6 Killer market validation tips


market_validation

Yesterday I posted 4 tips for content marketing and today I want to followup with how you can get instant market validation while that audience grows.

Arguably, the methods I mention in that article will help you validate your idea with the audience on the respective channels — but even that could be a slow train.

Specifically, I want to address a question from Nick Haskins, “How do you validate an idea if you’re not known in the industry?”

Market validation

It’s a safe bet to understand there’s no perfect science to this, especially if you’re creating something that is disrupting a market.

It’s why products fail (or take off) and get pulled off the shelf (or get 80% of the market)– as entrepreneurs we lead with our gut, for better or for worse.

There is one constant however, an audience. Two, twelve, or one-thousand people to leverage for market validation.

Nick brings up a great point about being known and how that may pose as a hurdle for some not so fortunate. Sure it was “easy” for me to get some validation on my mentor post because I have traffic, a mailing list, and a twitter following.

Yes I do a podcast, and if I’m lucky, get a couple of blog posts out every week. My point is, the road to get to here wasn’t easy or quick. It’s why I urge you to start building that audience now and not waiting until you have your beta product.

Do it, do it now.

Find an audience in 5 days, not 5 years.

Yep,  it took me 5 years to get here (what is here anyway?)

Whenever I’m faced with a new challenge, I try not to look at the grand number of factors against me. In this case, you don’t need 1000 people on a mailing list to talk to — you just need, say, 10?

10 is an achievable number, let’s roll with that. Practice the scenarios below for copious amounts of feedback and market validation! You should be able to score 10 easily.

Niche down

Don’t knock on my door saying you need to validate your social sharing plugin for WordPress blogs. There’s plenty of choices out there and chances are, you’re not going to catch my attention with it.

Come to me with an idea about A/B testing for WordPress and I’m all ears.

If you’re not building product for WordPress, find a niche service. Bob “BobWP” Dunn is a perfect example of this, branding himself as the go to WordPress trainer.

Grind down that niche and polish the elevator pitch, you only have minutes to stand out from the crowd.

The direct pitch

This is the easiest and the hardest all wrapped in one.

Find leaders in your industry or folks who will integrate well with your niche. Ping them on Twitter or contact them via their contact form.

How to do this:

  • Half an elevator pitch in the subject line.
  • Keep the entire email super short, 300 characters max if you can.
  • 1 line intro and tell them you appreciate their time.
  • Enter in full elevator pitch.
  • Close the sale:
    • “I setup an account for you already, feel free to login. It expires in 7 days.”
    • “I’d love your feedback on my idea, even if it’s shorter than a tweet.”
    • “Maybe I can interview you for my audience?”

WARNING: You don’t want any of this to sound spammy. You’re looking for honest feedback here, not money.

WARNING WARNING: Be prepared to get rejected. If you’re looking for 1 person’s feedback in a cold e-mail, you probably have to contact at least 10. This is no different than sales. 🙂

Join a community

If you’re an entrepreneur join a community like WordPress Entrepreneurs and get to know the folks there. I met Nick in AdvancedWP Facebook group, there are some great people in there.

Like I warned above, you need to find the right community for you. For example, I can’t seem to get any traction in the WordPress Reddit scene. I’ve posted articles there and get very few interested, in fact, I think they get removed — but no worries 🙂

Don’t go in with your market validation question locked and loaded. Spend a few days adding value, engaging in conversation, and then try your hand at getting feedback.

Local meetups

You all know how great WordPress meetups and WordCamps are — but find something else that compliments your niche.

Login to Meetup.com and see if you can find something in your area. I spend time going to local marketing and business meetups. When I say WordPress only about 1 in 4 know what I’m talking about, but that’s ok.

If I were Bob, I’d go in saying, “I help people understand how to use their website.” If the person nods with understanding, we’ve accomplished some small form of validation.

Either way, I encourage you to get up out yo seat!

Add value

I love this one and I think it might get overlooked.

Try adding value to another product or service. Find a niche within a niche. A child theme, within a child theme 😉

Let’s say you niche down to running a WordPress service shop for small athletic stores. You will make the best athletic/running websites for the athletes of our world with amazing quality at affordable prices. Guess what, you need your own website first!

Do you spend time crafting one of your own? How can we make a splash out of the gate? How can we validate?

Look at something like Carrie Dils’ Utility Theme and build a valuable case study using it or even a plugin specific to your new found niche.

Gauge her reaction, guage the reaction of the Twittersphere and communities you’ve joined. Was your idea validated or will you pivot?

P.S. Carrie is a marathoner — you should take this idea and run with it!

Do it your own way

Here’s what is amazing about all of this — you can do it your own way.

Start your own community, do a local meetup, or broadcast your live stream. You don’t need permission and there’s no right way. It’s validation in itself. If no one is hooking up to you in 30 days, you’re not niche enough or you need to overhaul your elevator pitch.

I started The Matt Report when no one was really talking about WordPress business like we do today. Now it’s being baked in to a lot of what we see and hear around us.

Amazing stuff that I’m happy to be a part of.

Like what I’m rambling about here? Join the mailing list of over 1000 people like you. 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Scott on December 29, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Great article Matt.

    Speaking of pitches, think outside the box. Busy people are slammed with email. One time I mailed a snail mail letter to a big name blogger after emails went unanswered. I put my phone number on the letter and he texted me about it, then we ended up doing a big product launch together.

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