In Fora Soft, when we release a product for the first time, it’s already an MLP (Minimum lovable product). But usually the first milestone in product development is MVP (Minimum viable product) launch. However, it’s not a point to stop. But what to do next? What comes after the MVP release and how do you know the product is ready? The answers are in this article.
Gather feedback from your users
If you want your MVP to be a perfect product-market fit, it’s a good idea to make sure your clients understand what the product is about and how they should interact with it before promoting the platform. Otherwise there’s a chance you spend a pretty penny on marketing and get no result.
Sign up for startup websites
The scheme here is quite easy yet effective:
- Sign up and set up the profile page.
For example: https://www.producthunt.com/posts/tapereal
- Post updates, reply to questions other users ask and chat with them
- feedback from real users = the “Do they need the product?” hypothesis testing
- badge on your website = trust level increase
Test the platform on users
Determine your target audience
TA is a group of people that are most likely interested in your product. They share some needs and wants or have similar ones.
For instance, TA for an LMS-system is students and teachers that take and give lessons online.
Test your product with focus groups
- Gather up a group of 10 people
They shall be as close to how you describe your TA as possible. It’s better if they’re strangers to you — friends and family might not be objective.
- Decide what exactly you want to test
For instance, your goal is to test how intuitively students interact with the platform.
Describe the scheme: “Download the app, sign up, make basic actions (sign up for a class, attach a file with a completed assignment)”.
Plan the result: “9 users will register, 5 will sign up for a class, 3 will attach their files”.
- Test the platform
We recommend watching the users as they interact with the product: face-to-face or on a video call. You’ll notice some minor yet important details the user might’ve missed in a written report.
- Gather feedback
Note what users could and couldn’t do or accomplish. What questions and issues have they faced? Were there lags or bugs they encountered? Did they like using the product, why? Would they recommend it to a friend? Would they use it themselves?
Carry out a customer development interview
Customer development interview (Custdev) — a means to get data while in-depth interviewing TA. While carrying out a custdev you discover current top-of-mind needs, preferred means of communication and content types. You’ll need these for the promoting campaign later.
Tip: If you’re on a low budget and can’t afford a custdev, prepare the questions in advance and ask them while testing the product with the users. And if you’ve already made past-testing amendments, now it’s a good idea to see if the amendments are good and efficient.
Custdev aims at discovering how and where your TA gets information and what particular points for ads placement will be the most effective.
There’re some Rules:
- Gather up a group of 10 people. They shall be as close to how you describe your TA as possible. Again, it’s better if they’re strangers to you — friends and family might be not objective.
- Make a questionnaire. With the same questions for each of the respondents to prove the hypothesis.
- Ask open questions: how, what, why. Let the respondents share their experience in detail. Don’t ask them for a particular solution. Just find out what the problem is and why solving it is important for the respondent.
- Ask follow up questions.
- Remain in the present. Ask them how they act right now (no woulda-shoulda-coulda and Past tenses). Focus on how they tend to act. And better not ask about the future or wishes. The respondent may subconsciously want to appear better than they are and respond accordingly, but it won’t correlate with how they act in a real setting.
- Record the interview. You’ll get a bigger load of data and will be able to come back to it anytime you need, the data mining will be more effective.
Process the feedback
Effective feedback processing and eliminating product flaws are two Atlases of successful products. If a user can’t fulfill their needs and wants with a product, or the first-use experience is unpleasant, they won’t waste their time on it anymore.
How to process feedback correctly:
- Discuss the feedback with the team
- Brainstorm on possible solutions and improvements together
- Make up a to-do list for the next release. Use MoSCoW prioritization method (Must have, Should have, Could Have, Won’t have (this time)) to prioritize:
1st Priority: features that the product Must have. These are the essentials for the current development stage. If a product doesn’t have them, it won’t be successful. Basically, an MVP already has it. You can only improve them or add new ones if the custdev shows it’s necessary.
2nd Priority: features that are important for the current stage but aren’t that critical. A product Should have them in the next development sprint.
3rd Priority: features that could make a product better if there was additional development budget. It’s what the product Could have at its best.
4th Priority: features that will definitely not be in the product, at least for the next 2 timeboxes. It’s what it Won’t have.
We recommend focusing on the 1st and 2nd priorities as they suggest most needed improvements for the current period of time. The 3rd and 4th ones are just possible enhancements. When improving the product, you may see it change dramatically so there won’t be any need for the features of the 3rd and 4th priorities. So it’s better not to waste your funds and your analysts team’s time on that.
Make changes to the product
Adapt your MVP to be better product-market fit with your clients. Develop and test 1st and 2nd priorities improvements. Besides custom solutions, some common ones are have the same intentions: explain how to use the platform for newbies and keep them engaged.
Automated platform introduction to a user. The goal is to demonstrate what it is for, how to use it properly, and what the benefit is. It makes the user experience much smoother and leaves a good first impression.
Minor interface adjustments
Product adaptation is a nice product enhancement strategy. It’s a pretty common thing when a user can’t find the target action button or doesn’t get how to interact with certain functionalities. It’s crucial to keep abreast, keep track of the feedback.
This is why sometimes it’s a good idea to test how comprehensible and intuitive the interface is to the user if there’s no additional navigation. It’s easy to assess. Let’s say the user scenario suggests that the “Sign up for a class” action takes 3 steps. When testing the product you see that the user takes some workarounds and accomplishes it in 10 steps. Meaning something in the interface wasn’t clear for them. This will help add new useful features and enhance existing UX and UI in the next product version.
It’s a way for the platform to “collaborate” with the user by rewarding the referrer for attracting new users. Nothing motivates better than personal gain. Think of what would be enough of a motivation for one to stick to their friend asking for a favor.
One of the significant metrics of the app effectiveness is user engagement. How frequently they open the app, how much time they spend in it. Notifications will help with the first. Pique their interest with words and emojis only.
Custom email newsletters will work for web apps.
Text update applying Tone of Voice
If you use texts at the MVP stage (in pop-ups, welcome-screens, etc.) make them consistent in Tone of Voice. These are the rules by which the brand communicates with the users.
Does your product target teens? Use more slang to be on the same wavelength. Is your TA mostly businessmen and entrepreneurs? Address the users more respectfully and make the communication concise, maybe even formal.
Relevant ToV guarantees that users will perceive the information better, since they better understand how the product works.
Moreover, if your brand speaks the same language as its TA, some sort of emotional connection and bond establishes between them, as if they were friends. That’s a significant advantage over competition products.
Promote the platform
Pick the promotion channels and plan the works
1. Think of the concept
- Pick the promotion channels
Based on the custdev data make a list of the most potentially effective sites for placing advertising messages.
For example, your clients are movie geeks that want to save money on online cinema subscriptions. From the interview we learnt that they visit platforms with vouchers and promo codes often. This is where we will place our ads.
Set up the channels in the single brand identity. Use the same logo and an informative profile background. Let your designer make an entire design system, select color solutions for visual content.
- Make your advertisement hypotheses (objectives) to test. Make them SMART
For example, Facebook users will download the app 100 times within 2 weeks.
- Calculate the overall costs
Use forecasting services for digital advertisements. When planning a campaign in Google ads, Facebook ads, Snapchat ads, TikTok ads, Twitter ads you’ll see how many impressions (how many unique users will see the ad) and clicks you’ll get for your budget.
Agree on promotional posts with authors/admins personally. Consider the fees and taxes.
2. Plan content creation works: make briefs for copywriters, designers, photographers, etc.
Create the content
Use the information you gained from custdev to determine the best content type for your TA. Write copies, record and edit the video, make pictures, and adjust them to your specific placement sites.
If the campaign includes any social media marketing activity, make up a content-plan, a list of posts topics.
Launch a test campaign
Commence promoting the product and testing hypotheses. We recommend launching a test campaign for 2 weeks — this must be enough. Keep track of the changes. If you see that one of the hypotheses doesn’t prove itself and you don’t get the anticipated result, amend the budget allocation, channels selection, etc.
Launch the campaign in the most effective channels
Draw the conclusions to the test campaign. Select the most effective ads placement sites. Plan the budget and the results based on the test campaign data. “With the $ X budget I’ll get Y new users, N demo requests”. Use this to better plan and calculate ROI of the project in the long-term perspective.
Answering the question from this article intro — you know better when your product is ready. What we can say for sure is that there’s always room for improvement in the post MVP phase. And once you have your MVP and have done all the necessary adjustments, you’ll know the direction. To give you an idea, check out what we do next with our clients in CommunityHill, Janson Media, and AppyBee cases.