Is your Landing Page not Converting? Here’s why.

Two weeks ago I offered free Landing Page MVP feedback to our Customer Development Labs community. What I saw was 40+ beautifully designed pages but…

Virtually every founder was making the same 2 mistakes.

Those mistakes were leading to lower conversion rates.

Mistake #1: Product vs Problem

Of course, you’re selling a product, but here’s the thing about products…

Customers don't buy products. Customers buy solutions to problems. Click To Tweet

We know your customers will buy your product because it will create a change for them – solve a problem for them, change their emotional state, etc.

The mistake founders make is that you “know” the above to be true, but your landing page doesn’t reflect it.

When your landing page MVP talks about your product more than the problem…that’s a problem.

Take a look at the video above for a pile of examples from real landing pages.

The Fix

To solve any Product vs Problem mistakes, all you need to do is:

Lead with the problem.

When the headline of your landing page speaks directly to your customers’ problems, they’ll immediately buy-in:

Save thousands on your student debt
The above is a fantastic example of leading with the problem.

Once customers know you’re going to solve their problem, you’ll have all the time in the world to tell them about your product.

Next Steps

To figure out what problems your customers are trying to solve, and more importantly, the words they use to describe those problems, you need to talk with them via 1-on-1 interviews.

In fact, the words customers use to describe their problems will be the basis of your headlines:

Your customers will write your landing page copy for you.

For details on customer interviews see my articles on:


If you want some help figuring out where/how to find customers to interview, check out the FOCUS Framework Exercise 1.4: Where are Your Early Adopters?

Your Early AdoptersThat exercise will show you exactly where to find customers who are willing to be interviewed, and how to approach them.

If you already know the words your customers use to describe their problems but want help converting them into effective landing page copy, check out FOCUS Exercise 2.4: Offer Design.

The Offer Design exercise will help you transform your interviews into emotionally-driven landing page copy, that converts.

Mistake #2: Flying Car Syndrome

The 2nd most common mistake I see is landing pages that promise to solve several different types of customer’s problems, and in doing so, solve none of them.

I call this the “Flying Car Syndrome.”

Flying cars suckFlying cars are an amazing idea, and have existed for decades – so why don’t we use them?

Because flying cars suck.

By trying to be too many things, for too many people, the flying car is simultaneously a crappy car, and a crappy plane.

What you don’t realize is that by building a landing page that appeals to more than one type of customer, you’ve created a digital version of a flying car.

Your landing page isn't converting because you're selling to pilots and drivers at the same time. Click To Tweet

Watch the video above for what this looks like on real-world landing pages, so you can avoid it.

Put another way, if you know you need to lead with the problem not the product (see Mistake #1), what problem does a flying car solve?

  • Helping drivers avoid rush hour traffic? Nope. Not unless they’ve got a landing strip near where they’re going to and from.
  • Helping drivers save money? No. They’ll burn way more fuel keeping that hunk of junk in the sky.
  • Helping pilots be able to fly more than they normally do? Yes, until they die…then no. Flying small planes is already dangerous – strapping wings to a Geo Metro is only going to make it worse.

Once you start focusing on the problem you solve for customers, you quickly realize…

Each type of customer has a different type of problem.

If you want to speak to any of your customers, you must speak to only one of your customers. One landing page, solving one problem, for one type of customer.

As soon as you start combining problems from multiple segments at once, you end up describing no one’s problems well – and turn your landing page into an “interesting idea” that no one wants <cough>flying car</cough>.

The Fix

The remedy for this mistake is simple:

Sell cars. Then sell planes.

Niche to win.Start by solving a single segment’s problems. Solve that small segment’s problems in an incredible way. That small segment will help spread the word and tell your next segment, which will help spread the word with your next segment.

Eventually you’ll serve both drivers and pilots (a la Rolls-Royce) but you’ll do it with great cars and great airline engines…not with a sub-par combination of the two.

I know it feels scary to only target one customer segment. I know it feels like there’s no way that one segment is big enough for you to be able to start a successful company. I also know…

The only way to get big, is to start small. Click To Tweet

Facebook didn’t start as the preferred social media tool for 1 billion people around the world. It didn’t start as the preferred social media tool for the US. It didn’t start as the preferred tool in colleges. It didn’t even start as the preferred social media tool for Ivy League colleges.

Facebook started at one college…Harvard.

From there it gained traction at Ivy League schools, then colleges around the US, then the general US population, and now the world.

Facebook didn’t start trying to serve everyone. It started by serving just one.

Watch the video above for an example of how Apple followed the same path.

Bring customers back to your store without the messy punchards
This is a great example of focusing on just one customer – retailers who hate “messy” punch cards – not all retailers. Also the headline doesn’t mention loyalty programs, apps, revolutionizing shopping, etc.

Note: for details on picking which side of a two-sided market to start with, click here.

Next Steps

To alleviate “Flying Car Syndrome”, you need to:

  1. Prioritize your customer segments
  2. Pick the single best segment to start testing with
  3. Create a landing page MVP just for that segment

scaleIf you want help with the prioritization process, you can either use the SPA Treatment, or you can use the updated version: SCALE-ing your Segments – Exercise #1.5 in FOCUS.

SCALE will help you prioritize your segments based on the factors I’ve found most important for identifying true Early Adopters within your market.


Creating the highest converting landing-pages possible is straight forward:

  1. Always lead with your customer’s problem
  2. Focus on just one type of customer at a time

Do that, and you’ll avoid the most common Landing Page MVP mistakes and you’ll maximize your currency.

Want More MVP Articles?

This is the 4th article in my MVP series. You can check out the others below:

  1. What is an MVP?
  2. The 5 MVPs of Product-Market Fit
  3. My 9 Favorite Tools for Building Landing Page MVPs
  4. (This one) Is your Landing Page not Converting? Here’s why.

Be sure to subscribe to get my next article: “What are Early Adopters, and Where are Yours?”

Riskiest Assumption Assessment

The 5 MVPs of Product-Market Fit

In last week’s post, I described the one thing your MVP should do – check it out for good and bad examples of MVPs.

To recap…

An MVP tests your riskiest assumption, with the least effort. Click To Tweet

Based on the above, a couple things about MVPs become clear:

  1. To know what MVP to build, you must know your riskiest assumption.
  2. As your riskiest assumption changes, your MVP will change.

In other words, creating your MVP(s) is a journey – one that starts by validating your riskiest assumption.

Once you validate that riskiest assumption, a new assumption will become the “riskiest.” That means you’ll create a new MVP, or modify your current one, to validate it. You’ll continue this process until you acheive Product-Market Fit.

Of course to start the journey, you have to know what your current riskiest assumption is…

What’s your Riskiest Assumption?

Determining your Riskiest Assumption can feel like black magic. With so many assumptions to choose from…

  • You can build a product that makes customers happy.
  • You can find customers who will buy it.
  • The customers will pay enough for it.
  • Etc.

How do figure out which one is “riskiest?” How do you even evaluate the “risk” of an assumption?

After helping thousands of startups at accelerators and 1-on-1 validate their business models, I’ve seen a clear pattern of “riskiness” has emerged. A pattern so clear that I’ve been able to create a simple tool that quickly tells founders:

  1. What your Riskiest Assumption is.
  2. What MVP should you build to test it.
  3. Where you are on your path to Product-Market Fit.

Just answer the questions in the Riskiest Assumption Assessment and then take a look at the 5 Phases of Product Market Fit below to understand exactly what your next step should be.

If you want a hand taking that step, the Assessment will also tell you the most helpful exercise for you in my upcoming workbook series, “FOCUS Framework: How to Find Product-Market Fit” (launching May 3rd).

What MVP should you be building? Let's find out... Click To Tweet

The 5 Phases of Product-Market Fit

On your path to Product-Market Fit, there are five phases of assumption validation you’ll progress through. In order of “riskiness”, those phases are…

  1. Finding Early Adopters for your product
  2. Offer Testing: You can reach your Early Adopters
  3. Currency Testing: Your Early Adopters will pay you
  4. Utility Testing: You can satisfy your Early Adopters
  5. Scaling to Fit: You can achieve Product-Market Fit

Based on the results of your Riskiest Assumption Assessment above, identify which phase you’re in now to learn more about the MVP you should build, and see what’s ahead of you on your path to Product-Market Fit.

1. Finding Early Adopters for your Product

The riskiest assumption, for every startup, is that there are people actively trying to solve the problem your product will solve for them – these are the people we refer to as your Early Adopters.

In particular, your goal during this phase of testing is to validate:

  1. There are people already trying to solve the problem (Early Adopters)
  2. You know how they describe the problem
  3. You know the emotions they experience associated with the problem
  4. You know where/how to reach them
  5. The deficiencies of their current solution

Experiment to Run: The best technique for validating these assumptions is the customer discovery interview.

Interviews will answer any questions you have regarding the assumptions above, and set you up for success in validating the rest of your assumptions.

Metric to Measure: What percentage of customers you interview report taking steps to solve the same problem w/n the last 6 months? Once 60% of your last 10 interviewees report actively trying to solve the same problem, in my book, you’ll have found your Early Adopters.

2. Offer Testing: You can Reach your Early Adopters

During your interviews, customers will tell you where and how to reach other Early Adopters. Your goal in this phase is to validate what they told you.

In other words, you’re testing that you can find more Early Adopters, you know what to say to them when you find them, and that they’re eager enough for a solution to the problem that they ask you for more information.

MVP to Build: To validate this assumption, you’re going to test a combination of marketing channels and marketing messages based on the results of your interviews.

Potential MVPs:

  • Ad campaigns
  • Cold email outreach
  • Cold calling campaigns
  • Becoming member of forums/communities
  • Social media outreach
  • Attending conferences, meetups, etc.

Metric to Measure: Once your Early Adopters’ response rate to your “Solution Offer” (i.e. click on your ads, respond to your emails, etc.) is high enough that you can clearly see a path to Product-Market Fit, you’re ready to test the next assumption.

3. Currency Testing: Your Early Adopters will Pay you

Once you’ve validated you can reach your Early Adopters, you need to test if they’ll “pay” you sufficiently to solve the problem.

In this case “payment” can be in the form of actual cash, or it can be something else that leads directly to your Product-Market Fit (e.g. usage of your product, personal data, etc.) depending on your business model.

MVP to Build: To validate this assumption you’re going to actually ask for “payment.” While you won’t usually take the payment (because your product hasn’t been built yet), you’re going to ask for it and measure how many Early Adopters try to pay you.

Examples include:

  • Landing page with pre-order functionality
  • Requesting a Letter of Intent after a solution interview
  • A mobile app w/ just enough functionality to measure the number of downloads and opens

Metric to Measure: Once your Early Adopters “payment” conversion rate is high enough that you can clearly see a path to Product-Market Fit, you’re ready to test whether you can start solving the problem!

4. Utility Testing: You can Satisfy your Early Adopters

Now it’s time to test whether you can actually solve your Early Adopters’ problems. While it can be tempting to automate your first couple attempts at a solution, there’s usually a more efficient way to to test this assumption.

MVP to Build: manual solutions are the best way to test whether you can solve an Early Adopter’s problem.

While they make take more of your time to solve a customer’s problem, manual solutions are much faster to build, and even faster to iterate on, than automated (i.e. software) solutions.

Examples include:

Metric to Measure: Once you’re solving the problem sufficiently well that your Customer Lifetime Value and your Viral Co-Efficient are high enough that you’re tracking towards Product-Market Fit, you’re ready to start scaling your solution!

5. Scaling to Fit: You can achieve Product-Market Fit

Once you’ve validated that Early Adopters exist, you can reach them, they’ll pay you, and you can solve their problems sufficiently, the only assumption left is that you can scale until you achieve Product-Market Fit.

MVP to Build: now is the time you get to automate your solution, scale to multiple marketing channels, and branch out to your second and third customer segments.

Examples include:

  • Beta version of your software
  • Software-based pilot for a large customer
  • Running outreach campaigns in multiple channels simultaneously
  • Multiple, simultaneous, landing page test targeting different customers

Metric to Measure: At this point you’re measuring that all your previous metrics (e.g. response rate, conversion rate, Lifetime Value and Viral Co-Efficient) are all still tracking towards you achieving Product-Market Fit.

Want Help?

I know that’s a lot to digest, but you now have an overview of the entire path to Product-Market Fit.

If you’d like more detail on any of the phases above, including:

  • How to define your Product-Market Fit metric (i.e. how do you know if you’re on track to achieving Product-Market Fit?)
  • How to conduct your customer interviews
  • How to do marketing channel and messaging testing
  • How to do payment testing (without losing/upsetting your customers)
  • How to manually test your solution
  • How to scale your solution

I’ve spent the last 18 months developing and testing that upcoming workbook series I mentioned – the FOCUS Framework. It includes 40+ experiments, exercises and tools, all inspired by my experiences teaching Lean Startup and Customer development at accelerators, and to founders 1-on-1, around the world.

FOCUS officially launches May 3rd, and if you’re interested, you can get a $20 off launch-day coupon here:


Based on the “Your MVP Should do 1 Thing” post, you know that:

An MVP tests your riskiest assumption, with the least effort. Click To Tweet

In this post you learned:

  1. Your Riskiest Assumption
  2. What MVP you should use to test it
  3. Where you are on your path toward Product-Market Fit
  4. What phases of Product-Market Fit validation are ahead of you

What’s Next?

In the following weeks I’ll be continuing this MVP series:

  1. What is an MVP?
  2. (This one) What Kind of MVP Should you Build?
  3. My 9 Favorite Tools for Building Landing Page MVPs
  4. Is your Landing Page not Converting? Here’s why.

Subscribe to get all of these posts in your inbox.

Like last week, if you leave a comment below with a link to your landing page MVP and if it provides a good lesson for others to learn from, I’ll post a (public) video review of what you’re doing well, and what you might consider changing.

Thanks to those who submitted their last week. I’ll be compiling everything for the final post in this MVP series!

I’d also love feedback on the new Riskiest Assessment Tool. Let me know what you like, and what you don’t, in the comments below.

Bounce screenshot

What is an MVP?

Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) are tricky:

  • How “minimal” should yours be?
  • What does “viable” mean?
  • How do you keep it simple, without ruining your reputation?

MVPs only need to only do one thing. To understand that one thing, you want to understand the definition of MVP.

MVP is the new Beta?

Remember when “betas” were a thing – as in, “we’re working on our beta version”, “we just launched our private beta”, etc.?

In the last few years, that term has been replaced with “MVP” – “we’re working on our MVP”, “we just launched our MVP”, etc.

This is where the confusion around MVPs stems from…

MVP is *not* the new beta Click To Tweet

The original definition of MVP from Frank Robinson is:

A version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.

In other words, your MVP is the version of your product with the highest ROI when you optimize for “validated learning.”

So how do you optimize for validated learning?

Test your “Riskiest Assumption”

For your business model to be successful, there are a number of assumptions that need to be true:

  • Customers know they have a problem
  • They want your help solving it
  • They will pay you to solve it
  • You can solve it
  • etc.

All of your assumptions can be prioritized in terms of “riskiness” where the assumptions that are most critical to the success of your startup, and/or are least likely to be true, are considered more “risky” than the other assumptions.

For example, “you can solve your customers’ problems” is critical to your startup’s success, but it’s very likely to be true (humans are natural problem solvers and since you’re a human, I’m confident you can solve your customers’ problems). On the other hand, “customers will pay you to solve the problem” is not only critical to your success, it’s also (unfortunately) less likely to be true – so you would consider that assumption more “risky” than the former.

Once you order your assumptions by their “riskiness”, to build an MVP, you build the simplest version of your product, that tests your riskiest assumption.

In other words, an MVP is:

A version of a product that allows a team to collect a maximum amount of validated learning of customers test their riskiest assumption with the least effort.

Notice how this definition changes the focus of an MVP from building a product, to running an experiment. That’s critical to understanding what an MVP is – remember that.

MVP or Not an MVP?

Use the examples to test whether you understand what an MVP is…

Example 1: Explainer video

Dropbox famously gauged demand for their product via a demo video that, thanks to some video editing, demonstrated functionality they hadn’t built yet.

What do you think? MVP or not an MVP?

Let’s look at the definition again:

A version of a product that allows a team to test their riskiest assumption with the least effort.

Does a demo video of functionality that doesn’t exist represent a:

  1. Version of a product that
  2. Tests the team’s riskiest assumption with the
  3. Least effort?

If Dropbox’s riskiest assumption was “people want a new service to sync/share files” and if it took less effort to edit video than it did to write code for the functionality that didn’t exist, then yes, this is an MVP!

As long as the riskiest assumption is being tested with the least effort, it’s an MVP.

If instead they’d built a simple version of their product (i.e. a pilot, a beta, etc.) and measured how many people used it everyday, the wouldn’t have been testing their riskiest assumption, and they wouldn’t have done it with the least amount of effort.

Example 2 – PowerPoint Demo

PowerPoint Slides

Let’s say you are going into a pitch meeting with a customer using a slide deck with mockups of your software. You’re not going to demo any functionality at all, you’re just going to talk about the problems you’ll solve while showing them some pictures, what do you think, MVP or not an MVP?

Recall the definition of MVP:

A version of a product that allows a team to test their riskiest assumption with the least effort.

As long as you’re testing the riskiest assumption during that meeting (e.g. “customers will pay us to solve this problem”) with the least effort (a slide deck is less effort than even making a video), it’s an MVP.

Keep in mind that a slide deck is just like a video – minus fancy transitions. If a video meets your team’s criteria for an MVP, a slide deck might too – especially in B2B scenarios.

If on the other hand you went into that meeting hoping the customer would create an account on your platform and try it during the meeting – you’d be testing the wrong assumption, and you’d have done so with far more effort than a simple slide deck. A working prototype wouldn’t be an MVP.

Example 3 – Landing Page

Landing Page

If you imagine a landing page is just like a PowerPoint deck that you scroll through instead of click through, then you can already tell, a landing page can be an MVP as well.

Again, you want to use the least amount of effort to test your riskiest assumption – as long as you’re doing that, you’re building an MVP.

Anything more than that, and you’re getting closer to a “beta” product, than an experiment.

Example 4 – Facebook Advertisement

Facebook Ad

If you capture the essence of a landing page in a FB ad, with a title, image, description etc., then…what do you think: MVP or not an MVP?

What was that definition again?

A version of a product that allows a team to test their riskiest assumption with the least effort.

So really, as long as you’re testing the riskiest assumption with the least amount of effort…you get the picture.

If we go back to the Dropbox example we can even see that depending on their riskiest assumption, they too could have used a Facebook ad to test this out.

If their riskiest assumption was, say, “people have problems syncing/sharing files” the Dropbox team may have been able to test that with a Facebook ad!

Example 5 – Simple App

Bounce screenshotA friend and I gave ourselves 24 hours to build a proof-of-concept app that would help people get to their appointments on time. It had basic GPS, traffic and calendar integration, rudimentary UI, and we only built it for Android.

It got written-up Forbes and as a result, we were able to collect the email addresses of 3,000 people who wanted the iPhone version.

What do you think? MVP or not an MVP?

To know the answer, we have to look where we always look…our riskiest assumption.

If our riskiest assumption was genuinely, “We can build the app”, then it would have been an MVP. The truth is though, our riskiest assumption was, “People will pay for this app” and there was no way for us to test that with this app.

So, no, despite the app being simple, newsworthy, and popular…it wasn’t an MVP.

If it doesn't test the riskiest assumption call it a beta/pilot/POC - just don't call it an MVP Click To Tweet

What’s your Riskiest Assumption?

Now that you know what your MVP needs to do, you just need to figure out your riskiest assumption so you can build one.

Good news! My post next week will tell you your riskiest assumption and the best MVP is to test it! Subscribe to get it in your inbox.

To Recap

  • MVP is not the new beta
  • Definition of MVP = (Say it with me…) The simplest version of a product that tests your riskiest assumption.
  • Before you build an MVP, you have to know your riskiest assumption.

Want More MVP Help?

This is the first of a four part-series on MVPs:

  1. (This one) What is an MVP?
  2. What Kind of MVP Should you Build?
  3. My 8 Favorite Tools for Building MVPs
  4. I’ll Fix your MVP: Send me your MVP and I’ll tell you what, if anything, to tweak to make it perfect.

Stay tuned for those.

Bonus: Want me to Review your MVP?

Leave a comment below with a link to your landing page MVP and if it provides a good lesson for others to learn from, I’ll post a video review of what you’re doing well, and what you might consider changing.

The videos will be public so you and the rest of the Customer Development Labs community will learn from them which this is an ideal opportunity for startups who are:

  1. Confident in their landing page MVPs and want other startups to see it or
  2. Not confident in their landing page MVPs and want help fixing it.
Content Analytics Shot

9 Landing Page MVP Tools You Should be Using

When it’s time to build your landing page MVP, make sure you’re familiar with each these tools. They’ll help you make the most of your experiment – without costing you much money.

Tool #1: Definition of MVP

Before you go crazy building a landing page MVP, let’s make sure you have an empowering definition of MVP.

If you’ve got the wrong idea about MVPs, not only will the rest of this article not make much sense, you won’t be able to leverage the true power that is the Minimum Viable Product.

Ready for MVP Tools #2 – 9? Take this 1 question quiz to find out!

What is an MVP?

  1. The simplest, valuable, version of your product.
  2. A functional prototype requiring the least development time possible.
  3. A version of your product that tests your riskiest assumption with the least effort.
  4. All of the above.

If you answered #1…congratulations, you get to read this blog post to get a more useful definition of MVP!

If you answered #4…good news! You also get to read a more practical definition of MVP – it will serve you well.

If you answered #3, you get the best news of all…you get to be correct!

Your MVP is any version of a product that tests your riskiest assumption with the least amount of effort.

For full details on why that is, read this article: What is an MVP?

As I discuss in the article above, there are several types of MVPs. This list of tools is covering one type of MVP: Landing Page MVPs.

You’ll use Landing Page MVPs for Currency Testing, which test the assumption…

Your customers want you to solve their problem so badly, they’ll “pay” to solve it.

In other words, Landing Page MVPs help you determine if you’ll be able to get what you need to achieve Product-Market Fit (e.g. revenue, usage, eye balls, data, etc.) in exchange for solving your customers’ problems.

Now that we’re all on the same (landing) page (you’re welcome ;), let’s talk tools…

Tool #2: Instapage


Instapage: A really great Landing Page creation tool which requires you know nothing about coding – plus it comes with A/B testing out of the box!


  • You can do just about anything with this platform (changing colors, text, headings, adding sections, images, video). Very flexible and sleek.
  • Mobile version is explicitly available for you to edit. You have full control over the look of your landing page on both desktop and mobile.
  • A/B testing is a first class citizen. It’s a lot like Unbounce – but prettier and mobile friendly.


  • No free plans. There is a 30 day trial though, and because they’re nice guys/girls, any of the links in this article will get you 20% off your first two months.
  • No sticky navigation bars at the top (but with basic knowledge of java script or html, you can get this)

Want to see Instapage in action and watch me create an A/B test in less than 2 minutes? Skip to the 5:40 mark in the video above.

Tool #3: Strikingly


Srikingly: Another landing page creation tool with some key difference from Instapage.


  • Really nice, polished templates and beautiful images
  • Sexier, sleeker feel to this website
  • Sticky navigation bars
  • Free account option (and other plans if you want more customizability)


  • No clicking-and-dragging (don’t have full control for changing the layout)
  • No A/B Testing built-in (but you can add it with…)

Check out the 8:40 mark of the video above to see a beautiful Strikingly landing page created before your very eyes.

Tool #4: Google Analytics Content Experiments


Content Experiments: Get yourself some free A/B testing.

You can keep your data in one spot (instead of spread across different platforms) and get all the benefits of Google Analytics functionality and tons of power.

Now, full-disclosure, I haven’t got to play with Optimizely yet, which I’ve heard good things about, but really, Google Analytics Experiments is such a great, free, tool, I haven’t needed to find another one.


  • Did I mention it was free?
  • No coding required
  • Integrates with the rest of your Google Analytics data (i.e. measure the success of your test using your Google Analytics goals/conversions)


  • Requires two separate versions of your landing page (other tools let you swap in individual components of a single page)
  • The URL gets messy (e.g. includes a bunch of parameters which can clue savvy users into the fact you’re running an experiment)

While I’ll definitely be playing around with other A/B testing tools in the future, I’ve used Google Analytics Contents Experiments in the past, will happily use them again, and can highly recommend them.

Check them out at the 10:20 mark in the video above.

Tool #5: Celery


Celery is, hands down, one of my favorites – the tool, not the vegetable. (The vegetable is gross)

Celery allows you to accept credit card-based pre-orders now, without actually charging someone’s credit card. Say what?!

With Celery you’ll validate that, not only will someone visit your landing page and click on your buy button, you’ll validate they’ll pull out their credit card and pay you for the product…before you’ve built it!

Best of all…

Celery lets you take payment information now, but charge later Click To Tweet

Celery lets you ethically test to see if you should create a product, based on customer behavior without accepting any prepayment money until you’ve proven that you’ve meet your success metrics.

The trick with Celery is to make sure you’re never misleading your customers. Your order process should mention that they are pre-ordering for a product, and after they’ve purchased you should tell them you haven’t charged them, but you will as soon as the product is launched.

If you end up achieving your MVP’s success criteria, great! You’ll build the product and charge the credit cards you’ve collected during your pre-order process.

If you don’t meet your MVP’s success criteria the product, email the few people who did pre-order your product that there wasn’t enough demand for the product and they won’t be charged.

Hint: Spending a little extra time working with this customer segment to solve their problem after giving them the disappointing news that you won’t be building the product they want will go a long way to ensure you don’t tarnish your reputation with them.

Like I say, I love Celery and used it for more than a year was testing the FOCUS Framework.

To see how you can take pre-orders from your new landing page in less than 60 seconds, check out the 12:15 mark of the video above.

Tool #6: PowToon


Powtoon is PowerPoint for explainer videos.

If you’re looking to create an animated video detailing your customer’s problems and how you’re going to solve – and don’t want to pay for a motion graphics artist – definitely check out PowToon.

PowToon has a free version that will let you create some very testable videos – perfect for optimizing your message.

It’s super easy to set up, customize and get a professional video for your product ready within minutes. To see me demo PowToon, click check out the 15:40 mark in the video above.

Tool #7: SumoMe Content Analytics


SumoMe has a fantastic set of tool for optimzing all kinds of things, but mainly I find that it’s great for it’s Content Analytics plugin which measures how far down your landing page customers read. This is super helpful for MVP -especially landing page- validation.

Content Analytics Shot

For a visual example using my own website, click check out the 18:50 mark in the video above.

This tool is great at helping you determine why your MVP isn’t converting at the rate that you need it to. Plus, when you use it with different versions of your website, you’ll be able to easily compare exactly where you’re losing users and where they’re sticking with you.

Tool #8: Product-Market Fit Assessment

These tools are tons of fun to play with, and can build some incredible landing pages – but how do you know if you should building a Landing Page MVP?

  • Should you be building a false door instead?
  • Maybe you should be building a Wizard of Oz MVP
  • Or maybe you’re ready to build a prototype..

How do you know which MVP you should be building? I built the Product-Market Fit Assessment to answer all these questions and tell you what validation phase you’re in:

For more information on any of these steps, check out the 5 Phases of Product-Market Fit or check out the 19:45 mark in the video above.

Tool #9: FOCUS Framework

All-BookshopsAt this point you know all the tools needed to create a fantastic landing page MVP. If you feel comfortable running an experiment with them, by all means, go forth and test!

Of course…

There’s a difference between knowing which tools to use – and how to use them.

Wood TurningI know I would use a lathe to make a set of table legs; that doesn’t mean I’d feel confident using it.

At the same token, if you want some help figuring out:

  • How to get people to visit your landing page MVP
  • What marketing copy you should test on it
  • What metrics your MVP should measure
  • How to determine the success of your landing page MVP (and what to do once you achieve it)

Ultimately, you already know that you should be building an MVP – the FOCUS Framework offers step-by-step instructions on how to do it.

In particular, the Currency Testing workbook will show you how to use Landing Page MVPs to:

  • Pre-sell anything (including B2B products)
  • Test your price without losing customers
  • Increase your conversion rate by charging more, not less

You can find more about the FOCUS Framework here or check out the 25:15 mark of the video above.

Time to Start Testing!

Armed with these tools, you’re ready to start measuring if you’ve got something your customers are willing to pay for.

Note: Except for FOCUS, which I authored, I have no relationships with these companies other than being a user/fan of their products (i.e. no kickbacks/referral/affiliate bonuses). These products made this list because I like them :)

What’s Next?

This is the third post in my MVP series:

  1. What is an MVP?
  2. What MVP Should You be Building?
  3. (This one) 9 Landing Page MVP Tools You Should Be Using
  4. Want MVP Help? Comment with a link to your landing page MVP and I’ll tell you what, if anything, to tweak to make it perfect.

Subscribe to get all of these posts in your inbox.

Get MVP Help

If you leave a comment below with a link to your landing page MVP, and if it provides a good lesson for others to learn from, I’ll post a (public) video review of what you’re doing well, and what you might consider changing.

  • Great opportunity for startups who want to share their MVP with other founders
  • Or for startups who are hungry for feedback

My next post will be a recap of what I see in the landing pages – and how to improve them!

The Sales Pitch is Dead. Long Live Solution Interviews!

You know the #1 Rule of Validating the Problem is…to not talk about your solution.

If that’s the case, how and when, do you pitch your solution? Watch this video for a quick walk-through on how to sell, without pitching (i.e. how to nail a solution interview).

When do you Pitch your Product?

The answer, for me, is easy:

The perfect time to pitch your solution is…never. Tweet this

Solving a customer’s problems, especially in the early stages, is a collaborative effort.

You need feedback on your solution. You need to know when it’s going to fail. You need to know who will use it, and who won’t. You need to know how much they’re willing to “pay” for it. That information won’t be found “pitching” a solution.

Pitching is inherently a one-sided affair – it’s a monologue, not a dialogue. We want a solution dialog.

Instead of pitching, try solution interviewing.

The Sales Pitch is Dead

In the B2B scenario, I replace traditional pitching with Solution Interviews.

Problem interviews validate problems. Solution interviews validate… Tweet this

Solution interviews provide insight on:

  • Will the solution work?
  • Where are the solution’s weaknesses?
  • Is your marketing copy right?
  • Is the price right?
  • Is she ready to buy?

The solution interview is where you move from “do my customers have a problem they’re trying to solve” to “can I build a business solving this problem?”

Pitching is dead. Long live the Solution Interview! Tweet this

The 3 P‘s of Solution Interviews

Note: watch the video for a full description of these phases.

  1. Problem Reflection – This is a chance to recap the points from your Problem Interview and allow the customer to refocus on the problems that they need fixed. The problems reflected should of course be carefully selected from all the problems you discussed in the Problem Interview. They should be the problems that you know you have a solution for!
  2. Proposing a solution  – Your aim here is a discussion, a consultative approach as opposed to a one way, one-woman show! You are starting a conversation based on the common ground established in the Problem Interview and honestly asking for feedback on the potential solution/s you have come up with.
  3. Progress – Once you have the problems recapped and you’ve discussed the potential solution, it’s time to agree on the next steps. This will be your common “To Do” list featuring all the key moves to get you and your customer to A Problem Solved!

You will want to run the Solution Interview at a different time, post the Problem Interview. This will allow you the time to reflect on issues raised and identify the problems you can solve. The time to come up with the optimum solutions for the customer and put together a viable action plan. This type of approach will ensure you NEVER have to pitch again and as a result, eliminate the uncertainty of will they/won’t they get back to me.

Monologue : Dialogue :: Sales Pitches : Solution Interviews Tweet this

With a dialogue, you can identify any “glitches in the Matrix” there and then. It allows for more flexibility and also a more personal approach. You have already had contact and obtained agreement for future contact with the Problem Interview so the Solution Interview is all about trust and an honest delivery of an end to the customer’s problems! Prepare to be the one who Saves the Day!

Customer Development Made Easy…


The Solution Interview is about building trust, to solve a problem. Tweet this

Watch this video for a walk-through on selling without pitching and how to nail your solution interview. Solution Interviews are the ideal way to open up communication, offer potential solutions and gain the trust, and business, of your customers. Because you have taken the time to establish their problems, expressed in their own words, they now know you’re not just proposing something “off the shelf”, something for everyone.

Forget all about the art of Pitching, you want the art of Dialogue. Tweet this