I put up a test landing page for a SAAS product/service that I think has potential. My goal is to test the market to see if there is enough interest to justify building out the product/service.
The page currently consists of a detailed description of the service, and an email signup to "Join our Private Beta".
I don't state what the monthly price point will ultimately be, however I do state that "by taking part in the private beta, you will have the opportunity to lock in a discounted rated for life" — Essentially implying that this will in fact be a paid (not free) service.
I've had a modest number of signups so far... So this gives me some validation of the product/service being offered.
My question is: Should I also validate the price point before building it out? Is there a good rule of thumb for testing/validating a market prior to building a SAAS product/service?
Unless you have very low margins and need to validate the pricing before getting started, I wouldn't put it on your landing page.
I think it would complicate the issue, at this stage you want to find out if there is interest in the idea. If people don't sign up, you know why. If you have pricing there too, now you don't know if the idea is poor, or the pricing is the problem.
Horses for courses. You can validate pricing, or you can validate a feature set. If you want to do both, you'd be better off doing full-on split testing (A=product first: A1 vs A2; B=pricing first: B1 vs B2; optimize A(1,2) and B(1,2) then play A(opt) vs B(opt). If you're being fancy and either find it easy to get traffic or have budgeted for acquiring enough, you may test A(1..n) and B(1..n)).
It's important to bear in mind that until you have an MVP, "validation" doesn't actually mean a goal/result test, just an indicator. Pricing-led validation is a slightly stronger indicator, assuming you use a 'buy now' or 'sign up' option that looks and feels like it's going to commit the user to a purchase.
It is actually a bad idea to impose pricing on a landing page. The main reason for setting up a landing page is for potential clients/users to have a sneak peek at the product or service and know more about its features. A landing page is usually setup when the product is in its beta or testing phase and not ready for launch yet.
A proper landing page must have details about the product or service with information like what makes it unique and different from the rest, maybe a display or preview of features.
As you move on from the initial phase you could always put up your pricing.
I think there could be some room for A/B testing in your case. Set up a few scenarios with what you think you could charge, then +/- those values and check the trends on sign ups. Be clear though that they are suggested prices or something along those lines.
If it scares people completely, I would rethink the A/B testing, not the product itself. You could probably get away with a 30 day free trial of a split testing service for your needs.