6 solutions to test your offer, Marketing and Sales

[Voici quelques] techniques that allow you to test your value proposition. Each one is adapted to your context and especially to your customers.

#1. online advertising

For a small fee, you can create an advertisement that will be broadcast on the Internet to your target audience. This advertisement will have a text and possibly a visual explaining your value proposition. These ads are displayed on social networks and search engines. The best known platforms today are Facebook Ads (which also allows distribution on Instagram), Google Ads and others such as LinkedIn Ads, Twitter Ads, Bing Ads, etc. This list of course evolves over time.

Choose the platform that best suits your customers. You should know that between social networks and search engines, user behavior is very different:

· on social networks like Facebook, people are looking to be entertained, to pass the time, their next default action is to continue watching the news feed, so attention must be drawn;

· on search engines like Google, the intention is different, people are looking for something, they are waiting for a solution, their next action is to click.

For example, Papernest ‒ the startup that helps movers manage their phone, electricity, water and Internet subscriptions ‒ uses search engine ads because it targets people who are actively looking for solutions. Whereas for a startup that sells beanies or t-shirts (like Qwertee) or briefs (like Le Slip Français), the request may be less well formulated by the potential customer. So she may have more success finding clients on social media.

#2. In-store testing

If you want to sell a product intended to be sold in stores, for example a revolutionary screwdriver or new cereals, you can use the following technique: in the store of your choice, you enter and place your product directly on a shelf. You then step back and observe the behaviors of your potential customers. How many people choose your product? For example, for a cereal box, a washing powder or other, the choice is made according to what is written on the box. If someone tries to buy your product, then you can calmly explain to them that the cereal box is in fact the wrong one, ask them why they chose that box, etc. You can of course ask for permission from the owners of the stores or work with potential distributors beforehand.

This approach may seem a bit extreme. However, this is exactly what Justin Porcano did to test his product: Walhub, a switch plate which also allows you to store your keys and a few letters. To test and understand if this product can have potential customers, Justin entered Ikea, with a small stock of Walhub that he made available. He could then see that customers were taking the product and trying to buy it. Of course, without a barcode, they couldn’t pay for the product and walked away with it for free. Justin was thus able to confirm that his product was of interest to certain customers.

#3. The classified ad

To test your offer, you can simply make a classified ad, which you then post on the classifieds boards in shops, bakeries and other places of passage. You can see if people are taking your number and how many are calling. This technique (or a variation) can be useful. Thus, Rikke Rosenlund, co-founder of Borrow My Doggy (walking service and dog sitting between individuals), placed advertisements in a London park to see if people would be interested in entrusting their dog from time to time for a walk. She could see that within hours the numbers on her ad had been ripped out and dog owners were calling her.

One can imagine that this announcement could also be printed in the form of a flyer and distributed at the exit of events or shops, or even added as loose pages in an existing catalog. (…)

#4. The trackable link

Back to digital. To test an offer on a list of email addresses or even on social networks, you can use a trackable link. Typically, a site like http://bit.ly/ allows you to take a link to an existing site, turn it into a bit.ly link which you can then distribute to your potential customers. Customers who click on your bit.ly link will be sent to the existing sites you have chosen. Bit.ly will tell you how many people clicked on that link then. So you can measure exactly how many people are interested in your offer.

#5. The video or blog post

Another way to test an offer can be to make a video explaining what your product will do or to write a blog post that talks about your offer. This video or article is then broadcast and shared by you and your friends and thus browses the networks to possibly find their audience. (…)

#6. Crowdfunding

A few startups have launched their product this way. The principle is simple, potential customers buy your product before it is manufactured. Production begins only when a certain amount of sales is reached. It is an excellent way to validate the demand for a product and it eliminates the financial risk that may exist on production. Indeed, everything is sold before being produced! On the other hand, making a successful crowdfunding campaign takes time and money. You also need to have the base of a ready-to-buy audience. It’s a great validation, but it’s not fast and it requires an investment.

Franck Debane is the author of the book “Pass en mode startup. 6 steps to start your business”, published by Editions Eyrolles in December 2021.


Engineer and entrepreneur, Franck Debane, helps companies start new businesses and launch new offers using startup methods. Both a mentor and an investor in startups, he has helped more than 1,000 entrepreneurs to launch, structure and develop their business. He is also the co-founder in France of the Lean Startup Experience group. This text is taken from his book “Pass en mode startup. 6 steps to start your business”, published by Editions Eyrolles in December 2021, 160 pages, 27 euros.

Leave a Comment