1. Prevalidator School: Defining Your Project Top ↑

    Whether it’s a product, a service or software, the one trait that every Prevalidator campaign shares is that it is a project. Defining, what your Prevalidator project is, is the first step for every creator.

    Firstly be very clear what it is your startup will produce and who you hope to sell it to. This will put a clear picture in your potential early adopter's mind. The end product is your startup idea and that is why you are here. You want to discover whether people want your product and whether they want it enough to pay money up front to secure it at a discount when it is available.

    Secondly you need to convince a potential early adopter that you have the technology, skills and drive to push the project through into production. 

    thirdly, you need to introduce your team if you have one and try to connect with your potential users on as personal a level as possible. Avoid a dry factual approach to your presentation but remain professional throughout

    Remember, outside of a desire to obtain your product, early adopters will very often commit to prebuying your product partially through a desire to become a small part of the development process. Make this attractive to them. Make that proposition an exciting one. Be likeable.

    Make sure your potential early adopters know exactly what it is that they are buying. Transparency throughout the whole process is crucial.

     We encourage you to read the Prevalidator Project Guidelines and peruse recommended and successful projects in your project's category.

     

     


  2. Prevalidator School: Prepayment Options Top ↑

    Prepayment options are what your early adopters get in exchange for their money when they prebuy your products.

    You can offer your early adopters a single deal or different options. These options would vary essentially in terms of what each option costs and what it offers in exchange. Obviously the most important benefit the early adopter gets is a discount on your product at a specified date in the future when your product is ready for shipment. They also get access to the development team and process with regular updates from your project.

    You could also offer:

    Access to beta versions of the product.

    Creative mementos, T shirts, pens etc.

    Limited editions of your product.

     

    Remember, early adopters will become your brand ambassadors if you make them feel special. Come up with additional rewards that foster this.

     

    Use this formula as a guide to pricing your option:

    10% of projected retail cost of product buys a 50% discount on final product price.

    20% of projected retail cost of product buys a 75% discount on final product price.

     

    Put yourself in your early adopters’ shoes. Would you drop the cash on your rewards? The answer to that question will tell you a lot about how to price your prepay option.

    Be generous, what these early adopters cost your project is immaterial. Look after them and they will be invaluable to you.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  3. Prevalidator School: Making your video Top ↑

    A video is by far the best way to get a feel for the emotions, motivations, and character of a project. It’s a demonstration of effort and a good predictor of success. Projects with videos attract interest at a much higher rate than those without (50% vs. 30%).

    We know that making a video can be intimidating. Not many of us like being in front of a camera. We also know that making a video is a challenge worth taking on. It says you care enough about what you’re doing to put yourself out there. It's a small risk with a big reward.

    If you have computer access and a ready supply of enthusiasm, you’ve got all you need. Some videos are big montages and others are epic long takes, but most videos are just someone telling their story straight into the camera. You can spend days shooting and editing, or you can just knock it out with a couple friends on a Saturday. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be you.

    No matter how creative or bare-bones your video, you'll want to:

    • Tell us who you are.
    • Tell us the story behind your project. Where'd you get the idea? What stage is it at now? How are you feeling about it?
    • Come out and ask people if they like your idea. Invite them to become early adopters.
    • Talk about how awesome your prepay options are, using any images you can.
    • Explain that if you don't get early adopters your product might not be made.
    • Thank everyone!


    And don't be afraid to put your face in front of the camera and let people see who they’re giving money to. We’ve watched thousands of these things, and you’d be surprised what a difference this makes.

    Another thing to remember: don't put any copyrighted music in your video without permission! Expensive lawsuits are never fun. Here are some music resources you can use when the time comes: SoundCloud, Vimeo Music Store, Free Music Archive, and ccMixter.

     

     


  4. Prevalidator School: Building your project Top ↑

    As you build your project, take your time! The average successful creator spends nearly two weeks tweaking their project before launching. A thoughtful and methodical approach can pay off.

     

    Titling your project

    Your Prevalidator project title should be simple, specific, and memorable, and it should include the title of the product you are validating here. Imagine your title as a distinct identity that will set it apart.. Avoid words like "help" or "support," They imply that you're asking someone to do you a favor rather than offering a product they’re going to love.

     

    Picking your project image

    Your project image is how you will be represented on Prevalidator and the rest of the web. Pick something that accurately reflects your project and that looks nice, too!

     

    Writing your short description

    Your short description appears in your project’s widget, and it’s the best place to quickly communicate to your audience what your project is about. Stay focused and be clear on what your project hopes to accomplish. If you had to describe your project in one tweet, how would you do it?

     

    Writing your bio

    Your bio is a great opportunity to share more about you. Why are you the one to take on this project? What prior work can you share via links? This is key to earning your backers’ trust.

     

     


  5. Prevalidator School: Promoting your project Top ↑

    An exceptional project can lead to outpourings of support from all corners of the web, but for most projects, initially, support comes from within their own networks and their networks’ networks. If you want people to support your project you have to tell them about it. More than once! And in a variety of ways! Here’s how:

     

    Smart outreach

    A nice, personal message is the most effective way to let someone know about your project. Send an email to your close friends and family, then use your personal blog, your Facebook page, and your Twitter account to tune in everyone who’s paying attention. Don’t overwhelm with e-blasts and group messages, but be sure to remind your networks about your projects a few times throughout the course of its duration. Take the time to contact people individually. It makes a big difference.

     

    Meeting up

    Don’t be afraid to take your Prevalidator project out into the real world. Nothing connects people to an idea like seeing the twinkle in your eye when you talk about it. Host prebuy parties, print posters or flyers to distribute around your community, and organize meetups to educate people about your endeavor. Be creative!

     

    Stopping the presses

    Contact your local newspaper, TV, and radio stations and tell them about your project. Seek out like-minded blogs and online media outlets to request coverage. Writers are always looking for stories to write about, and the media has a big soft spot for DIY success stories.

     

    Keeping it real

    Whatever channel you use to tell your project’s story, don’t spam. This includes posting your link on other Prevalidator project pages, @messaging people to beg for money on Twitter, link-bombing on Facebook, and generally nagging people you don’t already know. Over-posting can alienate your friends and fans, and it makes every other Prevalidator project look bad too. Don’t do it!

     


  6. Prevalidator School: Project Updates Top ↑

    Project updates serve as your project’s blog. They’re a great way to share your progress, post media, and thank your backers. Posting a project update automatically sends an email to all your early adopters with that update. You can choose to make each update public for everyone to see, or reserve it for just your early adopters to view.

     

    Building momentum

    While your project is live and the clock ticking, keep your early adopters informed and inspired to help you spread the word. Instead of posting a link to your project and asking for prebuyers every day, treat your project like a story that is unfolding and update everyone on its progress. Make very sure to invite questions and contact on your project front page. Build interraction and buzz.

     

    Sharing the process

    Once your project is successfully prebought, don’t forget about all the people that helped make it possible. Let early adopters and spectators watch your project come to life by sharing the decisions you make with them, explaining how it feels as your goal becomes a reality, and even asking them for feedback. Keeping early adopters informed and engaged is an essential part of Prevalidator.

     

    Celebrating success

    Sharing reviews, press, and photos from your project out in the world is vital. The story of your project doesn’t end after it gets shipped out. You still have a captivated audience that’s cheering for you. Communicating with them can be one of the most rewarding parts of the process.

     


  7. Prevalidator School: Prebuyer obligation fulfillment Top ↑

    Once your project has been completed, the crucial final step is fulfilling your obligations to early adopters. Ensure all your early adopters have their products delivered and offer any assistance needed to make sure they are happy with their products. Over deliver in every way.

     

    Getting backer info

    Don’t worry about gathering your early adopters’ info until after your project is successfully funded. At that point the Prevalidator survey tool will help you create surveys to request whatever info you may need to deliver your product. You can find this feature in your Early Adopter Report. Backers are notified via email when you send out the survey, and their responses are automatically entered into your Early Adopter Report, which can then be exported as an Excel-compatible spreadsheet.

     

    Planning ahead

    Remember to take shipping costs into account before you start your project. It may end up being a bigger part of your budget than you thought. Keep in mind how you'll send each product, how much they weigh, how many require international shipping, and how you will lug all of them to the post office. Don’t forget hidden costs (bubble mailers) or emotional ones (filling out 100 customs forms).

    Do some research online. You can start with the basics like the USPS mailing guide, checklists, and bulk mail info, and then find out about other options that might work better for you. If you're in the UK, Royal Mail has resources, too.

     

    Communication, communication, communication

    Fulfillment might not be the most romantic step in doing a Prevalidator project, but it means getting your project into your early adopter's’ hands. Take pictures of your packing party. Tell horror stories from the post office (backers love seeing photos and videos of their rewards being packaged). Ask your early adopters to let you know when their stuff arrives. Invite friends over to drink wine and lick stamps. Cherish what are some of the last moments of the first phase in the life of your project.