How Startups Can Run Better Landing Page Tests

Opinion

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The interesting thing is that you can get very good data that you can trust without having built any prototypes. You could create a landing page that describes the product or service as if it exists today, and then present a “Buy now” button. If someone comes to the landing page and clicks “Buy now”, it means they resonate with your value proposition and is at least somewhat likely to actually buy the product.

What should the “Buy now” button do for vaporware? You have three options:

· The Wait-List approach. Clicking “Buy now” takes the customer to a “Sign me up for the wait list” page where you collect the email address. If they now provide you with the email, you now have two pieces of information instead of one: They are intrigued and interested, AND they have proved purchase intent to a first order of approximation.

· The “Raincheck” approach. Clicking “Buy now” takes the customer to a “Raincheck” page in which you take their credit card, Paypal or some such, tell them when the product will be available, and clearly message that you will NOT charge their credit card until the product is made available to them. The credit card is a huge jump in the credibility of the purchase intent test. If someone hands over payment information, they really have a problem that they think your solution will solve.

· The “Pay now, collect later” approach. Clicking “Buy now” takes the customer to a “Presale” page, in which you take their credit card and actually charge it on the spot while telling them they will have a long wait before the product ships. If they complete the purchase, you have achieved the holy grail of purchase intent tests. Money changed hands at the price you named. Huzzah! You have a real business!

A landing page test technically is still a qualitative research technique, but it provides quantitative metrics that you can look at relative to e-mail open rate, dwell time on the first landing page, page views, click rate on the call to action, and finally, whether they submit their e-mail and/or credit card.

Having these metrics means you have a platform to experiment and do more tests. Just be careful with generalizing results from a small sample size – even though the qualitative insights alone are worth the effort.

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Elaine Chen is a Senior Lecturer in the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. Follow @chenelaine

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