Hi everyone, thank you so much for your responses.
I've been involved in a project before where we spoke with customers about the idea and they thought it was cool. We built it and they still thought it was cool, just not cool enough to pay for. We of course had a couple of market segments identified this time, but we wanted to build a broader product so we could test multiple markets to find the one with the greatest pain that our software could solve.
We wanted to have the minimum feature set to get the software to do a specific, simple task really well. Something that we couldn't easily find elsewhere. Then we wanted to go to our proposed markets and see what they liked or didn't like about it.
Basically our hope was that they would start to use it as a solution to their problem but constantly give us feedback along the way.
Our problem now is that again, everyone seems interested but we are looking to maximize exposure so we don't find people who just think it's cool but we find the people who really, really need it. So far, I've been treating this as a sales process, just calling or emailing people whom I think could use it, explaining it and going from there.
But the approaches listed by Tom were very helpful. I am looking for more ideas like that.
Thank you everyone! Please keep the validation thoughts coming, as any ideas could help.