In a time, where technological improvements have made is easier than ever before to start building your product idea straight away, the question is no longer if your product can be built, it’s whether or not anyone actually wants it. Customer Development is used to help you stop wasting time and money on products that people don’t want. Next to validating your startup idea it can, of course, be used to identify problems and to optimise ideas or existing products.
We touched on the subject of Customer Development before in our blog post from last week, this week we are going to dive a bit deeper into the subject on how to actually get the most out of these conversations.
Below are 9 key tips and principles for practicing Customer Development effectively.
#1 Don’t pitch your idea at first
One of the most natural things, when you start talking to people, is to go into an automatic pitch mode. However pitching an idea instead of trying to have a conversation where you try to find out about people’s problems will result in learning less about your potential customers. You will get biased answers that can lead you down the wrong path. The goal of Customer Development is not just to validate or invalidate your idea, but mostly it is to learn what is valuable for your customers and optimise whatever it is you are building. People are naturally inclined to agree with whatever you are telling and to compliment you, so when you are talking about this “brilliant” idea which you are putting blood and sweat in, of course, they will love it! Because of this you will miss out on learning key insights. Pitching and potentially even selling should only be used after you are confident that you’re solving a real problem. And even when you do that and people say the love it, let them get their wallet out straight away to prove they are not just trying to blow you off.
Just like starting your startup, with marketing you shouldn’t just dive straight into content marketing without a proper strategy. Without knowing who is the actual audience that you are writing for, you are sure to write content which is not engaging if targeted to the wrong buyer personas. You need to always understand your audience’s top concerns!
Creating buyer personas and journeys will help you determine what kind of content you need; set the tone, style, and delivery strategies for your content; target the topics you should be writing about; and understand where buyers find and consume information.
There is a lot that goes into effective content marketing. You need a lot of different kinds of content, you have to figure out how it all fits into your buying cycle, and you content has to adjust to the different media through which you share it.
So how do you do all that effectively? You start by creating buyer personas.
A new year has just kicked in, out of all the New Years resolution that you might have created for yourself, which is the one that is going to help (you kickstart) your business in 2015? Over at Inbound Rocket, we want 2015 make the year were we will start helping you by attracting more leads, letting you focus on what you do best and not having to worry about that lead generation.
Off course, we know as developers ourselves that you’ll likely spent hours upon hours perfecting your products. You take great pride in them want them to succeed. But what if you spend all that time and you don’t see the results you were hoping for? What if no one buys your product?
It can be a real letdown, that’s for sure. But before you toss your development dreams by the wayside, consider this for a moment: have you done everything within your power to market your product effectively? If you’re looking at your screen right now with a puzzled expression, I’ll take that as a “no.”
”If you have more money than brains, do outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, do inbound marketing.” – Rand Fishkin, CEO, SEOmoz
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Most marketing software platforms are too costly and unmanageable for small businesses. Smaller teams don’t have the time to manage these big software installations, never mind the time required to use them properly. Sure, there are some free tools. But they’re often too different from each other to work well together, creating confusion and complications due to duplicated work and inefficiencies of scale.
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