Spend more time building versus planning your business.
At the concept stage, founders are exploring the feasibility of building a product or service based on an idea. Although still in ideation, founders should also be building, measuring, and learning as fast as they possibly can. When launching your startup, it’s imperative to search for problems worth solving and cultivating innovative ideas. It’s also crucial to define quantifiable metrics to measure success and assess the status of specific processes. One of the best ways to validate your startup idea is through email sign-ups on a landing page.
You can capture email addresses and other data points by designing a website or, more simply, a landing page. A landing page is a standalone web page, created specifically for where you’ll direct traffic to learn more about your startup and complete a call to action like inputting their email addresses. Landing pages are highly effective for marketing campaigns, especially online advertisements. Capturing email addresses is almost as good as currency for you because you can follow up with updates, newsletters, and eventually launch your business. A founder doing an excellent job validating his startup idea is Travis Willman.
Travis is a former Special Forces medic in the US Army and worked in Operations Management for the Department of Defense before launching Council. It is a new kind of messaging app that lets you create encrypted micro-networks and then burn them when you’re done. After months of hard work and development, the team announced a private beta with a simple yet sleek email sign-up for early access.
The landing page is driving the user to one action — inputting an email address. Travis emailed those that have signed up through the landing page a step-by-step process to download the beta version on their phones and provide feedback. These metrics are important to Travis to shape the app to his users’ needs, further strengthening the app.
Converting leads into paying customers is often tricky for early-stage startups. You technically don’t know anything about your customers yet, so the sooner you start testing assumptions and mapping evidence on market viability, the better. If your business model requires collecting email addresses to lead to conversions, then you’d also be surprised to know you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars for someone to design your website. Capturing customer information can be quickly done by yourself for no cost at all.
A key metric could be daily visitors to your site, the number of company emails opened by consumers per hour or the monthly sales of a specific feature. Below are my recommended tools and resources for designing, launching your landing page, and measuring success:
Basic Instructions How To Create A Landing Page For Free (on most sites)
- Sign up, create a free account by logging in through your Facebook or Google account
- Select the landing page option by business category
- Pick one of many templates
- Connect your existing domain or get a new one
- Drag and drop different sections on the page
- Add and edit text, images, and videos
Free Landing Pages And Website Builders
- Carrd – A free platform for building simple, fully responsive one-page sites for pretty much anything.
- Wix – Choose a stunning template and customize anything with the Wix website builder—no coding skills needed.
- Squarespace – Squarespace is the all-in-one solution for anyone looking to create a beautiful website. Domains, eCommerce, hosting, galleries, analytics, and 24/7 support.
- Ucraft – Create a professional website, blog, or online store with Ucraft website builder: 80+ templates, 24/7 customer support, free domain hosting, and more.
- WordPress – Create a free website or build a blog with dozens of customizable, mobile-ready designs and themes.
Free Email Marketing Service Platforms
- MailChimp – Mailchimp is the all-in-one integrated marketing platform for small businesses to grow your business on your terms. It’s easy to use, and you can start for free today.
- HubSpot – HubSpot’s free email tool is powered by free customer relationship management (CRM), personalized and powerful.
Free Product Analytics
- KISSmetrics – Find out how our cost-effective, user-based analytics can lower churn, increase sales. and drive more revenue per customer. You can start a free demo today.
- Mixpanel – Mixpanel gives you detailed, real-time insight into how people interact with your products.
- Google Analytics – Google Analytics lets you measure your advertising ROI and track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.
Free High-Quality Photos
- Unsplash – Beautiful, free images and photos that you can download and use for any project.
- Pixabay – Find high-quality royalty-free photos for your next project. Free for commercial use, no attribution required, photos handpicked by staff.
“An actionable metric is one that ties specific and repeatable actions to observed results.”
The opposite of actionable metrics are vanity metrics or false positives. When building towards product/market fit, split testing, cohort analysis, and funnel reports are great ways to conduct qualitative validation. Dave Mclure’s Startup Metrics For Pirates, is one reliable method to know if you’re maximizing efficiency. This 5-step model is for creating a metrics framework for your business and customers and how to apply it to your product & marketing efforts. The “pirate” part comes from the five steps: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, & Revenue (AARRR!)
Email is just one way you can be testing ideas, marketing your brand, and measuring future success. Creating a landing page that is straight and to the point with minimal graphics is always a good option for collecting email addresses. If you want a page customized to your liking, you can pay the monthly/annual fee. But hopefully, you now know a little bit more about how to create landing pages and that it doesn’t have to be complicated nor expensive.