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Sunday Email: How to Test a Brand Before You Launch

This email was sent out to my email list on December 13, 2020.

Sunday EmailsNik Sharma

Hey, you! Happy Sunday!!I hope you're reading this email somewhere close to a colorful Christmas tree, and if you're not, I suggest getting near one. Why? Because we've got a gift guide FULL of exclusive codes, put together by the Sharma Brands team, from brands you all asked for.

So far 65,737 people have seen the gift guide and spent an average of 1 minute and 36 seconds on the site, and from the DMs I've gotten on Twitter, people are loving the discounts.

If you enjoyed The Gift Guide, I would really appreciate a follow on our @SharmaBrands Twitter account 🤗.

Please reply with one thing you'd LOVE to get that you didn't get, and I'm going to pick a few replies and send a few 100% coupons out!

Today, I wanted to highlight a process that we run through with brands as they go through two phases with us:

1) Validating an idea for product-market fit and/or validating for the purpose of fundraising launch capital

2) They're going through the process of working with a branding agency and want to make sure they nail copy, creative, messaging hierarchy, etc.

The main reason I wanted to write about this today, is because the process itself is extremely simple, cost-effective, and doesn't require any coding or hard skills. It can also save someone from working on something that won't eventually work OR save someone from spending $50-350k on a branding project where the outputs of their work are not driven by data.

Here's how it works. It involved 3 main tools: Facebook Ads, Unbounce or Instapage, and an email platform like MailChimp or Klaviyo or ConvertKit.

Step 1:

Put together a landing page with the contents of what you're aiming to sell. If it's a candle, make a landing page that shows off some branding or design work that would be similar to what the candle will be. In this page, you should have a hero, maybe a testimonial that incorporates a value prop, a comparison chart between other candle brands, etc.

Bailee Cooper, who works at Sharma Brands, put together a quick cheat sheet on how to build the best landing pages. You can view and download that cheatsheet here. If you want to share it, please also share the link to sign up for this email (https://sharma.ck.page), so they can get new decks/cheat sheets I send out every week!

Ok, once you have the landing page put together, you're ready to put ads together. We always use Unbounce, but Instapage is also an easy platform to use. Both are drag & drop, and again, require no code.

Remember to put your FB pixel on these landing pages too.

Step 2:

This part is easier than step 1, it's putting together some static ads to get people to click through to your landing page. I recommend using Figma, which is a free software, super easy to use (otherwise YouTube videos will get you trained in less than 30 min) and lets you quickly spin out creative.

While making the creative, think about testing 5-7 different variants of copy overlays on the statics (so you can understand the value prop that gets the highest click through rate) and 2-3 different styles of creative (studio, lifestyle, UGC, etc).

Step 3:

Run the ads. I would recommend using anywhere from $50-$100 per day. It doesn't require a ton of capital. But run your first batch of copy/creative and the landing page and learn what messaging gets the highest click through.

If you see that your results skew toward one gender or age group, try separating them out to ensure that you have PMF within all the demos. You should also take learnings of copy/creative that works, apply it to the landing page for a V2, and then re-run a test.

Do this until you feel like you know how to speak to your customer, you have a good cost per lead on your landing page (usually just an email), and can give solid validation to messaging points or pillars of communication for your upcoming or soon-to-be brand.

Once you have all of this, you can show this information to investors to prove you have something that has demand, or provide it to a branding agency so they're not making your brand based on opinions or thoughts amongst team members, it's based on data that you've collected by testing all these angles out.

Onto some more fun stuff...

Software/App of the Week:

AdQuick.

AdQuick allows you to buy billboard ads like you buy Facebook or Snapchat ads. You can easily sign up, find billboards, and then click it to understand people traffic and the cost.

I've been working with them (not as a partner or getting paid for it, just sharing insights from my day to day work) on how they can be more and more DTC friendly, and I think we've done a good job creating a new offering around it.

I highly recommend checking them out here & they're kind enough to give you $500 toward a campaign if you just sign up today: https://www.adquick.com/direct-to-consumer

Brand of the Week:

Cancelled Plans.

We didn't get to feature them in our gift guide because it was too late, but I'm such a fan of this candle brand. They are started by a husband & wife duo, both with backgrounds in design. You can see it through the photography and the artistic approach to it all.

They're also really smart with their approach to marketing. They haven't done much paid marketing, but have been able to grow their customer list quite a bit by just the 2 collabs they've done: Recess and Baboon to the Moon. I'm selfishly working on getting another one setup with a brand we are re-launching digitally in January.

Spencer, the founder, has generously offered to give 15% off to anyone who places an order from this newsletter. Just use SHARMA15 at checkout. Visit Cancelled Plans here.

Resources:

Shameless plug in case you missed it earlier for our Sharma Brands Landing Page CheatSheet/Guide. Download it here.

Quantcast released this awesome report on Holiday 2020 insights and 2021 buyer predictions. You can download that here.

That's all I have for this week. I hope you get 9 hours of sleep this week, it's going to be crazy between getting ready for Xmas week, New Years and also just being able to hit the ground running when you're back from the holidays.

See you next Sunday!

Nik Sharma

CEO, Sharma Brands

917-905-2340