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What is best way to test concept with a paid component?

I have been asked by a potential investor to validate the primary researchdone for a new consumer app...without the app being available. And no, I didn't "stutter".

The app has two parts
a) a free partthat essentiallyprovides the results of an algorithm that looks atinformation derived from a profile the "user" fills out; the driving incentive is saving money for an entrenched behavior that is totally discretionary, comparativelyexpensive and is pervasive
b) an optional paid part that gives the user all the detail needed to effect the results of a)

My first thought was to just email a bunch of friends/contacts and see if they would spread the word so that people would go to a Facebook page to start the process. Anyone have any advice on the quickest, most efficient, most inexpensive way to get 100 people signed up for this experiment? If not this route, others?

Disclosure - very early, no website to work from, no budget per se.


1 Reply

Sam McAfee
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Sam McAfee Advisor
Building Popup Incubators for Corporate Innovation Programs
Sounds like you definitely want to concierge this thing at first. Is this an algorithm you can crunch manually (I assume it is, though probably labor-intensive)? Then it might be worth doing a quick landing page experiment. I'd create something basic in Unbounce (or one of those) to see if the value prop resonates with your target audience. You can fire a bunch of FB or Tw ads at it for pretty cheap. The landing page should probably have a single CTA. Then have people go through to a Google Form or something like that upon clicking the call to action on the landing page. Email them their results (after you do the work), and then see if they're up for a paid offer. Sorry if this is totally dead obvious. :) But that's what I'd do.

You'd look at metrics like:
  • Click through on the ads
  • Bounce rate on the landing page vs. clicks on the CTA
  • Actually filled out the form.
  • Opened the results email you sent.
  • Converted to paid based on your offer, after seeing the results.
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