Many people think of landing pages as of a form of digital flyer, the purpose of which is to provide some basic information about an event or brand. For most, they’re not expecting to accomplish much more beyond that. So it might seem fair to say that landing pages are “boring,” and definitely can’t be game changers for your business, right? If you answered yes to either of these questions, think again. A “simple” landing page can actually be a surprisingly powerful tool for testing early market feedback for your new product or service, helping you gauge how the market will receive it once you really put it out there. And most importantly, they can potentially save you a significant amount of time and money that you may have otherwise invested in pursuit of the wrong idea.
Think about it.
After all, your “landing page,” as the name suggests, is often the first interaction that your potential customers will have with your business or your project. And we all know how vital first impressions are, both in life and customer acquisition. Let’s take a look here at one such company that put this theory into practice and used a landing page to successfully launch themselves on the path towards an acquisition by Google for upwards of $6 billion.
The Story of Groupon
In its early days, Groupon was revered as one of the fastest growing companies around. Some even claimed it to be the fastest growing company ever. They did so well, in fact, that a year after founding, Groupon had grown to boast 300 employees; a year later they had over 5000 employees, and today they number in the 10,000 employee range.
Groupon’s business model was an ingenious idea that not only supported the growth of a huge company, but also spawned an entire industry. What many people don’t know, however, is that the “deal-of-the-day” offering Goliath didn’t start out being instantly successful. In fact, it was actually a side project from a company called “The Point” that ended up blowing all expectations out of the water.
The original business model around which The Point was founded wasn’t as successful as the founders had initially hoped, and so one of them, Andrew Mason, ended up starting a side project to test out a new idea.
What exactly did they do? Well, being skilled in HTML & CSS, they were able to quickly whip up a simple landing page that said “Groupon” up at the top; and then every day, they would add one new post to it promoting a “deal-of-the-day.” From a technical point of view, this was really simple to do and didn’t have any bells or whistles built into it, not even a form submission. In fact, Groupon’s first t-shirt deal customers actually had to specify what color and size they wanted by email!
Mason himself later said in an interview that their landing page, with just one deal per day, was enough to prove their concept and demonstrate that it was something that people really liked. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The Power of a Landing Page as the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Mason and the team he had working on this side project didn’t spend any time or resources building a full website from scratch. Instead, they quickly cobbled together a basic landing page with the Groupon branding prominently displayed on it. They built the most minimal viable product (MVP) that was possible. And it was this landing page that enabled them to rapidly validate their idea and adjust their business accordingly.
The first product offered on that page was a two-for-one pizza deal in a restaurant in their lobby, which 20 people signed up for. There were no forms, no options to select different sizes, or add-ons, or colors; and there wasn’t anything interactive about the web page. The total time they invested to get their first sale was probably only a few hours. That’s minuscule compared to what it would take to build an entire, fully functional site from scratch.
What followed this little bit of ingenuity and elbow grease was a record-breaking rate of growth which rapidly turned Groupon into the multi-billion dollar company it is today.
What can we learn from this? That a well crafted, yet simple landing page can be a tremendously powerful strategy for validating your business concept gaining early traction in the marketplace.
If you know of a similar story about how a seemingly simple landing page helped to launch a new company to success, please share it with us in the comments below!