Entrepreneur Success Story: Helping Small Businesses Build Better Website Landing Pages
Sometimes, as small business owners, we have too many choices. We know we’re supposed to invest in marketing and advertising, choose the best venues and platforms, measure our ROI, and then constantly test against “the winner.”
But, in reality, a lot of us are too busy running our businesses on a day-to-day basis to make the time to do all that. Plus, it takes time and costs money to constantly change your website to do all that testing.
What if I told you about a simpler way? One that’s fast and inexpensive as well.
Solving a need with a simpler solution
Last summer I attended the Unbounce Conference in Vancouver where I learned more in two days than I have in a long time.
First, some background. Eight years ago, Rick Perreault was looking for a solution—he wanted to build a webpage for advertising without hiring developers to create it. There were A/B testing companies—but they only provided enterprise-level solutions. “There was nothing in the SMB space,” Perreault explains. “I just needed drag-and-drop functionality, something as simple as MailChimp is for email.”
Perreault, a musician turned marketer, started talking to people he knew about the situation and found he wasn’t alone in his frustration. Still he wanted to “validate the market and make sure it wasn’t just me.” So, he created a survey, posted it to Facebook, and got an initial reaction from 42 people who clicked on his Facebook ad and said, “I need this.”
In June 2009, armed with that knowledge and some market research, Perreault put together a team, and less than two months later he and his five cofounders incorporated the company. Today Unbounce has three global offices (Vancouver, Montreal, and Berlin) and nearly 200 employees.
The Unbounce landing page and conversion marketing platform enables businesses to build landing pages where they can test offers, pricing, design, content, and more without hiring a team of developers, designers, or marketers. Perreault says, “It’s hard to do a good A/B test. And most small businesses don’t have the resources to do that. It’s all about providing the customers with the insights and tools they need to grow their businesses.”
Landing pages are not meant to be a section of your website; they are stand-alone pages that address specific products or services. Unbounce cofounder Oli Gardner explains that landing pages help consumers focus on your message, since they can’t always navigate back to the home page.
When it launched, Perreault thought millennials would be a good market to target, and needed inexpensive ways to reach them. “We actually had a blog before we had a product, and started producing guides to attract attention,” Perreault recalls. The first product, a guide to online marketing (which is still available), included a printable poster that business owners could use to check off the steps as they proceeded through the process. To save money they used social platforms, particularly Twitter, to get the word out. And, Perreault says, “millennials absorbed it. [We learned] content marketing isn’t only inexpensive, it lasts so much longer.”
Six core company values
Perhaps due to his background as a musician, Perreault is a people person—and a natural collaborator. Of the six partners that founded the company, four are still involved today. When he was recruiting the startup team, Perreault looked for people with different skills that would complement one another. “We all have our strengths,” he says, “but the company is not run by the founders.” Instead, there’s a 15-person senior leadership team, which includes three of the founders.