Are your products wasting away on the shelf?
What’s the problem? Your products look high-quality, and all your entrepreneur friends love them.
It’s time to step back and assess the damage.
Several factors spell disaster for new products, like poor launch planning, abysmal packaging, misunderstanding the market, and low-performing marketing campaigns.
While everything from marketing to packaging plays a role in a product’s demise, the problem often lies with the product development strategies themselves.
Let’s get to the root of the problem and dissect three successful development strategies.
1. Listen to Your Audience
Imagine not understanding the target demographic for your product. Unfortunately, this problem is all too common in product development. This issue is frequently observed in media, fashion, smartphone technology, and food.
Why do so many companies get it wrong?
Not listening to customers is the first misstep. One notable example is social media apps, particularly Twitter.
While Twitter users have been asking for an edit button since inception, the company routinely rolls out updates users don’t want. In late 2020, the company launched “Fleets,” an alternative to Instagram stories. The update was met with criticism, accompanied by the usual request for an edit button.
Twitter and Facebook are unique because they can ignore users’ wants without suffering the costs since millions of businesses rely on their platforms. However, small brands can’t afford to make these kinds of missteps.
New brands can learn from Twitter’s mistakes and develop products that respond to customers’ needs, desires, and feedback. This approach is an example of a responsive product development strategy.
Unlike large multinational corporations, small brands can respond to customers in a meaningful way. By involving customers in the development process, brands can increase customer loyalty and lifetime value, two factors needed for future product lines.
2. How to Listen to Your Customers
Gathering audience feedback has never been easier for small businesses.
Of course, you can always leverage traditional methods like focus groups and surveys; these techniques still work wonders for product development. Conventional methods also inspired digital feedback tools like beta app testing, UX tests, and website analytics.
The Benefits of Beta Testing
If you’re developing a brand new product, use beta testing at multiple stages during the project. If you wait until the product is finished, you’ll miss important bugs, UX problems, and design issues. This method is especially true for mobile apps.
Draft questions to accompany your beta tests and include a star rating system from one to ten.
Start with these simple questions:
- Was the app intuitive to use?
- What did you dislike most about the app?
- What did you like most?
- Is this an app that you would use?
- Is this an app you would recommend?
- How often would you use this app?
- What would you change about the app?
These questions only scratch the surface. As you develop your product, ask more detailed questions about functionality.
Remember to record your beta testing sessions. Beta testers should use a screen recording device that records audio, as well. Audio recordings provide extra insight into customer reactions and frustrations.
How to Find and UX Services
There are a few ways to find beta testers and administer usability tests.
One method is to hire your own freelance beta testers. Look up average freelance testing rates; rates vary depending on the difficulty of the test.
For example, freelancers charge higher rates for bug testing because it’s more complicated than usability testing. You may also need a freelancer with advanced coding experience.
There are several freelancing sites and marketplaces where you can find experienced beta testers. Some services require freelancers to bid on client projects, while others let clients hire professionals from a freelance marketplace. You could also work directly with recruiters to find meticulous beta testers.
Another option is to outsource your testing to a beta UX testing service. Like freelancing websites, these services work in a number of ways.
Some UX services match testers with projects. They may ask testers to fill out demographic surveys to match testing projects appropriately. This option is great if you’re looking for a specific user demographic.
Other services are more of a “free for all,” and tests are administered on a first-come-first-serve basis.
UX services come with built-in testing software, complete with audio and screen recording. Testers are usually paid after the test is complete. These services are reasonably priced; however, they’re best for simple UX tests and not complex bug tests.
If you want testers with coding experience, look for beta testing services that specialize in early-stage bug testing.
Whether you should hire a freelancer or outsource depends on your project’s needs. Draft a cost-benefit analysis to find the most effective method for your testing project.
3. Measure Product Performance
Launch day isn’t the end of your product development journey.
The best product development strategies ruthlessly track metrics from day one. This method is also called analytics.
Wait, isn’t analytics for marketing?
Many brands make the mistake of separating product development from marketing. Product sales and marketing strategies should be monitored in tandem to track feedback, conversion rates, social media mentions, and more valuable data.
Not every product hits the mark. Real-time monitoring can save your brand from continuing disastrous mistakes, like tone-deaf messaging, insufficient packaging, ill-conceived product design, and insensitive commercials.
Catching mistakes quickly will give you enough time to pull the product and correct your errors; however, monitoring also speaks to the importance of beta testing.
Make sure your product developers and marketers are on the same page. You may want to employ an agile project management strategy to align their goals.
Discover Product Development Strategies That Work
Don’t launch without the best product development strategies in your corner. Remember these strategies as you develop products that truly speak to consumers’ needs.
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