How to use landing pages to test new business ideas?

Yes, landing pages are a fantastic way to test new business ideas. The beginning of Q1 is certainly a time filled with new business ideas flowing. Testing them with landing pages is a great and smart way to figure out which ones you and your team should invest more time and resources into.

Landing pages are perfect for testing ideas because they:

  • are quick to set up,
  • are inexpensive (if not free),
  • don’t require a lot of effort to create,
  • provide reliable results and data.

There are four different things you should be aware of when it comes to using landing pages to test new business ideas. We’ll go over each one of them in detail in this article. This includes:

  • The basic setup
  • Making sure your landing page is effective
  • Deciding on how you’ll drive traffic to your landing page
  • Knowing if your idea has been validated, or not.
Someone typing on a laptop.

But, before we dive in, I want to explain one more thing to you. And that’s what makes landing pages an effective tool for testing new business ideas.

What can you test with a landing page?

You can genuinely test anything. It can be a book, an additional service, a sellable product, such as a notebook or a planner. It can be a course or an additional feature for your current product. You can test a whole business idea or a whole new product idea too as well. There is nothing you can’t test. 

The beauty of testing business ideas is that you’re in fact testing out ideas before investing resources to developing it. Whether you’re thinking about writing a book or providing a new service, it doesn’t have to be ready to determine if people would be interested in your idea. After all, the whole point is to validate first before pursuing the idea further.

… if you think you’ve come up with the next big thing, you should always treat it like a hypothesis. And as with any hypothesis, that means testing it.

Scott McLeod

What makes landing pages reliable?

Unlike talking to people or conducting research, a landing page will require a visitor to take action and, more or less, commit to the ideas you’re testing. It’s essentially the difference between someone telling you they like your product idea and would buy it in the future and actually buying it. A person expressing interest to join your waitlist list is giving you consent to sell and promote your idea directly to them once it’s ready for purchase. And, that is a bigger commitment than someone simply agreeing with you that they like your idea in a conversation.

A question mark.

A landing page converts real people, which is what makes them excellent to test new business ideas with! When you have high conversion rates, you’ll know your concept has been validated.

How do you use landing pages to test new business ideas?

1. Basic landing page setup tips

Step one is definitely to nail down the basic setup. Since the point is to test new business ideas, it’s important not to waste too much time on the setup. Once your idea has been validated, then you can invest more time and resources into a proper and carefully detailed campaign to gain traction. 

So, how should you set up your landing page? There are a few options available to you. For the fastest landing page, you can use a site-building app like Squarespace, Wix, or Unbounce. If you have a drag and drop page creator set up with your WordPress site, you can make one yourself that way too. Alternatively, you can work with your designer or developer to make one for you. 

Screenshot of Unbounce.com
If you follow along with this affiliate link you can get 20% off your first 3 paid months of Unbounce. It also includes a 14-day free trial!

Picking your call to action

The call to action plays an important role in validating your idea. The two most common options are a waitlist or a preorder CTA. A waitlist is a much lesser commitment but it’s a commitment nonetheless. It still tells you whether or not people are interested in your offer. Frankly, if you can’t get people to join a waitlist, it’s going to be significantly harder to get them to buy the product once it’s ready. Wouldn’t you agree?  

Only ask for preorders if you are comfortable with it. If you choose not to develop the product, you will have to refund those people. When it comes to preorders, you’re basically setting up something similar to your own Kickstarter campaign, minus the perks. Preorders are a sign of a big commitment since someone just paid you for a product that they aren’t getting right away. It’s a great way to validate your idea. 

A customer making a purchase.

However, whether or not you’re doing preorders or a waitlist, you still need to keep in touch with the people who expressed interest. You need to create a separate mailing list, nevertheless.

Set up a mailing list and use it to learn further

Create a separate list within your MailChimp or ConvertKit account (or whichever email app you use). It’s best to keep in regular contact with this mailing list like any other. “Regular” could mean once a week or once a month; that’s up to you.  

Besides tracking the number of people who expressed interest, setting up a mailing list is vital if you want to test new business ideas. There are various ways that mailing lists will come in handy:

  • track the number of converted leads,
  • keep in touch with the converted leads to gain insights,
  • get a better understanding of your target audience’s needs,
  • gather research on how to further improve your offer,
  • gain insights on how to optimize your idea even more (such as for a future marketing campaign),
  • use the subscribers as user testers.

Yes, use your list to learn further! These people will also be invaluable in helping you perfect your actual product too, but only if you listen to them.  

A person talking with a laptop open.

Send them questions or surveys, ask about their motivations, pain points, and needs. Open up a communication channel with your interested leads! That mailing list is going to be a fantastic resource in learning about why they chose to opt-in for your offer and how to optimize it once you’re ready to market your idea at full scale.

2. How to make sure your landing page is effective?

If you’re creating landing pages to test new business ideas for your current target audience, that’s fantastic. You already should be quite familiar with the target audience which makes things easier for you. If you’re testing an idea for a completely new audience, then you should do some market research. 

You can have a very beautiful thing to say, but say it in the wrong words and it’s gone

Mohammed Qahtani, The World’s Greatest Public Speaker on the Power of Words

That’s because, as with any landing page, you will still need to understand the target audience’s mindset, needs, pain points, emotional triggers and so on in order to create an effective page. The better understanding you will have, the more compelling the offer will be. Therefore, the more reliable your test will be as well. 

Ask yourself:

  • What problems does your new idea solve?
  • What relevant pain points does the target audience experience? 
  • What are the value propositions? What are the benefits to the audience?
  • How does your idea alleviate the said pain points?

If you don’t have a good grasp of your target audience’s needs, your offer will never resonate with them.

Testing your landing page

You should always test your landing pages to improve their performances. AB tests are a great way to optimize your landing pages further. For example, you can test the offer’s value propositions to find the ones that resonate the most.

Neon sign, says "change."
Iterate, iterate, iterate!

If you incorporate testing and optimization to your idea test, your overall results will be more reliable too. Unbounce allows you to smoothly run AB tests with each new landing page right in their app. Otherwise, installing an app like Optimizely on your site can also do the trick. 

3. How to drive traffic to your landing page

There are two main ways to drive traffic to test new business ideas through landing pages. The first is through word of mouth. The second is through paid ads. 

By word of mouth, I mean sharing the landing page with your current audience. You can do so by mentioning it to your existing mailing list, posting links to social media accounts, or publishing a blog post on your site. If you want to go a step further, you can go as far as publishing a few guest posts on relevant blogs. None of those will cost you any money to promote your landing page.

A line of people. Aerial view.

You can also drive traffic to test new business ideas through paid ads. This doesn’t have to be expensive either. Facebook or Google ads should do the trick even with a small ad budget of around $100. Don’t forget, this is simply a test, so you don’t need a large ad budget for this. 

4. How will you know if your idea has been validated?

A good rule of thumb is to aim for around 25 conversion rates and at least 100 opt-ins. However, just because you’re not getting these numbers doesn’t mean it’s game over. 

If you are getting low or no conversion rates, but you have sparse traffic to your landing page, that is okay. You need to invest in getting more eyeballs on your page before deciding to scrap the idea altogether. 

If you’re getting good traffic and you’re getting reasonable conversion rates, that’s fantastic! Essentially, this is the ideal scenario and one that validates your idea. However, this is also an opportunity for you to optimize the landing page even further to better understand how to resonate with your audience.

Two women writing on a whiteboard.

If you’re getting a lukewarm conversion, you’ll need to investigate as to what’s causing it. Maybe the offer isn’t just right, or the wording is poor or inappropriate for your target audience. Don’t give up just yet. Test and iterate a couple of times before calling it quits on the idea.

However, if you are getting good traffic, but no one is converting, then that’s a whole other story. You can (and probably should) test a few different variations on the landing page. Maybe you’ve misunderstood your target audience’s needs?

The surest way to know your idea is invalid and not worth pursuing further is if you’ve tried a few different iterations to make sure your landing page speaks well to your target audience but you’re not getting any conversions while getting good traffic.

The takeaway

It’s smart to test new business ideas with landing pages. They are fast and inexpensive to make. And, they are a reliable way to gauge an idea’s validity with your conversion rates. It’s a simple way to determine if your new business idea is, in fact, worth pursuing further. Instead of guessing or shooting in the dark, take a few hours to come up with a landing page. And, if you need help with creating one, you know where to find me.