The Landing Page [Good] Side Effects for a Startup Idea
When you have an idea, the right thing — and often difficult to learn habit (as a tech cofounder) — is to get out of the building and find out whether you should pursue it or not, by letting honest people (hopefully not your friends, I hope they are honest) tell you about your assumptions. Along the way, you might find yourself in a position where you only wish you had more time to talk to more people, on the other hand, you might feel like there are so many ideas out of those conversations — which probably made you change your mind about some things — that you feel like it's the moment to move on with what you have learned. This might be a good time to launch a landing page.
We know a lot of good and bad things can be found out as you launch your landing page from the marketing perspective, but this is not the subject of this story. Rather, I want to share the 3 side effects that are not related to the direct goals of landing page as a validation/marketing tool, which helped our team move faster and learn quicker. I have also provided TL;DR pieces for you at the end of each side effect paragraph, so that you don't have to read what happened to us if you don't want to.
From paper prototypes/wireframes to something "publishable"
At the beginning of your journey with your idea, the reality might be that you don't have enough time to "get working on it", or that "you need to validate it further", because you may be busy with other stuff. The thing is, launching a landing page for an app may often require you to design something that could show and/or tell what you want to convey in other forms other than text, and by the way, your initial sketches on bread paper or wireframes might not be suitable because you want visitors to understand it. Hopefully you decide to find a template to build upon and not start your page from scratch, and realize you need to design a few things, which potentially are the minimum you should have so that users can tell you whether they are into it or not. This was our case — TL;DR: Launching a landing page positively forced us to move on from the conceptual phase into something more visual, namely wireframes into a lean user interface.
Everyone gets the same thing (hopefully)
It is hard to pitch your idea the same way every time, especially because you constantly change your speech as you go and find things out. This may lead to misunderstanding or people not "getting" what you mean. The landing page allows you to make sure people at least have higher chances of getting what you mean — given you've worked on enough visuals because people don't have time to read on. TL;DR: You present the very ideas you want to put out the same way to everyone; you get more filtered, reliable feedback.
Realize what is "next"
As you see things transitioning from "you and your friends on to something" to a "startup", you realize there are things you might want to do to acquire brand followers, from setting up social network profiles, to creating a logo, to looking into more operational things, namely because you need to put those things up on the landing page, but also because it might be necessary at this point. TL;DR: What you need to put together at this stage might guide you to transition from "your team" to "your thing".
I am happy to share these lessons with you, as I now prepare to embrace hours of designing/coding/testing/deploying — this stage is when you, as a programmer cofounder, are involuntary doing something towards having it "ready" even when you are out for lunch, tirelessly testing it on your phone (I remember 196sense) — before we can put ParkAmigo in front of our first pilot users, who will help us build our service (BTW, let us know if you would like to be one of these folks, you might get some ParkAmigo credit for doing so).
Co Founder — Technology