How to TEST if your upcoming product is going to sell?
We all have those long hours during the night when we should be sleeping already, but our minds are ruminating over one thing:
“Is my business idea going to sell, or should I just abandon it?”
So what if..
..Instead of spending months (or years) of time and consuming all your money, you could just TEST your product IMMEDIATELY?
Sounds quite tempting, hah?
Next I’m going to show you:
- 3 different ways how to test your product idea immediately (fast, medium, and heavy).
- How to make your product even better with razor-sharp customer feedback.
Attention! Yes, I’m aware of the phrase people tend to use:
“The only real test is when you see money showing up in your bank account.”
And that’s why I’m showing you two lighter/faster techniques and one “money-moving” testing method.
- Count the buy button clicks (fast)
GOAL: Count how many people click your purchase button on the landing page.
- Ask for them to sign up on the waiting list (medium)
GOAL: Get people to sign up on your email list.
- Pre-sell the non-existing product (heavy – real transaction)
GOAL: Get money in your bank account —> sell your product even if it’s not ready.
So the first and main thing you have to do is to build a landing page.
Sounds uphill? Well, it’s 1000 times faster, cheaper and more practical compared to NOT testing your product idea.
(Oh, and you don’t need technical skills to build one. There are services like Unbounce and Leadpages just made for you.)
1. Count the buy button clicks (AKA micro conversion)
This is quite a straightforward maneuver: you just create a landing page, and then you track how many people CLICK THE BUY BUTTON.
So the process is following:
- Drive traffic to your landing page.
- See how many people click on the buy button (or add to cart button).
- After clicking the button, visitors will be directed to your “goal” page.
- Finally, you just count how many people visited your “goal” page.
And yes, this can’t be compared to REAL sales, but the original idea is to test if your target audience is resonating with your offer.
If you drive 1000 people to your page and you get ZERO buy button CLICKS, it may be a slight hint that you still need to work on your business idea before it’s a market-ready product.
On the “goal” page you can say something like this:
- “Thank you for your interest. We are still working on this product and it will be available soon.”
- “Thank you for your interest. Our new product is still in the works. Please leave your email address and we’ll let you know when it’s ready.
This is not the most optimal way to capture visitor emails.. So keep reading, it’s coming 🙂
Some people use basic a “product not available” page too. This is common especially in webstore platforms. It’s probably not the most recommend user eXperience for visitor, but it does its job.
2. Ask for the sign up on the waiting list (medium speed)
In this stage the goal of your landing page is to capture email adresses from your website visitors.
So you build a similar landing page to the one in the stage 1, but you now REPLACE the buy button with sign up form.
And in this case you may want to be honest and say the following things:
“If you want to be the first to hear when the new product will be published, please sign up on our waiting list.”
You’ll also receive a 50% DISCOUNT CODE.”
Offering a discount of the product is a good way to motivate people to take action on your site. Without a proper offer, the perceived value may not be enough for the visitor to react.
PRO TIP: Try placing your form at the end of your landing page. Often the best place for a Call-to-Action (form/buy button and price) is above the fold section, but there are special cases where the bottom area may be better. This kinds of exceptions are products and services with:
- Complex value proposition: you need a longer explanation to describe the benefits of the product.
- High ticket items: unusually a high price scares visitors away, if that’s the first thing they see.
- Products that are usually free (at least in the visitors mind): Offering a notebook or a map application? One simply doesn’t pay for those anymore.. You need a bloody good explanation why someone should BUY one.
- Offering a product that doesn’t exist yet: yeah, this is our case!
And the reason is very natural.. Sometimes you just need to get the visitor to dig deeper in your story because you need to reach a specific engagement level before the reader is ready to take an action (sign up/purchase).
3. Pre-sell the non-existing product
Now you have a simple goal: Get the money in your bank account.
This is the ultimate test, because the only “real” way to validate any business idea is to see if people are willing to buy it or not.
Now you are building a REAL LANDING PAGE, just like for any other existing product..
Except you just have to explain the situation and bundle and offer:
- “Be the first one to get the new product, buy it now and we’ll tell you when it’s on its way.”
- Offer a good incentive like a 50% discount price if purchased immediately.
- Free eBook or similar BONUS add a nice value into your offer if it’s inline with your product.
- Some people like to set a limit for the minimum number of purchases required before they produce the final product:
“If we get at least 100 orders, we all make the product. Otherwise we automatically refund all your money in your bank account, and you can still keep all the bonus materials.”
Yeah, and now to the best part! With pre-sales you can immediately start to fund your product development.
Oh, and the biggest gain.. It is a MENTAL TOOL for your mind.
And because your are reading this post..
I know you belong to this small group of people who’s minds are processing new ideas 24/7 regardless of whether you want it or not.
So what do I mean exactly? Well..
Building your first landing page forces you to define things like:
Who is your target audience in practice?
So not just B2B companies or car owners or sport people.. Instead you have to know things like:
- What kinds of companies; big/small/tech/retails etc..
- What car models of makes do they own, what is the year model and where do the owners live.
- What sports do these people like, how often do they play, and what is their age.
- What are the core features?
Your mind can create more features for the product than can ever be delivered.
When you start to write your page, you soon realize that the whole message is getting fuzzy when trying to add the all list of possible features.
So in other words, it helps to refine your copywriting. Why?
Because only a few of the benefits/features can be placed in the:
- bullets points
- top of the page
And this means.. That all the features ARE NOT equal, so you have to order them and delete a big bunch of your golden eggs.
Oh, and this stage hurts, because you are cutting arms and legs from your OWN BABY.
Testing click ads or other traffic sources
Also, if your marketing is going to rely on click ads (like Adwords or Facebook Ads) now is the final time to get the big picture about search volumes, audience sizes and targeting methods.
Once again, it is two TOTALLY DIFFERENT SCENARIOS:
- To have this beautiful thought in your mind about creating this marvelous product and then “just sell it online” because you know a friend who works in a PPC agency, or..
- To really face the facts about audience sizes and search volumes in specific countries.
(LINKS TO THE AD HELP AND ADWORDS)
This stage can make you reshape your ideas if you notice things like:
- There’s not enough audience in your target area/country.
- There’s is not enough audience in your target language.
- There are features/benefits in your product that you are not allowed to promote on PPC platforms (Facebook, Adwords etc.)
- This may sound lika a marginal case, but actually there are many industries prohibited OR under tight regulation (like weight loss, health supplements, weapons, affiliate sites, gambling, getting rich fast, spying softwares, surveillance equipment, sex, drugs, tobacco etc.).
Jon Loomer wrote a nice post on this topic, you can read it here.
The secret weapon – get instant feedback and make your product better.
Now when you are getting new sign ups, it is time to combine this with your product development.
So the thing you want to do is to ask the following question from your new lead:
“What is the SINGLE biggest challenge [the problem your product is solving]?”
So if you are offering a solution for dog weight loss, then you ask:
“What is the SINGLE biggest challenge when trying to get your dog to lose weight?”
If you offer software for lead nurturing, then you ask:
“What is the SINGLE biggest challenge when you are nurturing new leads?”
OOPS! Don’t overlook the power of this simple question.. The secret is that the SINGLE biggest challenge squeezes ONE (relatively) clear answer out of the people.
So you don’t ask sketchy things like “What kind of thoughts do you have about XYZ” or “Have you had any issues in XYZ?”.
Where to ask this question?
There are two easy solutions:
- Ask this question on your thankyou page. So your new leads are redirected to this page after they sign up.
- Now when you have captured the email, you can simply send them an email. And on the email you can put a link to the Google form OR you can ask them just to reply on this email and give their answer (see picture below).
Ryan Levesque is usually seen as THE guy to speak about this “SINGLE biggest challenge”- approach in online business. He offers a whole “system” to do you R&D stage. You can read more on his website.
You have 3 different ways to validate how people resonate with your offer and the final test is when you see money coming in your bank account. Building your first landing page is also a mental tool: you have to really focus on the core of the product, define your target audience in practice, and cut all non-relevant features. Finally you are able to fine-tune your product when getting immediate feedback from your core audience.