Validating your startup idea at the earliest opportunity is extremely important. Successful products bring a lot to the table, encouraging potential customers to take a deeper look, try them out, and come back for more. However, unsuccessful products are often designed with the same objective in mind. Learning how to validate an idea quickly—before doing any deeper development—can keep your product idea from fizzling out and dashing your dreams of success.
You can use market validation to determine whether or not you have a viable product at any stage of development, but the earlier you do it, the better. For this purpose, you’ll first need to know what market validation is all about and what your primary objective should be.
What is market validation?
In short, market validation is a process that helps you figure out if there’s existing demand for your product. By validating your target market first, you can learn more about the people you intend to serve with your product.
Market validation also helps to reveal what size your intended market will actually be and whether or not your current product plan is actually worth executing at all. A great product released to a customer base that’s too small to keep your company afloat can be modified or completely replaced with a better alternative before you ever launch it. All you need to do is validate your product idea first.
How to validate market demand
Validating your product’s market demand allows you to identify areas where it shines and where it falls flat for potential customers. Learning what aspects of your product customers enjoy as well as what aspects they’re not interested in can help you identify core feature inclusions for your final product.
Here are a few interesting approaches to market validation:
1. Meet your target market
The most direct approach to market validation is to interview your target customers. This involves figuring out where they often are and engaging with them there. This could mean talking to people on social media, joining conversations on private forums, or even advertising publicly for initial focus group volunteers.
Once you’ve located your audience, you’ll need to ask them about their experience with the problems you aim to solve. If you discover they’re interested in the things your conceptualized product can do, then you should be able to move forward with its development.
2. Analyze your market
Determining the size of your target market and how much of it you could potentially capture can help validate it with minimal upfront investment. To do this, you will need to get access to industry statistics and market reports within your target sector. They should contain sales information and product category prevalence details as well. These can be used to determine what part of the market is most accommodating to new products and how much space you can carve out for your own.
3. Market your concept
Long before endeavoring to create your product, you can determine if it will sell and for how much. All you need to do is market the concept itself as though it were a finished product. This approach involves building out a complete brand identity and visual representation of your product. Once you’ve done both of these things, you can use your new promotional materials on a small, simple landing page or ecommerce website built for this purpose, and funnel traffic to it using paid advertising. The amount of interest you generate will ultimately inform your decision on whether or not to develop your product.
Although your simple landing page should allow visitors to place orders, payments are not meant to be processed at this stage. Your product does not exist yet. Instead of fulfilling orders as they’re placed, you should analyze them to gauge how much interest already exists among consumers for what you intend to create and offer. Once your experiment is over, you should be able to tell how much momentum your proposed product is capable of generating. At this point, you can shut down your temporary sales site and lean into product development.
4. Test with a minimum viable product
Conducting actual tests of your product before it makes into customer hands or even enters development can help you fine-tune its unique selling point. However, you can also accomplish this after your product has come out of a short development cycle. Minimum viable products are designed for this purpose. By developing and deploying a minimum viable product, you can actually get your product to market quickly without investing heavily in the design and creation processes too soon.
A minimum viable product will either succeed or fail after launch, absorbing valuable feedback either way. You can then use this feedback to build a better offering for your ideal customers. This may mean adopting an iterative approach and releasing a new version of the same product every time feedback inspires you to do so. However, it could also mean ditching your current approach and product altogether to focus on something better.
Get a leg up from the experts
At VeryCreatives, we partner with startups and established businesses to help define goals, develop digital products, and optimize iterative processes. If you could use some assistance with market validation, our team of experts can help. Book a call today to learn more.