5 Ways to Test If You Have a Winning Product Idea

Before you invest time, money and effort building your product, you need to establish if there is sufficient demand for it. Knowing that you have a winning idea will also give you all the incentive you need to do the work and get your knowledge out into the world.

Uncertainty kills productivity and increases risk

  1. Failing to determine if there’s demand for your product is risky. You could invest a large amount of time, energy and money creating something that the market does not want and will never buy regardless of how well you promote it.
  2. It’s easy to lose motivation if you don’t know if what you’re creating will be embraced by your target market. Without motivation, you’ll likely give up and never create your product.
  3. It actually requires the same amount of effort to create a losing idea as it does a winning one.

A 5-step strategy for testing your information product idea

So how do you know if your course, your book, your membership site – whatever it may be – is a winner?

  1. Clearly identify your target audience. If you can’t give a clear, succinct definition of who you’re targeting, that should set alarm bells ringing. It’s hard to promote a product to “everyone” – it’s expensive; you’ll spread yourself too thinly and you’ll dilute your marketing efforts. When you try to sell to everyone you run the risk of selling to no one. Unless you can clearly identify a specific market your product will help, who will respond enthusiastically and relate with urgency to the problem you’re solving for them (or outcome you’re promising), you’re unlikely to have a winning idea.
  2. How will you reach your audience? You have various options for reaching your audience but the fastest way (whilst simultaneously testing your idea) would be to target your prospect using a Facebook ad. We prefer Facebook ads over Google ads because the former is more direct, letting you target detailed, specific demographics and interest groups. Create an ad using Facebook’s own advertising platform; set a daily budget (it can be as low as $5 a day); and drive traffic to your landing page.
  3. Craft a personalised email. Here’s a cold email we sent to copywriters asking for their opinion on a product idea we had that could help writers. A few things to bear in mind:
    – This is not spam which is defined as “irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients.” These are individually customised emails sent to a small number of recipients discussing a relevant subject.
    If you do this, make sure your email is simply a genuine request for help, not a sneaky, dishonest sales attempt. Act with integrity, ask for feedback and nothing more. Be straightforward and honest.
     We found the writers’ emails by searching for copywriters on Google, visiting their websites and copying their email or submitting a contact form. Simple.
    – Keep the email short – ours was only 150 words or so.
    – We sent the email to about 50 writers and got an incredible 80% response-rate. Everyone was friendly in their reply; no one was nasty or rude (a big concern some cold emailers have). The worst reply we got was “Not interested” but we had respected copywriters writing lengthy, helpful replies and inviting us to get in touch if we needed anything else. A few suggested improvements and alternative product ideas.
    – We replied to all respondents thanking them for their time.
    – The email works because it’s sincere, human and concise.
    Feel free to use the wording:
    Subject: Can I get your opinion?
    Hello Alicia
    Excuse me for contacting you out of the blue but I wondered if you could give me your opinion on an idea I have that I believe may help [target audience]. (I would not want to waste time and effort creating a service that nobody wanted or needed!) My idea is [one line explaining your idea]. With this product, [a couple of lines explaining how your product can help your prospect/the problem it will solve or the results it will deliver].
    For example, [include a short example of how a customer avatar would use the product and the resulting benefit].
    Hypothetically, would this be a service you would consider using for a modest fee?
    Thank you for your time!
  4. Test with a landing page. Create a landing page offering a lead magnet (i.e. a free incentive closely related to the product you want to test) in return for the visitor’s email address. If you get a high sign-up rate, that suggests there’s interest for your product; if you don’t, you probably want to go back to the drawing board or tweak your idea. So what is a good conversion rate? If you can convert 2% of the traffic to your landing page to become subscribers, that’s about average; 5% is very good – you’re in the top quarter; 10%+ is exceptional.
  5. Ask your prospects. Want to know what your prospects will buy? Ask them! Create a survey landing page using LeadPages to uncover the type of product and content your target audience would be interested in. Keep the survey short, e.g:
    “In the area of X:
    – What topics/issues/challenges are you struggling with right now?
    – What burning questions do you want answered?
    – What outcome/result do you want to achieve? i.e. what would success in this area look like for you?
     If a product could solve these problems and achieve your desired outcome, would you buy it?

         You only need about 100 respondents to validate your idea. Promote the link to your survey on social media. Drive respondents to your survey with paid advertising; or post a request on LinkedIn; or tweet a hand-compiled list of potential target audience members. Offer an incentive to complete the survey – it could be as simple as a personal email answer to their questions, or a collection of useful and relevant slides.
         At the end of this process you will have extremely valuable, validated market research to help you decide what to create and who to promote it to.

Takeaway points

  1. Be clear about what your product is, who it helps and how it helps them.
  2. Before you create anything, find out if there’s any demand for it using a landing page which you can promote on social media and social networks for as little as $50-100.
  3. You can learn a lot about what your target market would buy by simply asking them either through a survey or a well-crafted email.

Action steps

  1. Do some market research using Facebook’s Power Editor. It’s a powerful free tool that allows would-be advertisers to identify target audiences that match the advertiser’s chosen criteria, e.g. gender, location, age, interests, income, family status… right down to the shows they watch and the brands they like. It’s extraordinary data at the hands of advertisers like us. Use it to identify a target audience you want to reach out to.
  2. Build a landing page for your product. Ask your target audience questions to determine whether your product would be of interest to them (see #5 above).
  3. Promote your landing page to the target audience you identified using Facebook’s Power Editor. Monitor the replies to determine whether your product idea is a go or no-go. (But also pay attention to your instincts. If you genuinely believe your idea has potential and maybe all it requires is tweaking in certain errors, by all means give it a shot).

Photo credit: crdotx via Foter.com / CC BY

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