Depending on which marketing “expert” you speak to, you’ll get many different answers to finding the best way to validate your assumptions and test for product/market fit in your business. I’ve seen a lot of bad advice on this topic so I wanted to stick my oar in on the right way to understand the market opportunity for your product.
Some will say that you should build a landing page and drive traffic to it via paid ads. That’s great… if you know how to build a well-designed and written landing page. And also know how to optimize a paid marketing campaign.
Some will tell you to run an online survey and send it to your friends. Or, even worse, talk to your friends and family. Are they your target audience? And are they going to tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
The chances are that they probably won’t be #1 and almost definitely won’t do #2 because they don’t want to hurt your feelings.
Your friendly marketing expert may give you some other far-fetched and highly variable method, but I’d stop listening if they suggest anything other than what I am about to tell you.
The market decides
The reality is that there’s really only one sure-fire way to validate the market you’re addressing: talking to your current or potential customers. In this case there literally is no substitute for putting in the work.
Do you know why?
The market doesn’t lie. And the market sure as hell doesn’t care about you or your product… unless it solves a problem or unlocks an opportunity. So the market has no vested interest in telling you anything but the truth.
Now, first you need to hypothesize on who your target customer is. If you already have customers, look at both your most and least profitable customers – what’s different about them? Remember, this is about finding a fit for a specific segment of customers. How do you know who the target customer is? Who has the problem that you think you’re going to solve?
You can run tests with Facebook ads and landing pages, but frankly, there are so many levers that could influence the outcome that it’s unadvisable without some inkling of who your customer is and what they’re interested in.
Finding your target customer
How do you know who the target customer is? Who has the problem that you think you solve? What jobs are those customers trying to get done? You can run tests with Facebook ads and landing pages, but frankly, there are so many levers that could influence the outcome that it’s inadvisable without some inkling of who your customer is and what they’re interested in.
Start by looking at age groups or job titles and experiment from there to find your ideal buyer.
When you do discover exactly who they are, they’re unlikely to tell you exactly what you need to hear – even if they’re your customers. Thus it’s important to not just focus on what they say, but also how they say it. Keep asking why, and keep digging into what they’re trying to achieve, how they could get there faster or go even further. Consider the reasons why people buy for a moment.
If you’re talking to potential buyers, start to introduce your proposed solution to their problem (or problems) when you think you’re onto something. Remember, it’s all about them, not you – so don’t go full bore on your product. Don’t throw up. Scarcity breeds intrigue, so keep them thirsty for more.
So, the next time you’re trying to discover product/market fit, go and talk to people. And don’t just talk to any people – talk to your current or hypothetical customers. There is literally no faster way of finding product/market fit.