DAY SIX

Validate Yourself & Avoid Launching to Crickets

I’m going to start making you nervous.

I’m going to start asking you to make yourself vulnerable to feedback and constructive criticism, because there are two things I want you to avoid doing:

  1. Launching to crickets
  2. Launching a product or service no one cares about

You need to get into the process of validating.

You have to know there’s a need for what you’re doing. You can’t just wing it. You have to understand your audience well enough to know that what you’re putting out is desired. And I’m going to show you how you can avoid investing thousands of dollars and bad brand perception creating something no one wants.

You have to validate.

 

Highlights, Quick Wins, and Takeaways:

  • You validate to insure people want what you’re putting on the market.
  • Without some form of validation you run the risk of launching to crickets.
  • You also have to build anticipation for what you’re doing. Get into the practice and habit of backwards building.
 

SECTION ONE

Discipline #4: Validate

 
 

Ever have a friend or someone on your timeline come out of nowhere and announce that this thing they’ve been working on for 15 years is now available for purchase, and you’re just kind of like—Huh? Where did that come from?

Then after a few seconds you just don’t care. It’s out of sight, out of mind, and it holds no meaning or value to you.

That’s what’s going to happen if you don’t learn how to start validating. You’re measuring five things with this brand building tool:

  1. Distinctiveness
  2. Relevance
  3. Memorability
  4. Extendability
  5. Depth of Meaning

You put yourself out there 6 to 12 months in advance of your launch and get into the process known as backwards building. I won’t go into that here, but you can listen to this seanwes episode to get more context around this concept.

If no one knows your thing is coming, no one is going to care when it comes.

You have to build anticipation. You have to build an audience.
It feels like movie trailers are being released two years in advance of the film they’re calling teasers. They’ll shoot some footage and edit it all together to give everyone a taste of what’s to come.

By the time it comes out, we’ve been so conditioned to anticipate opening night, we’ll purchase our tickets months in advance without any critic reviews in sight. That’s how you validate.

You have to build anticipation. If no one knows what you’re doing is coming, no one is going to care.

Apple does this too.

They’ve systematized backwards building.

You know what season and month the next iPhone is coming out. It’s on a cycle. You can prepare for it months in advance before the announcement is made. That’s why people are still camping out in front of stores days before the device is released. They know it’s coming. They’ve anticipated it all year.

If no one knows your thing is coming, and if no one has shown any interest in it coming, no one is going to camp out for it. No one is going to care. You have to find out if people are going to care. That’s one of the reasons we do the mini issues. We’re publicly validating our stories, our characters, our art style, coloring style, etc. And we’ve gotten phenomenal response so far.

Someone has told us: If you guys can tell this great of a story in one page, I can’t wait until we get a full issue.

If that isn’t validation I don’t know what is.

 
 

SECTION TWO

How to Simplify Validating So You Don’t Overthink It.

 
 

It can be as simple as inviting people into your process. Pull back the curtain and let your audience see what you’re doing behind-the-scenes.

Tell a story. Tell us where you got the ingredients for your soaps. Tell us why they’re so integral to the overall product. Show us the technology going into the app you’re creating or this new menu option or style that’s going to make accessing something within the app easier.
We don’t care about features as much as you think. We care about the benefits. We care about stories. Give us the benefits and the stories.

  • This ingredient comes from X. We use it because of it’s well known healing and spiritual properties the natives of X use. It is said to be a stimulant of Y. It’s costly, but after months of testing we saw a 45% increase in Z when used. They were more relaxed, less stressed, and better suited to conquer their busy day. We have a few more FREE samples left I don’t mind sending out—free of cost. I’m limited in number, but the first X subscribers will get these sent to them immediately.

So much just happened in those 7 sentences. So much. I’ll break it down for you:

  1. This ingredient comes from X. We use it because of it’s well known healing and spiritual properties the natives of X use. It is said to be a stimulant of Y. — You told a story here. You gave us a beginning, middle, and an end in just a few sentences. It just wasn’t: Working on a new product! Stayed tuned! Why would anyone stay tuned for something so vague? Tell stories to capture interest in what your thing is.
  2. It’s costly, but after months of testing we saw a 45% increase in Z when used. They were more relaxed, less stressed, and better suited to conquer their busy day. — You sell the benefit. You painted a picture of the type of person they will become with this new product. Give us the benefits.
  3. We have a few more FREE samples left I don’t mind sending out—free of cost. I’m limited in number, but the first X subscribers will get these sent to them immediately. — Now you’re validating. You captured their interest. It just isn’t enough to say you’re giving something away for free. Everyone can give away something for free. You have to go one step further and tell a story to capture their interest. And once you send out those samples, there’s your opportunity to get public feedback on a smaller scale. Get their thoughts on the product. Ask them to send you a testimonial. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing. If you can get several testimonials on your website on this new product, how much more are you going to sell? A lot more.

Do it a few more times. Build up this cycle of anticipation.

Once you get people on that cycle of anticipating, you become a brand worth remembering. You live in the back of the consumer’s mind and command millions of people to move when you say move like Apple.

They may not publicly test the newest products to everyone, but they know all the right influencers on YouTube to send their phones to prior to the launch of the phone so when it launches we’ve got several dozen review sites up and running to validate the product on a consumer level.

It works.

And I need you to find ways to start doing it. Here are a few:

  • Host a workshop.
  • Host a brunch or lunch.
  • Put on a small gathering and have product for people to try, give their feedback, and observe how they interact with your product.
  • If you’re writing a book, give a chapter or two away.

Find ways to validate. Build that anticipation and avoid launching to crickets. It takes work, but building an empire is not for the faint of heart. You have to put the hustle and grind in. You have to 10X your efforts.

And once you’ve done all of these things leading up to this point, you get to do only what a few are ever able to do. This is the icing on the cake, the one thing about branding everyone wants to do but no one wants to put in the hustle to get to it.

It’s the opportunity to turn your brand into a lifestyle people cannot live without. And I’m going to explain to you how this is done…

Continue to Day 7