August 18, 2019

How did you sell without a landing page?

Zencentric

I know there are some people on IH who claim that nobody needs to have a landing page to start validating the idea and selling it.
I would like to hear from really existing persons who've done it on their own: selling products without any products and any landing pages.
The question is rather about software products (apps, services like SaaS), not about products that can be presented as a text (books, learning courses etc.)
Thanks!

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    Sure!

    Firstly, fellow indie hacker Jeremy Theissen talked to me on the sales for founders podcast about building two businesses without a landing page at all.

    Secondly, I can talk to my own experiences.

    The first 15 customers for Gymhopper were closed before we had a product. We had a landing page, but we asked and most of them had never visited it.

    The first sales I made for postperk happened without a landing page. Just emailing people and asking them to get on a call.

    Same with the Sales for Founders course. First 7 sales came via an email. No landing page, no nothing.

    I also started a jewellery e-commerce store a while back. First 20 sales were done in a private Facebook group my girlfriend and I invited friends to. We had pictures of the items, but no stock, no site or anything.

    There are more examples I could bring, but those should do for starters.

    In my experience as a founder and helping a lot of founders find their first customers, having a landing page is at best unnecessary and at worst actively harmful in 95% of cases.

    Happy to answer questions :)

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      I knew I would be a person who'd reply first :)

      Firstly, fellow indie hacker Jeremy Theissen talked to me on the sales for founders podcast about building two businesses without a landing page at all.
      Thanks for the link, I will check it!
      (I didn't find any information about his product, can you tell me shortly, what it is about?)

      The first 15 customers for Gymhopper were closed before we had a product. We had a landing page, but we asked and most of them had never visited it.
      Landing presented! Sorry, the case doesn't count.

      The first sales I made for postperk happened without a landing page. Just emailing people and asking them to get on a call.
      Hmm I have no idea what is that.

      Same with the Sales for Founders course. First 7 sales came via an email. No landing page, no nothing.
      Well, it doesn't count because this product doesn't require any landing page, for sure. It's just a course that can be just a text.
      My question was primary about apps or services (like SaaS). I updated it.

      First 20 sales were done in a private Facebook group
      It's analog of a landing page, sorry, doesn't count.

      Thanks!

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        (I didn't find any information about his product, can you tell me shortly, what it is about?)

        He has had several products, most of which made initial sales without a landing page. Two of them are software products at least, one was a photography service.

        Landing presented! Sorry, the case doesn't count.

        I don't think that's quite fair. The landing page in this case was just a photo of a gym with the words: "Train anywhere. No limits. Coming soon."

        That's all.

        Given that...

        • none of the first customers saw the page
        • we didn't learn anything about the product (or how to sell it) from creating the page

        ... it's a pretty impossible stretch of the imagination to say the landing page helped in any way. It's definitely not the case that having the landing page was necessary to make any of those sales (which is the question you asked).

        Hmm I have no idea what is that.

        It is a B2B SaaS product.

        --------

        I think you might find it easier to turn the question on its head, and ask "is there any kind of business you can't find first customers for without a landing page?"

        I bet they do exist, but I can't think of any right now.

        • b2b software
        • art
        • ecommerce
        • consumer software
        • services
        • info products

        ... none of them need a landing page (or would even benefit from one) in the early days.

        Maybe the exception would be 'landing page builders'. I imagine it's pretty hard to sell a landing page builder if you don't have an amazing landing page. Same for design agencies (maybe).

        1. 1

          ask "is there any kind of business you can't find first customers for without a landing page?"
          Of course, I could ask in this way but it's not what I would like to know. I'm not trying to find a business that can work without a landing page, I'm seeking if I can run some of my ideas without a landing. (All of my ideas are web apps).

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            Yeah I get that.

            I'm just saying it makes more sense to assume you don't need one, and ask yourself if there's any possible reason your product/idea would need one :)

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              Haha, right.
              Okay, can you tell me how I can figure out if the product/idea can be validated without a landing page?
              For books/courses it's easy, I can have an excerpt and show it to my potential customers, right?
              For apps... just describe a problem and possible ways of solving it?
              Thanks!

              1. 1

                So my opinion/experience is that you'e trying to turn 2 separate steps into 1 step...

                Try splitting the question up into two parts:

                1. Validate (and understand) the pain. In other words, is there some potential value that people are willing to pay you to deliver (regardless of how you deliver that value)?

                2. Iterate towards a viable product.

                ------

                So what does that look like for an app?

                Maybe something like this...

                1. Talk to potential customers. Find out if they'd pay $x for you to solve their pain/problem. Yes? Then...

                2. Dig deeper, how exactly does the solution have to work? What does it need to do and not do?

                3. Think you understand the ideal solution? Then pitch it right back to them and ask them to prepay for it.

                4. If they say yes, great! If not, ask why. What needs to change? What objections do they have?

                5. Make changes based on that feedback and ask if they'll pay for that.

                Eventually, you'll end up with some presales based on a product you haven't built at all. Also, you'll understand exactly what you need to write on your landing page to make people buy :)

                1. 1

                  Thanks! I need to think over it...

  2. 1

    I have experience selling product/service with landing page and without landing page.. From my experience, it depends the situation.

    When I tried selling my idea, some potential customer asking for my website (to make sure it was legit) , but some customer not really care about my website..

    But I prefer to build landing page as showcase of my idea, like how it work, benefit and capture email. It only takes 2 hour of my free time to make it and less than $5/month for hosting. But I will spend a lot more hour to talk with potential customer.

    Thanks, that just my opinion from my own experience

  3. 1

    Check out TechLead on YouTube. He made hundreds if not thousands sales for "season 1" of his channel just by dropping a PayPal link in the description of one of his videos back when his channel was much, much smaller than it is today.

    I'm not sure he has a landing page, even now.

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      His youtube channel is the landing page:) where his customer find his product

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        Right :)