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How to Test Your Business Idea Without Spending a Dime

How to Test Your Business Idea Without Spending a Dime

So, you have an amazing idea for a new small business? You are sure that your idea is going to be the “next big thing” but not that sure you should start investing money (…and time) in it?

Well, why don’t you test your idea first? That way you will be sure that your product has an actual market and that it is worth investing in. Yes, you can test almost any idea you have for FREE.

On the other hand, you can always choose to “play safe” and start a blog in a popular niche, open an e-shop with already selling  items…but is that really going to make YOU successful? Is YOUR business really going to survive among all the competition? Not quite sure about that.

Let’s get back to developing, testing and improving new business ideas. After all, you are reading Lifehack!  Just follow the steps bellow:

…before you start:

In order to become a successful entrepreneur, you must first think like one. Yes, you may have heard the phrase “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it” a dozen times, and it certainly has a point. Before testing a business idea successfully, you really must act (and believe) as if it has already been established.

    Step 1: Create a Landing Page:

    Now that you have (an imaginary) business, it is time to get it in front of your (real) audience. And when it comes to customer acquisition, nothing beats the Internet! First things first, create a landing page for free.

    With so many free options out there, you certainly don’t need to spend money on creating a landing page. Try out ucraft’s Free Landing Page Creator and play a bit with different font styles, colors, taglines and images. This page builder has all the features you may need and doesn’t require coding skills at all (what a relief, right?!). You just need to drag & drop, mix & match.

      There is no need to spend too much time building a landing page, the point is to make a few different ones and see how your target audience will react. Afterwards, you’ll be able to combine elements till you find the perfect solution.

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      As mentioned, there are quite a few things you should test on a landing page: start with a template, focus on a catchy text and finish by creating several CTA buttons. When you find a combination with a decent amount of conversions (or at least clicks), you can focus on details such as the tagline, font styles and colors, effects, image sliders etc. Don’t underestimate these so-called “details” – you won’t believe how big of a difference they can make!

            Here are some examples and results of landing page A/B testing, so you can get the idea of how important it is to try out different combinations of:

            …icons

              …CTA buttons

                …anchoring words

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                  …recommending

                    …smaller commitments

                      As you can see, you should really test EVERYTHING, depending on the look of your landing page.

                      Oh right, how to actually test all those landing pages? Don’t worry, it is also very easy and FREE.

                      Sign up with Optimizely for a free trial and start improving elements to get more conversions! You’ll just need to add one line of code to your site and you’re ready to work on your creativity. Don’t forget to keep monitoring what others have to say about it (…I mean, if they actually click the CTA button.)

                        Now that you’ve built a landing page good enough for your brilliant idea, keep testing to see if it’s that brilliant.

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                        Step 2: Get Some Traffic!

                        Well, people won’t find your business by themselves! Yes, a landing page is the first step to take, but now is the time to work on getting traffic to it.

                        Here are 10 basic ways to do it for FREE:

                        • Create a Facebook Page:

                        Facebook has become such a mighty acquisition channel that it is almost impossible for a business not to have an official Facebook page. Ensure yours has high-quality images and graphics (use Canva or Designbold for this purpose), all needed contact information and don’t forget to post regularly. Make sure not all of your posts have a “sales tone”, you should try to manage your page in a way that would be appealing to your potential customers, so add a “how-to” or an “interesting fact” post from time to time.

                        • Create an Instagram Account:

                        An official Instagram page is also a must, regardless of your niche. Include necessary info in the Bio section, but also don’t forget to add a brief description and relevant hashtags under your images. The advantage that Instagram has over Facebook is that you can manually find people who are following accounts similar to yours and try to make them follow you back. That way, you can build your (relevant) audience without spending a dime.

                        • Create a Twitter account:

                        When it comes to promoting your business on social media, Twitter should also be your go-to place (there are more, but depending on the niche, you’ll chose the right ones). You can also manually follow other people, but you really need to actively tweet in order to keep your followers’ attention. Ah, yes, don’t forget to mention your landing page in the Bio section, that’s the point, right?

                        • Be Active on Quora:

                        Now you are probably thinking: one more social media channel? Well, using Quora for business is quite different. Yes, you should create a profile (but not an official one, just pick a name) and try to answer as many niche-related questions as possible. The idea is to show how your business/landing page is the right answer and of course, to link back to it.

                        • Be Active on Reddit:

                        The Quora tactic applies to Reddit as well. The thing is that the community over there is really picky, so if your profile isn’t strong enough or if you are an obvious spammer, you will get banned in no time. Both on Quora and Reddit, you can read comments from real people that can help you improve your (landing page) business.

                        • Create a SlideShare Account:

                        Prepare well-designed presentations about your business and upload them to SlideShare in order to reach broader audiences. Having doubts? Well, did you know that it is powered by LinkedIn?

                        • Brag on Medium:

                        A little PR never hurt nobody, right? Join Medium and spread your business values and vision. Since this is a community that attracts mostly journalists and bloggers, make sure you “wrap it up’’ in a catchy article.

                        • Join and Create Groups:

                        From Facebook to LinkedIn and Google+,  groups have a strong impact on members’ opinion. Join groups relevant to your niche, comment, share opinion and let them know about your business. But, you should really, really avoid spammy posts since there is no point in getting banned. Moreover, create your own group and attract members who would be interested in your business. You can show off, but you should also engage in conversation and ask for opinion and advice.

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                        • Create an Infographic:

                        Creating an infographic about your business is one of the ways you can gain good backlinks to your landing page. However, you shouldn’t be creating them just for SEO purposes. For instance, imagine if it got shared by a big niche influencer? That’d be cool. Just be creative and do your outreach homework thoroughly! Don’t forget to add “created by (insert your company name)”! You can use Vengage or similar tools to create infographics for free.

                        • Join H.A.R.O.

                        H.A.R.O. is a place where you can meet people from your niche, exchange advice, but also get featured on their blogs. So, create a profile, write about your business and gather useful information on both improving and promoting it.

                        Now that you’ve completed all the basic promotion steps, it is time to take it to the next, more advanced level:

                        • SaaSGenius – If you have a SaaS business, this is the directory to submit it to. SaasGenius can bring you high-quality customers, so do your best to build a powerful profile.
                        • GetApp  – This is the ideal place to promote your business app, so don’t skip it!
                        • Hackernews – You need to promote your tech business on this website. Make sure your headlines are catchy since new posts are published almost every minute!
                        • Growthhackers.com – This is a community you’ll want to join if you are into marketing. Show how professional you are!
                        • Inbound.org – The same goes for this community, just make sure you present yourself in the best light.
                        • Digg – This is a great place to present your company blog. Start promoting your landing page in the best possible way.
                        • Dailymotion – Creating promotional videos about your business is always a good idea. Harness the power of Dailymotion and present your videos to a large community.
                        • Hub Pages  – This platform can bring you a lot of amazing leads, but you really need to put some effort into creating original content. Even though promoting your business here is time-consuming, you should take advantage of Hub Pages.

                        Step 3: Face the Truth!

                        Well, now that you’ve done everything to gain attention, you should sit back and see what happens: tons of leads…or zero of them. Of course, it can be something in between and that means that you should keep trying, improving and testing.

                        If zero leads isn’t the case with your landing page, now is the best time to start thinking about investing money in your business and promoting it through paid campaigns. You’ll have to test them as well (…but let’s leave this for another article).

                          Whatever the case may be, remember that massive success doesn’t come overnight and that it goes hand in hand with effort, patience and guess what else? Yes, that’s right, testing.

                          Believe in yourself and good luck!

                          Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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                          Ana Grasic

                          Growth Hacker, Economist, Marketer

                          10 Lessons from a Frustrated Blogger 10 Hacks and Tools to Boost Your Productivity (Infographic) How to Test Your Business Idea Without Spending a Dime

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                          Last Updated on May 22, 2019

                          50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry

                          50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry

                          LinkedIn is an excellent platform to network with great people to help you in your career and businesses. However, with over 575 million people on the site, who should you follow? This list will steer you to the right people to follow, organized by categories of expertise.

                          Job Search Experts

                          You will likely have several jobs throughout the course of your career, and you will constantly need advice on new trends and strategies out there in the job market. Here are the LinkedIn experts who you should follow on these matters.

                          1. Liz Ryan is the CEO and founder of Human Workplace. Her articles on job searching are filled with creative and colorful cartoons.

                          2. Lou Adler is the author of The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired.

                          3. Dr. Marla Gottschalk will help you make an impact in a new job.

                          4. Hannah Morgan runs CareerSherpa.net, where she gives expert advice on job searching and how to be more visible online.

                          5. Alison Doyle is the CEO and Founder of CareerToolBelt.com.

                          Management Experts

                          They say that people leave managers, not jobs. These experts in LinkedIn will help you become your employees’ dream manager.

                          6. Jeff Weiner. How can we leave out the CEO of LinkedIn himself?

                          7. Nozomi Morgan is an executive coach. She can help you transition from a boss to a true leader.

                          8. Mickey Mikitani is the CEO of Rakuten. He constantly shares his expertise in managing a global player in e-commerce platforms.

                          9. Andreas von der Heydt was the head of Amazon’s Kindle Content and now the Director of Talent Acquisition. He has extensive experience in management, branding, and marketing.

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                          Productivity Experts

                          By maximizing your productivity, you can win in all aspects of life. The following LinkedIn experts will help you win big in your career.

                          10. Gretchen Rubin is a happiness coach and the bestselling author of the The Happiness Project.

                          11. Carson Tate is the founder of Working Simply. She advises us to include play in our schedules.

                          12. Greg Mckeown is an essentialist. Part of being an essentialist is saying no to many things so that we can focus on the things that matter.

                          13. Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha! Labs Inc. provides strategies on how to be productive and happy at work at the same time.

                          Marketing Experts

                          14. Sujan Patel is VP of Marketing at When I Work, an employee scheduling software. He is an expert in content marketing and he even shares his ideas on content marketing in 2020.

                          15. Megan Berry is the Head of Product Development at Rebelmouse, a content marketing and AlwaysOn powerhouse.

                          16. Sean Gardner will help you navigate the social media landscape. This includes how to use different platforms to help accelerate your career. He is also the bestselling author of The Road to Social Media Success.

                          17. Christel Quek is an digital and marketing expert. She is the VP of South East Asia at Brandwatch. Their products help businesses utilize social media data to make better business decisions.

                          18. Jeff Bullas is a digital marketing expert. His blog has over 4 million readers annually.

                          19. Michael Stelzer is the CEO and Founder of social media powerhouse site, Social Media Examiner.

                          20. If you’re looking for inbound and content marketing expertise, follow Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO of Hubspot.

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                          21. David Edelman is a McKinsey partner and is at the helm of the Digital Marketing Strategy Practice Department.

                          22. Dave Kerpen leads the social media software company Likeable Local. He is the author of Likeable Social Media: How to delight your customers.

                          23. Clara Shih is the CEO of Hearsay Social and the author of The Facebook Era.

                          24. Aaron Lee is Grand Master of Customer Delight at Post Planner. He is an excellent resource for everything social media.

                          25. David Sable is the CEO of Y&R, one of the largest advertising firms in the world.

                          26. Content marketing trumps traditional marketing these days, and who else better to lead you in this area than Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute.

                          Personal Branding Experts

                          Part of what we market in our personal career is our brand. When people hear your name, what kind of brand comes into their mind? What traits and qualities do they associate with you?

                          Here are some personal branding experts from LinkedIn to improve your own brand.

                          27. Dorie Clark is the author of Stand Out and Reinventing You. He can help you craft the professional image you’ve always wanted.

                          28. Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding. If you’re a millennial, Dan is the guy to help you craft your personal brand.

                          Other Notable Experts to Follow

                          29. Lisa Gates is the expert to follow if you’re negotiating for higher salaries and promotions.

                          30. If you’re a Baby Boomer, Marc Miller will help you navigate the continually changing landscape of the workplace.

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                          31. To avoid getting your resumé moved to the “No” pile, read Paul Freiberger’s excellent advice.

                          32. James Caan provides insightful ideas on careers in general. He is also a serial entrepreneur.

                          33. Jeff Haden writes on various topics, such as leadership and management. He is the owner of Blackbird Media.

                          34. If you’re looking for expert business advice on getting new customers and keeping them, follow Jay Baer.

                          35. Suzanne Lucas, aka Evil HR Lady, is a great human resources specialist.

                          36. If you need help in using Twitter to boost your career, Claire Diaz-Ortiz can guide you in the right direction.

                          37. Ryan Holmes is the CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management tool.

                          38. Customers are the lifeblood of a business and Colin Shaw focuses on revolutionizing this customer experience.

                          39. Brian Solis often reflects on the future of business and how technology can disrupt our world.

                          40. Nancy Lublin provides advice on more lighthearted topics, which are perfect after a long day’s work. She is the CEO behind Dosomething.org, a portal designed for social change; and the founder & CEO of Loris.ai and Crisis Text Line.

                          41. Katya Andresen provides advice on how to manage your career. She was the CEO of Cricket Media and now responsible for the SVP Card Customer Experience at Capital One.

                          42. Gallup has created a system to test what your strengths are and how to use them at work. Jim Clifton is the CEO of Gallup.

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                          43. Adam Grant is a Wharton Professor and the author of Give and Take, which provides advice on why being helpful at work can accelerate your career.

                          44. Hunter Walk is a partner at Homebrew Venture Capitalist Company and has specialty in product development and management.

                          45. If you’re running a nonprofit organization, follow Beth Kanter for expert advice on this area.

                          46. Emotional Intelligence is necessary to succeed in your career, and Daniel Goleman is your expert for that.

                          47. Rita J. King connects science, technology and business.

                          48. Tori Worthington Rose is a Creative Director at Mary Beth West Communications, LLC. She has extensive experience in sales and digital media.

                          49. If you’re looking for some advice on how to use writing and personal content marketing to boost your career, follow Ann Handley.

                          50. Tim Brown is the CEO at IDEO and shares his insights on Leadership and Creativity.

                          These are just some of the key thought leaders and movers in various industries. They will provide you with constant inspiration, as well as the willpower to pursue the career that you’ve always wanted. Their stream of expert ideas in their respective fields will help you become well-equipped in your professional pursuits.

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                          Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

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