Most of the times, the focus lies on identifying a problem as well as the solution before going straight to sales and production. You need confirmation by others!
AGAIN: Identifying a problem is not a validation!
Congrats, you might have found a great idea that COULD solve a problem. But is it really doing so in the best way? Are you sure it doesn’t create new problems? Would anyone buy it?
Think of your product, the features or questions your target audience might have… And then go into validation mode! You might have talked to your target audience when you identified the problem, so make sure to continue the conversation. The goal of validation is not just to find out, how to optimize your product, but to give you first real numbers for your business case, which confirm your assumptions.
Step 1: Set a validation goal
Before you choose your validation channel, make sure to set a goal. Which criteria are important for you to validate?
Here are some common examples:
- Is the discovered problem really a problem for more than just 1 person?
- How much are customers willing to pay for my product/solution?
- Which features are the most important?
- Would customers actually buy my product?
- Do they have any concerns?
- How much will marketing activities cost?
- What are my conversion rates?
Step 2: Identify the right channels
Depending on your target audience, you need to define the right channels to approach your future customers. Are they on social media and which channels do they prefer?Do they go to fairs? Do you have some established contacts? Do you need to make cold calls?
Step 3: Choose the right tools for your audience
Now it is time to ask your audience for feedback and find out, if you are on the right path to solving their problem. Here are 3 methods that we like to use.
Method 1: Expert Interviews
This is easy and probably comes natural to most companies. Talk directly to your customers/experts and listen to what they have to say. Go in with questions but give the conversation room to unfold. You might learn things that you haven’t even thought of and get further referrals. If you have talked to them before to uncover the problem, go back and show them your solution.
Method 2: Customer Survey
Through a customer survey, you will get statistical insights on your target audience and an even better understanding of their price sensitivity.
Create a customer survey with a tool like Survey Monkey and distribute them to your potential customers. You can either send the customer survey to your established contacts OR create a campaign, which leads them to the survey. You can target them through social media, like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Xing etc. You will probably need to provide B2C audiences with an incentive, like winning a gift card.
Method 3: Engagement Tests
By using engagement tests, we want to test the engagement of the target audience and find out, how attractive the product really is. It is also a great way to testdifferent audiences and find out, which one engages most with your brand. You have the opportunity to test different claims and find out, which USP stands out the most.
One option is to develop a landing page, which explains your product, creates excitement and has a contact form. If you tell them “be the first one to be informed as soon as our product has launched”, they can leave their contact details and automatically express interest. How will they get to the landing page? Create campaigns, which lead them there.
Another way is to use integrated forms on Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing etc. You do not even have to create a landing page, but if you choose this path, your campaign has to be convincing as hell on its own.
These will be your first leads and it will provide a conversion rate, which is a good indicator for your business case. Think about it… If they voluntarily leave their contacts, that means they REALLY want your product.
Better safe than sorry – we like to really make sure, we totally get our potential customers, that’s why we usually validate at least twice.
If your target audience is B2B, you can do expert interviews and an engagement test. If it is B2C, you can do a customer survey and an engagement test. This all really depends on the channels your customers use. You can test a variety of things using different methods.
A validation does not have to be pricey - you can get great feedback for very little money, but it will save you much more money on the long run. Make sure to take the time to validate.
Are you ready? Go!