Every day, hundreds of thousands of products are invented. And, for a short time, each inventor of these products thinks it is a wonderful idea which will sell and make a huge difference in the consumers’ lives. However, only a fraction of these products are actually launched, and only a small percentage of them are successful. The rest remain a pipe dream or, even worse, a hole in the inventor’s budget.
So, how do you know if your product will be successful? It is extremely difficult to be objective in relation to your own creation. You thought it up, you spent time to put it together, so it must be good and useful. Or is it really? The best way to avoid a bitter and costly disappointment is to test your product idea before you actually invest time and money in it.
And the social media is the perfect online forum where you can validate your product idea in the simplest, most honest and efficient way. Here are a few helpful ideas:
1. Ask Your Social Media Friends’ Opinion
The first go-to group is your own social media friends. Share details of your idea with them and ask them if they would need or consider buying the product. While some of your closer friends may be biased in your favour, most of them will be honest and tell you what they actually think.
This is a basic, initial validation – meaning that if you do not get the expected results, you should not be disappointed. Take into account their objections and suggestions, incorporate them into your product idea and move forward to the next step.
2. Is There a Similar Product out There?
If you can identify another product which basically does the same things as yours, it is worthwhile to investigate how well it does in sales, read the customers’ opinions and look up the company selling it to see how well it performs in its market.
While you perform this research, you may discover certain features which the customers ask for and incorporate them into your own product. Or, if these features already exist, you can use this instance as your unique selling position.
3. How Many People Need It?
You can create an online survey and share it on the social media, asking people to discuss certain needs or problems which your product solves. This survey, although not conducted under controlled conditions, can give you an overview on the demand for the respective product.
As a side note, the survey can offer you surprising and actionable information, such as a need you had not taken into consideration and which can either represent the unique selling position for your product, or inspire you to develop a new and useful product.
4. Launch a Teaser Campaign
A bold move is to launch a teaser campaign for your product… before you actually make it. It works best for services and digital properties. For manufactured items, you can launch a crowdfunding campaign and promote it on the social media.
In both cases, you can evaluate the initial number of customers you may have for your public and then do the math and calculate how soon you can have the second wave of customers.
5. Organize a Contest
The best way to create engagement for a potential new product, is to share a photo or short video of the work in progress and ask your followers to guess what it is and what it could be used for. If people have a hard time guessing, your product is probably not something they would buy.
You may ask how relevant these social media tests are. They are certainly no solid proof that your product will be successful. This depends on how well you make and promote it, and how competitive your price range is. But it gives you an initial idea as to whether there is a market demand for your product and that you are at least able to recover your initial investment costs from the first wave of sales.