How do you test your online business idea?

The great thing about the internet is that you can test an idea before spending tens of thousands of dollars on design, development, and promotion.

If your idea involves advertising at people, there’s a good chance it’ll fail. If it hinges on providing useful information and services, you’re in with a chance of success.

Your online market must already be looking for what you’re planning to offer. If they aren’t, the cost (and risk) of trying to distract their attention from what they are searching for is likely to be too great.

  • Is anybody already looking?
  • How are they looking?
  • Does your offering match what they are looking for?
  • Can you attract their attention?

Is anybody looking?

You might think your idea is so fantastic the world will beat a path to your door.

The questions you need to answer are whether they are looking for specifically what you offer, or if not, is your offering so close to what they are looking for you might be able to sway them in their search.

If you only need a niché market, then a small number of searchers may be more than enough. If you are truly relying on volume sales, you’ll need to identify a larger target audience.

The important thing is you shouldn’t place too much emphasis on the traditional ‘interruption marketing’ strategies. People are looking for information, not advertising.

Are there patterns of search?

There might be particular search phrases that people use to find the sort of offering you’re considering making?

These phrases may not be immediately obvious, or alternatively, follow a pattern you might never have expected. For example, people looking for airline tickets might search for ‘cheap plane tickets’ rtaher than ‘discount airfares’. You could blow your promotional budget on targeting the wrong phrases in your pay-per-click campaign. It might not be a reflection on the appropriateness of your product, just how you’ve presented it.

Is your offering relevant to your target market?

If you don’t match your offering to your target market, your conversion rate will be low. When people look for information, there’s no such thing as capturing them under false pretences.

If they’re not interested, they’re not interested. The cost of attracting huge volumes of website visitors, with a relatively low level of converted sales, will mean an unprofitable business model.

Be honest with yourself, and your customers. Assume your potential customer has already, in part, made up their mind as to what they need. Your goal is to give them something they want!

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