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Too many people spend thousands of dollars and years on stupid business ideas. They run around telling people how amazing their idea is and how great their lives will be once their product hits the market, and they do so without ever verifying that there is a need for said business idea.

If your product lacks demand, it will also lack customers.

That’s why it’s crucial to validate your idea before you put too much time and effort into it. This step of the startup process is often overlooked, which is a shame because it’s cheap (or free!), it requires minimal effort, and it doesn’t take more than a couple of days.

Step 1: Create a Landing Page

Using a service like Unbounce or LeadPages, or even WordPress with a landing page plugin, create a simple landing page for your business (as if it’s already an established business). Include an opt-in form for your mailing list (I recommend MailChimp for this).

You don’t have to put a lot of time into this. The idea is to get it up quickly and make sure it’s something your target market would bite at.

Step 2: Run an Ad Campaign

It’s not hard to get your hands on a $100 Google AdWords coupon—I’m constantly getting them via email and snail mail—and this would be a good time to put one to use.

Create a new AdWords account and enter your coupon. Set up a new campaign and be sure to hit your target demographic as much as possible. Set your bidding option to Automatic Bidding to Maximize Clicks, with a target of about $0.50. If you don’t get any clicks, raise this incrementally every couple of hours until you do. Set your budget around $20/day.

Once you have your campaign set up, write some ads and enter some good keywords, and you’re good to go!

You can also use Facebook or LinkedIn ads for these tests, and I encourage you to do so, but it’s easier to find coupons for Google AdWords.

Step 3: Success! Or Back to the Drawing Board

And now you wait to see what happens.

You’ll either get TONS of leads, a few leads, or absolutely nothing. Be sure to get in touch with your leads and find out as much as you can about them and their needs.

Before long you’ll start to see if you have a big hit or a complete dud on your hands.

Be sure to monitor your ad stats—they will give you some numbers about customer acquisition costs for you to weigh against your revenue. This information will help you significantly in determining the validity of your business.

Start Now!

What are you waiting for? Your risk is close to zero, and after running your tests and analyzing your data, you’ll have infinitely more perspective on whether you want to move forward with your business idea.

Let us know how this works for you! Any extra details you’d like to know? Add your questions and suggestions in the comments below!