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34 Comments

Why many makers use landing page to validate their ideas, and what makes the result valid?

Why landing page but not other methods?

I’m curious because I see many makers over celebrate their # of waitlist subscribers or traffic towards a landing page?

I guess you know what I mean 😃 keen to hear your thoughts 🙏🏻

  1. 6

    Because its the quickest and easiest way to gauge interest for an idea while also being able to capture the audience.

    The number of sign ups gives a rough idea of interest while also capturing the email address to allow you to notify the user when you launch. There are not many other methods which allow you to so easily convey your message while keeping the above advantages.

    1. 2

      Hey, tiimgreen.

      How does this approach compare to giving initial users an MVP to test?

      Also...

      What is the threshold of signups (give or take) you have to take to know for sure that your idea is validated?

      1. 1

        How does this approach compare to giving initial users an MVP to test?

        MVP to test => basic working product but takes much more time (could be months) to build.

        Landing page => still capture potential leads, only takes hours to build/market.

        When building companies - especially SaaS companies - failure is not only common but expected. If you spend the time to build an MVP for every idea you have before validating the idea you will waste a lot of time (and maybe money).

        On average most ideas you have will fail, embrace this. If you have an idea, validate it. If it sticks, build and MVP. If it doesn't stick, move onto the next one. Rinse & repeat.

        What is the threshold of signups (give or take) you have to take to know for sure that your idea is validated?

        This is entirely subjective based on multiple factors: how many people visited the page; % conversion rate; cost to develop MVP; size of market etc.

        The best way to figure all this stuff out is to just do it. The barrier for entry to this stuff now is so low.

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          Given that my cofounder and I have already built an MVP, should we build the landing page only after we have validated it?

          1. 2

            The landing page is a tool used to validate the idea.

            But since you already have an MVP, I would just make the landing page lead to the user signup flow and get it out there.

            1. 2

              +1 on this.

              When building Adflow.ai, we initially went for a brief closed beta. Users would signup on our landing if they were interested in our product (a platform that uses AI to create high converting copy and creatives for ads).

              However, we got way better validation when we removed that unnecessary frictions and let users sign up directly to our free open beta.

              If you already have an MVP that, put it in front of your users as soon as possible. You'll get feedback that is a lot more valuable if your customers can get a glimpse of your product's magic– or at least that has been our experience so far.

    2. 1

      Thanks for your response @tiimgreen

      Can you please walk me through why capturing email correlate to interest? How can makers make use of this medium to maximize the effort of validation?

      1. 3

        People will only provide their email to you if they are interested in the product. It’s really that simple. I’m not exactly sure what you mean.

        1. 1

          I am asking because I am not sure why this is simple.

          1. 1

            Imagine you see a landing page for “An Amazing New Product” which someone is trying to sell to you. You would find this product very useful and would potentially pay for it — at the very least use the free version. On this landing page it says “subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when we launch”. Would you subscribe?

            If you were interested, of course you would because you want to use the product. In fact, the only people who would leave their email address are the ones that are interested in the product — the exact scenario I described above. Hence, the number of emails you collect correlates to interest in your product.

            1. 5

              To add a little to this - I think people are generally tired of getting spammed by stuff and are considerably less likely to just sign up to anything out of passing curiousity these days. People know that if they sign up, they're going to get emails from you (even if only a launch notification), so they're essentially giving you permission to get in touch. If they can't bear the thought of being on another mailing list, they absolutely won't give out their emails.

              I've done this (as a customer) and had the founders email me and ask for feedback / input (which I happily provided).

              I personally have a separate spam email account, and even with that I'm getting pretty selective about who gets the spam email address now (let alone my actual private email address).

              So getting potential users to sign up, while not as significant as getting them to pay (obviously), is still a significant step that gives indication on interest and/or need.

  2. 3

    I use a landing page that can accept payments (free on Mailchimp) in combination with prospective customer conversations to validate my ideas. To get these convos I use a form of growth hacking (that I happen to be offering as a service for my latest Saas).

    Here's what I do:

    1. Prospective customer begins the conversation
    2. I make small talk and then ask them something along the lines of "What's the #1 thing holding you back from making more money from your (real estate business, clothing brand, saas company, whatever customer I'm targeting yk...)"
    3. If my product idea relates to their #1 problem 8/10 times, I know I've got a good start (sometimes I'll go into these convos without a product idea and by hearing their #1 problems I can Immediately come up with Saas ideas)
    4. I'll ask them more about their problem (See what they're doing to solve it currently, how much of a problem it is, how much of a budget they might have to solve it, ect...).
    5. I propose a price for the product and ask if they'd pay for it. If they say yes, I actually go for the sale and send them to the landing page to accept the payment.
    6. The landing page might have more info about the product, and maybe a demonstration of how it might work. But mainly it serves to actually collect the payment. Email signups are not validation!!!! If you want to know if people will pay for this product, then collect payments! Not just emails!
    7. It should also be noted that I am fully transparent that the product isn't ready yet, people might get angry if they pay and feel like they've been deceived. After they purchase I like to put them in a discord group where I keep them updated on the development/get feedback upon release.

    If you're interested in my growth hacking software/want to know more about my process I'm happy to talk about it! Either reply to this or shoot me a dm on Instagram @owenthurm.

    1. 1

      This is the answer I want to hear. Thanks for sharing @owenthurm - I can see a lot of people overly rely on landing page and keep celebrating the # of emails collected.

  3. 3

    hi - a LP depends on the audience also. I think to validate a B2B product with a LP is not the best way, because when a company has a problem they want the solution immediately.

    In terms of B2C it depends if your target audience has a lot of early adaptors. I mean, my mother wouldn't enter her Email address somewhere on the internet.

    Also, as written in the other comments here. Building a LP is a piece of art in itself. It depends if it is worth to go through the so called 'development hell' when you do not have any prior experience.

    Unfortunately, what I couldn't find in the comments is the right amount of marketing to make the LP popular. For example, I don't think it makes sense to go "full in" with marketing, when you don't have something to sell yet.

    1. 2

      I totally agree with you. Hence I am confused why so many makers still rely on the # of email captures...

      1. Mum won’t give emails, no trust
      2. I use a spam mail address to sign up, less friction
      1. 2

        In this so called "maker community"/"indiehacker scene" there are couple best practices floating around. Like building a LP or gain Twitter follower first.

        Of course, in some instances such tactics might pay off, but it doesn't necessarily mean these tactics will payoff for ALL kinds of products and situations.

        This community is very hype driven. For example this one thread in which a person gained 140.000 followers on YT in a year. Should I follow the example and do videos on YT now to sell a SaaS product later? No. I want to build a product and not waste time learning how to make videos:)

        Just take everything you read here with a pinch of salt. Most contributions are created to keep you glued on the site, promote something or to gain follower.

    2. 2

      I think this mirror's the general sentiment of having a good understanding of what your channel to market will be too (e.g. no point in building a landing page if you don't know how to promote it.)

      hi - a LP depends on the audience also.
      Generally agree with this sentiment too, really depends on the type of customer. For a high value B2B, I think a prototype or even good mock up (like a data-backed one with Framer) would be good to get feedback on and get some initial customers engaged (depending on company size really).

  4. 2

    For my latest product release (a physical clothing accessory), my process was slightly backwards. Not on purpose, but slightly different than coming up with an idea and putting up a landing page to gauge interest.

    I have a couple of content sites where we publish articles on a regular basis. Sometimes the article is a result of someone writing in with a question, where we compile a comprehensive answer -- then publish the question and reply as an article.

    In one example, someone was looking for a particular clothing accessory, to address a specific need. So, we collected all the possible solutions, and published an article with the recommendations. None of the product solutions were that great, but they were potential solutions to the reader's question.

    In an unexpected turn of events, that article has become the highest visited article on that particular site. Meaning, LOTS of people have the problem, and were looking for a product to solve it.

    Knowing all the products listed in the article were not that great, and realizing there was some amount of demand for a solution, I decided to create a product to address problem.

    While I was developing it, I updated the article to let readers know that a new product was being developed, and prompted them to post a comment in the comments section of the article if they wanted to be notified when the product launched.

    Roughly 60-80 people added their name to the comments section, asking to be notified. About a year into development, I created an official waitlist via a Google Form, and prompted people to sign-up to the form OR leave a comment.

    With the v1 of the product nearing release, about a month ago I created a landing page (1-page site) to provide more info about the product and to prompt people to add their name to the waitlist directly from the site/LP. The article now points to the site/LP, instead of the Google form.

    The waitlist has about 200 people now, growing by about 3 people per day, on average.

    In hindsight, I should have added the product idea to the article & started collecting emails addresses sooner, but oh well.

    Planning to launch the product next month, so we'll see how it goes.

    Separately, I started monetizing the article via affiliate links to many of the existing products. Generated a bit more than $1k in affiliate sales so far, so that's not too bad either.

  5. 2

    If your product idea is already proven because it serves a big market and there's so many people doing it already, i don't see the need to make a landing page with a sign up form. You already know there's a demand, and unless your product comes with a stellar feature no one will be eager to sign up to your waiting list.
    Landing pages are great when you're in a tiny niche and no one is doing what you do, so you need to know how big the demand might be.

    1. 1

      Build a list, share updates, bring them along for the journey.

      Let them participate with feedback.

      When the time is right onboard them to the product.

      Especially if it is a huge market and you have founder market fit. You might pivot the product but you still have assets then.

      1. 1

        Is that what you did with versoly ? If yes, did your list mainly consist of other indie hackers ?

        1. 1

          Great sharing @aekiro - you literally pointed into a right direction why makers shouldn’t overly celebrate the hype of landing page.

        2. 1

          I didn't do that until recently and growth has improved nicely.

    2. 1

      If that was the case i would have tried a pre order landing page. (Though i have never done such a thing).

  6. 1

    It's better than nothing.

  7. 1

    Two lessons about testing ideas using landing pages:

    1. Landing page doesn't replace a conversation with potential users. You only get binary data -- people either click your CTA or they don't. You don't get to learn why or why not. If you need test assumptions it's better to actually talk to potential customers/users/readers

    2. In the same way you get false positives you can also easily get false negatives with landing pages - meaning your idea/solution is good but you don't get much traction with the landing page because...your copy and design is not doing a good job communicating the idea OR the landing page didn't get enough people reading it/you don't have a place to share where people will click and read it, etc.

    I studied landing page and zipped up my learning in a writeup on landing pages and common mistakes to avoid

  8. 1

    I don't know any other methods, I don't collect mails. I wait until the project is done and put the LP up. Which is an unintuitive way of doing things.

    LP because It's like a picture worth thousands words. Something can be shown to explain what it does makes things feel a bit easier.

    But when you put it that way, it made me think.

    "Why many makers use landing page to validate their ideas, and how many of them succeeds to validate their ideas"

    LP solely could be the worst method since everyone trying and talking about it. If that was the right way I believe people would kept it as a secret for themselves.

  9. 1

    I think that it's an easy way to see if people are interested in your product and if lots of people join a waitlist it means your product should get customers.

    However the reverse is not necessarily true - if no-one joins your waitlist it doesn't necessarily mean your product won't get customers.

    For example, if you have a landing page but nobody sees it then you could have a great product but no-one will sign-up to your waitlist. Or if you have a landing page and lots of people who aren't the target audience for your product see it you won't get many sign-ups.

    SEO can take awhile to get going so it's quite common for landing pages to have little organic traffic and organic traffic is normally much better quality than other sources.

    So don't rely totally on this for validation, but if you're building your product regardless then it does no harm to get waitlist sign-ups on a landing page while you build it - it may enable you to hit the ground running when your product launches.

    1. 1

      Should a landing page accompany an MVP or should it come after the idea has been validated and be used to reach more people in your target audience?

      Also as a side question, how long should product development take before the initial launch?

      1. 1

        "Should a landing page accompany an MVP or should it come after the idea has been validated and be used to reach more people in your target audience?"

        I ask a few questions to answer that:

        How complete does your product have to be before it can be considered to have minimum viability?

        How hard is the idea to validate?

        If it's in a space that is mature and has lots of other competitors that are successful then your product has to be almost a complete package to be considered minimum. In this case you know the idea is viable already so you don't necessarily need to perform your own viability research. It comes after the idea has been validated to reach more people. I did it this way with Downtime Monkey

        If the space is new then you need to validate but your MVP can be relatively basic. Then a landing page should accompany a minimum viable product AND it should be used to reach more people in your target audience as the build progresses. I am doing it this way with twitMate

      2. 1

        Should a landing page accompany an MVP or should it come after the idea
        Depends what you want to achieve. If you already have an MVP (that isn't validated) then why not use that by putting it in front of customers? Landing pages aren't magical solutions, they still need traffic driven to them.

        We're talking about landing pages for validation specifically here, so if your idea is already validated, then the landing page really becomes a business / full product page, right?

        how long should product development take
        Sorry there's just no way to answer that. It depends on the product complexity and what exactly you're building. If it's a hardware product, it could be months. If it's a small web app, days to weeks depending on experience. Is it an MVP or prototype or first 'official' launch. Unfortunately no easy / clear cut answers there...

  10. 0

    ultimately, the results are valid if it advances the customer relationship to the point of sale. you have to track this progression.

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