Plenty of first-time entrepreneurs I had a chance to meet at Startup Weekends and while facilitating corporate hackathons, fall short when it comes to validation of their market assumptions. There are so many unsuccessful business ideas but yours does not have to be one of them.
Most startup teams proceed straight from their idea to the production phase without validation of their target audience, product, or idea. This is a major problem, as the business will not know whether their idea is indeed a requirement in the market. To add, I see many “nice to have” ideas instead of “need to have”. Therefore, it’s crucial to identify the problem your team is solving.
Any novel business idea is good but building something does not necessarily mean it will bring in the market. Take the time to validate your market assumptions and the product and it will save you plenty of energy, money, and time.
In this post, I’m writing about how to use Facebook as a validation tool as one of the ways how to test the waters.
What you should know about Facebook Ads
You can validate market assumptions and the product using several ways and Facebook is by far one of the cheapest options as you can even do it on a budget.
Facebook can be used to develop targeted ads for a specific audience that you feel would be your main audience. You will be able to gain feedback on your business on items such as proposition value, the product offering, the core messaging, and the main audience.
The knowledge of such information will be essential to the implementation of a stable content strategy for the business. It will also enable you to gain knowledge on how to connect your audience to your content depending on the consumers’ individual journeys.
Why Facebook Ads?
Facebook Ads are the cheapest alternative and they enable you to target a specific audience on a micro level. You can send text messages to a particular group initially and later extend within a larger segment of your audience. With Facebook, you can establish your maximum budget based on the intended lifetime of your ads and allow running of the test then narrow the demographics down to the target audience.
Another advantage of using Facebook is that it is very easy and you do not need substantial tech expertise to run the campaign. Ensure, however, that you read on the best practices to take and monitor your efforts closely. I would really recommend taking a look Neil Patel’s blog post on running Facebook Ads.
Create a Facebook page
If you are validating an idea or starting up a business, there is no need to spend too much time creating content to add to the business page. You will simply need to go straight to the point while making sure it is short and clear without losing track. Create the page, put up extra information about the business, and finally add the cover picture and the logo.
Make an event
After building an audience actively from your site’s visitors, you can create an Facebook event later and promote it to them to increase potential first sale gradually. But first step first – create interest and test the waters if there is a demand for your service. Don’t wait, do it and figure things along the way.
You will notice that while creatin a Facebook event page, there is an URL section. In case you don’t have a website yet and you want a landing page for some reason, you can try using Typeform for instance.
In late April 2017, when Aleksander, Geza and I launched Startup Weekend MEGA concept in Copenhagen (the event took place in November 2017), we did not have a website. Therefore, we had to be creative.
We decided to set up a Typeform as our main landing page and through this form, potential attendees were able to claim their early bird ticket once the Eventbrite page will be set up. It was a pretty quick and inexpensive solution that worked brilliantly for us. We kept it simple by asking:
- What role describes you the best? (designer, developer, engineer, business, marketer, etc)
- Do you have an idea, you want to pitch for the weekend?
Join Groups and Post
One of the keys to making use of Facebook groups is exposing yourself to a potential audience so you can listen to what they have to say and find solutions for them.
Engagement and connection to the audience is the goal as opposed to forcefully pushing your idea or product down their throats. Certain entrepreneurship and business groups can have allowances for promotions but you have to confirm the group rules and follow them accordingly. Post helpful, motivational, and inspirational content to your specific audience and lend a hand where your abilities see fit.
Facebook groups are great in that they allow you to get in touch with an audience sharing the same interests, as you be it productivity, books, travel, crafts, business, or otherwise.
Ask questions and answer
Part of connecting and engaging with the audience is through asking questions and answering them. Ask definitive questions concerning issues other people have that are connected to the work you do so you can obtain insight. It is also beneficial to help when questions are directed to you and you are able to assist.
Choose certain groups that interest you currently and select the ideal ones to concentrate on when you have spent enough time gauging people’s connection and response to you.
Ever since building Community Canvas over the summer together with Aleksander and Geza, I shifted my focus heavily to community building. Moreover, I joined many Facebook groups and conversations that address building communities as a result.
By asking questions and engaging with the relevant groups, you can gain quite a lot of insights. In the Facebook post (pic above) in one of the community building groups, I managed to get 11 really relevant answers to my questions from community builders around the world.
Consider what your customers would find interesting and these interests will help take you to special groups with these customers. Join these groups and initiate conversations with group members related to your knowledge or area of expertise.
Create an ad
Develop a message your potential clients could identify with. This could be easy for you if you have talked to other business owners or potential customers to find out what is needed. Establish a campaign to obtain likes for your website using the ad.
Move over, ensure you address the problem faced by prospective customers and mention a probable solution. Identify and use a hook in order to get more people to click to become fans enabling you to directly message them.
It has never been cheaper to test an idea
Try using Facebook Ads next time you have an idea or when you are about to do a market validation. To add, Facebook even gives you a rough number of how many people your targeting and your potential market size. Go and try to create an ad. You will be able to get some stats for your potential market.
It’s pretty cheap and easy not to test before investing time and money building something. The next step is to figure out exactly how you are going to solve the problem you found, and that’s the epic part.
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