I'm always mindful not to boil every hypothesis or riskiest assumption I hear into a landing page experiment. There are so many creative ways of varying fidelity to test the riskiest part of your business model.
That said, MOST of the time - these days, the riskiest TYPE of risk is market risk (as opposed to technical or financial risk) and the idea usually breaks down somewhere on the customer journey map, often at step one. A landing page (hypothesis page) it is one of the most useful tools I know of for learning in what we call at the Pearson Product Lifecycle, the "EXPLORE PHASE".
In explore we are trying to learn as much as we can about the problem and the customer - validating that we understand not only what they say, but what they do (and that what they do will reasonably translate into a scaleable business model).
Landing pages are a great way to test many of the riskiest assumptions we face in explore because they reinforce the BEHAVIORS we are trying to inculcate:
- Ship fast
- Don't be afraid to start small and focused
- Have a metric or an outcome in mind before you launch
- Don't be afraid to test demand before supply
- Be customer centric
- Settle debates with data, not with opinions
The real reason I love landing pages though, is because they provide a tactical framework to put these practices into action. They are tangible, they have constraints, and they map very very well to the BUSINESS MODEL CANVAS.
- CUSTOMER -- the "customer" is represented implicitly. This is the most important part of the puzzle. Who are you targeting. For whom are you solving a problem. Who needs to take an action. The invisible part of your hypothesis page is also the thing that requires the most work, the most discipline, the most effort. You do not need to be positive, but you need a target... once you have that, the rest is a piece of cake.
- THE VALUE PROPOSITION -- this is the very first thing someone reads when they land on your site. There are some great examples here. BRAINSTORM WITH YOUR TEAM. The beautiful thing about this exercise is that you can test 2-3 at one time. You should not test different segments on the same landing page, but you can test multiple value props.
- REVENUE STREAMS -- for this exercise I want you to map the action that the user takes on your landing page as a revenue metric. Some in the lean startup world call this currency. It is EVIDENCE of VALUE. At scale and in the grow phase of the lifecycle, we want to make this 1) REAL DOLLARS 2) EASY- for this exercise it can be any type of currency that we can measure online, and we want it to be HARD. We want to eliminate all false positives. We want to identify the earliest of early adopters.
- CHANNELS -- are a very straightforward variable in this exercise. The medium is the landing page itself, the channels are paid and organic web advertising and marketing. Usually in the form of twitter, facebook, linkedin, google, posting to blogs and sending out emails. We have a separate post on how to get traffic. Be sure to remember that channels refer to more than just "getting traffic and eyeballs", and channels should be highly contextualized to each specific stakeholder. At the end of the day, you are going back to number one on this list and saying "where does this person hang out online" (if you do not know the answer, you have not done enough homework or the market is not existent).
MAP THESE FOUR BOXES OF THE BUSINESS MODEL TO YOUR LANDING PAGE FIRST... AND YOU SHOULD GET SOMETHING THAT LOOKS LIKE THIS. In theory, this should be enough for "early adopters to take an action". But in explore we still want you to consider the entire business mode, here's how I would fill in the rest and map the boxes one to one.
KEY ACTIVITIES - most compelling landing pages will have 3 tidy boxes below the value prop supporting their argument or explaining how they solve your problem like 1,2,3- or they will have a video, or an INFOGRAPHIC that says "how does this work".
KEY PARTNERS - trust is a key element of a high performing landing page. Key partners are an element to a high performing business model. More than just a list of customer testimonials and recent mentions in the press - use this familiar section of the landing page to highlight your key, TRUE PARTNERS and make it evident to your visitors (but also yourselves through this exercise how they provide value).
Now we see how the business model canvas can map directly to a landing experiment. I struggled with the last two boxes... Dr and supercoach @tendayiviki pointed out that key resources is the team, the ABOUT US. I would love to use the comments to see if we can make an argument for how costs factors in here - or not.
This post was originally published here.
Who's Adam Berk?
Adam travels the world asking entrepreneurs one question, “What problem are you solving?”.
He then helps them design and run experiments to help them identify and manage the biggest risks in their business model. He teaches entrepreneurs from early stage founders to massive global companies (& government agencies) to apply the concepts of being “Lean”.
He founded neighborrow.com. His clients have included KauffmanLabs, TechPeaks, Bizdom, Numa, StartupTurkey, FastForward Ramallah, AOL, ESPN, NEWSCORP, AMEX.
Now working in the Product Lifecycle team at Pearson with world class lean & agile specialists to help 44,000 people make evidence-based, customer centric decisions.