How to Nurture Leads During Your MVP Launch
Launching a product can be a tricky endeavor.
That’s why it’s important to be thoughtful with each step of the process. An effective way to safeguard your launch is to use an MVP launch.
What is an MVP? It is a method where you launch a product with a basic set features and a tempered push with the purpose being to test the product and collect feedback to improve the final product, which would be introduced in a full-on product launch at a later date.
MVPs are especially popular with startups that don’t have endless funding to release and alter products on a whim or hire expensive 3rd party agencies to product test and get feedback for you.
Startups are notorious for failing due to scaling too quickly or in the wrong direction. An MVP allows you to scale slowly and wisely. Instead of spending a ton of money on a launch, you’ll be incrementally bettering your product with real-world evidence.
When launching an MVP, you might think that you want to move through the buying cycle stages as quickly as possible so you can get feedback, and this is true to an extent.
Due to this not being a full launch, the attention to detail and time spent cultivating your audience may be reduced some, but that’s not to say it’ll be disregarded completely.
You will still want to nurture leads. There are a few reasons for this:
- You don’t just want feedback on the product, you’ll also want feedback on what is the best way to nurture and move your leads. So, when you take the time to nurture your leads, you can add that data to your overall measuring and building process.
- The more time you spend nurturing your prospective buyers, the more likely they are to recommend you via word of mouth. This thinking holds true when asking for feedback post-purchase. The more time spent building a relationship with your customers, the more likely they’ll be willing to help and recommend you.
Know Your Target Audience Prior
Preparation is the key to making the most of your MVP launch. You don’t want to go into an MVP launch not sure of who you’re looking for.
Here’s the hard truth: if you don’t know who your target audience is before your launch, the odds are good that your MVP will not succeed. It’s pretty hard to build a good product if you don’t know who you’re building it for!
The more you know going into the launch, the less you’ll need to learn by the end of it. This process is a game of balance – moving swiftly and aggressively while being thoughtful and learning throughout.
Two key areas of preparation to focus on prior to your MVP launch are learning who your target audience is and determining what communication channels you’ll use.
Knowing your target audience ensures you aren’t wasting time and resources by pushing ads into the wrong place to the wrong people and getting the wrong kind of feedback.
Therefore, make sure you have a base understanding of who your audience is using buyer personas and demographic knowledge prior to your MVP launch.
You should expect to learn new wrinkles about your target audience during this process and that’ll be helpful when building an MVP launch, but you’ll want to ensure you’re learning new details and not learning your audience entirely.
Here are a few core ways to learn who your audience is prior to MVP launch:
- Be logical – Clearly you have some idea of who your customers are, or you wouldn’t have decided this was a worthy product. Use common sense, intuition, and hard data to paint the broad strokes of who your target market is – age, gender, interests, job title – and whittle down from there.
- Get pre-launch feedback – Get a base of knowledge about your audience by just talking to people. You can learn a lot by taking a grassroots approach to collecting data. See what people think and who would like the product, and then look for common themes.
- Learn from your competitors – Who are they getting the most engagement and interest from? Read reviews, see who follows and engages with them on social media, who is talking about them in chat threads, etc.
- Look for gaps in the market – Who are your competitors not targeting or missing on or not doubling down on? You can learn as much from what they aren’t doing as what they are doing. Be careful, here, though—it’s possible they have a good reason for NOT targeting a certain user group, such as low interest or willingness to pay.
Determine Your Communication Channels
The next step in preparing for a successful MVP launch is determining what communication channel or channels are best to reach your audience.
The main channels include social media, search engine, email, online ads, traditional media ads, etc.
Once again, you want to give yourself the highest chance to reach your ideal customers so that you can move your lead through the buying stages and get feedback.
In an MVP launch, you’re typically looking to quickly build a base of users to get feedback and input from. Targeted emails to potential customers are one of the most effective and direct ways to do this, so email marketing is a great channel to start with. Additionally, you can also make a chatbot for your website to send targeted messages to your visitors, ask them qualifying questions and collect their feedback.
Beyond that, aim to figure out where your target users are hanging out. Where can you most effectively reach them?
Are they using Google to search for solutions to their problems, talking in Facebook groups, or hanging out on LinkedIn? Find your target users and reach them where they’re at!
With your market and ideal communication channels figured out, you can be highly targeted with your MVP launch.
Nurturing Your Lead Through the Buying Cycle
The buying cycle is essentially 3 stages that define the customer’s journey.
The 3 stages work like this: Awareness > Consideration > Decision
- Awareness – Making potential customers aware of your product and a need they didn’t know existed.
- Consideration – When potential customers consider how they can satisfy their need and if your product is the answer.
- Decision – The final yes or no where the potential customer decides if they are going to buy your product, a competitor’s or any product at all.
The reason it’s helpful to categorize your prospective buyers this way is because it tells you how to market to them.
If own a store that sells healthy dessert snacks and someone comes in who has never heard of healthy dessert snacks before, you wouldn’t want to sell to them the same way someone you’d sell to someone who comes into your shop and knows all about you.
You would want to explain to the novice customer (awareness stage) what types of snacks you sell, how they’re healthy and why you wanted to create them.
With the well-researched customer (consideration stage), you might want to be more aggressive showing them where your best deals are and pushing certain products that fit their needs.
An excellent tactic to move prospect through these stages is lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is when you develop a relationship with your prospective buyers through each stage of the buying cycle.
The easiest way to lead nurture in today’s digital world is through email. The process would look something like this:
- Potential buyer makes contact with your website, social media account or another channel your company uses (could be with an actual person or chat bot as well).
- You offer value, such as a white paper, webinar, etc., in exchange for their email address.
- Now you have a way to continue direct communications with the potential buyer and nurture the relationship.
Below we’ve highlighted how to nurture a lead through each buying stage while keeping your eyes on the prize and ensuring you receive helpful feedback for your MVP in a timely manner.
As we said, this section is all about making potential customers aware of your product and a need they didn’t know existed. Therefore, you want to focus on educational content. Let’s say you create and sell air fryers to the public.
A new potential buyer might not know just how unhealthy fried food is. You can educate them on that. Then you can send content on how you don’t have to give up fried food entirely and how the air fryer is the solution. Then you can send content on how your specific brand of air fryer is the best.
As we said, with this being an MVP launch, you want to get through this stage at a quicker pace. This is where all the groundwork you laid comes into play.
Since you’ve determined who your market is and the best way to reach them, then the users who are visiting your website and giving you their emails are more likely to move into the next stage quicker.
You can also move through this stage faster by the content you offer. Instead of spending weeks educating users about why fried food is bad, you can jump right into why the air fryer is better and catch a smaller net of buyers but enough buyers to get viable feedback from.
Pro tip: start promoting your educational content before you even launch your MVP. That’ll help you grow a list of relevant prospects you can send an announcement to when your MVP goes live.
As we said, the considerations stage is when potential customers consider how they can satisfy their need and if your product is the answer.
They know that fried food isn’t healthy, but they don’t want to give up the taste – can the air fryer satisfy their need and is yours the right one? To nail the consideration stage, you want to make sure you have all potentially needed information available to the prospective buyer.
This means a thoughtful, effective website that clearly shows the user how your solution can fix their problem. Your website should be layered, with:
- High-level messaging addressing paint points, features and benefits.
- More detailed product pages that dig into the how-it-all-works type of material. An FAQ can be a good resource for quick and targeted info as well. Carefully planned CTAs to encourage users to take the relevant next step for each page on your website.
- To give users a look into who you are, you can use an about page as well as your social media accounts to talk about your story and showcase your company culture. People want to know who they are dealing with. By showing happy faces at the office, team member profiles and detailing the company’s history – you’re putting a face and story to the name.
- You also want to be available to potential customers to ask questions. Whether this is a chat bot, 3rd party customer service team or in-house sales reps, you want to make sure you’re accessible to your customers as often as possible. Pro-active chat prompts can be a great way to turn “lurkers” into engaged prospects.
These readily available resources are all big parts of lead nurturing through the consideration stage.
At a certain point, your customers are going to make a decision on your product. If you get a no, you can still circle back to them when you do your full launch. You can segment the audience that engaged with you but didn’t buy.
Then when you launch your improved product, you can build a marketing campaign to that segmented group and build your messaging to address the fact that the product has improved since the last time they engaged with it.
You can also seek feedback from the customers who engaged but didn’t buy. Something along the lines of “you haven’t bought from us, tell us why.” This type of feedback will only add value to your MVP development.
If you get a yes, great! You now have a customer to continue to nurture and get the MVP feedback you seek. Here are a few ways to get feedback:
- Send a survey
- Ask for them to post a review
- Have someone on your team directly reach out to them (personal outreach is often the best method)
- Engage with them on social media
- Offer something in return for their feedback, such as a discount on their next purchase
What Feedback Will Make Your MVP Launch Worth It?
This next part is important. You’re at the point where you are collecting feedback from your customers. The question is now, what do you want to know from them? You want to learn as much as possible from your customers.
We’ve compiled a list of recommended questions below. You should consider making many of the questions below multiple choice to make it easier for your customers to answer.
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- What enticed you about the product?
- Was there a key feature that stood out?
- Was there a key benefit that stood out?
- What did you like most about the packaging?
- What did you like least about the packaging?
- What did you like most about the product?
- What did you like least about the product?
- Did you feel the pricing was fair?
- Were the directions sufficient? Anything you would change?
- What surprised you most about the product?
- Do you have any questions about the product?
During this stage, you’ll also want to make sure you show appreciation for their purchase. This will increase the likelihood that they give the time to offer helpful feedback and champion your brand going forward.
Offering something in return can help the likelihood of this as well.
To recap, nurturing leads through the buying cycle during an MVP launch is tricky.
It’s a balancing act that consists of ensuring you leave a good impression and net the right customers while moving swiftly so that you can get feedback and move onto the full product launch.
We hope this guide will help you during your MVP launch and deliver a successful experience!