December 17, 2019
Great tech products, contrary to popular belief, are not created by solitary geniuses. As cliché as it sounds, real innovation is born through hard, systematic and collaborative work. At YND, designers, researchers, and developers work closely with our clients (often corporate innovation departments & hubs), following our process which takes an idea from the initial conception through iteration, to the product launch. One of the most critical milestones in this process is the concept validation. By conducting different types of research we make sure we are all on the right path. So let's get started!
Landing Page Validation - what’s that all about?
To put it simply, landing page validation is an experiment in which you can measure the interest in your product idea in real life conditions. It gained a lot of popularity among early startups, due to its simplicity and low cost. The process is simple: Create a landing page for the product as if it already existed, drive traffic using ads and measure how many visitors click on the main call to action button and leave their e-mail address. At YND we use it when: We have a pretty clear project vision (shared by all the stakeholders) based on qualitative research done before; we are looking for statistically significant data from a large population; Need to be fast, quick and lean (which is pretty much all the time!).
Start with User Research
Before you rush into building the landing page, it’s important to nail your product value proposition. Who are your potential customers? What problem are you solving (if any)? How can you stand out among competitors? At YND we help our clients to come up with assumptions around these topics and validate them through user interviews. Talking to the user is the best way to challenge your assumptions about user problems. By understanding their motivations and decision factors you can discover potential barriers that keep them from using your product. Quite often it leads to unexpected, but inspiring discoveries that help you put your product vision on the right track. Knowing your audience and creating matching research-based personas will help you drive relevant website traffic and craft the marketing message in a way that best resonates with your target.
Craft the Webpage
The goal of the landing page is to present the product in the most accurate, compelling way. It should grab the user’s attention, make a great first impression and explain your value in an easy to understand way.
Sell your product above the fold You need to make an impact within the first few seconds to keep the user on the page. Convey the product’s key value proposition in the headline.
Explain your product with a clear structure Make sure to answer the most basic questions: What (is your product?), Why (should people use it), and How (does it work?). You probably don’t (have) any testimonials or ratings yet, but a nice trick is to show comparison with competitors/ other products, highlighting your value proposition.
Optimize text for skimming Only a few (if any) of your page visitors will take the time to read the page word-by-word. Focus on the headlines, making sure they convey a clear story about the product. Highlight important messages and keywords. Keep the text simple and concise and instead of long paragraphs. Use simple bullet points.
Make it credible in general, you want to make your page as much like the real one will be as possible, to get the most accurate results. A quality design will make a great first impression and make the page seem trustworthy.
Call to action Opt for a CTA button (Call To Action) that leads to the email form. Make sure this is in a distinctive color that catches the eye and accompany it with an inviting caption like “Don’t Miss Out!” You definitely don’t want people to skim over this when they’re reading.
The extra stuff Launching the website is also an excellent opportunity to engage with your future customers. Direct questions from visitors will teach you a lot about them, and help you make your site even better. Our tool of choice for this is usually Intercom, which offers early-stage startups a free trial period and cheap flat rate later on.
Set up Analytics & Conversion Events
Most of the time you’ll be measuring CTA clicks and e-mail sign-up conversions. To do this you need to set up respective tracking events in your analytics service. Google analytics will probably be your first choice, but you will need some tech knowledge/support to set up everything correctly. (Kudos to our tech team!) If you want to make the best out of your experiment, hook up Hotjar as well. You will get visual heatmaps presenting visitors’ scrolling and clicking behavior. This will make it very easy to understand which sections of the landing page capture the most of attention and interest.
Google Analytics Dashboard for one of the landing page tests we’ve done at YND.
The best way to optimize the landing page is to conduct A/B Testing. Testing different variants against each other to figure out which product aspects increase the conversion rates. Usually, we test different variants of the hero section (the section above the fold) using a different title or imaginary. If you want to get valid results you need to plan more time for your experiment: at least 2 weeks for testing 2 variants against each other. A good practice is not to conduct too many tests at one time. Instead, do:
- Variant A vs Variant B → Winner X
- Variant C vs Variant D → Winner Y
- Winner X vs Winner Y → Best Performing Design
We usually use Google Optimize, which is free and lets you prepare the variants easily while tracking and analyzing the results. However, it requires some initial technical knowledge to allow proper setup and connection to Google Analytics.
Drive Traffic to the Website
When everything is set up, all that’s left to do is to drive traffic to the website to start your experiment. Running Facebook campaigns is a great way to target potential customers based on the personas from previous research. Not only does it allow you to target users based on location or demographics, but its advanced settings allow you to reach people interested in subjects related to your product, life events, digital activities or purchase history. What’s nice is that you can create different variants of the audiences and A/B test them against each other to discover the best performing one. But depending on your target, you might choose to use different channels such as Google Ads, Twitter, Reddit or Instagram. The bottom line is to know which customers you want to target and how to reach them. You should be able to answer this question if you did your homework and conducted the much-needed exploratory research.
Sit down, relax & learn.
- Page is live
- Analytics are hooked up
- A/B testing is prepared
- Social media campaigns are running
Your experiment is now officially live, so you can sit down and relax while waiting for the results. Ok, you probably won't be relaxing too much, as seeing real numbers (= real users!) come in is pretty exciting! Make sure to track the results on a daily basis, so you’re sure everything works fine and you’re getting enough traffic. Once you feel you have enough data, you’ll need to take an in-depth look at the numbers. Analyze them and learn about your users and product. You need to put the data in the right context, which isn’t always clear. So we’ve built this handy cheat sheet to get you started.
Whatever result you get, you will learn a lot, get new ideas and will probably need to test / research / investigate more. Research is never done. Any insights you gained from quantitative research will lead you to new hypothesizes. Validate them by using a qualitative approach. The results from qualitative interviews will need to be replicated on a larger scale (quantitative). Mixing qualitative & quantitative research together will give you a lot of knowledge and insights and help you make the right moves in your product’s conceptualization and later development.
Has all this research got you confused? We can help with further research, ideation or product development. Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible!
This post was written by Agnieszka Bratek, one of YND’s Senior Product Designers. Together with YND’s design team, she’s helped companies successfully launch apps across various industries: from mobile payment, finance management, travel booking to E-commerce. In need of some brain power? Reach out to us via email@example.com with questions about your projects.