Don’t Just Validate, Engage | Harnessing the power of your list

By Nate Posted in Community, Launched

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Validate and Engage like a Pro: Gotham Bicycle Defense Industries Case Study

Do More Than Validate

Deception and frustration are not the way to win happy customers. Getting someone to click a fake ‘buy now’ button may validate your idea but it could also cost you their trust. That’s why it’s smarter to use LaunchRock for idea validation.

That said, collecting a person’s contact information can be just as alienating if you don’t use it. Better to show them you are working to make your idea a reality early on. If you do, you’ll accomplish more than just validating your idea – you’ll build an engaged audience eagerly anticipating your launch.

The launch plan followed by Gotham Bicycle Defense Industries illustrates a few ways you can turn interest into engagement, and even dollars. This post is a brief case study of some of their best practices.

Case Study: Gotham Bicycle Defense Industries

Dont just Validate Your Idea Engage your Audience too!

The Gotham Bicycle Defense Industries launch is a great example of how to use a landing page for more than just idea validation. Yes, Slava Menn and his team had a killer idea in The Defender anti-theft bike light. Yes, they are brilliant MIT engineers who could develop this product given the resources. Yes, cyclists are style minded and gadget crazy enough to love a bike light shaped like a revolver. Still, even when their LaunchRock page took off, there was a lot of ground to cover between “this would look @#$ing cool on my bicycle” and actually manufacturing the thing. So, how did they sustain interest, raise money and make it a reality?

Have Emails, Will Communicate

The Gotham landing page was not an email “black hole.” Right from the start they began to build a community by sending out entertaining and engaging communications.

Team Gotham shared video updates throughout the design, prototyping and manufacturing process. These funny and informative posts kept their audience informed about their progress and sustained their excitement. They also wrote regular blog posts about the need for their product and its effectiveness, often using humor aimed at the members of the cycling culture they wanted to engage. All of this helped create goodwill and old fashioned demand. Finally, every email they sent included a motivating incentive and call to action: visit our Kickstarter page to pre-order your Defender.

By communicating with their signups, Gotham was able to build a community invested in their success – and an awesome product. The power of this formula can be seen in the overwhelming support for their Kickstarter campaign. Gotham raised $84,728 to manufacture The Defender, 4.6 X their original goal of $18,000!

What role did LaunchRock play in all this? Well, in Slava’s words:

LaunchRock was a turbo booster for Gotham, giving us a base of users for our “bicycle defense startup.” Before launching our Kickstarter, we set up a landing page, experimented with different incentives, then shared it with our world.  Within a few weeks, we had hundreds of people signing up at to learn about the mysterious “Worlds First Anti-Theft Bike Light.” Prominent bloggers tweeted about it and it helped propel us beyond our funding goal. To launch a successful Kickstarter project, you need a core audence to start the snowball rolling. LaunchRock gave us that core audience.

So don’t just validate, communicate with your audience in strategic, informative ways from the beginning. This is the best way to harness the initial excitement of your signups and turn them into an engaged community of customers.

Learn More

If you want to learn more about how to begin gathering an audience with your LaunchRock page, I recommend you read Gotham’s formula for a friend-fueled viral launch.

Register your domain, build and Launch your coming soon page for free at

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About Nate

Nate Munger is the Director of Customer Satisfaction at LaunchRock where he heads Customer Support, Community, and Social Media. Follow him @NateLRock.
  • shaun

    Anyone could learn a thing or two from the Gotham guys.  Great article.