Testing a Business Idea Without Spending any Money

Johnny was sitting on his office when a great business idea came to him…

“Yes!” screamed Johnny, “I’m going to be rich!”

He quickly went to work on his idea and after a couple of weeks he had a product. He paid $1000 to get his website designed and borrowed $5000 from friends and family to get the product created.

Johnny was really happy with his product and website. He could already smell the money!

He maxed out his $8000 credit card and set up an advertisement campaign in a couple of magazines. The debt didn’t bother Johnny, after all, he was going to make a lot more than that once everyone started buying the product.

A month passed and the ads from the magazine came out. Johnny could not contain his excitement!

He sat in front of his computer to watch how the traffic of people flew into his site. A few hours passed and no one came. “Its OK, people just haven’t read the magazine yet, after all, its fresh of the press” said Johnny…

To cut the story short, two months passed and although he had a few visits to his website, Johnny did not sell a single product. Filled with disappointment, he closed the website and was forced to work two jobs just to pay off his debts.

OK, so I made up this story, but the truth is that there are hundreds of Johnny’s in the world right now. People who thought they had a great idea so they spent every dime they had to develop that idea before ever testing the product.

Just because you think something is great doesn’t mean everyone else thinks the same.

Today, I’m going to teach you how you can test your product idea before ever creating a product, and that not all, I’m going to show you how to do this for free!

To make the whole process easy to understand, I’m going to be doing this step by step with a fictitious business. My business is going to be called Bonsai Guide, a guide on growing and caring for bonsai trees.

Setting up a Landing Page

A landing page is simply a website with your product information, testimonials, contact form and an order page for people to place an order.If you need to learn how to create a page, go back to my previous post on how to set up a business website.

Here is what my sample landing page would look like:

This will be your sales page (main page) with all the information of the product along with testimonials and other things that will help the product sell. You can create it by buying a theme at themeforest.net and simply making some modifications.

Notice I also added a “Buy Now” button. This is where you want your users to click. If they click buy now, it means that you have done a good enough job providing information about the product to create an urge in the user to buy.

But just because he clicked on the product doesn’t mean users are willing to buy. I always take it a step further…

When the customer clicks on Buy now I usually create another page with price information and guarantee. I then create a simple form to ask the user for some information. If a customer is willing to provide information he/she is very likely to buy.

Here is how that page would look like:

A serious buyer will fill in the information as a step to making the order. At this point they are committed to making a purchase. Once they enter the information and click submit, I then take them to another page explaining that the product is not yet available but that he/she will be notified as soon as the product comes out.

For the purpose of tracking make sure you name this site “final sale”.

Once the buyer gets to this page, I can now safely say that it would have been a potential sale. Another perk about this is that I already have their name and information which means if I decide to launch the product I can go back, email them, and get these sales.

Set up a WordPress plugin called JetPack so you can track your stats and visitors.

The Secret to Testing your Idea Without Spending A Dime

Now that you set up a landing page, its time to test if anyone is interested in buying your product!

But wait, how the hell do I get customers into a brand new website without spending any money?

The secret is Google Adwords!

“But Google Adwords cost money!” you say. Not, if you used Ipage as your host.

I recommended that you use Ipage as your host. The reason for this is that they give you a $100 credit for Adwords and that is all you will need for now.

Hopefully you used one of those hosts, if not, check with your hosts as they probably offer a similar offer when you first sign up. Its free money so use it!

Now that you have the funds (if you don’t, its going to cost you $100 – which is nothing compared to the thousands you could be spending if you didn’t test your product first) its time to set up our adwords campaign.

Before you do anything, you need to find keywords to target. The best tool for this is Market Samurai but you can also use the Google keyword planner

When you are looking for keywords for your campaign, focus on the keywords that are most relevant to your product or service. If you have a pool service company, it doesn’t make sense to go for keywords like “pool store” unless you sell products.

Set the campaign for $10 per day which means 10 days of testing if you used $100.

Here is a YouTube video on how to set up the campaign:

Keep an eye on your campaign thru out the week and check your stats on your website (JetPack).

Wrapping Things Up

After the 10 days go back to Google Adwords and pause your campaign. Count the amount of clicks you had to your site.

Check your website stats using JetPack, particularly the visits to the “final sales” page. If you had 30 visits at the end of the 10 days, that means you could have potentially made 30 sales!

If you didn’t sale anything or very little, you could be experiencing a number of things like; a poorly developed sales page, your product is priced to high or to low, your adwords campaign isn’t targeting the right keywords or your product simply has no demand.

Make some corrections and feel free to try again. If your product doesn’t have enough demand, move on to the next idea.

Market testing will save you a lot of money and headaches. Don’t fall in love with a product unless you test it first.

It doesn’t matter how great you think your product is, if the market doesn’t want it, its worth nothing.

I’m excited to hear how your product does in the testing phase, leave me a comment below with your results or any questions you might have.

3 Responses to Testing a Business Idea Without Spending any Money

  1. Richard says:

    Well written article. Would have been very useful to me about 5 years ago. I watched a talk by Matt Cutts from Google anti spa prevention, he says that it’s unnecessary to go to all the effort that seo’s go to. He says just to include key words once or twice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P-m2cBCJSk

    I’m really loving this website though. You come accross as a marketing genius. I’m guessing you have other sites that generate income for you as I haven’t been able to detect how you’re making money with this site 😉

    Thank you

    R

  2. Isaac says:

    Hey very nice article. Needed to know what muse testing is and I am hoping this just about sums it up.

    Interestingly enough, I’m a web developer and pretty much know of this particular strategy, having built my fare share of landing pages, and websites for the very same purpose. Never heard the term “Muse testing” though.

    Cheers!

  3. Roxie says:

    How might this apply to a media company or a company that does not have a physical product?

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