So you or your client have come up with what you feel in your gut is a great product, business or app idea but you need to validate the idea to ensure that you are on the right track. Building confidence to keep your momentum and to get others on-board requires you to do some initial analyse and investigation to gather tangible proof that your product, app or idea has legs.
And while there are many reason that business and product ultimately don’t succeed you can reduce the risk by putting some effort in at the beginning to reduce this risk and validate the concept.
Below are some ways to validate your new business product, idea, app or concept.
1. Analyze Your Competition
Unless you have specifically developed a totally new concept then you will probably not be the first business to be marketing the product or idea. Yes there are totally unique concepts being released every day but by far the majority of products and concepts are variations, improvements or side steps on existing products and concepts. Savershop is a great example of this- they didn’t invent a new product (razors) -they came up with a new way to market the product (subscription based). Concepts such as Uber are totally new but as I said majority of new business ventures will have existing competition and even if it is a new idea like Uber they still had existing competitors such as taxi services. (there is an argument that Uber is not a totally new concept but that is the topic for another post) So a good first step is to look to your competition to better understand demand and potential product appeal.
Although you’ll probably never know exactly how well your competition is doing, there are things you can uncover that can give some indication.
Find Your Competitors
The easiest way to discover your competitors is to do some simple Google searches for your product idea. It’s important to think like a potential customer and search for terms that customers would actually use.
Once you uncover a few key competitors, you can use free online tools like SimilarWeb and SEMrush to uncover others. There are also sites such as SpyFu which is a great resource to research what keywords and Adwords our competitors are using once you have found them via SimilarWeb.
As an example, I used Semrush to find out who was selling “rugby trophies” for a client and SemRush not only gave the top competitors actual competition pages but also the adwords Cost Per Click if I want to advertise with Google.
SimilarWeb and SEMrush can also provide additional details about your potential competitors including:
- Traffic Overview
- Geography of Traffic
- Referring Websites
- Search Keywords (Organic and Paid)
- Social Referrals
Reviewing the information with these tools is a good place to start understanding all of your competitors to get a good overview of what you’re up against.
You may also research how long they have been in business or online by doing a whois lookup on their domain name.
2. Understand the marketplace you are entering
Now with an idea of who your competitors are and how they are doing things, it’s time to look a little closer at the market and direct interest from consumers.
As a general rule you wouldn’t want to rush into a declining marketplace or when the “bubble”has burst so to speak. Google Trends is a really simple and free web application that will allow you to search for keywords related to your chosen product to better understand the trend based on Google searches over time.
Is your product idea trending up, down or is it stagnant? Knowing where the market is going can help you make a more informed decision for your idea.
Another great place to begin is to see what is happening in the marketplace and what customers are saying about your product idea as well as their sentiment around it is Topsy. It is perfect for searching for information surrounding hashtags to learn more about what customers are talking about in relation to your product idea.
3. Keyword Analysis
Understanding your product’s trend and social chatter is great but it’s also important to know how many people are currently searching for your product idea each month. That’s where Google’s Keyword Planner Tool comes into play. The Keyword Planner Tool allows you to search for keywords and phrases related to your product and then displays the total number of searches each money for the chosen terms.
In addition, the Keyword Planner tool will also display the level of competition in paid search for each term. This can allow you to better understand how lucrative the keywords are, which can also be an indication of profitability of the product.
To use this tool you need to have a Google Adwords account which you can sign up to for free. Login to your account and select Tools from the top menu, then select Keyword Planner. On the next screen, click Search for new keyword and ad group ideas. Backlinks IO has a great page with step by step instructions and tips on using this great tool.
Now you should be have a clearer idea about whether your idea, app, product is the go and the potential or existing competitors and the marketplace for it. And with this information you should be in a great place to promote your product, idea, app and achieve great success. 🙂