This is a post in a series of four detailing how you can start a business during a recession (find them all eventually under the startup innovation tag). I think it is a commonly held view that we are about to enter into or are already in a recession. For whatever reason you are thinking about starting a business at this time, I am helping a startup on a similar path and thought I would share what I am thinking about to help them (more on my mentoring here). The focus in this series is the really early stages prior to launch and the emphasis is on how to do things on the cheap ;)
You could go all out with a launch from the get-go where you prepare everything in stealth mode and then when ready, you launch fully to the market. Or you could take a more measured approach where you start in semi stealth, i.e. you don’t disclose all details of your product or service, but you do go live with some basic details online. I prefer this latter route because you can make your online presence minimal until you are ready to share more but still have that work for you. The benefits are multiple in that you can start to build awareness and get crucial feedback before the formal launch.
SeedProd is one of the more popular website builders and is used by many startups.
It comes with many templates, including one for landing pages, this being the standard way to have a minimal presence that can still work for you. Typically, you will communicate that the full product/service is coming soon but you can start to build awareness and anticipation for what’s to come and brand.
This is by no means the only tool you can use; in fact you don’t even need to use such a tool. With WordPress for example, you could use the full site editing tools that are now available.
The next stage is to gather feedback from visitors and potential customers on key elements of your intended product/service offering.
Why not add a simple poll or survey on the landing page. There are many options for this and one such option is Microsoft Forms.
Whatever you do, keep it simple, that’s why I suggest a poll, rather than a long-winded survey. And try keep visitors on the page instead of sending them somewhere else to fill out the form, e.g. embed the poll.
Bonus Tool/Service: Lead Management
A final stage to consider is adding some kind of lead generation component. At its simplest this could just be a way to get visitors to provide their contact details so you can reach them when you are ready to launch and they can be informed of this and more besides.
The easiest way to do this is to put a simple, single field form on the site to collect email address.
But the crucial thing is what you do with that lead afterwards and many tools offer ways to manage the lead from first contact. You could integrate website efforts with other lead generation efforts via social media too. Most important is that you can automate the entire lead journey through various stages, including many follow-up efforts.
Here again there are a plethora of tools available to you. I use Mailchimp and have found it to be a superb tool covering many of the elements mentioned above.
NOTE: Consider using a lead magnet, also commonly called opt-ins, freebies, or swipe files, are valuable free pieces of content that you give to people in exchange for an email address.