Got a brilliant idea for a new blog, or website or business? It can be tempting to jump into a new venture straight away while the fizz of inspiration is at its strongest – but being cautious can save you a whole ton of time, money and heartache if it turns out there isn’t a market for your product or service.
If you’re thinking about launching a new blogging project or monetised website, it may pay to test the waters first to gauge how much interest there will be in your idea.
Your Target Market Isn’t Everyone
First things first: define your target market if you haven’t already. You might be tempted to say something along the lines of, the demographic is men and women aged 20 years and older, but that’s a pretty wide net to cast… and maybe not very realistic. You might think that by keeping your target demographic wide you’re increasing your chances of success, but keep in mind the old adage you can’t please all of the people, all of the time. By narrowing your focus, you’re more likely to develop your idea to best suit the needs and desires of your best people and potential true fans.
Of Course Your Mum Loves Your Idea
Of course, the first people you’re likely to ask for opinions are friends and family. But before you do, ask yourself if they are really your target market? Is your spouse within your ideal demographic? If they’re not, asking them isn’t going to offer the best indicator of whether your target market is interested. What’s more, friends and family are likely to be overly supportive of your ideas, no matter how kooky they might be – after all, these are the people that love you and want to see you succeed.
Go Social and Gauge Interest
Ask around via your social networks. Put your idea out there on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+ to see what kind of response you get. If vague acquaintances and relative strangers are responding positively and sharing your idea with their networks, you might be on to something interesting. If you put your idea out into cyber space and hear crickets, it might be a sign you need to revisit your focus and adjust your idea slightly.
Test with Adwords
This is becoming an increasingly popular testing method for online businesses, because it offers real insights. Set up a landing page for your idea – either on a website or blog you already maintain, or on another free platform – inviting people to signup to be notified upon the launch of IdeaXYZ. Then buy a few different keyword phrase options that closely relate to your idea from Google Adwords. You may even be able to find vouchers online for Adwords if you look.
Monitor the traffic coming to your landing page (if you have a web analytics tool tracking that site), and see how many signups you get. If you receive a lot of email signups, you can be pretty confident you’re on a good thing
Host (or crash) a Google Hangout
Google Hangouts are great for getting opinions and spit balling ideas, and can used like a virtual focus group for up to 10 guests. Invite people within your target demographic via social networks, professional and social groups you are a part of, the real world (your gym, your office, your hairdresser), or via the comments section of online communities already appealing to your demographic – just don’t be spammy. You can even record your Google Hangout session and livestream it on YouTube, and invite comments and feedback from others who might watch it.