Good examples of sales page for validating an idea before realization?


I often read the suggestion to validate a business idea doing a marketing campaign (Adwords, Facebook...) and leading to a "sales" page for a product that doesn't exist yet and check if there actually are people willing to pay for it. Example article with this suggestion: I like this suggestion, but I don't like to let down those who click on an ad which is actually fake. I'd like to see some real-world examples of pages of this kind that worked though, to understand how you can do it without offending the potential customer.

Any suggestions?

Marketing Validation Landing Page

asked Sep 24 '11 at 22:36
381 points
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3 Answers


In theory this is a good idea. The problem that I've found is that unless you already have a big following it's hard to really test out your idea this way. To get realistic and meaningful results you need a decent amount of traffic, and that can be hard to do for cheap if you are just starting out.

Several months back Hipster managed to create a lot of buzz with their landing page after being featured on TechCrunch. They got over 10K signups without even disclosing what their service/startup was about. However, that is rare.

As far as doing it without offending the potential customer, the key is to be honest. Don't create a fake ad, create a real ad. Make it obvious that the product doesn't exist yet and that you're just gauging interest. Keep the page simple and clean and have a place for people to sign up if they are interested. For an example, take a look at Splashtop's coming soon page. Also the TechCrunch article I linked to above has a screenshot of Hipster's landing page at the time it went viral.

answered Sep 25 '11 at 09:37
Zuly Gonzalez
9,194 points
  • Thank you for the links. From what I've read though there is a more aggressive way to do it, and I'm wondering if that can be non-offensive - that's why I'd like to see examples. As for already having a following, you can do without it by investing a little money in an ad campaign on adwords or facebook ;) – Danmaz74 12 years ago


There are a couple of sales landing pages for real products that I could suggest looking at but none that specifically ask "Would you buy this if we made it?" They can give you an idea as to how to at least format a page to achieve the results you want.

  • Copyblogger has 3 software offerings that are explained on the landing page. One, Premise, is even focused on landing page optimization
  • The Art of Non-Conformity's Unconventional Guides has a series of products that show a great way to layout a sales page. When you finish a guide, Chris sends you to a survey to ask what you might want to see next.
  • Lateral Action's Money for Creatives has a similar feel to the Unconventional Guides but with more depth and detail.

What you are really doing is something called A/B testing (which you can read up on here ) to figure out which features, functions and price points will get customer to convert.

Usually, A/B testing is done with a real product and real pages. It will be really hard to gage what a customer will want without actually having something to put in front of them.

Most won't really give you a "Yeah, I would buy that if you made it." Rather, it's more like "I bought it but would like to see these features."

I would suggest scoping your idea via a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) and go build it and then do your testing. I know this is more time, effort and money but the results will be a lot more meaningful.

answered Sep 25 '11 at 03:15
Jarie Bolander
11,421 points


I can't point you to any specific examples, but a suggestion might be to take people to a page about the product where they can see if the product is available in "their area." They could enter a zip code, after which they are taken to a page that says, "Sorry, but the product is not yet available in your area. Please enter your email if you'd like to be notified when it is." Or something along those lines. If it's not a physical product, you can use other derivations like signing up for a private beta. It will give you some indication of the level of interest without disclosing that it's just an idea.

answered Sep 24 '11 at 22:56
Jon Di Pietro
1,697 points
  • Thank you for the suggestions. What I'm really interested in is web services though, so the geographical limitation can't be used; and I already tried to private beta thing, but what I'd like to understand if there are actually people willing to spend money on it ;) – Danmaz74 12 years ago

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