A Complete Strategy to Market Your MVP (With Examples)
So you have come up with a business idea and created some MVP with the most essential features to show to your target market. You’ve got one issue — you still don’t have any paying users and can’t tell if people will be willing to open their pockets to pay for your app once you ask them.
It’s like if you were selling a book that is still in writing and asked some friends around, “Will you buy it?”. In this case, the “yes, I could” answer would not suffice, unless they agree to pay for the book upfront. The same stands for MVP.
So how can you get your first paying customers and have the certainty that investing more money and effort will pay off in the future? In this article, we will show you the way. Shall we start?
How to Get the First Solvent Customers?
1. Define the Value Proposition
Communicating the value proposition of your product the right way helps customers understand how your product stands out.
Imagine you were selling an innovative pen. It’s easy to guess — there are hundreds of pens on the market, so to get people to buy your pen you have to clarify what way it’s better. For example, you’d explain that it’s more durable than other pens or most of the revenue from sales goes to charity.
Your value proposition should be short and simple. However, founders can’t always articulate it — they just seem to know it. So imagine you are such a founder and need a bit of help in putting the value proposition of your product in words.
To get started, print out an empty copy of the Strategyzer’s value proposition canvas and fill out the fields. This thinking process will help you come up with a clear idea of how to communicate the value proposition without spending hours on workshops.
2. Build Your User Personas
Once you have defined how you are going to explain the benefits of your product to the market, it’s time to draft your user personas.
It’s not like you were not thinking about your target market at the stage of conceptualization of your product and then developing the first features. You should have done it before starting developing an MVP.
However, then, you could have just a rough idea about your personas. Now, it’s time to spend a bit more time defining the key characteristics of the personas you want to sell to.
By clarifying the key needs, challenges and wants of every persona you target will make it easier for you to create the right message for them and sell your product.
You can find a lot of templates to map personas online — there is probably no perfect one, so choose the one that is the most comprehensive and easy to work with. Here is just one of them.
3. Carrying Out Competitor Research
Running competitor research helps understand what other similar products to yours are out there — pretty obvious, right? However, most founders do it wrong. It’s not enough to run a quick search in Google to evaluate what your competitors do.
To do it right, you should approach it with a good framework in mind. To create your own, you should start with choosing the right criteria for your research — monthly website traffic, available features, key marketing channels, etc.
It’s not always a good idea to use premade templates, but they can be a good starting point to developing your unique framework that is also well-suited to your business environment and product.
Check out this example of a competitive analysis framework that you can modify to adjust to your business specifics.
Once you are clear with the criteria for your competitor’s analysis, you can then feed them in your Excel sheet and get down to searching the web for the right information.
In some cases, some of the information you are looking for is easily accessible — you can just sign up for a free trial of a tool to check the app’s features of your competitor. In other cases, you would have to use third-party tools such as Ahrefs or Similar Web to find the necessary information.
Finishing your research will leave you with a lot of information. Now: you have to make sense of it. Remember — that you shouldn’t use the findings of the research to start copying your competitor’s features or stealing their marketing tricks.
The findings should help you understand how your product compares against competitors, where your competitors do well, and where they could do better (for example, in terms of conducting a paid ads campaign).
The analysis should also give you a lot of ideas on how you should proceed with your marketing and product campaign.
4. Defining Success Metrics
When planning any campaign — be it a product or marketing one — you should understand what outcome will satisfy you. You should also set certain expectations before you invest hours of work and, sometimes, some financial resources in marketing your MVP.
Here are some of the metrics that you can measure during and after the campaign is finished.
- The number of downloads — if you are offering an online app, understanding how many people decided to take action and download your app is one of the starting points for analysis.
- # of active users — while a number of downloads can be considered a vanity metric, a number of active users is a more solid metric that helps you measure the success of your product.
- % of paying users — a percentage of users who end up paying for a product is a good sign showing that your MVP has a high potential for further development and monetization.
- User ratings — positive feedback about the app can show that the app is well suited for the current user needs. User ratings can also explain what aspects of your app you should improve to suit its user needs better.
- Churn is an indicator used to measure how many customers that start using your app stop using your product. You can calculate it according to the formula — # of customers lost /# of customers at the beginning of the month
5. Choosing Distribution Channels
Once you know how to position your product and understand what message can resonate with your personas, it’s time to define how you are going to reach your potential customers.
For this, you have to choose the right channels and lead generation strategies to put your message across.
Here are just a few ideas you can start with.
1. Build a Landing Page
You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars in building a full-fledged website explaining every detail of your product.
What you need at this stage is a simple one-pager where you can get people to perform the desired action — learn about the benefits of your product and download your app or sign up for a trial.
Optimize your landing page to be concise and to the point focusing on communicating your value proposition and the benefits your product brings to an end-user.
Here is one example of a Buffer’s MVP page before it this product has achieved a resounding success.
2. Optimize for App Store
If users can download your app in the App Store or Google Play, it’s worth investing some effort in optimizing the content about your app there. This will help you increase your position in search results in the Apple or Google app marketplaces. It is just a similar way it works with optimizing your landing page for SEO — you have to apply certain techniques that would help your page rank.
Here are some basic tips of App Store Optimization (ASO) you can apply today:
- Use the main keyword that people type when searching for similar products to yours — you can use it right after your app name.
- Add keywords that have the highest search potential (for Apple Store).
- Add keywords to your app description.
- Use ASO tools for research — to learn what keywords have the highest potential, use special tools that help you evaluate different criteria such as search volume or keyword difficulty.
- Use high-quality graphics
- Add a video preview of the app if possible
- Encourage users to leave reviews
3. Use Paid Channels
Climbing up the ranks in Google can take a long time. If you want to quickly test if there is any interest in your product and if users are willing to pay for it, you can dedicate a small budget to paid promotion.
There are few channels you can use such as Google or Facebook Ads, or any other advertising networks. Depending on where your audience is, you can also check out LinkedIn, Twitter, or even TikTok.
When creating texts and visuals for your ads, make sure they include your key message — focus on including the information about benefits, and value proposition, and avoid fluff language.
Run your campaigns for at least a few weeks to collect results that have statistical significance to exclude the possibility of the results being a mere chance or mistake.
4. Creating a Demo Video
Does it take some time to explain what your product does? Instead of using a lot of text, prepare a demo video that you can use across various channels to promote your product and garner interest for it.
Creating a short 1-minute video shouldn’t take a long time — there are a lot of video-making programs that can help you make one without outsourcing this task to a video marketing agency.
Before you get down to testing the technical capabilities of video-making apps, it’s worth starting with the strategy for your video and a script. Here are a few things you should remember in the process.
- Don’t talk about how great your product is, but what specific problems it helps solve, what benefits it brings, and how it stands out against competitors.
- Reach out to a few people who represent your ideal client and get their feedback on the pre-made video or script.
- Hook your audience during the first ten seconds of your video by asking a question or mentioning some interesting statistics.
- Show them what results in they can achieve with your product.
If you have a relatively big market for your product, it’s likely that hundreds of thousands of people are looking for your solution every month.
To start optimizing your landing page to appear on those phrases, you should start with solid keyword research.
You can brainstorm the phrases and then check their potential in terms of the number of monthly searches or difficulty. Running research on your competitors can be another way to get some keyword ideas. For these, use available SEO tools such as Ahrefs, Semrush, or Moz.
Once you have picked the right keywords, including their variations in your landing page copy.
To learn if it’s worth investing effort and money in developing new features of your app, improving its design, and extending a marketing budget, you have to market your MVP first.
Checking the interest of your target audience shouldn’t be an expensive experiment if you plan everything from A to Z and spend more time on strategy. Hopefully, by applying the tips we have shared in this article, the process will be stress-free and quite economical.