One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is forgetting to validate their product.
Before you start anything, before you create anything, before you set up your website, you need to makes sure of one very important thing:
Is there a market for what you're selling?
If you want something to become profitable, you need consumers interested in buying it.
This could mean everyday people, or it could mean other businesses.
But you have to sell something people actually want or need.
So, you've got to do some market research before you start your online business.
(Or any business, for that matter.)
One way to do this is to take a look at popular social media platforms.
The best of these include niche relevant subreddits on Reddit, Facebook groups, and Youtube videos.
In a recent blog post, A Better Lemonade Stand explains how to use social media to learn more about your potential customers.
RESEARCH SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS (REDDIT, FACEBOOK & YOUTUBE)
Finally, you need insight into how your potential customers are engaging with your niche on social media platforms.
Choose whichever platforms your potential customers are most active on, but for this example we’ve narrowed it down to Reddit, Facebook and Youtube.
Reddit is one of the best social networks to conduct research on because it has lots of passionate groups of people sharing common interests and hobbies.
This can be a goldmine for you.
The users of Reddit subscribe to specific categories known as “subreddits” which are basically like niche markets on a smaller scale.
Search the subreddits to find the one that it most relevant to your niche.
In our case, we selected the “Fitness” subreddit for our workout clothes, and the “travel” subreddit for our travel backpacks.
Using these subreddits we’ll be able to get a glimpse into the workings of the niche market, what our potential customers talk about, how they talk about it and what they’re interested in.
If there aren’t any relevant subreddits for your niche, then perhaps there isn’t a viable market for it. However, if your niche is new and upcoming this could be your chance to share it with the world of Reddit by creating a subreddit for it.
Use Facebook to find out if your niche already has an established marketplace to find brands and influencers that are engaging with people who can become your future customers.
If you understand your niche you’ll know exactly which brands and influencers to look for, but if you’re unfamiliar with your niche, you’ll have to do some searching.
Look for brands that fit into your niche and are actively providing value to their audience.
Find out how they engage with their audience, what products are they offering, what promises do they offer their customers, are they focused on quality or price and how do their fans respond to them?
This will give you clues as to what works and what doesn’t when you’re engaging with your niche audience.
Popular brands & influencers for the workout clothing niche we can use to conduct research on niche activity and engagement:
- Lululemon: A workout wear clothing brand with over 1,500,000 followers.
- Kayla Itsines: A workout instructor & influencer with over 8,000,000 followers.
- Girls Gone Strong: A health & fitness organization with over 213,000 followers.
- Health and Fitness Chick: A health & fitness influencer with over 82,000 followers.
Popular brands & influencers for the “travel backpacks” niche we can use to conduct research on niche activity and engagement:
- Herschel Supply Co: A travel & urban backpack & luggage brand with over 500,000 followers.
- Jack Morris: Travel influencer with over 9,000 followers.
- NomadList: A directory of the best cities to work & live for digital nomads with over 9,000 followers.
- Startuptravels: A community of entrepreneurs & travellers with over 7,000 followers.
- Location Rebel: An entrepreneur & travel influencer with over 8,000 followers.
Finally, YouTube can help you find relevant videos about your niche.
Look for tutorials, product reviews and relevant channels to find influencers who are engaging with your ideal audience and see what they have to say.
Just like Facebook, Youtube will give you insight into your niche as far as what customers are buying, saying and promoting.
For instance, when searching for “travel backpacks”, I found Kristen Sarah who is a traveler who uploads reviews of travel-related products, including backpacks.
Her channel has over 88k subscribers, and the specific video I found had 35k views, and over 800 likes.
These statistics are quite good for this niche.
You can learn more about how to start a dropshipping business over at A Better Lemonade Stand.