If you are an entrepreneur or product manager planning to launch a product, chances are you’re worried about whether it will conquer the audience or fail. But you can do something to be sure your startup ideas are on the right way: build a community before launch.
In this post, we show you how to build an audience before launching a product in five practical steps, and explore the potential of communities to collect customers’ feedback and suggestions.
Why Is Essential to Build an Audience First
How can you ensure that your product features are aligned with customers’ needs?
Two features that make social media stand out are the democratization of information and horizontality. These give brands, companies, startups, or individuals the possibility of communicating with their audience without intermediaries.
However, therein lies the key to success in social media:
Having an audience to communicate with.
That is, imagine that you have a great product. For it to become successful, you’ll need to have a user base willing to consume your product.
That’s why it’s important to build an audience before launch. Because you can be close to potential customers and immerse in the problem you are trying to solve with your product. They will be the ones who will try your products for the first time, and you’ll have the chance to collect honest feedback to improve your features.
But they also will be the ones who will recommend it to their acquaintances if they like your product worth it. This is how you built customer loyalty.
Related 👉 How to Avoid Entrepreneurial Burnout
From Idea To Validation
Firstly, to start building a community, you’ll need to turn your idea into a product. A great practice is to launch a minimum viable product (MVP) to discover if you’re on the right way. Imagine that you spend months improving a feature to discover your users don’t want it.
The first step would be to identify and analyze the problem you are solving in depth.
“Find a problem and develop a product to solve it” is common advice among entrepreneurs, but how do you actually nail the solution for which customers are willing to pay? Community might be the answer.
There are great online spaces you can use to detect problems and build solutions. Maybe the most popular ones are Twitter and Facebook, but the real gold is hidden on subreddits and niche communities. You can be part of these spaces to interact and build a relationship with those who might become your first customers. It’s your chance to detect their pain points and ensure your product is not solving a problem that nobody has.
Once you crafted your idea, it’s time to build and launch.
Apart from the product, it’s important to define success metrics. These will help you verify that the strategy around the product’s launch is working properly. Also, a landing page and a user-friendly payment form are essential. This will assure you that once the product is out, customers will be able to easily buy it.
💡 To exploit the product’s potential and achieve your goals, it’s essential to have a strategy around the product’s launch.
This strategy must validate that idea or proposal that we’ve conceived, and that we believe can help many people.
Javier Mirande, CEO of Regrow Academy
How to Build an Audience Before Launch in 5 Steps
- Define your audience
- Choose which platforms you’ll be using
- Define your content
- Connect with influencers
- Define success metrics
Step 1: Define Your Audience
If you’re thriving to build a community around your product, you should first define who are the users you’ll be talking to. That is to say, defining your target audience. This includes knowing on which platforms they’re present, what are their interests, and how they communicate. But while all these things are important, what’s essential is to decipher what their need or pain point is.
Some great ways to find out which are your target audience’s pain points:
#1 Research their social media accounts. What they share, what they comment and what they recommend.
#2 Find early adopters. These are the users that are conscious of their pain points and are actively seeking a solution. Therefore, you can contact them, ask them what they think of the product, and give you detailed and sincere feedback.
#3 Search, connect, engage. To build an engaged audience before launch, you’ll have to listen to your potential customers. To achieve this, you’ll have to facilitate channels for them to express their thoughts and participate in product building behind the scenes. For example, tech communities running on Slack and Discord are full of channels where developers are invited to participate in product building. They are part of the audience, and also collaborate to improve the features they love most.
Step 2: Choose Which Platforms You’ll Be Using
There are plenty and varied platforms for one to be present in the digital world. However, it’s important to focus on those ones where the product will stand out and reach the right people.
In addition to social media and forums, there are other digital channels that are very helpful to approach customers. Among them are videos, a good website, and reviews.
📹 Videos. Videos manage to communicate lots of information in a short period of time. It also generates an emotional connection with the user.
🕸️ Website. Put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes. And give them all the necessary information about your product and brand. This will help them in the process of choosing your product.
🤳 Reviews. Responding to user reviews shows that you care about your customers’ experiences.
Step 3: Define Your Content
It’s important to get the most out of your content.
If you do something once and it works well, why not do it twice?
An article can become a blog post, that can also become a presentation, and then a video.
Also, don’t hesitate to support your social media efforts with paid advertising. “You’re already investing your most valuable resource, your time, so why hesitate to invest money?” reflects Melita Jampol, a new media explorer.
Start small by advertising some of your key content to see how many more users your message reaches.
Step 4: Connect With Influencers
Look for influencers and people with reach on social media who might be interested to be your product’s ambassadors. However, you’ll have to make sure they’re people that your target customers consume. And that they share your brand’s values.
Step 5: Define Success Metrics
A great part of managing a community is tracking success and proving the value of your work. The most common success metrics used in product communities are product ideas, feature adoption, and new user-generated content. There are other metrics such as customer satisfaction and the number of event attendees.
Use Community Feedback to Improve Your Products
In product communities, members tend to share ideas and feedback on the product. These two are key to innovation and product improvements. By bringing product users together, brands, entrepreneurs, and managers can leverage the collective insight of their product community and get:
✨ Ideas for innovative features.
☝️ Identify what changes need to be made to the product.
💸 Save money and time on surveys.
Building community around your product is essential to developing a successful product and brand. Not only you’ll have loyal consumers who will not only buy your product and recommend it. But you’ll also have access to consumer insights that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
So if you’re a product manager or community builder seeking to build an audience before launch, in Unita we have plenty of communities and online groups to connect you with colleagues building amazing things!