How to Build a Better Startup Pre-Launch Landing Page

I’ve talked about pre-launch marketing before and one of the things I think most startups can benefit from is a landing page that allows potentially interested prospects to sign up to receive information when your product/service launches.  I’ve seen loads of these around lately and for something so seemingly simple, it’s amazing how varied they can be.

Here are a few things you might want to think about when you are putting yours up:

1/ Give folks a bit of information to help them self-select – Chances are you aren’t looking for just anyone to be part of your initial customer group so you will need to give folks enough information to say “Hey I might be interested in that.” or “Uh, I don’t have an iPhone so I don’t need to know when your iPhone app is is beta.”  It seems like a wasted opportunity to me to have nothing but your company name up there. Having a statement about the problem doesn’t give anything away about your potential solution and will help motivate the right folks to sign up.

2/ Have some outbound links if you want (but they should be yours) – I’ve seen some odd landing pages recently where the page has been created with a tool and contains links (I saw one today that had FOUR links) back to the tool. You might want to consider using another tool and replacing those links with links to your blog, your Twitter account, your Facebook page, or your LinkedIn page.  If you’ve got someone’s attention it makes sense to direct that to your company rather than MailChimp or Google or whoever.

3/ Give folks an easy way to share your site – again, you aren’t looking for thousands of folks to sign up at this point but you are looking for a certain type of person.  Why not make it easy for that person to share your site with other folks they think might be interested? You can articulate some broad parameters around who you are looking for and then ask folks to forward on to others.  This can be done on the site or on the confirmation email after folks sign up.  Again, this isn’t going to get you thousands of sign-ups but it might get you a couple of leads on potential beta testers you wouldn’t have captured otherwise.

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66 thoughts on “How to Build a Better Startup Pre-Launch Landing Page”

  1. OMG you just hit on a personal pet peeve of mine! I hate these landing pages that just say Company XYZ is coming soon, give us your email address!! Like, why dude? Seriously, give me one good reason (because your logo just isn’t going to do it).
    Ben

    1. Like ours?
      We use unbounce to get a basic landing page as we work on our main site. Since we are pitching big clients, we needed to get something up, and actionable, during the dev process of our site. It makes us look somewhat more legitimate.

      A simple ‘coming soon’ page is better then a redirect to a Go Daddy page, plus it enables you to collect emails.

      Your ‘pet peeve’ makes sense, especially around the ‘tease me’ campaigns. They are getting tiring. Example the recent usehispter.com sign up, although successful in collecting thousands of emails in a matter of days, it still left me stumped and annoyed.

      Anyway, just my 2 cents.

      Cheers.

      1. Yes – I think your page looks great!
        The Usehipster example is an interesting one. In their case I think they caught a lucky break by getting TechCrunch to write about them on day one and the rest is history. I saw another example last night of a site with zero information but on Twitter insiders were talking quite a bit about what it was going to be about and that motivated me to sign up. If you can get seriously influential press folks to pick you up or you can work your back channel like crazy, it doesn’t matter as much what your page looks like. Still, I can’t help but think that giving folks some info on the problem you are tackling has to be good for getting the folks on the fence to take the plunge.
        April

        1. Agree. Even if it’s a little teaser info.
          The viral loop of usehispter.com still blows my mind. Though there success (And product) is still yet to be determined, it certainly got me curious.

          Great discussion!

  2. This is a much needed post for our growing entreprenuerial community in Toronto.

    I believe that simplicity is key. Especially if you are a new company and are not ready to give away your entire value prop away just yet.

    Perhaps you need a landing page just for investors to see that you exist. Perhaps you need a landing page in order to generate some excitement in the space you’re in… you’re probably already building partnerships and doing some form of customer development – why not put a face to your conversations?

    Either way, it all comes down to being articulate, succint and not bombarding a new visitor with complex statements and materials. Instead, state what your product/ service offers or solves and leave it up to the new visitor to self evaluate their interest. A good example of this is: http://www.votizen.com

    Thumbs up on the post April.

    1. Hi Amrita,
      Thanks for the comment. I agree that it has to be simple and clear. I also think it’s important to at least give folks a reason to sign up. You don’t have to tell them everything but a little would be nice. Votizen is a good example. I would like to see one sentence on what problem they solve. The tag line almost gets me there but it doesn’t go far enough in my opinion.
      Thanks
      April

  3. Hello April,

    I love your marketing information. I am an Internet Marketer and currently beginning development phase I of a penny auction entertainment shopping website.
    I am proficient with pay per click marketing but my pockets are not deep enough to send paid traffic during the prelaunch. I will be able to focus heavily on ppc after & during we are up. I am going to take your marketing advice in starting a blog, spreading the word in forums, creating articles, twitter, etc.. It is a membership site and I will be creating urgency by offering discounts to the first XX customers.

    I just installed WordPress on my server with the site’s domain pointing to it.
    Do you have any membership sites pre-launch landing pages I can look at, that you are impressed with?

    Since this is an auction site, I have to already have a minimum of 300-500 members out of the gate, so I am not giving away items for next to nothing.
    Any suggestions?

    Bryan

    1. Hi Bryan,
      There were a couple I used to use as examples and both have launched now so the pages are gone. In a nutshell I think you want to design it just the way you would design a good Google Adwords landing page – you wnat to keep it short and simple but give people a reason to sign up. Most of the coming soon pages I see do well on the short and simple but forget to give me a reason to hand over my information. If you treat your “coming soon” page the way you would treat a landing page for a ppc campaign, you’ll be fine.
      Good luck with the new site!
      April

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