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Using Google Forms to Test Market

July 30, 2009

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If you are interested in trying to start a new business venture, especially online, it is essential to test market your idea before sinking any serious funds into your project or seeking out debt or venture funding. Fortunately the web makes test marketing much cheaper, efficient and wide scale than it used to be. Approaches to testing a new product or service online generally includes a combination of setting up a landing page and using Google AdWords to drive traffic. If you have some basic HTML knowledge your landing page could cost you nothing but the hosting and domain regristration (approx. $8/month). If you need a little assistance, I have found that WYSIWIG HTML editors like www.squarespace.com are great for getting a basic landing page up and running (@$30/mth). After that plan on investing $150-250 in Google Adwords for traffic generation.

So now, how does Google Forms fit into the equation. When you start your test marketing, generally you do not actually have a product or service to provide. That’s the whole point behing the test marketing prior to investing in actually bring your product or service to market.  It would be nice though, if you could provide visitors to your site with something that might later help convert them to a sale once you actually have something you can deliver. Google Forms is part of Google Docs and allows you to collect data from website visitors, customers, clients, etc. and automatically pulls that data into a Google Spreadsheet for later analysis.

Using Google Forms you can setup an embeddable site survey for you visitors to collect information from them in addition to just testing interest in your product or service.  The way to set this up is to include the form either directly on the landing page or as a direct link from the landing page. It is important that you set the survey up so that first you show the site visitor what the asking price for you product or service will be, before directing them to complete the survey if they choose to ‘buy now’. This is so that you can actually test the price points you set up. Once they click to ‘buy now’ or whatever other wording you use, direct them to your form which will ask them to enter, name, email, phone, etc. You can also include options for them to opt into newsletter lists or request other feedback. Now you have contact information you can use to keep in contact with these prospective customers and hopefully follow up with after you launch your product or service. Also if you make use of Google Analytics now you can take the statistics from Analytics regarding site traffic and the number of survey responses to calculate a good estimate of your site conversion rate.

Obviously this strategy relies heavily on using Google’s array of web based tools. If you are unfamiliar with many of these the best thing to do is sign into or up for a Google account and go through the various tutorials to learn the ins and outs. Overall it’s a good investment in time if your test marketing helps you avoid pumping your hard earned savings into an idea that doesn’t test well or if it helps you pin point a real winner.

Try this Google Form

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