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Do You Know How to Verify Your Idea? Try the Painted Door Test!

In fact, the name of the test itself reveals a lot concerning what it is about. Imagine a building with a door painted on one of its walls. Of course, such a door doesn’t exist, so it cannot be opened. It doesn’t mean, though, that no one will try! On the contrary, many people will approach this door and try to open it – some will do so just for fun, and some out of curiosity.

The digital version of a painted door

It works the same in the digital world. The painted door test is all about creating a visible but non-functional version of your:

  • Company
  • Product or service
  • Feature

How is this fictional version visible? You can put it on your website or create a specific landing page just for it. What’s the goal? To see how many people would be interested in a given idea. Suppose you want to release online training about buying a used car. Do you have to start by creating the training itself? Not at all! You can (and, actually, should) start by simply creating a landing page announcing the future-not-yet-existing training or ebook. Next, you can launch a trial marketing campaign and use analytics tools like Google Analytics to see:

  • How many people clicked your ad and visited the landing page
  • How many were interested in purchasing your training (e.g., by clicking the non-functional “purchase now” button

If there is enough interest, you can start working on your training. This way, you verified your idea and didn’t spend too much time and money working on a potentially bad idea.

Of course, if you put a non-functional button, you must inform everyone who clicked it that the product they were interested in has yet to be ready. At this point, it’s a good idea to provide a box where interested people could leave their email addresses to stay up to date with your new idea.

Naturally, there are a few things to consider during such a test.

Best practices to follow when conducting the painted door test

If you want to be successful with your test, you have to pay attention to five crucial elements:

  1. Make your test as legitimate as possible. In other words, your test has to look and feel real. Creating a fake website with a weird domain and unfinished design is not a good idea. If you want to test something new within an existing company, place it on your company’s actual website.
  2. Don’t confuse customers. That’s essential, especially when you want to test a feature/product involving personal or financial data. Ensure customers that their data is safe and their bank account has not been charged. Informing prospects that a given feature is not yet ready and it’s just a test is one of the best practices of this form of digital product verification.
  3. Test one thing at a time. Otherwise, customers will enter your website where there are several “fake” elements that don’t really work. It doesn’t build a good image for your company, does it? Like with A/B tests – you ought to verify just one element at once. If you want to test two or more things, think of an order in which you’re going to conduct these tests.
  4. Don’t require too much action/information. The painted door test is just about checking whether a given idea is worth pursuing. Therefore, there’s no need to ask for additional information or some specific actions proving the interest. Keep it simple. If you feel like the painted door test is not enough, you can think of other tests before moving forward with your business idea.
  5. Ask for voluntary feedback. That’s one additional thing you CAN do. You can put a short question for your prospects to answer. Again, keep it simple, though (ideally, in the form of a single multiple-choice question or a 1–5-star rating on how a given product seems interesting).


In this article, we’ve just mentioned the most important things concerning the fake door test. If you want to know more (there is one additional best practice to discover!), take a look at the full version of this post: The painted door test: How to verify your business idea

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