5 ways to test your new business idea for $0 | The Lean Apps

5 ways to test your new business idea for $0

Keyword Search helps you read your customer’s minds

22 March 2022

Start by answering these 3 QUESTIONS:


– Do people Google about the problem you want to solve? 

– Do people complain on forums, or on social media, about the problem you want to solve?

– Are people frustrated by the current solutions being offered in the market?


If the answer is YES to these questions, then you’re sitting on a goldmine.

How do you find those answers though?


Keyword Research!!


Yes, that’s right. 

Keyword Research is the fastest and cheapest way to know about the problems of your target customers online. 


Forget about third party research firms. 


You can do it ALL yourself through Keyword Research and find out exactly…


    1. What words do your target customers use to express their problems?
    2. What kind of solutions do they wish to have?
    3. What part of their problem is NOT being solved by existing products in the market? 
    4. Why do they struggle with current products?


Here are the 5 MOST IMPORTANT tools you can use to do Keyword Research:


Google Trends

Google Trends, as the name suggests, tracks what terms people are SEARCHING and then translates them into TRENDS. 


And Google has been collecting this from 2004 onwards – so that’s a lot of data. 


You can refine your search by TIME period and LOCATION. And then? See the relative popularity of search terms at a GLANCE.


What’s more? 


You could look for interesting insights into how various search terms have changed across time. 


Or you can get a quick snapshot of trends evolving within the last few hours/days.


You can also compare the search trend on different channels (web, youtube, image), different locations to see where there is more traction. 


How: Start by entering one or more keywords related to the problem you’re trying to solve.


Example: Let’s say you have an idea for a device that would track pets at all times.


Now start by coming up with 3-4 ways in which you think your customer would describe the problem.

    1.  pet log
    2. pet tracker
    3. dog tracer
    4. pet finder


A good way to find these phrases is by looking into your Problem Interviews or Surveys


Are there some specific words or phrases that the customers were using while explaining the problem during those interviews? 

Now key in these specific words or phrases in Google Trends to see if they make sense. 


Google Trends for pet tracker results Lean Apps
Google Trends for pet tracker results

As you can see, Pet log is the most popular of the keyword searches done by people looking for a device to track their pets and around the pandemic the interest in pet log suddenly spiked.


Here’s an interesting case study of how the idea of Bone Broth was validated by first looking into Google Trends with Keyword “bone broth”


Bone broth Google Trends results
Bone broth Google Trends results


One glance at the graph and you know that MORE and MORE people were searching for bone broth.  


YES or NO? Rising trend is definitely a good positive signal for your idea. If more and more people are searching for the problem you are trying to solve, then it’s a YES for your idea. Go ahead…


Word of caution

If your target market is B2B or offline, then the searches on google trends might not give you any significant results. Having said that, almost everyone goes to Google these days when they face a frustrating problem.


 Google Keyword Planner

It’s an effective research tool that helps you..

    1.  discover NEW keywords related to your business
    2. see monthly SEARCHES of those keywords
    3. determine the COST to target those searches


How: Start by entering words related to your idea or enter a website name that is already providing a solution to the problem your idea is trying to solve. 


And voila! Keyword Planner will give you a list of keywords related to what you  entered. It will look for keywords related to the content on the site you searched. 


"Pet tracker" Ubersuggest results
“Pet tracker” Ubersuggest results


Result? You discover new keywords related to your business. And you can see the estimated monthly searches that those keywords receive as well as the costs to target them.


YES or NO? You can get another positive signal for your idea by looking for the value of your keyword.  The higher the value of monthly volume and cost per click, the more valuable is the keyword. 


This tool is commonly used by advertising professionals to generate traffic and leads on their websites. But it’s also a goldmine of insights for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs testing a new business model. 



It is the world’s largest online retailer. If you have an idea of building a physical product or writing a new book, Amazon is your go-to place for a quick validation.


How? Look for products that are trying to solve the same problem as you are. Read the comments of the customers below those products.


By looking at the comments of customers, you can find out whether they are frustrated about the problem you are trying to solve. Or are they already happy with the existing products in the market? Do they wish to have some other solution that can solve their problem better?


YES or NO? You can validate your idea by looking specifically at the comments of dissatisfied customers. Why? To see whether people are frustrated because the problem you want to solve has not been solved by this product.


The more the number of frustrated customers, the higher are your chances of validating your idea. 


Here’s an example of how customers using a pet tracker are complaining about…


Pet Tracker reviews
Pet Tracker reviews


Reddit and Quora

These are two of the most useful online communities where people come looking for solutions to their problems.  


And since most people start by searching for their problems on Google, you will find that their search results can be found on Google Trends and Keyword Planner.  


How? Browse through threads where people are talking about the PROBLEM similar to the one you’re trying to solve. 

Following our example of pet trackers, let’s see what we find on Reddit

Pet tracker thread on Reddit
Pet tracker thread on Reddit


You can find out..

    1.  What questions are people asking?
    2. What kind of products and services are available to solve their problem?
    3. What are their frustrations and complaints?
    4. What kind of language/words/phrases are people using to explain their problem?


Innovators and early adopters spend their valuable time to support these communities and report problems. These platforms collect good insights about different products and services. 


YES or NO? You can validate your idea just with quick browsing and finding out – how much of a pain point is the problem you are trying to solve? The higher the number of people discussing their frustrations around your problem, the better are your chances of validating your idea.    

Pet tracker thread on Reddit
Pet tracker thread on Reddit


Social Networks

Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Youtube 


How? Based on your customer segment (B2C, B2B, B2B2C), look for trending hashtags on different social networks (use keywords with higher volume and look for similar hashtags). If your customer segment is business professionals (B2B), go for Linkedin. If you are targeting B2C or B2B2C, go for Instagram, Tiktok, Youtube etc. 


You need to look for growing trends. And to do so, you need to analyze hashtags i.e. the volume of mentions, the volume of engagement, the sentiment of people and related hashtags. 


Pet log hashtag on Instagram
Pet log hashtag on Instagram


YES or NO? You can validate your idea by looking for the social media reach of your problem hashtags. More people are talking about the problem, the better validation you get for your idea.


Pet tracker hashtag on Instagram
Pet tracker hashtag on Instagram


Don’t forget, the fate of your idea can depend a lot on how well you manage your Keyword Research. 


So waste no time or money and get searching!


But remember, testing through Keyword Research alone is not ENOUGH. You also need other EXPERIMENTS to validate your problem, customer, solution and viability (business model). 


So download our Experiment Playbook to check 25 different experiments you can use to test your business idea!

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    About the author: Narjeet works with product leaders and innovation team in helping them take an idea to customer discovery to solution and product-market-fit. He helps companies in Lean experimentation, Design Sprints, Agile product development and Growth Hacking. He is passionate about digital healthcare - because that's where his digital skills can make maximum impact.

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