the most forgotten step to launching

We’ve all seen products that have won awards launch on crowdfunding with high expectations… only to raise a measly $10,000!

Why is that?

2 years ago, my friend Stepan called me to discuss a new idea.

Stepan is the founder of the internationally-renowned branding agency Backbone Branding, and a winner of dozens of awards.

And their latest work — Gawatt Emotions — had just won a bronze medal in the prestigious Pentawards awards.

Excited with his recent success and its potential, Stepan took a leap of faith and bought the rights from the client.

He wanted to create a stand-alone product and sell it himself!

So he reached out to me to see if I wanted to partner with him on this journey.

But even though I liked the product idea, something didn’t quite jive, “Why do you think this is gonna be successful, Stepan?”

“Everybody likes it! It won awards! Why wouldn’t it be?” he replied.

Still unsure, I proposed we run a test before spending huge sums on production and marketing.

The test we built — widely known as fake-door testing — was a 2-page website:

  1. The first page shows the general idea, and asks people to leave their email to subscribe for updates
  2. The second page shows the price alongside a buy now button

The idea behind this test is to independently confirm 2 things.

The first page confirms market interest, as only people who are interested in the idea would leave their emails.

But it’s the second page that really matters...

It checks the customer's actual willingness to pay — as people are asked to consider the price, take out their cards, and make a purchase.

If they’re not ready to pay, then no matter the results you gather, the market isn’t actually interested in purchasing your product at that price!

So you can throw out all those surveys, focus groups, click analyses, heatmaps, competitor or market research, comments, likes...

I’ll say that again, as this is a very important lesson for you as a young entrepreneur:

If your visitors aren’t paying, you don’t have a market.

Or in other words:

“I’m interested” is as good as “Yeah, I’m never going to buy that!”

Once we set the Gawatt Emotions funnel up, we drove traffic to that page and held our breath.

Awards and verbal confirmations are one thing… but how many people would actually click on the buy now button?

Results were bad. Very bad.

People were ‘interested’ in the product, as shown by the number of subscriptions on the first page… but only 3 people actually tried to pay for it!

We were sad and happy at the same time.

Sad, well, because we had to stop the business. But happy too, that we just saved a lot of money and time.

I was ready to pack up and go home… but Stepan asked me to stay a little longer.

He went into a back room, and came back with a box that was pretty much falling apart — he dropped it onto the table with a loud thud and a cloud of dust filled the room.

When it settled, he reached into it and pulled out a conceptual project he’d worked on at university — cool packaging for honey — and said he wanted to run another validation.

We gave it a try and were pleasantly surprised by the results.

Because of the elaborate packaging, it was nearly 3x more expensive than its closest competitor… but THIS product was something people were ready to pay for!

“You should start producing it,” I told him, “people like it!”

He listened, started production, and turned that dusty concept into a successful business.

And you know what else came out of this?

Although our first-ever attempt to test real market demand and purchase intent had many problems… I was really surprised by how accurate and credible it was when trying to assess a product’s potential!

We ended up using this same methodology for our agency.

Over the next 3 years we fine-tuned it, understood what worked and what didn’t, added new data points, created a mechanism to quickly build and edit these funnels, and a means to track the data.

It grew and grew. And eventually turned it into its own product:

Prelaunch.com — the platform that helps you validate your ideas at early stages.

Prelaunch.com takes this idea, and improves on it to the nth degree:

  • We eliminated the fakeness involved in making a purchase for a non-existent product (customers felt cheated, even after receiving the refund). Instead, now they make reservations, knowing the products are not final yet.
  • We ensured that their money is safe, as they can cancel it anytime and get a full refund.
  • We added aggregated metrics and predictive insights, to help creators understand what their metrics mean, is 15% a good conversion rate or you need to aim for 25%.
  • We made it really easy to launch a campaign with our drag-and-drop builder and templates.
  • And we're constantly adding awesome features (seriously... I can't tell you what's in the pipeline right now, but it's AMAZING!)

We launched it about a month ago and were amazed by the traction.

100+ projects have already been launched by a community of creators just like you, and another 200+ are coming soon.

So, instead of building something and hoping that people will buy... see if they are buying first and then start building it.

And before you launch your idea — whether it’s via crowdfunding or you’re going directly to ecommerce (Shopify or Amazon), whether it’s a brand new innovation you’re developing yourself or something you found on AliExpress that you want to dropship — remember to validate it first.

Use the basic fake-door prelaunch testing methodology we used 3 years ago… or check out Prelaunch.com now, experience the ease and speed at which you can test your ideas, and start launching your next product 100% free.