Day 7 - Zero to MVP in 30 Days - On landing pages and prospecting

Nov 2017

Hey there! If you’re new to this series, I laid down some ground rules in day zero, and explain the idea for my first project on day one. I document, a little every day, what I'm working on.

Quick thoughts on landing pages

I’m currently working on moving from Github pages to a Digital Ocean droplet, to make the switch from iframing my Product Hunt Ship page on Bystander.io to self hosting version 1.0 of our landing page. I’ll also stick Ghost on a /blog subdirectory to begin posting a few pieces of long form content targeted at Bystander.io’s customers.

For landing pages, I still opt to self-host since hosting is dirt cheap and the landing-page-as-a-service options are fairly expensive for something I can get done in nearly the same time by grabbing a static template off Themeforest.

Here’s a few things I look for when selecting a theme:

  1. There is a decent variety of sections and elements to choose from, to make slicing and dicing the page to suit my needs a breeze.
  2. I don’t need 10 hands and 13 feet to come up with enough fingers and toes to count how many icons and blocks of text fly into view as I scroll down the demo page.
  3. Usually at this stage, I have general vision for how I’d like the content above the fold to look – and I try to get a template that matches this vision.
  4. The author of the theme is established on the platform or elsewhere.
  5. And finally, a look at their demo page from my phone to make sure their responsive design wasn’t just an accident caused by building with Bootstrap.

When using a template, I believe it’s important to avoid making your landing page content fit the template, but instead make the template fit to your content. Just because a theme comes with a pile of pretty elements doesn’t mean we should use them all.

I also head to whatever directory the theme stores their images in, and delete all stock photos. Or pull them out to somewhere else if I need to save their dimensions for filling in my own images later.

If you’re going to use stock photography, I think it should be a deliberate choice, match how you envision your brand, and not scream “I’m a stock photo” at you.

If you need inspiration for content on your landing page, I always like to head to Lings Cars. Then I grab a glass of whiskey afterwards to calm my nerves.

Then after your last sip of whiskey, for real inspiration, you can take a look at Ask Hacker News posts about landing pages.

Oh! Any before you push the landing page to your hosting, make sure to add all the tracking pixels you’re interested in to begin collecting data for ad retargeting right off the bat.


Prospecting

I also wanted to share a quick little strategy I’ve used today while building up my list of prospects. Cold outreach works, but it’s a grind and I like to be as personal as possible in my outreach – so I probably spend more time putting a list of folks together than I should. But little tricks like this, as I discover them, speed up my workflow.

This method leverages sites where people leave reviews of SaaS products they’re using in their businesses. Siftery is a great example of such a service. And Product Hunt has a list of alternative sites for when we exhaust Siftery’s resources.

As an example, a fellow maker was recently looking to reach out to startups who are using Recruiting/Hiring based SaaS to validate an idea.

We can navigate to Siftery’s Hiring category and start clicking into the reviews for each SaaS:

The reviews usually include the reviewer’s name and company. So now we know company X uses software we’re interested in, and we likely know who in that company we can at least start some cold outreach to.

From here, I do the usual research on LinkedIn, then try to find something to connect on with the person, and track down the email format for the company (if you’re struggling here, Hunter.io or similar tools are great)

And know we have a quick way to get some people in our prospecting list who actually use software or competitors we’re interested in.

I’m curious if anyone else has a go-to source when they start prospecting for cold outreach on their own projects?


Tomorrow, Day 8

We’re on a bit of autopilot for this weekend, I think.

I need to continue prospecting for a large push in outreach and validation. I also need to flip the switch on hosting to put my new landing page up – which we’ll begin testing that as soon as we begin messaging our growing prospect list after the holiday weekend.

If I come up with some spare time tomorrow, I’ll begin reaching out for guest blogging opportunities with user experience blogs. I have a few long form drafts in the pipes about error message, and I’d like to experiment with a guest post or two that compliment the coming release of Bystander’s own blog.

Content marketing is a long tail game, but I hope to have a few meaty pieces available early to help with trust and authority.

Oh! And in case you’re interested in how the Product Hunt Ship pages with over a thousand subscribers look, I have this spreadsheet going – that I also pictured on day 4:

The data is from 3 days ago, so some pages and stats have likely changed.


Thanks for reading. And of course, feel free to email me with any questions or feedback!