you by following the link you would get back to them once you start off or “when you receive more stock”, etc.
If you find that social media and emailing is not going to benefit you or that you would like more results, you can use Google’s consumer surveys. This is not a free method, but what Google’s consumer survey does, is it finds people to answer your survey for you, giving you a broader reach of consumers. With this method you can also choose the demographics, age and gender you would like to target. This method will help you make a better decision in the end.
You should give these research methods some time to get effective results. Once you decide that you have enough information, evaluate the overall results you received. Decide whether your product is sellable or not. Keep in mind that if you don’t receive a lot of demand , it doesn’t mean that your product is not sellable. You have to evaluate the response on why people won’t buy your product or why they would buy it and this will determine whether you will have to adjust your product first, find another target market, use a different selling angle or start looking for another product.
Note: When validating your product, keep track of your findings and adjust your buyer persona according to your findings.
If you are ready to start committing to selling your product, look out for our next blog 🙂