Using Social Media to Test and Validate Markets, Ideas and Messages

Social Media to Test and Validate

Ok, so it’s time Izak and I got started on a couple of side-projects.

Epic14Days.com is our main base of operations that tracks our journey and hopefully helps to inspire you and at the same time keeps us accountable to make sure we continue to put one foot in front of the other… but it’s not where we’re planning to focus our marketing and main business opportunities. This is not meant to be our main source of income – this is a journey and there will be several different paths we take before figuring out which one we were meant to be on.

That means we need a plan to help us decide which paths are best to explore. Here’s what we’re going to do:

  1. Research specific niches and look for markets where we think we can make some money. Look for potential affiliate products that we can promote and possible information products we can create (ebooks, online courses etc.)
  2. Create a twitter account, and maybe an Instagram account related to that specific niche
  3. Put together a twitter/Instagram marketing plan that covers 4-weeks of promotion
  4. Build an audience, test messages and see what kind of response we get.
  5. Analyse and take appropriate action.
  6. Take the market(s) with the best response and develop a product of some kind (ebook, online course etc.)

I like to systematise things as much as I can, and my aim here is to develop a blueprint that I can use to achieve and replicate optimal results in the future. While I have a pretty good idea of how this should work in my head, I am still experimenting and don’t want you to think that this is a path to guaranteed success. In fact I’m pretty sure there will be plenty of failures and tweaks along the way, but I’m basing this on tried and true agile/lean project methodology processes and I’m confident that we will arrive at a successful outcome (eventually).

Here’s what I envisage the evolution of a successful product is going to look like:

Stage 1 – Research and test

Week 1: Research and find a good market to test

Weeks 2-4: Build initial audience on Twitter and/or Instagram

Milestone / Checkpoint: Analyse response and take appropriate action. Abandon? Continue to Develop Audience? Move onto Next Stage?

Stage 2 – Dive in a little deeper

Week 1:

  • Continue to build audience and test messaging, test linking to a related affiliate product,
  • Develop marketing brief, analyse and define target audience
  • Establish website,
  • Setup landing page,
  • Setup mailing list,
  • Create reason for visitors to subscribe to the mailing list

Week 2:

  • Continue to build an audience and test messaging (this is going to happen continuously now),
  • Develop auto-responder series to provide value, build trust and market to email list subscribers (don’t need to develop the whole email series in one go – sort out messaging for the next couple of weeks and add to that each week from here in). One of the first messages should ask subscribers to tell you what they are struggling with and how they found you… what are they hoping to get from you?
  • Start A/B testing (split testing) different copy on the landing page – tweak one element at a time (get at least 100 hits to each page before testing the next optimisation).

Weeks 3-4:

  • Monitor the take-up of email list subscribers
  • Talk to new subscribers and find out what caused them to sign up, what they’re hoping to get and what things they are having problems with.

Milestone / Checkpoint: Analyse response and take appropriate action. Abandon? Continue to Develop Audience? Move onto Next Stage?

Stage 3 – Develop and launch a product(s)

Weeks 1-4: Develop an information product targeting specific problems identified by talking to people on the email list during the previous stage.

Week 5-6: Launch the product

Week 7: Close the product (remove the ability for anyone to purchase), assess and plan next actions (abandon product? refine and make it better? when to relaunch etc.)

That’s a pretty high level overview of what we’re going to do… I’d love to hear your thoughts – do you see any obvious spots for improvement? Do you see any holes in my thinking? Do you just think it sounds like an awesome idea? or a foolish one? Tell me in the comments below.

I’ll say it again, this is all theory at this stage. It seems like an ideal way to test and validate different markets and messages… it might not be the best way, but it’s a lot better than trying to figure out a product, spending a heap of time building it and then discovering that no one wants it.

I’ve already started stage 1 on my first topic (I won’t disclose it yet, I want to make sure I get some clean data to figure out how I’m going to assess these – but I’m taking notes for an update post in the future).

Izak will start his first one in the next week and I’m planning on adding one a week (either myself or Izak) until we have at least 4 market segments covered… which means I need to sort out a good system for easily managing Twitter / Instagram posts and growing followers… will report back once I have a bit more data.

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