Points of View
How can you recruit respondents for validation?
Imagine, you have a new business idea but you’re not sure whether potential users really need it or if they would love it as much as you do.
Validating your concept with (potential) users should be your number one to do when working on any new business idea, yet it’s not always easy to find the right respondents for your validation.
We’re happy to guide you with a few key tips on how to find the right audience for your business idea validation.
Before recruiting respondents, define what you want to find out
When validating a new business idea, the aim is to confirm a user’s true needs and to understand whether your product, service or experience is an answer to that need.
A customer’s need can be translated into a ‘Job to be done’ or in short: ‘JTBD’. It can be defined as the progress someone wants to make during their day-to-day life, meaning it is intertwined with the person’s desires, anxieties, and habits, it is also circumstances-based and personal. Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen claims that “rather than buying a product or service, customers ‘hire’ it to do a ‘job.’”
During, for example, one-to-one user interviews your aim should be to find out what the customer’s JTBDs are and to simultaneously learn more about their purchasing behavior. Concretely: what are they trying to achieve, and how does it impact where they spend their money? Not only do you need an answer to that, by understanding the efforts and barriers around their JTBDs you can learn how to tweak your product offerings to overcome whatever may hold them back from interacting with them.
Recruit the right respondents to gather insights
We advise you to gather input from a rather large number of users, whether they have previously bought your existing products or services or not.
You should gather input from:
- Current customers
- Former customers
It is enriching for your validation to select a variety of different profiles especially if you haven’t narrowed down your core target market yet. This is useful because you will probably receive different types of feedback and discover different JTBDs your new offering might be an answer to.
But how can you find these respondents?
It’s not always easy to recruit the right respondents for your validation. We’ve listed concrete tips & tricks that will surely be helpful:
1. Go for a personalized approach
Especially in case you are sending out invitations through email in bulk: these emails can often be perceived as spam to the receiver. In case it finds them in the right inbox folder, they might not feel like their contribution will be valuable or relevant.. Therefore, respondents are likely to ignore your request or show little interest.
A solution here is to personalize your communication, for example by adding 2 to 4 personalized variables to your message.
E.g.: add their name, company, position (in B2B context) and/or more specific details to your message.
2. Look for respondents in the right places
Engage in relevant communities for a broad but relevant reach
If applicable, you can search for themed communities on platforms such as Facebook, Reddit, or Slack that are linked to your query.
When becoming a part of such communities, you have access to a large audience that is interested in a specific topic related to your new idea. Chances are, you will be able to reach out to suitable candidates that will be able to give useful input for your validation.
You could also apply growth hacking techniques to attract respondents. Or simply approach them by visiting them where they are (in the shop or when visiting your website,..).
But if possible we also advise you to use your current distribution or sales channels and/or team to ask for input on your new idea. Ask them: ‘what if this solution existed?’, what comes to mind?
3. Search for the win-win
Potential candidates are more likely to accept your invitation when they can gain something from the experience. Think about something valuable your organization can do or provide for a potential respondent. Something the candidate will appreciate.
E.g.: Provide free demo access to your service, provide extra features or benefits to your service, offer a free tryout of your product, etc.
If you can’t give the respondent something back, then making them feel ‘innovative’ or part of the solution to a problem gives them a reason to contribute or participate in your project.
To conclude, we advise you to approach the right candidates, in a personalized way while offering them something in return for their collaboration.
Did you manage to recruit respondents for your validation? Great! Have a look at our blog ‘Organize a successful user test in 5 steps’, it might be useful for you.