According to a CB Insights report, 42% of startups fail because there’s no market need for the product or service they offer. This is a distressing statistic for would-be entrepreneurs. An often overlooked or underappreciated first step to starting a new business is determining the market demand for the product or service. As a digital marketing expert, I see many first-time business owners get caught up in an interesting business idea but fail in engaging people through lack of demand. Demand can be created, but it takes time, extensive resources and some luck. Unless you have the capital of Apple or Microsoft, this isn’t a feasible strategy.
A better alternative is to identify your potential customers: people who would be interested in your product/service. Thankfully, learning about your potential market has never been more data-oriented, easy and most importantly, cost-effective. Let’s find out how.
Search Google And Browse Through Forums
Start your research by doing a Google search. Try to find out if there are businesses already doing what you want to do. If you can’t find any, find out if there are at least questions related to what you have planned. This is a good way to gauge the type and level of interest people online have.
Assuming you find an audience, learn the issues they are facing and see if you can address their pain points. For deeper insight, browse through the forum sites where these people often visit to find solutions to their problems. If you think you can provide a valuable answer to establish rapport, then ask them to give their feedback on your business idea.
Use Social Media Channels
Social media can be a useful platform to get in touch directly with your prospective buyers and get a better understanding of the market demand for your products/services. Create company pages and profiles on social media platforms that you think are best suited to promote your business idea, and post regularly about the products and services you offer and share them on different groups relevant to your business. Make sure to track whether your company profile is getting engagement and feedback by calculation conversions and looking at audience interaction. If yours is a B2C business idea, you can run paid ads on Facebook and track the engagement from Facebook Insights.
Create A Website and Market It To Your Target Audience
Thanks to CMS systems like WordPress, Joomla and Magento, it’s easier than ever to create a professional looking website. Doing so improves the authority of your brand in the eyes of potential customers and improves its online visibility. It will also make analyzing feedback much easier, as you will start receiving comments and inquiries through contact forms and comment boxes if there really is a demand for what you are selling.
If you get a positive response from your online outreach, then create a basic website. List all your services or products with a “coming soon” tag and include a contact form to every page. Share your website on your chosen social media platforms and forums.
To get your website ranked on popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, include some basic SEO (search engine optimization). If your business idea is very radical or innovative, it’s likely there will be few competitors online. If that’s the case, then it’ll be easy for your business to find a spot on the first page of Google (Note: the domain name should not include keywords and common phrases).
Your business’ search engine rankings will bring more traffic and inquiries if there’s a market demand for your product or service. If you want to dig deeper and get more data regarding your visitors and their searches, you can add Google Analytics. By using this tool, you can learn about which pages are receiving the most visits, the fields and industries from where people are visiting most often and if users are engaging with your content or just bouncing back.
To get more engagement on your website, create a blog section and start delivering useful information based on user questions you’ve received on your company website and data from Google Analytics. Aim to solve common pain points with your blog posts as doing so is likely to garner your site positive feedback.
By following the above-discussed steps, you will get a better idea about the market demand for your product or service. If you see strong opportunities ahead, then it’s time to get started and make your business idea a reality.
This article was first published by Jas Saran on Forbes