Product Management

Product Validation Process & Testing: a Step-by-step Guide (+examples)

Content Writer

Athira V S

Created on:

June 14, 2024

Updated on:

June 14, 2024

17 mins read

Product Validation Process & Testing: a Step-by-step Guide (+examples)

Do you want to know what the leading cause of startup failure is?

Technological shortfalls? Lack of skills and leadership? Bad marketing campaigns?

None of that.

The number one reason most startups fail is not having the right product-market fit.

And you could easily avoid this by performing product validation early on, before developing the product and investing time and money in it.

That's why we've gathered different product validation testing methods and ways to make sure you have a product-market fit before you invest in your new business idea.

What is product validation?

Product validation is the process that usually happens after the product ideation phase and determines whether a product idea is viable and profitable before deciding to invest time and resources into product development.

The goal of this process is to assess and validate your product from different angles. It usually starts with conducting market research and evaluating your target audience and product feasibility to see whether you have a product-market fit.

You want to see whether there's an actual market demand, validate your assumptions and collect data that will help you make smarter decisions during the product development process.

How to validate a product idea: A step-by-step guide

1. Analyze internal and external factors

Start by analyzing internal factors to see whether your company can deliver high-quality products at this moment:

  1. Development team: Make sure that your product development team has the skills, expertise and technical knowledge to execute your product idea.
  2. Technology: Check whether you have appropriate technologies and frameworks, or you may need to update your technology stack.
  3. Scalability: Check whether it's possible to scale your product efficiently as your user base grows without compromising on user experience and quality.
  4. Budget: Evaluate whether you have enough resources, not only for product development but also for marketing, product launch and other related costs.
  5. Timeline: Evaluate what a realistic timeline for development and launching the product would be and whether you'd be able to complete it, considering the resources available.
  6. Business goals: Finally, it's vital to assess whether this new idea fits into your business model and how it could affect your current and potential customers.

You should also assess external factors, such as:

  1. Target audience: Define your ideal customer profile and conduct research to understand customer needs, pain points and preferences.
  2. Market demand: Assess your target market to see whether there's demand for similar products and identify gaps in the market that your product could fill.
  3. Competitors: Do competitor research to get a better understanding of their offers and also pay attention to what their users say about them. This can help you with positioning and identifying your unique value proposition.
  4. Regulatory compliance: Look for any legal and regulatory requirements specific to your industry, such as protecting customer data and privacy.
  5. Trends: Consider emerging trends, technologies and customer preferences that might affect the success of your product launch.
  6. Economic factors: Consider the bigger picture and factors like pricing sensitivity and budget constraints of your target market.

2. Collect audience data and customer feedback

You should be strategic in how you're collecting customer feedback because the data gathered should help you answer important questions such as:

  • Is your product solving a real problem?
  • Are there enough interested users?
  • Are they ready to pay for your product?

Keep reading to discover different techniques for collecting audience data and customer feedback and answering these questions.

Interviews, surveys, and focus groups

If you already have a user base, you can schedule user interviews with people who fit your ideal customer profile to learn even more about them and see whether they want some other features that you can implement in your product.

You could also do quick in-app surveys, knowing that the average response rate for in-app interactions is a whopping 92%, more than most other channels.

You should keep your survey questions concise if you want to increase the response rate. However, if the survey is long, you could motivate users to respond by sending a gift card or voucher to those who complete it, just like Mailchimp recently did.

If your product is brand new, you should think of places where your potential customers could gather, such as forums, online groups, or social media.

Now, you may be wondering whether it's possible to automate this whole process and combine user feedback from multiple channels.

Yes, it is!

Zeda.io is a unique combination of a customer feedback platform and a product discovery tool that allows you to collect and analyze feedback from different channels in a single database:

  1. You can install our in-app widget that naturally captures users' feedback without them having to leave the app.
  2. You can create shareable feedback forms and send them to your customers.
  3. You can bulk import large quantities of old customer feedback if you haven't used user feedback tools before and done everything manually instead.
  4. You can set up a branded customer portal on your website to manage feature requests and responses.

But that's just the beginning. Thanks to our numerous filters, you can quickly organize and prioritize customer feedback and transform it into actionable data. We'll talk more about this in the final step of the product validation process.

Prototyping

Rapid prototyping is a great way to validate product design, functionalities and user experience in the early stage without investing in creating an actual product.

It works exceptionally well for complex products or those introducing a new concept, such as Trello.

Trello was one of the first card-based project management tools, and its interface differed from other popular apps. They used a high-fidelity prototype to test the user interaction and see which features they could improve before launching the app.

If you get positive reactions and validate the idea through prototyping, the next step could be creating a minimum-viable product.

Smoke testing landing page

If you want to gauge market interest before you start developing your product, you can create a smoke landing page that serves to test the demand for a product. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Keep it simple and concise. List features and benefits of your product, but do not overcomplicate it.
  2. Be transparent. When people click on your CTA button, you should state that the product is still in the development process and not ready yet.
  3. Ask for contact data. It's never too early to start collecting contact information, so ask people to leave their email addresses if they want to be the first to be notified when the product launches. You could even offer some small gift or discount.

A simple testing landing page is responsible for the rapid success of Buffer, the first app for scheduling social media posts. They posted their smoke landing page on Twitter to see whether anyone would be interested in using these services. After receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from the audience, they created the first version of the app and launched it in only seven weeks!

Pre-orders

You can test whether there are actual customers willing to buy by collecting pre-orders, but you should do so only if you know you can fulfill these orders unless you want to lose credibility.

Ask yourself: What is the minimum number of pre-orders that would make sense for us financially? And then set a target. If you meet it, it'd mean that you can move to the next phase, and if there's not enough interest, you can always refund pre-orders and offer a discount for your next product.

Knoxlabs used this approach to test the interest for one of their first VR products. When their landing page received 500 pre-orders within only one week, they knew they could have a successful launch, and they started working on creating an actual product.

This example shows that there's a way to validate physical products, but if you're working in software development, it should be even easier because you don't have to think about shipping and associated costs.

Keyword research

Keyword research can help you discover how many potential users are looking for a solution like yours on search engines.

Use Google Trends and other tools to identify popular keywords related to a specific product or a niche or problem you're solving and estimate how much traffic they could bring to your website.

If it turns out they have a high search volume, congrats, you've confirmed that your solution is in demand.

Amazon uses this strategy all the time. They continuously monitor search queries and trends to understand customer preferences and demands and keep their offer up-to-date.

Pro tip: Focus on long-tail keywords as they provide specific insights into niche customer needs and are the key to increasing your conversion rate.

Social media

Here are a few ways social networks can help with validating your product:

  • Create teaser content about the new product to gauge user reactions and measure engagement.
  • Use polls and surveys to ask your followers about their preferences. This is also an excellent way to prioritize product features.
  • Monitor social media discussions to discover users' problems and get feedback for your product ideas.
  • Run ads to measure click-through rates and see whether your target users are interested in the product.

Product reviews

Studying competitors is an essential part of good market research, but you shouldn't focus only on their websites and what they have to say about their own products.

The real gold lies in user reviews!

Check out review websites and see what their customers have to say about them – both positive and negative.

That way, you can learn more about customer preferences and pain points and identify the strengths and weaknesses of existing solutions, which may lead to valuable insights and identifying market gaps that your product could fill.

3. Analyze data and extract action items

The product validation process doesn't end now that you've gathered all this customer data. In fact, the most crucial part starts now.

It's time to analyze the data to discover patterns and trends and understand customer sentiments and preferences.

The good news is that you don't need to be an experienced analyst or psychologist to do all that, and neither do you have to spend days analyzing your data.

Zeda.io is one of the best product analytics tools to transform raw data into actionable insights and help you validate a product.

Here's what our AI platform can help you with:

  • Organizing and segmenting customer feedback
  • Creating actionable steps based on feedback received
  • Discovering customers' pain points and customer sentiments
  • Identifying and prioritizing product opportunities
  • Measuring the revenue impact of a potential product
  • Continuous product discovery and improvement

Conclusion

Gathering feedback from users and potential customers is an essential part of product validation, as it can speed up the whole process and lead you in the right direction.

Zeda.io is a tool that transforms ordinary feedback into product validation data and helps you decide which product or feature to pursue with the help of AI.

If you want to create meaningful products that solve real problems, sign up today and let us be your partner along the way.

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FAQs

What is a product validation checklist?

The product validation checklist consists of answering the following questions: whether your product is solving a real problem, whether there's a big enough market for it and whether people are willing to pay for it.

Why is product validation important?

Product validation is important because it prevents you from making a significant investment in terms of your time, money and energy on products that may not have enough buyers.

What are the types of product validation?

Market validation, surveys, prototyping, building an MPV, usability testing, customer interviews and so on.

What are the 5 ways to validate your product or service?

The most common ways to validate a product or service are market research, smoke testing landing pages, prototype testing, pilot launch and pre-orders.

Product Management

Product Validation Process & Testing: a Step-by-step Guide (+examples)

Athira V S
Content Writer
June 14, 2024
17 mins read
14-day free trial

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IN THIS ARTICLE:
  1. What are product discovery techniques?
  2. 8 key product discovery techniques link
  3. Conclusion
IN THIS ARTICLE:
  1. What are product discovery techniques?
  2. 8 key product discovery techniques link
  3. Conclusion

Do you want to know what the leading cause of startup failure is?

Technological shortfalls? Lack of skills and leadership? Bad marketing campaigns?

None of that.

The number one reason most startups fail is not having the right product-market fit.

And you could easily avoid this by performing product validation early on, before developing the product and investing time and money in it.

That's why we've gathered different product validation testing methods and ways to make sure you have a product-market fit before you invest in your new business idea.

What is product validation?

Product validation is the process that usually happens after the product ideation phase and determines whether a product idea is viable and profitable before deciding to invest time and resources into product development.

The goal of this process is to assess and validate your product from different angles. It usually starts with conducting market research and evaluating your target audience and product feasibility to see whether you have a product-market fit.

You want to see whether there's an actual market demand, validate your assumptions and collect data that will help you make smarter decisions during the product development process.

How to validate a product idea: A step-by-step guide

1. Analyze internal and external factors

Start by analyzing internal factors to see whether your company can deliver high-quality products at this moment:

  1. Development team: Make sure that your product development team has the skills, expertise and technical knowledge to execute your product idea.
  2. Technology: Check whether you have appropriate technologies and frameworks, or you may need to update your technology stack.
  3. Scalability: Check whether it's possible to scale your product efficiently as your user base grows without compromising on user experience and quality.
  4. Budget: Evaluate whether you have enough resources, not only for product development but also for marketing, product launch and other related costs.
  5. Timeline: Evaluate what a realistic timeline for development and launching the product would be and whether you'd be able to complete it, considering the resources available.
  6. Business goals: Finally, it's vital to assess whether this new idea fits into your business model and how it could affect your current and potential customers.

You should also assess external factors, such as:

  1. Target audience: Define your ideal customer profile and conduct research to understand customer needs, pain points and preferences.
  2. Market demand: Assess your target market to see whether there's demand for similar products and identify gaps in the market that your product could fill.
  3. Competitors: Do competitor research to get a better understanding of their offers and also pay attention to what their users say about them. This can help you with positioning and identifying your unique value proposition.
  4. Regulatory compliance: Look for any legal and regulatory requirements specific to your industry, such as protecting customer data and privacy.
  5. Trends: Consider emerging trends, technologies and customer preferences that might affect the success of your product launch.
  6. Economic factors: Consider the bigger picture and factors like pricing sensitivity and budget constraints of your target market.

2. Collect audience data and customer feedback

You should be strategic in how you're collecting customer feedback because the data gathered should help you answer important questions such as:

  • Is your product solving a real problem?
  • Are there enough interested users?
  • Are they ready to pay for your product?

Keep reading to discover different techniques for collecting audience data and customer feedback and answering these questions.

Interviews, surveys, and focus groups

If you already have a user base, you can schedule user interviews with people who fit your ideal customer profile to learn even more about them and see whether they want some other features that you can implement in your product.

You could also do quick in-app surveys, knowing that the average response rate for in-app interactions is a whopping 92%, more than most other channels.

You should keep your survey questions concise if you want to increase the response rate. However, if the survey is long, you could motivate users to respond by sending a gift card or voucher to those who complete it, just like Mailchimp recently did.

If your product is brand new, you should think of places where your potential customers could gather, such as forums, online groups, or social media.

Now, you may be wondering whether it's possible to automate this whole process and combine user feedback from multiple channels.

Yes, it is!

Zeda.io is a unique combination of a customer feedback platform and a product discovery tool that allows you to collect and analyze feedback from different channels in a single database:

  1. You can install our in-app widget that naturally captures users' feedback without them having to leave the app.
  2. You can create shareable feedback forms and send them to your customers.
  3. You can bulk import large quantities of old customer feedback if you haven't used user feedback tools before and done everything manually instead.
  4. You can set up a branded customer portal on your website to manage feature requests and responses.

But that's just the beginning. Thanks to our numerous filters, you can quickly organize and prioritize customer feedback and transform it into actionable data. We'll talk more about this in the final step of the product validation process.

Prototyping

Rapid prototyping is a great way to validate product design, functionalities and user experience in the early stage without investing in creating an actual product.

It works exceptionally well for complex products or those introducing a new concept, such as Trello.

Trello was one of the first card-based project management tools, and its interface differed from other popular apps. They used a high-fidelity prototype to test the user interaction and see which features they could improve before launching the app.

If you get positive reactions and validate the idea through prototyping, the next step could be creating a minimum-viable product.

Smoke testing landing page

If you want to gauge market interest before you start developing your product, you can create a smoke landing page that serves to test the demand for a product. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Keep it simple and concise. List features and benefits of your product, but do not overcomplicate it.
  2. Be transparent. When people click on your CTA button, you should state that the product is still in the development process and not ready yet.
  3. Ask for contact data. It's never too early to start collecting contact information, so ask people to leave their email addresses if they want to be the first to be notified when the product launches. You could even offer some small gift or discount.

A simple testing landing page is responsible for the rapid success of Buffer, the first app for scheduling social media posts. They posted their smoke landing page on Twitter to see whether anyone would be interested in using these services. After receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from the audience, they created the first version of the app and launched it in only seven weeks!

Pre-orders

You can test whether there are actual customers willing to buy by collecting pre-orders, but you should do so only if you know you can fulfill these orders unless you want to lose credibility.

Ask yourself: What is the minimum number of pre-orders that would make sense for us financially? And then set a target. If you meet it, it'd mean that you can move to the next phase, and if there's not enough interest, you can always refund pre-orders and offer a discount for your next product.

Knoxlabs used this approach to test the interest for one of their first VR products. When their landing page received 500 pre-orders within only one week, they knew they could have a successful launch, and they started working on creating an actual product.

This example shows that there's a way to validate physical products, but if you're working in software development, it should be even easier because you don't have to think about shipping and associated costs.

Keyword research

Keyword research can help you discover how many potential users are looking for a solution like yours on search engines.

Use Google Trends and other tools to identify popular keywords related to a specific product or a niche or problem you're solving and estimate how much traffic they could bring to your website.

If it turns out they have a high search volume, congrats, you've confirmed that your solution is in demand.

Amazon uses this strategy all the time. They continuously monitor search queries and trends to understand customer preferences and demands and keep their offer up-to-date.

Pro tip: Focus on long-tail keywords as they provide specific insights into niche customer needs and are the key to increasing your conversion rate.

Social media

Here are a few ways social networks can help with validating your product:

  • Create teaser content about the new product to gauge user reactions and measure engagement.
  • Use polls and surveys to ask your followers about their preferences. This is also an excellent way to prioritize product features.
  • Monitor social media discussions to discover users' problems and get feedback for your product ideas.
  • Run ads to measure click-through rates and see whether your target users are interested in the product.

Product reviews

Studying competitors is an essential part of good market research, but you shouldn't focus only on their websites and what they have to say about their own products.

The real gold lies in user reviews!

Check out review websites and see what their customers have to say about them – both positive and negative.

That way, you can learn more about customer preferences and pain points and identify the strengths and weaknesses of existing solutions, which may lead to valuable insights and identifying market gaps that your product could fill.

3. Analyze data and extract action items

The product validation process doesn't end now that you've gathered all this customer data. In fact, the most crucial part starts now.

It's time to analyze the data to discover patterns and trends and understand customer sentiments and preferences.

The good news is that you don't need to be an experienced analyst or psychologist to do all that, and neither do you have to spend days analyzing your data.

Zeda.io is one of the best product analytics tools to transform raw data into actionable insights and help you validate a product.

Here's what our AI platform can help you with:

  • Organizing and segmenting customer feedback
  • Creating actionable steps based on feedback received
  • Discovering customers' pain points and customer sentiments
  • Identifying and prioritizing product opportunities
  • Measuring the revenue impact of a potential product
  • Continuous product discovery and improvement

Conclusion

Gathering feedback from users and potential customers is an essential part of product validation, as it can speed up the whole process and lead you in the right direction.

Zeda.io is a tool that transforms ordinary feedback into product validation data and helps you decide which product or feature to pursue with the help of AI.

If you want to create meaningful products that solve real problems, sign up today and let us be your partner along the way.

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