Unlocking Subscription Success: 4 Essential Product Validation Strategies

Don’t Launch Blind: Ensure Your Subscription Product Hits the Mark!

In the ever-evolving landscape of subscription-based products and services, one golden rule stands tall: Never assume you know better than your customers. The belief that “if you build it, they will come” might have worked in a few rare instances, but for the majority of subscription businesses, it’s a risky gamble. To ensure the success and longevity of your subscription offering, it’s imperative to validate your ideas and concepts with the very people who will become your paying customers.

In this article, we’ll explore four practical and effective methods to validate the demand for your subscription product before taking the plunge. These strategies are designed to help you gain valuable insights from your target audience, refine your product, and create customer profiles that accurately reflect your market. So, let’s embark on the journey of validating your subscription offering and set the stage for a successful launch and sustained growth.

1) Online & Internal Research: Unveiling Customer Insights

Your journey toward subscription success begins with comprehensive online and internal research. This critical first step is all about understanding how your potential subscribers are navigating the digital landscape and how your existing products align with their needs.

Google Keyword Planning: Dive into Google’s Keyword Planner, a powerful tool that can uncover valuable insights about your target market. Analyze keyword volume and forecasts to gauge the level of competition within your niche. This will provide you with a clear picture of whether your target keywords are hotly contested or virtually uncharted “ghost” territory. Additionally, explore related searches to discover alternative language and phrases your potential customers might be using.

Google Trends: Google Trends is your compass for tracking the ebb and flow of search interest over time. Use it to gain deeper insights into the competitiveness of keywords. Furthermore, examine similar searches to unearth alternative ways your target audience converses about the topics relevant to your subscription offering.

Website Comments: Take a deeper dive into the world of your target customers by immersing yourself in the content they create. Visit websites that they themselves build, not just the ones they read, to uncover their authentic voices. Explore their blogs, discussion groups, and forums to dissect the language they employ. Pay keen attention to the words and phrases that surface in their content and comments. These comments are often a treasure trove of insights, providing more profound revelations than the top-tier reporters who write for them. Remember, understanding your customers’ language is akin to reading their minds.

In this age of digital connectivity, your customers leave a trail of breadcrumbs online. By following these breadcrumbs diligently, you’ll be well on your way to validating your subscription product’s potential and fine-tuning your approach to meet your customers where they are.

Keywords Research COMMUNICATION research, on-page optimization, seo
Source: Adobe Stock Photo

Copyright © 2023 Authority Media Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

2) Engage in Meaningful Conversations with Your Audience

Now that you’ve gathered insights from the digital realm, it’s time to connect with real people who represent your target audience. This step is all about establishing personal connections and gaining a deeper understanding of your potential subscribers.

Identify Your Ideal Interviewees: Begin by identifying individuals you want to engage with. These could be your future customers, and you can find them through various means such as networking with friends, tapping into industry colleagues, leveraging LinkedIn connections, joining professional groups, or accessing customer lists. In some cases, if your budget allows, you can even consider purchasing relevant lists of prospects. Keep in mind that not everyone you identify will be available for an interview due to scheduling constraints, so aim to connect with five to 10 prospects.

Set Clear Expectations: Your goal is to secure three to five in-person or virtual interviews, and it’s crucial to respect your interviewees’ time. When reaching out, clearly communicate the purpose of your invitation and what you hope to achieve during the meeting. Stress that these interviews will be concise, lasting around 15 minutes.

Show Gratitude: Express your appreciation for their time and insights by planning to buy coffee or lunch during in-person meetings or by offering a gift card as a token of thanks for virtual interviews. A personal thank-you note after the interview goes a long way in maintaining a positive rapport. Additionally, consider extending an invitation for them to be early subscribers or to experience your subscription offering as a guest when you launch. Generosity and gratitude can foster goodwill and loyalty.

Prepare an Interview Framework: Develop a structured interview worksheet with a consistent set of questions. These questions should help validate assumptions, include open-ended inquiries, and explore the terminology and concepts your potential subscribers use to discuss your product. Having a structured approach ensures that you gather consistent data from each interview.

Conduct Insightful Interviews: During the interviews, take diligent notes on the responses, observations, and any unexpected insights that emerge. While it’s essential to seek answers to your interview questions, don’t hesitate to allow the conversation to meander a bit; you might uncover valuable information about your product or target customer that you hadn’t considered.

Compile and Document Your Findings: After the interviews, document your learnings meticulously. Identify common themes and key takeaways from these conversations. These insights will serve as a foundation for updating your customer profiles and refining your subscription offering to align more closely with your audience’s expectations and needs.

By engaging in meaningful conversations with your potential subscribers, you’ll bridget the gap between theory and reality, ensuring that your subscription product resonates with the very people it’s designed to serve.

Young Asian woman interviewing another woman
Source: Adobe Stock Photo

3) Refine Insights Through Virtual Conversations and Phone Calls

Once you’ve conducted your initial in-person or virtual interviews, it’s not uncommon to encounter variations or inconsistencies in the information gathered. These discrepancies may hint at underlying issues related to your target customer profile, how your value proposition is perceived, or the clarity of your messaging. To gain a deeper understanding and address these critical nuances, it’s time for a follow-up round of interviews.

Identify and Reach Out: Start by identifying another set of 10-15 individuals who can provide further insights. Reach out to them with the aim of securing a minimum of five conversations. Unlike the initial interviews, these follow-up discussions can be shorter and conducted virtually or over the phone.

Keep It Focused: During these clarification interviews, concentrate on specific questions and areas that require more clarity or exploration. You’re not aiming for in-depth discussions; instead, you’re seeking targeted insights to address the inconsistencies or uncertainties that emerged in the earlier interviews.

Express Gratitude: As with any interaction with your potential subscribers, express gratitude for their time and contributions. A sincere thank you goes a long way in maintaining a positive relationship and encourages ongoing cooperation.

Update and Refine: By the end of this clarification process, you should have a clearer picture of the nuances and intricacies surrounding your target audience, product offering, messaging, and other crucial details. Use these insights to refine your customer profiles, enhance your product offering, and fine-tune your language to ensure that your subscription product aligns seamlessly with your audience’s expectations and needs.

Incorporating these follow-up virtual conversations and phone calls allows you to address any lingering questions and refine your understanding, ensuring that your subscription offering is honed to perfection before its launch.

Source: Envato Elements

Copyright © 2023 Authority Media Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

4) Harness the Power of Online Surveys for Data-Driven Insights

Having diligently honed your understanding of your target audience and fine-tuned your subscription offering through qualitative research, it’s now time to shift gears and focus on quantitative validation. In this final step, we’ll explore how online surveys can provide you with invaluable data, instilling the confidence you need to launch a subscription product that precisely caters to your audience’s needs and preferences.

Quantitative Validation: While the earlier steps concentrated on the quality of insights, this phase revolves around quantitative validation. The goal is to collect a substantial volume of data that unequivocally affirms your subscription offering’s demand among your target customers.

Leverage the Power of Surveys: Surveys stand as a powerful tool for this purpose. They allow you to validate your customer insights and product findings on a broader scale. Your objective here is to amass as many responses as possible to bolster your confidence in the viability of your subscription offering.

Survey Distribution Strategies: There are several effective strategies for survey distribution. If you have an existing email list or even the email lists of friends, you can include the survey link in your email communications. Additionally, if you already offer a product or service, consider surveying your current customers to gather feedback about your new offering. In cases where you lack access to your own customer base, you can advertise the survey or employ tools like SurveyMonkey to target specific demographics. Another fruitful tactic involves partnering with non-competitive companies that share a similar audience, allowing you to tap into their networks for survey responses. The key is to think creatively and explore both free and paid options to reach individuals who fit your ideal subscriber profile.

Other Creative Options for Targeted Survey Outreach: Identifying and securing target lists and partners for survey distribution is a crucial step. You’ll want to leverage internal lists, collaborate with partners, or engage vendors who can help you reach your ideal subscriber profile. Ensure that you establish clear agreements with these partners to facilitate the distribution of your survey.

Design a Robust Survey: Craft your survey based on the latest version of your product and the insights gained from earlier customer validation efforts. Develop a survey that delves into crucial aspects of your subscription offering, focusing on elements that are vital to your target audience.

Strategic Outreach Communications: To drive your ideal subscriber prospects to participate in the survey, develop compelling and customized copy for various channels, including email, advertisements, website content, partners, specific lists, and more. Clearly convey the value of their input and the benefits they’ll receive from your subscription offering.

Survey Deployment: Once your survey is ready, send it out to your selected targets. Monitor responses and engagement to ensure you’re reaching the right people and gathering meaningful data.

Compile and Analyze Learnings: Finally, gather and analyze the survey results. Compare these findings with the insights gained from your previous interviews. Identify commonalities, discrepancies, and trends. This synthesis of data will provide a comprehensive picture of your target customers’ preferences and expectations.

Incorporating quantitative validation through online surveys helps your business launch a subscription product that not only meets but exceeds your target audience’s expectations. 

By following these four steps, you can ensure that your subscription idea for a product or serve aligns with the preferences and needs of your target market, communicates in a way that they respond to, and increases the likelihood of a successful launch.

Source: Adobe Stock Photo

Copyright © 2023 Authority Media Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

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