Months of your (and your team’s) hard work are finally starting to pay off. Your startup MVP (the minimum viable product) is live and users are starting to flock in your direction. Yet, it’s too early to pop that champagne. Save that bottle for later.
The MVP app launch is not the final step in your software product development process. It’s the first step on your path – often a thorny one – to success. As soon as your V.1 app launches, you still have plenty of work to do… and mistakes to avoid.
In this article, we talk about the 5 essential post-launch MVP activities that can either make or break your product. Make sure none of them is neglected.
Running a startup is no easy task. And one of the most challenging aspects of it is building your app’s MVP. There are many things you should consider, from identifying the app scope to finding the right team to implement it. Yet, things get even more interesting as soon as your product goes live.
Here are 5 must-have elements for your MVP app launch strategy.
1. Source user feedback
If you’ve been wondering how to collect feedback on an MVP application, there are many ways to find out what users think about your app. First and foremost, listen to what they are saying! User reviews and ratings are the most reliable and valuable source of information about your app.
Startup platforms like ProductHunt or Betalist can be a good place to start. The audience here is very active and would be happy to help you through. Among the startups launched on ProductHunt are Robinhood, Front, Houseparty, and many others.
However, more traditional approaches to sourcing MVP feedback are also possible. For example, the team at Drift, a conversational marketing platform, uses welcome emails to initiate a dialogue with their users. Other than that, they have been experimenting with in-app messages, live chat, and customer surveys.
Don’t be afraid of the negative feedback – it is often more detailed (and valuable!) than the positive ones. That is why it can serve as a reliable source of information on how to improve your app.
2. Collect and analyze the data
Other than the users, your analytics also can tell you so much about how your app is doing. Some examples of the data you should be collecting after you launch an MVP application include:
- the number of app installs
- daily/monthly active users
- churn rate
- the average duration of a user session
- product-specific engagement metrics (e.g. the number of nights booked for a hotel app)
- sales and revenue
- customer satisfaction rate (should be based on customer support activity, e.g. number of tickets open).
On top of that, it would be useful to understand how the users are interacting with your app – the features they enjoy most and the ones they haven’t even noticed.
While it might take a while to talk about sales volume and revenue, or even customer satisfaction, some of the listed KPIs are more straightforward. For example, Meerkat, the video streaming app later turned Houseparty, scored 160k post-launch users in just a month. That’s enough “data” to understand if the app resonates with the audience.
Important: Armed with the said data and feedback from your users, you can create the roadmap for future development. Review your backlog and prioritize the features which you should implement next or remove the ones that don’t add value.
First and foremost, focus on the capabilities users want. Once you cater to their primary needs, you can think of any other features to add.
3. Market your product
Once your MVP product launches you should be ready to blow the trumpets all over the world letting people know that your app is finally live. In this case, it is better to start promoting your product as early as possible, so by the time your app launches you will have a certain user base ready to test your product.
A good example of how it should be done was demonstrated by Mint. The personal finance app hit a milestone of 1,000,000 users in just a couple of years since their launch, mostly through content marketing (in addition to a stellar product, of course).
Their blog, MintLife, became one of the most credible and useful online resources on personal finance management. By simply placing an email subscription form at the end of each article, the startup grew their waiting list to over 20,000 customers in just around 9 months, while their app was still in development.
Another widely-known startup MVP marketing example is the one run by the team at Magic Leap, a much-hyped mixed reality startup. The company became one of the most-talked-about technology startups and raised $1.4 billion from a number of investors including Google and Alibaba prior to actually building their product.
4. Provide reliable support
Fresh out of the oven, your app might still experience certain difficulties (yes, even if you have tested it through and through). To be able to immediately jump in and fix any issues that may arise, you need someone to keep an eye on your product 24/7.
However, maintenance and support shouldn’t be limited to the technical aspect. Setting up an effective customer service framework is also something you should consider at this stage. This can help you establish a solid basis and build upon it when you start scaling.
A good example of how a startup can prove its technical reliability and show an outstanding level of customer support is the real-time status tracker provided by Slack. It shows the total uptime as well as the current status of each component of the system. So, if something goes wrong you can see what’s happened and how soon it will be fixed.
Although not a startup, Tesla, an innovative car manufacturer, is another business that obviously puts customers first. The company’s co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk, is constantly in touch with his customers and always ready to help. He has even delivered a new car to the customer in person after the company experienced some logistics issues. Now that’s a good example to follow!
5. Price your product
Once you see that your product is taking off, you might as well think about making money with it. You can test various monetization approaches: introduce premium features on top of the basic free version (freemium) or go with ads.
Here’s how the team at Buffer identified the winning strategy. First, they validated the demand for their product with a basic MVP (which wasn’t even an app but a simple landing page!). As soon as they started getting leads, they added one more page with pricing plans to their sign up process. As a result, they validated the demand for the product as well as found an optimal monetization approach.
One more thing…
There are startups that got funded even before they had built an MVP application. However, in most cases, you need something to show to the investors first to make them want to dig into their wallets. Not many of them will be willing to buy a pig in a poke. Yet, as soon as you have a functional app MVP at hand, you finally have something to back your words with.
Thus, you can go around pitching investors, entering competitions, or running a crowdfunding campaign to scale your product.
In case you have positive user feedback or any other data that demonstrates your product viability, your chances of getting funded will be even higher.
While there are enough pitfalls to avoid when creating your MVP, even more dangers will be waiting for you once you set your product afloat. To minimize the development risks and create a solid MVP app launch strategy, choose a reliable technology partner to team up with.
We at Eastern Peak have built dozens of successful apps, from a bare idea to an MVP and further to a full-fledged software product. We start with thorough market research and business analysis, define and document the minimum required set of features to validate your concept, design and implement it, help you make sense of the collected data, and improve and further scale your app.
If you are looking for a dedicated team to build your app, we are here to help. Contact us now for a free consultation and discuss your idea with one of our experts.
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