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5 Ways to Test the Viability of a Product

Though the viability of a product provides a means to test hypotheses as a starting point, it’s important to remember that it’s not easy to build. The idea behind this exercise isn’t to see if the product can be built in terms of technical feasibility. Rather, it’s to see whether you should be building it in the first place and, more importantly, whether it’s solving a problem other people find worth paying for.

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The complexity of your MVP depends on the type of product you’re building. Different kinds of MVPs can range from vague AdWords tests to early prototypes. Once you’ve determined the hypotheses you need to test them with your MVP. Here are some of the testing techniques you can put to use to get reliable data from actual users.

1. Customer interviews

“In a startup, no facts exist inside the building, only opinions,” says Steve Blank, co-author of The Startup Owner’s Manual and creator of the Customer Development Methodology. In his book The Four Steps to the Epiphany, he talks about the Customer Problem Presentation. This is an important part of the customer validation process that helps you test your hypotheses with actual customers.

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This process can be continued by listing down the problems you assume your product will solve. Thus asking what the customer thinks about them as well as how they would rank each problem.

After you’ve questioned customers, this information will be a gold-mine for further research. Even if your assumed problems turn out to be not as important to the customer, you still have valuable data that can help you pivot your offering.

2. Touchdown pages

The “Landing Page” is the first page visitors and potential customers come to when they’re led down the funnel towards your product.

Therefore you should use these pages as a marketing opportunity where you can explain your product’s features and have them sign up. At the same time, it’s also a great MVP that lets you test your product against real-world market expectations.

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Landing pages are often misused as glorified email capture pages, although they could be used more extensively to test the product. Joel Gascoigne fleshed out the first landing page. He used that to gauge demand for various features and price plans rather than just to build up a mailing list.

Remember that the objective is validated learning. So collecting visitor analytics with tools like Google Analytics, KISSmetrics or CrazyEgg is the most important part of it. You also need an effective value-proposition and call to action.

For even further learning, you can also run A/B tests on the page’s content to help nail down what kind of pitch works best for conversion.

3. A/B Tests

A/B Tests are used to test the effectiveness of any changes to your product or advertising and marketing. Numerous analytics instruments can be used to check how guests react to the design choices you make. This way you can eliminate the guesswork on the subject of enhancing the product. 

With the A/B testing, you’re able to check two variations of the web page or advertising and marketing copy. Furthermore, it lets customer interactions decide which one performs finest.

A portion of your guests sees model A, whereas the remaining see model B. In the long run, utilizing knowledge gathered by analytics instruments like Optimizely, Unbounce or Google Analytics will prove to be useful. You’ll be able to measure every model’s efficiency on a set of metrics like bounce charges, conversion or utilization.

4. Ad Campaigns

Competition in the search marketing space is fierce. That is why it’s important to remember that running an AdWords campaign for your MVP is not going to get you a lot of exposure. Even so, the campaign is priceless to test your hypotheses and for learning purposes.

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5. Fundraising

Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, among others, also provide a great platform to run MVP tests. These websites are essentially collections of MVPs where people who show interest by contributing to campaigns can be the judge of the market response.

In addition, it combines benefits of validated learning with fundraising for product development. It even gives you access to a group of highly and actively involved early-adopters who have a stake in the success of your product. These reviews are great to build word-of-mouth as well as a continuous feedback system along the way.

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