Top 5 Ways to Test Your MVP and Build an Amazing Product
TheCodeWork Team | 18 May 2022
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Nowadays, we are all familiar with Instagram, right? But, did you know that Instagram was created simply as an application to take pictures and share your location? Yes, you heard it! Over the last decade, however, Instagram has become a global phenomenon. How did that happen, you ask?
The answer is simple: they launched the most basic version of their idea, took feedback from the users, and modified their app accordingly. Kind of like an MVP. No. Exactly like an MVP!
Now, you must be wondering what an MVP is? Well, we will be discussing just that in the following section so read on!
The term Minimum Viable Product (MVP) essentially refers to the most basic, usable version of a new product or app. Usually, a minimum viable product contains just those features that make it usable or serviceable to some early customers or adopters. The full-fledged product is then developed on the basis of customer feedback.
Over the years, many organizations have launched mobile apps or products only to learn that users do not need or want their product. This undoubtedly causes a loss of both money and time. I am sure you wouldn’t want that for your business, do you? So it’s always advisable to start small and expand as and where needed.
Here are some of the best MVP Testing strategies that you can use to validate your product idea:
1. Interviewing Customers: What Do Customers Really Want?
Because you’re creating a solution for users, you need to pay attention to their feedback. Interviews are one of the most effective ways in which you can gather feedback about your product.
After launching your MVP, try asking open-ended questions to your target audience. With each set of feedback, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of what works well and what needs to be improved. At each iterative step of development, feedback is crucial.
To gain the proper kind of insight, you need to know how to use customer interviews effectively. Try to ask for honest responses about how your product might be addressing a need of your customers. Let me help you out with an example.
The app-cab giant Uber has widely used this MVP testing strategy to its advantage. It initially started as a simple app on the Apple AppStore in one city. For further improvements, the founders relied on AppStore ratings and comments to get user feedback.
Based on this feedback and interviews from customers, Uber finally launched its full-scale app. Do you see how useful customer interviews can be?
Even today, Uber uses customer feedback as a basis to improve its services.
2. Wizard of Oz: Is your product idea worth developing further?
The name is intriguing, isn’t it? Well, so is this MVP testing technique! In this approach, you kind of dupe the customer into believing that they are using the final product. Behind the scenes, however, you are doing all of the work manually. I know it all sounds a little dubious, but trust me on this— this is a very effective MVP testing strategy.
Many successful MVPs have in fact utilized the Wizard of Oz technique to test their hypotheses. The online shoe retailing giant Zappos and grocery-delivery startup InstaCart are just a few notable MVP examples.
The story of Nick Swinmurn, the founder of Zappos, is worth reading here.
He came up with the brilliant idea of selling shoes via an online platform. However, he was not sure if people would even buy shoes online. So, he decided to test the market first.
To do this, he went to his local shoe stores and clicked pictures of the available shoes. Then he created a website, uploaded the pictures onto this website, and put the shoes up for sale.
In this way, he convinced his customers that Zappos was a brand with a large inventory and a well-organized supply chain. But for the first few purchases, he would just buy the shoes from the stores himself and have them delivered to his consumers.
As you can see, Zappos’ MVP testing strategy paid off pretty soon after launching.
Now that’s what we call smart work, don’t you think?
3. Landing Pages: Are customers interested in buying your product?
Landing pages are one of the most popular techniques to test MVPs. A landing page is a separate web page designed expressly for an advertising campaign. It is basically the page on which a visitor would “land” after clicking on a link on another app or website. Sounds easy, right?
Unlike web pages, which often encourage you to explore, landing pages have a single aim. We can refer to it as a call to action (CTA). A landing page is essentially step one in converting a visitor into a customer.
The landing page MVP allows you to quickly build an audience or a list of potential buyers, and gather data before diving headlong into full-fledged development.
It’s a social media toolkit that lets you time your social media posts. Initially, though, it started out as merely two landing pages. Page one consisted of the basic idea behind Buffer. Page two allowed the customers to sign up for the services.
As more and more people signed up, Buffer co-founder Joel Gascoigne realized that his product MVP had been validated. He then launched Buffer as a full-fledged operation– to massive success. Isn’t that truly inspiring?
4. Ad Campaigns: Who exactly does your product cater to?
In today’s digital era. It has become easier than ever to determine your target audience, don’t you think? You can now track demographics and target the exact audience of your interest using platforms like Google, Instagram, and Facebook.
You may find out which features of your product are the most popular among your target market. These services allow you to collect pertinent data like webpage visits and conversion data that can help you figure out what the product is all about and how it works.
MVP ad campaigns are relatively low cost, take less setup time, and have great evidence strength. Sounds great, doesn’t it? You can also build different versions of your ad campaign to cater to different audiences—kind of like A/B testing. Moreover, you may also create ads that showcase different features of your MVP to see what resonates with your target demographic the best.
5. Crowdsourcing Campaigns: Will customers be invested in your product?
I’m sure you are aware of the concept of crowdsourcing. Here, entrepreneurs describe their ideas for a startup and minutely explain how they’re going to use the investors’ money. Then they invite people to chip in if interested. Think of it as an online petition–people sign up if they find the cause interesting enough.
If users appreciate the idea and are willing to invest in it, it is apparent that the product idea is worthwhile. The driving force of a crowdsourcing campaign is: If people are willing to invest in it, others will surely want to buy it. Now that sounds like foolproof logic, right?
It might be difficult to make a crowdsourcing campaign that shines above all others. However, if done right, it’s a very effective way to test your product idea–and get funding in the process!
Did you know that the popular crowdsourcing platform Kickstarter itself started out as an MVP? A great example of a crowdsourced project is Pebble– a smartwatch brand that collected a whopping $10 million off of its Kickstarter campaign. Many such campaigns can be found on Kickstarter.
You can find an extensive list of the most-funded Kickstarter projects here!
We know that it’s easy to go overboard when you have an idea for a new product. But, as Eric Ries, the author of The Lean Startuphas wisely said,
“…let this simple rule suffice: remove any feature, process, or effort that does not contribute directly to the learning you seek.”
Now, you don’t want to risk launching a product that doesn’t sell, do you? Creating a minimal viable product will show you whether it’s worth investing time and money in building your complete product.
Furthermore, testing your MVP is equally important! Don’t restrict yourself to just one MVP testing strategy. You can use a combination of two or more of the MVP testing methods we’ve listed above. It is always a bonus to get validation from several perspectives.
And if you’re in a dilemma about which technique is the best suited to test your MVP, do not fret, because we’re here to help! Click here to book a consultation with our experts at TheCodeWork, where we will guide you every step along the process from ideation to product launch and make sure that your product gets the market share it surely deserves.
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