One of the most important aspects of building a business is validating that there is a demand for your product or service. There is nothing more discouraging than spending your time and energy creating a product that you think people will love only to realize that there's no interest when you launch. There are many different ways to validate your product idea. And for each industry, there can be a slightly different strategy. If you're starting out, here are the top five strategies to validate your product that we recommend. The first and arguably the best way to validate your product is to make some sales.
Nothing is more important than customers seeing the value in your product and exchanging money for it. For us, that happened at the first few shows we went to, where complete strangers bought our product. The second strategy is to make sure there's enough of a market, too, not just a few people at a show that like your product. You need to look at the market as a whole and understand what the overall demand is like. One of the ways you can start this process off is by looking at your direct competition.
Find out what they're doing and how it compares to what you are or planning to do. If there are competitors out there, it shows you that there is a market for what you're selling. The easiest way to discover your competitors is a simple Google search. You can also check out hashtags on Instagram or Pinterest or searching on Facebook. If you're new to social media, ask a person in your life who's savvy on social media for a little help. A third strategy you can use to validate your product and its market is to analyze demand and search volume.
Now that more about your competitors, let's take a closer look at interest from potential customers. The easiest starting place is to go to Google Trends. This is a free tool that allows you to see how often people are searching for the product you're selling. You can also see if your product ID is trending up, down, or if it's stagnant. The second tool you can use is Google's Keyword Planner tool. This tool allows you to search for keywords and phrases related to your product and then displays the total number of searches for each of the terms you chose.
For example, we first assumed people might be searching for spices or spice blends, and we focused on those keywords. But over time, we realized that if people don't even realize that a product like ours exists, they would not search for it in that way. We realized they were more likely to search for the names of the final products or recipes they wanted to eat, which could lead them to our products as a new way to make those dishes. Once you really start getting a sense of your customer base, it's critical that they have a way to communicate and provide feedback to you.
The quickest and easiest way is to bribe friends and family with your MVP and then gather feedback using a free survey. We recommend creating an anonymous survey in a Google Form or Survey Monkey. Another interesting and more modern way to validate your product is to run a crowdfunding campaign. A crowdfunding campaign is a helpful proven option to see if there's demand for your product. One of the benefits of a crowdfunding campaign is that you have a deadline, and it requires all of your focus and efforts to reach your goal.
If interested in running a campaign, it's important to find the right service to launch. Indiegogo and Kickstarter are well-known platforms, though there have been many that have popped up in recent years. Do some research to ensure you have the right platform with the right community to launch your product. And definitely, try to talk to people who have run successful crowdfunding campaigns for tips. Another method I can definitely recommend since it was helpful for us is to sign up for a craft show or a local market.
This is a great way to gather quick first-hand feedback and impressions from potential customers. It also has the added benefit of having a strict deadline that you need to take action by, which is why we love it. You'll get to talk to potential customers, see their initial reactions to your product, and find out if they are willing to spend money on it. Do a Google search for markets and craft shows in your area to find ones that fit well with your brand and product. Doing this work to validate your product will help give you more confidence in putting yourself out there, and it will save you money and time down the road.