7 easiest ways to validate your startup product idea (with metrics)

Ever had a great product idea, with no clue how to make it a reality?

Of course you’ve had.

Why else would you be reading this article?

And you’ve come to the right place, too. Here are 8 easy ways to validate your startup product idea, ranked by effort and time. We also included metrics to help you measure your success.

1. Google Trends

💪 Effort: low

⌛ Duration: 5 minutes

📐 Metrics:

  • Percentage increase over time
Google Trends graph

Steps

  1. Go to https://trends.google.com/
  2. Search for terms related to your idea
  3. Analyze popularity

💡 Tip: rising and top queries

Scroll down to get more insights on “rising” (AKA trending) queries and “top” queries.

Rising queries will tell you what more people are searching for nowadays, and in which countries. Below you can see an example for “online courses” and “elearning.”

online courses related queries: rising
elearning related queries: rising

Top queries will tell you the most common search term (in the duration you originally set - we set ours to “past 5 years”).

online courses top queries
elearning top queries

2.  Market and competitor analysis

💪 Effort: medium

⌛ Duration: 1-2 hours

📐 Metrics:

  • Number of competitors
  • Market size
  • Competitor rankings
  • Competitor social media mentions
  • Competitor backlinks
  • Number of reviews
google search for online education companies

Steps

1. Google your industry, market, and competitors

💡 EntryLevel’s VC Analyst program goes over market and trend analysis step by step

2. Look at competitors’ website, social media, etc. and note down:

  • Designs
  • Content
  • Messaging

3. Look at what people also search for

google people also search for online education companies

4. Go to Crunchbase to search for your industry OR “companies similar to [insert competitor you found on Google here]”

crunchbase search companies
search companies similar to

5. Dig up reviews of your competitors - both positive and negative reviews

💡 Tip: reading negative reviews can help you identify a gap your competitors aren’t serving right now

However, keep in mind that people usually only leave reviews when they have something very positive or very negative to say. They won’t put effort to leave a review if they just had an “okay” experience.

negative review about Coursera, positioning EntryLevel as a more viable solution.

3. Post your idea on Kern.al

💪 Effort: medium

⌛ Duration: 1-2 hours

📐 Metrics:

  • Number of upvotes
  • Number of replies
  • Number of people who would invest, use, or pay
  • Number of people who would help build

Kern.al is a gem of a platform that makes it easier than ever to validate your startup idea AND find potential investors, users, and cofounders. You can also get advice from experts in the platform.

This is an invite-only platform, and you can get instant access using our link: https://kern.al/register?invitecode=ENTRYLEVEL

Steps

1. Make an account on Kern.al

2. Share your startup idea

3. Fill out using the research you did in steps 1 and 2 (Google Trends and Market and competitor analysis)

4. Wait for feedback

Here are examples of what ideas and feedback look like on Kernal:

investors, users, paying users, and potential cofounders
goals and activity
idea discussion

💡 Tip: not ready to share your idea? Ask for general advice

You can ask for general advice (or share your advice) on Kernal too! Just hop on a discussion.

discussion with requests for help
example requests

4. Post your idea everywhere else online, and collect emails

💪 Effort: medium

⌛ Duration: 2-3 hours

📐 Metrics:

  • Post engagement rate
  • Number of comments
  • Number of post link clicks
  • Post clickthrough rate (impressions divided by link clicks)
  • Number of email replies
  • Email open rate
  • Email clickthrough rate
  • Referral rate (sharing post, forwarding email to a friend)

Steps

  1. Create a shortened description of your product idea (or copy paste the description from Kern.al in the previous step)
  2. Create a mailing list (you can collect emails using Google Forms, Typeform, Tally.so, MailChimp, Substack, Beehiiv, Convertkit, etc.)
  3. Post your idea on social media and communities, and include a link to your survey or mailing list in the post
  4. Post on Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, niche communities on Discord/Slack, Reddit, your personal social media, etc.
  5. Email people who gave you their emails with a pitch of your idea and a request to fill out a survey (optional; see next section for more)

💡 Tip: tailor your post to each platform you’re posting on

When posting on Twitter - write a thread.

When posting on LinkedIn or Facebook - write a longer text post (if you include a story, that’s even better)

When posting on Instagram - post a Reel, carousel (screenshots of Twitter thread), or Instagram story. Include interactive elements (Q&A box, polls)

5. Survey or interview potential users

💪 Effort: high

⌛ Duration: 4-5 hours

📐 Metrics:

  • Number of clicks on survey
  • Number of survey responses
  • Number of people agreeing to be interviewed

Steps

1. Get practice creating surveys and interviewing users with EntryLevel’s Product Management program

2. Post your survey everywhere (remember to include a way to contact the user and ask if they’d be willing to hop on a 15-min call with you to discuss their thoughts)

  • You can use Google Forms, Tally.so, Typeform, or more to create surveys

3. Prepare interview questions and notes

4. Interview willing users

  • You can use Otter.ai to auto-transcribe and take notes
  • Be sure to ask permission to record the interview, and say it won’t be published (internal use only)

5. Analyze interview findings

is it okay if EntryLevel contacts you for a 2-5 min call survey question

💡 Tip: listen more than you talk

When interviewing, listen to your users describe what problem they’re facing. After, you can share your proposed solution to that problem…but the bulk of the time should be understanding the user’s problem first.

6. Collect pre-sale payments

💪 Effort: high

⌛ Duration: 4-5 hours

📐 Metrics:

  • Number of link clicks
  • Number of sales
  • Amount of money made
  • Number of shares

Steps

1. Read this blog by Justin Welsh to get inspired

2. Apply steps from the blog above to your product idea

3. Set up a way to accept payment (Typeform, Gumroad, etc.)

  • Optional: create a landing page using Unbounce

4. Create graphics (or photo) and description to share along with your payment link

5. Post everywhere

6. Email to your mailing list or to people who filled out your form

7. Analyze results - if you didn’t get sales, ask yourself why. If you did, ask yourself why

💡 Tip: start posting about your product idea long before you ask for payment

Ever heard of “build in public”?

That’s what you need to do.

Start doing that from the very first step (research).

Hopefully you’ll build up an audience of people who are already interested in what you have to say.

And hopefully a small percentage of them want to purchase from you.

7. Campaign with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

💪 Effort: highest

⌛ Duration: 10+ hours

📐 Metrics:

  • Number of upvotes
  • Number of comments
  • Number of conversions (purchases or signups)
  • Revenue made
💡 Only do this if your idea has been validated in the previous steps. Perhaps your idea has changed a bit due to feedback you got from each step.

Steps

1. Based on your research and connections (i.e. finding a group of people interesting in using or helping build the product), create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

2. Research successful AND unsuccessful campaigns in your niche/industry

  • Go to ProductHunt, BetaList, or Kickstarter to find some

3.Write down common themes you notice that made each launch or campaign succeed or fail

  • Did they have great photos or videos that helped them succeed?
  • Did their founders/builders have a large following prior to the campaign?

4. Create graphics, videos, messaging, etc. for the campaign

  • You can hire freelancers or make everything yourself

5. Post on a platform (can be many or just 1 you want to focus on)

6. Promote the heck out of the campaign everywhere you can think of

💡 Tip: reach out to your previous supporters (from surveys/interviews) and offer them free beta access

You can then use their testimonials as part of the campaign to gain trust from new users.

They can also offer you valuable feedback and share your campaign with their network.

Summary

  1. Google Trends
  2. Market and competitor analysis
  3. Post your idea on Kern.al
  4. Post your idea everywhere else online, and collect emails
  5. Survey or interview potential users
  6. Collect pre-sale payments
  7. Campaign with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Next steps

  1. Enrol in EntryLevel’s Product Management program to learn more about building a product. Your portfolio project can be your product idea!
  2. Enrol in EntryLevel’s VC Analyst program to learn about how to get funding for your startup
  3. Hear advice from startup founders at EntryLevel’s free event (recorded)

About EntryLevel

We help you learn and get experience so you can get hired.

To make learning more affordable, we offer a full refund for our programs once you complete them. You’ll also end the program with a portfolio of work that you can show off to recruiters.

Learn more about our programs here.

Date originally published:
Nov 30, 2022
Date last updated:
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