I want to validate my startup idea

3rd November 2021
5 min read

Problem 🤕

I want to validate my startup idea. Understand whether the idea has merit and whether I should pursue it or not.

Solution 🕵️

Find the closest way to mimic your ultimate customer offering. The plan is to invest the least amount of money or build minimally (ideally nothing), yet get a sense of the market.

Why and when to worry about this?⏱️

a. Rationale

The usual norm is of individuals either working on an idea which has no market OR those who build costly and wrong products for a market that doesn't exist. You should avoid being either of those individuals.

b. Timing

Right after you have an idea and you are serious about pursuing entrepreneurship. While you might not need to invest too much money to validate your idea, it still requires significant effort.

Tools 👝

Implementation 🔨

a. Realistic expectation

Definitive answers aren't really the nature of the startup world - you can just make smart bets. The process here is to help you make the smartest bet, i.e. maximum market information with minimum investment.

b. Process

This will be a two-part process.

i. Demonstrate what your product is about

ii. Drive relevant users to it

i. Demonstrate what your product is about

  • Landing page
    • Using landing page builders, make a simple yet beautiful and informative website
    • The goal is to clearly explain what your offering is
    • Here are the sections that your page should have
      • Hero section
      • Why you OR how do you solve the problems
      • A personalised note to them (optional)
    • Example: A good landing page - Link
    • A detailed tutorial on the content on how to build this to be covered later
  • Showcase it through content
    • Write content that caters to your relevant audience
    • While you don't demonstrate your product, you can:
      • Understand if the problem is serious enough
      • If your approach to it is interesting/suitable to users
    • Topics that can be covered include:
      • Problems that your users currently face: In-depth articles, lists
      • Useful tips for your target audience
      • Case studies on others who are facing the same problems
    • Do this through either a newsletterOR even consistent posts on the relevant social platform your target audience visits
    • Example: How Remote Clan was built using a newsletter - Link
  • Buy a white-label solution
    • Don't build another product
    • Instead, buy/use something off the shelf which sort of addresses the problem
    • It doesn't have to be a perfect solution (that's what you will be eventually building)
    • This allows you to drive traffic to this product and see if users are remotely interested
    • Example: Here's how Hubstaff did it - Link

ii. Drive relevant users to it

Your landing page, newsletter or white-label product needs relevant user traffic. Here's how you build it:

  • Social media posts: An obvious one, but here are the key points
    • Find which platform your users frequent (don't spray and pray)
    • Tweak the content according to the platform. For e.g.
      • Tweet threads work best on Twitter
      • LinkedIn requires content that isn't dense
    • Detailed tutorial of each platform to be covered in a future post
  • Relevant communities: Top platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn are great, but reaching your users is easier on platforms that cater to your niche.
    • Don't start pitching your product. Instead, initiate and engage in fruitful conversations related to your product
    • Example of platforms
  • Paid ads: This (clearly) costs money. But specifically for a landing page or a white-label product, this makes a lot of sense. You can:
    • Direct the exact target audience to your product
    • Be sure that they actually have the intent of purchasing such a product/service
    • Calculate the exact cost of user acquisition
    • Example: Here's how GrowthMentor did it - Link
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To drive traffic to their website, Zapier created two sets of pages. The blogs on "Best Apps" & the App Integration pages.

One of the top-performing Zapier subfolders is the /apps landing page. This set of pages accounts for ~15% of Zapier's total traffic with 235K monthly visitors! The idea behind creating these pages is simple. Zapier wants to target all users who are searching for ways to connect different apps.

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Next, the best app blogs are basically blogs that list down top apps in the market in a particular category. For example, the best URL shorteners, the best note-taking apps, the best to-do list apps, etc. These pages get 900K monthly organic traffic, ie. 60% of traffic to their site!

Zapier ranks for really difficult keywords with these pages. It does that by writing high-quality SEO optimized content, internally linking all pages to flow the authority & acquiring high-quality backlinks.

All these pages are internally linked & are created using an automated template to reduce effort while creating new pages!

Unacademy IPL Ads Spend - Was the 40 Cr ads spent worth it?

Unacademy started out as a simple college hobby for a co-founder, Gaurav Munjal. In 5 years, it was built into the actual company with a free tier and a subscription model.

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Given the wild popularity of IPL in India and that most of their target audience tunes in to watch IPL, Unacademy spends a ton on IPL ads.

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How this $4B bootstrapped profitable startup uses SEO to get 500K+ traffic?

BrowserStack is a cross-browser testing tool that can be used to test software on different browsers and applications.

Their target audience is primarily developers. They are highly technical and appreciate in-depth tech content.

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