How To Use Facebook To Test Your Million Dollar Idea

Learn how to use Facebook Ads to find out which one of your million dollar ideas will actually make you millions.

Most people that get interested in entrepreneurship think that it requires quitting your job, taking out debt, and betting everything you have on the success of your business. Most of those people fail pretty quickly and wind up with a ton of debt: two things that the average Joe isn’t willing to embrace at the drop of a dime. Entrepreneurship is not about stupid risk though, it’s about calculated risks. Here’s the single best way to calculate that risk without betting the entire farm.

Four Hour Workweek

If you’ve read “The Four Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferris, then you know the story of how Tim came up with the title of his book. Rather than letting the publisher simply select one for him, he decided to run a number of tests within Google Adwords. Boing Boing recently recounted the story:

He took 6 prospective titles that everyone could live with: including ‘Broadband and White Sand’, ‘Millionaire Chameleon’ and ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ and developed an Google Adwords campaign for each. He bid on keywords related to the book’s content including ‘401k’ and ‘language learning’: when those keywords formed part of someone’s search on Google the prospective title popped up as a headline and the advertisement text would be the subtitle. Ferriss was interested to see which of the sponsored links would be clicked on most, knowing that he needed his title to compete with over 200,000 books published in the US each year. At the end of the week, for less than $200 he knew that “The 4-Hour Workweek” had the best click-through rate by far and he went with that title.

His experimentation didn’t stop there, he decided to test various covers by printing them on high quality paper and placing them on existing similar sized books in the new non-fiction rack at Borders, Palo Alto. He sat with a coffee and observed, learning which cover really was most appealing.

Were these tests the only reason that the book succeeded? Not at all, however these tests definitely reduced the risk for a publisher to agree to publish the book. Smart entrepreneurs do whatever they can to minimize risk. Careless entrepreneurs embrace risk as a fact of life and proceed without thinking twice. So what can you takeaway from Tim’s experience? Do the exact same thing!

Preparing Your Test

Most entrepreneurs have a list of business ideas at any given point in their life. These are ideas that have been collected over the years but have been put off for various reasons. If you happen to be at a point in your life during which you’d like to launch a new business test each of the ideas that you have. Head over to Facebook and create advertisements for each of your top business ideas. The copy for your ad should include text which explains your key value proposition.

Create A Number Of Ads
If you are testing on Facebook you also need to select an image. Make sure that your image is consistent across all of your advertisements. Prior to running your tests you may want to test out which of your images perform the best among your test demographic so that you can maximize your overall click through rate and reduce the cost of your test. Either way you shouldn’t have to spend a ton of money. Create a variety of advertisements all of which include the following: name of product, value proposition, compelling image. An example of an ad is the one pictured below.

LivingSocial Ad

Create A Landing Page
The next step is to create a landing page which states that you are preparing to launch your product, the key value proposition, and ask the user to enter their email address to get access to the beta. An example form that I created to demonstrate this is pictured in the image below. You can instantly create a form to collect email addresses by registering for a Wufoo account.

LivingSocial Form

What To Take Away

By now you should have created multiple ads (for your multiple ideas) and multiple forms to test your idea. Ultimately you should end up having one of your ideas outshine all the others by a large margin. If all of your ads perform the same you have one of two things: all incredible ideas or no major hits. Odds are that you have the latter unfortunately. Don’t give up though! Here are some of the things that you may learn from this test:

  • Your ads suck – If you are getting horrible click through rates on your ads and nobody is entering their email address you may have created poor ads.
  • Your idea sucks – Alternatively it’s not the ads that aren’t working: it’s your ideas. I’ve never heard of somebody who never had a good idea in their life though so I’m sure you can come up with a compelling one!
  • You found your idea – Hopefully this is what you end up discovering. In the best situation you’ll have one idea that outshines all the other ideas (e.g. A 4X click through rate and twice as many emails as any other test). It’s now time to invest some money, get your product up and running and start off by testing your product with the people who filled out your form!
  • The consumer is dumb – This is definitely one possibility. Clearly you can’t test all ideas using this model, however if you have an online business that you are preparing to launch, there really shouldn’t be any reason that you can’t set up a quick test. Some entrepreneurs believe that consumers don’t know what they want and it’s the genius entrepreneur’s job to tell them. This may be the case. If you truly believe this, you may want to skip this test all together.