I love validating products.
No matter how big or small they are, there’s something magical about knowing you’re building something people will buy before you put the energy into making it.
Last week, I had a small product idea, so I sent a tweet to gauge interest:
The goal was to get 20+ people to confirm interest. Even though we cleared that with the first tweet (26 “yes” replies), I plugged it again the next day:
The second tweet brought in 19 more interested people.
That’s 45 people (more than 2x the original goal) who have given me permission to sell them a product that doesn’t exist yet.
Obviously, not all of them will end up buying, but the upside is…
- I have confirmation that something about the product idea resonates with people
- When I follow up with each person, I can ask them for feedback on a more fleshed out description of the product
- That feedback can be used to improve the product before anyone ever experiences it
- Unless the pricing is way off, a decent percentage will purchase the product, allowing us to fund it before investing resources into development
This is a playbook any business can run to test an idea before putting a bunch of time and energy into bringing it to life.
😥 “But Bryan, what if I don’t have 10k Twitter followers to bounce ideas off of?” 😥
The good news is you don’t need them!
In fact, you don’t need Twitter at all.
This idea was so spur-of-the-moment, Twitter just happened to be the first place I fired it off. I usually run validation campaigns via email:
- Select a segment of our most engaged email subscribers (based on opens/clicks)
- Send them our 5-part Product Validation email campaign (you can swipe the whole thing here)
- Gather feedback (you can do this with a simple Google form—you’ll see how it works in the sequence linked above)
- Send a link to purchase to everyone who submits feedback
I’ve seen people with fewer than 1,000 email subscribers pull off 4-figure validation campaigns. It works!
And even when it doesn’t “work,” you still save yourself from building a product your list doesn’t want.
A few tips:
- Don’t try to automate your validation campaign — When you look at our validation sequence, you’ll notice it’s not the kind of thing you can just run on autopilot. It relies on replies, manual follow-ups, and hand-to-hand combat. That’s part of what makes it so effective. You want the experience to feel personal. You want your potential customers to feel like they’re co-creating something with you.
- Have multiple follow-ups at every stage of your validation campaign — If I had stopped after the first tweet, my pool of potential buyers would have been 43% smaller (25 vs. 45). Always follow up!
- Have a limited number of available spots — Communicate early and often that you’re looking for a specific number of people to be part of a special “pre-launch” group (you can use whatever phrasing you like here). Exclusivity will increase the response you get.
What idea could you validate this week if you started taking action today?