Launching a new software product can be one of the most exciting things you can do as a developer. Sure it requires a lot of hard work, but it also presents you with an opportunity to get your software in front of your target audience and receive valuable feedback. However, as exciting as it is, launching a product can be stressful, especially if you aren’t sure what steps you should follow in order to prepare for launch.
Through the development of Prajix and the extensive research on SaaS development, we believe understanding your audience, building a driven community, and collecting valuable feedback are the most important pre-launch strategies you can do for your project. So let's actually figure out how to develop, build, and launch these new marketing strategies into existence!
1. Understanding Your Audience
One of the most important steps to successfully launching your app is understanding your audience. If you are planning on releasing a new project you will need to learn how to define your audience. Usually, project ideas form off personal problems you may face. For example; Prajix was formed because finding other like-minded developers to work on project ideas was too much of a hassle and just plain out inconvenient. When defining your audience first ask yourself if there is any connection with you and the actual problem you're solving. If so, it will be easier to understand your potential audience because you're the one with the actual problem. If not, no worries! You can easily make assumptions biased on the problem you're solving. If you were coming up with a new software project that showcases all the Mcdonald's in your area that have broken ice cream machines, you can make a valid assumption that the people who would use your software like to eat fast food. Not only that, but they probably really like Mcdonald's ice cream too! Here are a checklist of topics that you should confirm with yourself that you know about your audience as a type of validation to continue pursuing your project idea.
- Age - Gender
- Education background
- Purchasing power
- Social class
- Interests/Hobbies These keywords will create a clear picture of who you're assuming will use your software. This practice is a natural-born superpower. Answering these keywords will form paths and alter your decisions revolving around your project to fit the needs of the audience and wants, not yours.
Take the time to research your audience so that you can answer these topics. Go on social media and look into your business accounts followers, or if you don't have one yet (which you should!), search hashtags related to your project topic and see what buzz is going on there. Another idea can be to search open forums on Reddit or discussions on Quora, be creative!
Once you have a locked-in confirmation about who your audience is, what they do, think, and feel, you can move onto the next step, creating a driven community.
2. Creating A Driven Community
It’s no secret that communities have been the backbone of many successful projects. Many community-driven projects have even gone on to generate millions of dollars in revenue and have grown bigger than any individual could ever hope to do. But why are online communities so important? Communities create buzz, trust, and massive support around your software which fires up your chance of reaching new people and gathering valuable insight on your project.
But as awesome as it sounds to have hundreds of thousands of people continuously supporting and staying active around your project idea it takes immense time, energy, and focus to nurture. As the admin of your community, either that's Discord, Slack, Reddit, or your own open forum you need to be the life of the party without the actual party. At first you will be the only member in your community with perhaps a few others, its up to you on how you would like to get people to join and keep them retained. Its gritty work but if you go the route of picking quality members over quantity ones you will surprisingly see the amount of help and support they create around your community. We like to call these people "Gems" because they're hard to find but once you acquire them they're nothing but pure gasoline to your awesome project's progress.
How To Start 1. What's The Goal Start by planning out what you're trying to achieve with your community, is it to generate leads, validate your idea, or create a social presence, etc...
2. Growth Ideas The main goal in starting something should always be clearly defined before spending great amounts of time on it. Once you have your main objective figured out you should move onto how to create major growth around it. Either that's setting up a lead funnel to gather more contacts, creating a list of questions to ask about your project to new members and setting up calls with them, or making a strategy on how to expand your brand using your community, whatever it may be needs to be planned and figured out to help benefit the projects progress.
3. Tracking Find out what you need to track. What metrics define if your plan is working or not? What goals do you want to reach by the end of the week, month, etc..? Is there something you need to change? By figuring out these questions you set yourself up for actionable steps to hit so that you know you're headed in the right direction. Everything you do needs to be organized by goals and metrics, without them how do you know what your doing is the best line of action for growth? Now that you understand the importance of an online community, what it takes to keep one alive, and the key steps into getting started, we're ready to implement our last pre-launch strategy. Collecting valuable feedback.
3. Collecting Valuable Feedback
When it comes to building software, one of the best things you can do for yourself is collecting valuable feedback from the audience you're marketing your project to. Don't wait until your product is perfect for collecting feedback. As long as you're working on it, collect feedback periodically and then incorporate it into your plan. Think about it, if you're selling a product, or service, and you ask all the people who are interested in buying it what they like and dislike about the service, you'd be able to refine your idea and make those necessary improvements. And that's important because feedback can really help you understand what users want, what problem your product solves for them, etc. There are so many options you can start off doing to collect feedback. Creating polls and quizzes for your communities or social media followers, set up calls with specific questions that will help redefine your project, create a newsletter that you can continuously talk to your audience with.
The main goal with all of these is to gain a closer connection with your specific audience, get to know them on a deeper level and really understand why they are saying the things they say. Once you finally gather a comfortable amount of feedback you can now strategize an actionable plan on how to make your project even that much more better. Not only that, your audience will feel apart of your projects development and will continue to take more initiative because you're taking their advice seriously. Think of it as a four step process; gather, interpret, strategize, implement. Use these as your north stars when it comes to the collecting feedback process. You do not want to miss this step, its not only critical for your projects continuous development but also the development of your relationships with your audience.
Fortunately, you can take advantage of the following tips to make sure your product launch is a success. There are also plenty of other resources (such as our blog) to help you figure out everything you need to know about launching a new software product. Take your time to extend your own research, launching a new software product is a huge step for anyone. Don't just take our advice, get other views and mix and match what you personally think will work. Blogs, open forums, podcasts you name it, there are people out there that are willing to help you just have to find them! We wish you the best on your next journey, regardless of the outcome you will certainly be a better person after the experience. But we know you'll smash it! We want to provide a fun motivational quote to get you even more excited about what there is to come. Here it is:
"If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed." - David Viscott
What is Prajix?
Prajix is a startup project my team and I have been working on for almost a year. Our mission is to empower developers from around the world to revolutionize the future we wish to have through online collaboration.
What we do is allow developers to create or join project ideas on our platform, where they can find like-minded individuals to team up and collaborate with in our collaboration rooms.
We are striving to build the most valuable network of programmers, coders, and developers from around the world into one place, creating a technological powerhouse that will help individuals and communities all over the globe.
If this sounds interesting to you or you just want to learn more, visit our website at: www.prajix.com