I’ve been interacting with several startups over the last few months. One of the most pressing points of these startups is validating actual demand of their business. A lot of these bootstrapped entrepreneurs have great ideas that address a sizeable target market. However, once they launch in public beta, they often struggle to get sufficient clients. They are not able to figure out if their proposition is compelling enough.
Startups have a tendency to latch on to every free channel out there to market their business. This results in their efforts being diluted. You cannot be on all social channels, and do a great job at each of them without even testing whether your business has a sizeable market opportunity. And there are enough mediocre social media pages out there that hardly receive any engagement. Therefore, the need is to pick only few channels where you can assess the market quickly and take necessary corrective measures to fine tune your idea. Once you have tested the waters, you can gradually extend your marketing clout and move to different social media channels.
In this post I list down five techniques that any startup can implement right away to validate if their business idea has a sizeable market.
- Google Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns
You see those three ads that appear on top when you search for something in Google? They’re Google Ads. Google Ads is a great way for you to validate your business. People with intent will come to your website after they see your ad. Now your landing page should be convincing enough for them to take the desired action (which you want).
How to create Google PPC Campaigns?
- Go to Google Keyword Planner
- Set the target location to the geography where you want to validate
- Put keywords in the Product/Service Box
- Google with throw-related keywords and their monthly search volumes
- Sort the keywords by relevance
- Pick and choose the keywords that have a low CPC (cost per click) or bid rate
- Create ads based on those keywords
- Ensure you have the right landing pages for each keyword you are targeting
- The landing page should give the same information as the ad with a clear and unique Call to Action (CTA)
- Make the ads live
You can use Google Analytics to set goals. This way you can measure the user journey and whether your prospects are taking the desired CTA.
- Facebook Ads
Unlike Google Ads, which are based on intent, Facebook ads are based on demography and user persona. So, on Facebook, you can micro-target your audience based on their purchase habits, work profile, job, education, interests, travel and a plethora of other choices Facebook provides. For example, we ran a campaign for a school in Bangalore. We created an ad which was targeted for male doctors at Fortis Hospital Bangalore. We were able to generate some enquiries from the target demography. Unlike Google, Facebook ads are cheaper and can be run both as PPC as well as impressions. However, you will need to constantly tweak your ad copies,graphics and your audience to ensure your ads pique interest of your audience.
Once you start converting from an audience you’ve set, you can use the Facebook “Lookalike Audience” feature to find more people with similar profiles and interest as per Facebook’s algorithm. Just like Google Ads, you can need to have a clear CTA for your Facebook ads as well.
- Remarketing on both Google and Facebook
Your ads did not convert? Don’t worry; you can still target those same users using remarketing tags provided both by Google and Facebook. Remarketing tags will follow all users who have visited a page on your website. As people take some time to make a decision, remarketing might help to convince the user to come back to your site to make a purchase or place an enquiry.
When you activate a Google Remarketing Campaign, you will see that when users come to your site, leave and visit some other site, they’ll see your ad appear on that website. This usually happens when the other website has Adsense enabled. So, wherever your visitors go, the ad keeps chasing them.
Similarly, when you activate a Facebook remarketing campaign, the user will see the ad on his feed or on the side.
- Install a chat application on your landing pages
A chat application enables you to chat with your visitor run time when he/she is visiting your page. The benefit of a chat is that you can talk to your prospect then and there, and help him/her make a decision. You can solve your visitor’s apprehensions if any. You’re not at the mercy of a landing page copy.
- Install exit intent plugin/code
Not every person who lands on your page will fill in the enquiry form or taking out his wallet to pay you money. So, what do you do? Let them go? No!
Figure out cheaper options for exit intent popups, which appear when a user’s mouse arrow moves out of the browser window. This is an additional tactic to ensure that at least the user gives his emailID to you. If you manage to collect a user’s email ID, you can always follow up with offers later on. So, all is not lost!
For a new business, validation in public beta might be challenging. Instead of struggling to figure out whether your website is proper or your value proposition is resonating with the market, use these five effective techniques to validate your business. All the best!
About the Author
Raunak Guha, Co-founder and CEO of RankHigher.in. An MBA graduate from Imperial College London, Raunak has been trying to create an SEO knowledge centre in India to help startups and small companies in organic growth.