As we know the number one reason why startups fail is because of a lack of a strong market need. Validating your idea first before even building your first MVP is absolutely crucial. It's all about gathering evidence around the idea through experimentation to make fast, informed and de-risked decisions. Here are the top 5 tools ranked from #5 to #1 that are very helpful during your validation process:
Google trends let you discover event-triggered spikes in keyword search volumes. In other words it tells you if a specific keyword is getting more and more searched and trendy or not. If you search for example the keyword "vegan meat" you get this chart showing an up going trend of the relative search volume in the last 5 years in US:
This curve tells you that the interest in vegan meat products is not likely going down in the near future. So Google Trends can be helpful to find the right timing of launching a new business idea.
Reddit is particular interesting when it comes down to finding groups of people with very specific interests. Reddit is a massive collection of forums, where people can share news and content or comment on other people’s posts. According to Wikipedia, as of July 2019, Reddit ranks as the No. 5 most visited website in the U.S. and No. 13 in the world. These specific interest groups and forums are called Subreddits and you literally find Subreddits for anything. Use Reddit to get in touch with people that could potentially be your future customers. Ask them about their specific pain points and learn from them. There is even a subreddit called r/Startup_Ideas/ where you can ask direct feedback about your idea from experienced entrepreneurs.
One crucial method to validate a startup idea is to describe your new product/service on a landing page and measure how page visitors react and engage with your offer. If you are not a website developer there are countless of website builders out there but Unbounce is particular interesting for this type of exercise. It is primarily a drag and drop landing page builder which is used by marketing teams and agencies for conversion optimization without having to rely on designers or developers. The website templates are optimized in a way that they bring fewer distractions for the visitors and more focus on the actual presentation of the value proposition.
If you want to present your idea to potential future customers and collect their feedback you need as many page visitors as you can get and you need them fast. Google is still the No. 1 search engine with millions of people searching for concrete solutions to their problems. Unlike Facebook people are actually in the mood to purchase products and services when they Google for solutions. That makes it particular efficient to present your new offer to these visitors. Google Ads is a quite powerful tool not only because it is the most popular online ad platform in the world but also because of the tools integrated around Google Ads:
- With the platform comes for example the Keyword Planner tool, which helps you to find relevant keywords around your business idea that people are actually searching for. Similar to Google Trends the Keyword Planner tells you how popular and expensive some keywords are depending on how many competitors are bidding on them in their marketing strategies.
- And then there is of course Google Analytics which helps you to track the visitors on your landing page. Starting from the ads you can measure how potential future customers react to your ads, your future product or service offer and as well as the conversion rate of visitors that actually sign up.
So validating and testing a startup idea is no rocket science but the validation process requires a consistent and coherent approach of which the key elements are
- a clear structured presentation of your idea in form of a landing page
- driving targeted traffic in a reasonable period of time to that landing page
- measuring engagement and conversions like sign ups or questionnaire feedback etc
- iterate, iterate, iterate. Run multiple tests in parallel and see how your results change. Maybe your idea will even change for good.
All these elements are seamlessly integrated into Balloonary, a fully integrated platform that provides objective validation of your next big idea in 3 steps without any technical or marketing knowledge required.
Step 1: Balloonary lets you set up a website with easy to use, predefined and well optimized templates specifically designed for idea validation.
Step 2: Once your landing page is ready you can create your Google ad directly from Balloonary in a much easier to use interface.
Step 3: Since Balloonary has already important call to action features integrated, the platform automatically visualizes the results in gorgeous dashboards showing number of visitors, conversions, contact details of your first leads of potential customers and more. And all that before even building a first product!