I see a painfully large amount of people waste their lives on stupid business ideas. We all have…
A friend gets giddy over some new online business he thought up after reading the daily newspaper for the first time in years. He runs around telling EVERYBODY how GREAT their lives will be after their product has hit the market.
We call these people “Wantrepreneurs”. They spend THOUSANDS of dollars and YEARS of their lives trying to fool themselves into believing they’re entrepreneurs. They get business cards, make Facebook pages, start Tweeting constantly, file for an LLC, open bank accounts…TONS of GARBAGE!
Don’t Be a Wantrepreneur!
Luckily for you, you are reading StartupBros and won’t be subject to the Wantrepreneur’s agony…
It is extremely easy to prove to yourself your business is a failure or a success with just a couple hours of effort. And it works for almost any idea.
(Watch Now: What’s the right business model?)
Let me show you exactly how we validate our business ideas for FREE…
Picking a name to start your business can be difficult. If you want a step by step guide to figure out how to come up with a name check out our article! We also wrote about the best logo makers you can use to launch quickly!
Step 1 – Create a Landing Page
The first thing we are going to do is make a landing page for our business idea (as if it is already an established business).
Unbounce (FREE) (Update: I now use LeadPages or ClickFunnels instead of Unbounce for this) to create all of my idea validation landing pages. Once you have an account and get familiar with it, it is very easy to use.
(Note – These tools now requires a credit card for their free trials, so you will have to remember to cancel after your done testing)
Here is one of the best performing landing pages we used to validate and test StartupBros…
You can see, I don’t put much time into these landing pages. The goal is to get it up QUICK and make sure it is something that your target market would bite at.
If you’re not sold on this concept yet, take a look at this…
Here are some landing pages we used to test different taglines with StartupBros – you will 2 of 4 different taglines we were testing.
A familiar tagline – You don’t need a job…
A loser of a tagline – Quit your job with us…
There’s literally NOTHING different but the taglines. I even toned down the logo tone to make sure the tagline alone was influencing conversions…
And boy, did it influence conversions! Take a look at the results –
Five words = 35% conversion rate INCREASE!
This test was a life-saver for StartupBros. I’m not saying StartupBros couldn’t be successful without the winning tagline, but why put yourself at a disadvantage like that?
This test showed us clear, reliable evidence that our target audience would be most receptive to the “You don’t need a job” tagline…
And a full 35% more receptive than the ‘Quit your job with us’ tagline.
35% conversion rate difference from five words…
That’s why it’s important that you take advantage of the A/B testing features on Unbounce/LeadPages when running validation tests. You’ll uncover insights that you didn’t know you didn’t know, and they’ll make all the difference in your business.
Test different headlines, different copy, different features, different prices, different colors…I test everything!
(Watch now: Should I drop out of college?)
Step 2 – Run a Small Ad Campaign
Now we’re going to run a small ad campaign using pretty much any platform we can (Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, Twitter Ads – whatever you can run for cheap/free).
All these platforms offer coupons for free advertising credits. You’ve probably seen them floating around the internet. They’re fairly easy to get.
If you don’t have any free advertising coupons, no worries. You know I’ve got the hookup for you!
I keep a running list of working methods on how to get free PPC Ad Coupons from ALL the ad networks. And of course, it’s free for you 🙂
If you need Free PPC Ad Coupons, click here!
I’ll be using Google Adwords to show you the method in this article, since those ad coupons are typically the easiest the get…
Make a new account and load up your Coupon. Go through the process to set up a new campaign and be sure to try to hit your target demographic as much as possible. Set your bidding option to Automatic Bidding to Maximize Clicks, with a max big target of $0.50. If you don’t get any clicks, raise this up 0.25 every couple hours until you do. Put your budget around $20/day. Setting up a good Adwords campaign is obviously much more in depth than this, but we are going purely for speed here, you don’t even know if your idea is good yet.
After you have your campaign set up, write some ads and throw some good keywords in the campaign. If you don’t know how to pick good keywords then don’t worry too much for now. Keyword selection is an in-depth topic and I’ll walk you through the process of keyword selection in an upcoming post.
Your ad will show up in places like this
For now, check out the Google Keyword Tool and put a website similar to yours in the “Website” box. Then test some keywords that you’re thinking. Don’t be afraid to get specific with them. To get to the Keyword Tool go to www.google.com and type “Google Keyword Tool” and it’ll be the first thing that comes up (they’ve been moving the URL around recently so I didn’t want to give a link that would go bad tomorrow).
You can also run Facebook or LinkedIn ads for these types of tests (obviously), but I can’t hook you up with coupons for those 🙁
NOTE – Don’t forget to set up Conversion Tracking, or else this whole thing will be useless! In Adwords, set up Conversions under the Tools and Analysis section of your account. Take that script and put it on the confirmation popup on your Unbounce pages. Also, submit an entry into your landing page to make sure all tracking and lead capturing is working properly! If you have any trouble doing this, comment below and I will post a follow up!
Step 3 – Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! … or Try Again
Now you get to see what happens…
You will either start getting TONS of leads in your email, get a few leads, or get absolutely nothing. Be sure to contact your leads and find out as much as you can about them, their needs, etc. Start the sell!
You will soon find out if you have a smashing hit or a complete dud on your hands. People could start throwing money at you, or they may start cursing you out.
After a couple days you’ll have something that looks like this:
This will give you some additional numbers about customer acquisition costs for you to weigh against your revenue (or potential revenue). What copy worked well? What tone? Using this information you will be closer to determining the validity of your business.
After running your tests and looking at all your data, you will have INFINITELY more perspective on if you want to move forward with your business idea; and if so, which direction to take it in.
Start it now! It doesn’t take a lot of time, you can eventually quit your job and it has a very real possibility at changing your life for the better. You have pretty much zero to risk here – GET AT IT!
More knowledge isn’t always the answer. Take action and never look back!
For real – when in all of history has it been possible to test a business in a week for $25 and an hour or two of work? It’s absurd not to.
And you did it all in a couple of days, for no cost but your time. Pretty nifty huh?
Now that we have a working tagline we can run a contest to create the perfect logo.
Let us know how this is working for you! Are there extra details you’d like to know? Add anything and everything below in the comments!
First. Thank you for this article. I am very nervous about doing this. I have a good idea of my business idea I want to try out. I am looking more into leadpages to test that idea. once I have the pages ready I will start an ad campaign. I intend to make a sales pages with a “buy now” button that once clicked informs the user that we are testing to see if there is interest and allows them to send an email (and comments if they want) and they will be notified of our progress.
my question is this, how will I know if the business is a success? or if it would be a success. I realize its a combination of how many people come to the site and how many of them would buy the product. I realize if 100% would buy the product but I have only 3 visitors that doesn’t mean anything. but if I have 1000 visitors a day but only a 0.1% click rate thats not good either. (I have never used ad words – any help on how to determine when a product is a success is helpful.
Hey James, I would love to help you out with this 🙂 First of all I think it’s awesome that you want to test out your idea. You really need to if you’re going to succeed doing anything. I like the approach you’re taking. The truth is that in general you never actually know your business is going to succeed or not. Most businesses are capable of succeeding the problem is that people don’t stick with them long enough to see it through.
In particular to you testing your idea then success would be if your campaign is profitable. Let’s say you spent $100 dollars to send traffic to your landing page. And then you are able to make $200 in sales. That’s one way to determine success because you are making money. If you aren’t selling anything then you want something at least converting at 20% just to be safe. If you get 100 sign ups for 500 visitors then your messaging is working. Hope this makes sense. If you have any more questions at all please let me know!
Thank you, Author!
Why was this article not written when I started?
when I got 5-6 fuck-ups I start to test my ideas with draftuim.com and launch my landings with weblium.com.
But it really good content I share it.
Hey Chris, I know man! I wrote this article because of all the mistakes I made. So much time wasted haha
Excellent post guys. Too many startups are bolting out of the door without even thinking about whether anyone will actually buy their product service.
Testing, even on a crappy WordPress site (or cheaper!), is essential.
When you set up new landing pages to test an idea, do you typically use your own domain or go with the Leadpages subdomain? I am not sure whether or not it is worth it to buy new domains for each new business or product idea to test or if I should just do a landing page in the Leadpages URL first.
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Great info you have on here! Please do keep it up. Question- There are way too many Youtube videos promoting ‘Dropship’ model with Aliexpress. What is your take on it? I do not think it would work because Amazon is a direct competitor with next day delivery.Compare that to upto 5 weeks delivery time from Aliexpress combined with the fact that most Aliexpress products are already listed on Amazon, I don’t see how this model could work.
Site keeps saying my email is invalid but it is.
What is the most affordable shipping method on Alibaba? I am trying to order a product that likely weighs no more than 5lbs at a price of $6.00 total, but shipping by sea from China mainland to North Carolina, US is $40.00. Obviously paying $46.00 for a $6.00 order isn’t great. Is there a cheaper method to get the product to me?
You need to order more products to make the shipping affordable. You’re asking for something cheaper than $40 dollars from China to North Carolina. That’s unrealistic and close to asking for magic.
Great advice, thanks, Will!
I would personally suggest starting even *before* building a landing page or an MVP to gauge initial interest: Time is your most valuable resource – don’t spend any more than necessary on something that you don’t even know is actually viable.
Another point I would make is to not mistake your friends & family for your target audience – sometimes there may of course be overlaps, but a “yeah, that sounds cool” from your friends & family doesn’t cut it. There’s something called “Interviewer bias”, which means that your friends will rate your ideas more favorably than the general public.
I’ve personally used http://www.ideacheck.io to validate my startup idea and get an initial sense of whether my ideas might actually be valuable. They take care of generating a questionnaire from the idea and put it to a panel of users from your target group. So far, the response to my ideas was mostly negative, but I’ve gained valuable feedback through this process.
Great site! Quuck question. When you talk about testing a business idea, do you mean I should do this before I start listing any product on Amazon, or is this after I have found a product that sells and I want to take it to the next level by branding my product?
Hey Josh, you are absolutely correct. Especially when thinking about listing on Amazon. Start as an individual seller and find market demand with unbranded products. 🙂 Worry about the name later!
ever thought of taking a product idea from kickstarter (or any other similar platform) and running with that to an alibaba type supplier to hit the market earlier ?
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I’m very new to this, If I am thinking of selling on Amazon, should I also do this?
i have read your complete article and post is very good and informative for startups.