The startup community has long realized the importance of a minimum viable product (MVP) for the success of their mobile startup. Every startup entrepreneur is looking to build the perfect MVP for attracting investors as well as general users towards its offerings.
Before we dig deeper into some unique approaches to MVP development used by leading digital product development companies, let’s first understand the importance of having an MVP for the success of a startup.
What is an MVP?
MVP or minimum viable product is the base version of your product that is designed to check the viability of an idea and gather insights about customer behavior for further development.
Why is MVP Development Important?
MVP development is a crucial step for the success of any modern digital enterprise. MVPs allow startups to build an app or software with basic features and functionalities to understand if their product has any appeal among its target audience, or the potential to scale and succeed.
With the help of an MVP approach, startups can build their product with minimal investment and effort. If the results of MVP development are positive, then the startup can begin the actual development of the product.
MVP development can help in:
- Saving valuable time and resources by ensuring that a project is worth the investment
- Gauging the interest levels of the target audience and potential users
- Gathering user feedback, which can help in further product development
- Attracting investors and gaining traction in the startup community
- Streamlining the actual product development cycle by eliminating features or functions that have not attracted any positive feedback
Gauging the Viability of Your Idea
Before you plan to build an MVP, you need to prioritize the features for the first prototype. A prioritization matrix can help you a lot in deciding how to plan your MVP development journey.
MVP Prioritization Matrix
Once you establish the right priorities, you can start leveraging some innovative MVP promotion strategies for a better shot at success.
While there are many ways to build and launch your own MVP, here are some of the most interesting MVP development and promotion strategies for a better shot at success.
- Publishing a Kickstarter Campaign
You might have heard about this approach. But do you know why it is a profitable approach? When you launch a Kickstarter campaign, you have a chance of recovering your expenses and investment.
Kickstarter campaigns are a hot thing these days amongst startup founders, and many are launching their own versions of Kickstarter campaigns in the form of product videos, sneak peeks, blog posts and more.
Exploding Kittens, a digital card game, leveraged the strategy to raise more than $8 million for building their game and understanding if their idea has any value or appeal or not.
- Getting Early Opinions from Target Audience via Surveys
Probably an age-old approach, but still relevant in the modern context with a pinch of innovation. Before launching your product to the public, you can understand if your target audience is interested or not.
The best way to launch a survey isn’t to shoot emails to prospects, but instead to integrate surveys in the product experience itself. Launch your website with a single page describing your idea along with a signup form.
Ask users to submit their details in lieu of project updates and notifications on launch. You can also add a simple question or multiple choice questions to learn why they are interested in the product. That way you can get contextual responses.
Grockit, an online learning game company, used tactics to create dynamic MVP sign up forms that helped them validate and improve their product idea.
- Give a Sneak Peek into the Product
Buffer, the social media scheduling and management platform, was launched using this tactic. The MVP here was a two-page website that allowed users to schedule tweets.
The founder gave users a glimpse of what the platform could be and asked if they would be interested in such a product via Twitter. Many users were willing to use the app and also agreed that they would pay for such a solution, which led to the development of the Buffer platform, as we all know it today.
- Publish a Product Video Preview & Create the Hype
Probably the best example of this approach is how Dropbox was conceived and promoted online. The founder, Drew Houston, planned on using an MVP approach before investing deeply towards building the capabilities to develop the entire product.
Drew created a video that showed product features and how the file synchronization would work and what it would mean for the modern digital world. In a few hours, people responded virally. In a single day, the video managed to gather 10,000 Diggs that depicted people were keen about the idea. That’s how the user validation was gathered which led to development of Dropbox.
- Launch a Social Media Ad Campaign to Evaluate User Interest
Social media can also be a great facilitator in gauging user interest. Startup owners can create targeted advertisements to test different features or the entire proposition and ask users if they would like to try a product. They can even create multiple versions to understand what will work best with users.
Many companies have been doing this for a while now and one of the greatest examples is of Tim Ferriss, who wanted to launch his book under a generic name. His publisher suggested running a few Facebook ads with test title and he was able to launch his bestseller — The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, even when this was not his first choice.
- Start Creating Content Around Your Niche
When you are planning to launch a product in a specific category or niche, the best way to understand if your target audience would react positively is to start creating valuable content. Keep users hooked by adding value to their lives via useful content and soon people would take note of your efforts and also buy something you have to sell.
Copyblogger Media was launched using such a strategy when its founder started a blog on copywriting. When people got value from his advice, they also began showing interest in his venture.
- Create an Early Bird Signup Offer
This is also a great way to make users interested in a product. By creating an early bird offer that gives them an early signup discount, one can build a user base from scratch. The product can be an abstract idea, but if you manage to convey your idea to an engaged audience, they would react positively for sure.
This approach can be used along with the previous approach of creating niche content. When you add value to a user through your content, they are more inclined to believe that your product will be useful.
- Launch a Podcast or an eBook
You won’t believe it, but if you create audio content for your niche before creating a product and launch a podcast, there are great chances that people will discover and relate to you. Many people have started their company, product or venture with just a simple podcast.
The biggest example being Lou Mongello, who launched Walt Disney World Radio. His podcast soon garnered the attention of millions and managed to win best travel podcast for nine straight years. The podcast’s success led to signing of a number of deals, many of which were fruitful for Lou.
You can also repurpose your product in the form of informational-based content and start promoting it via online channels. When users get hooked onto what you have to say, you have greater chances of influencing buying behaviors.
3 Useful Tips for Building Your MVP
- Use A/B Testing for Quick Iteration
A/B testing can be quite useful when you are building and perfecting a product. You need to understand how users behave with various versions and A/B testing can help you with that in real time.
You can create different versions of the same page, feature or functionality in your app or website and analyze how users behave. This will help you understand what is most engaging for a user.
If you are building a website, you can tweak with graphics or copy, if your product is a game, you can change the gameplay, and so on. A/B testing will provide you validation at every step with real-time feedback.
- Identify the Minimum in MVP
What many startup owners forget that ‘minimum’ is the keyword in MVP development process. You cannot infuse everything in your prototype. Rather, you should focus on the wireframes for your prototype. First step towards building your MVP is to outline the bare necessities that would define the user flow.
Once you master the flow, and other small milestones, you can add one feature at a time to create the perfect product.
- Focus on Lean Methodology
When building an MVP, you should always focus on the bare essentials and adopt a lean methodology to development.
By lean methodology, we mean toning down your capabilities to things without which your MVP cannot be presented to external stakeholders. This way you will save money, time and investment, without compromising on the end-product.
Conclusion: Wrapping Up
MVP development can be a really hard task if you are not experienced in product engineering and development. A software product development service provider can help you create a successful digital product using innovative strategies. By bringing an expert on board, you can be sure of greater success than by adopting a ‘hit and try’ strategy on your own. From my perspective it’s always better to contact a digital product development company for MVP development.
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