Forget About Developing Your Product - Market It First

May 3, 2018

You find a problem for a group of people, say students of Kuwait University, and think you have just the right app for it. You go about asking students whether the problem you see actually exists, and end up with positive results; a high percentage of students say the problem is real and a solution is required. You know from experience that what people say and what they do are 2 different things, so before you invest your money into developing the product, you decide to do more research.

After problem validation, almost anyone will tell you to develop a basic version of the complete product, also known as Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and to get it into the hands of customers to really validate the problem and the market. While this is a very good approach and is definitely better than building a full-fledged product from the get go, there is an arguably better alternative - market your product before developing it.

This comes with a host of benefits. Not only is marketing a product cheaper and less time consuming than developing one, it also allows you to build an audience early on, which is critical for successfully launching a product and will serve you very well when raising capital and hiring top-tier co-founders.

Great! Where Do I Start Marketing?

On social media of course. At the time of writing, Instagram and Facebook are the platforms of my choice. They are free, easy to set up, and most importantly, everyone is there all the time.

  1. Choose a name and create a logo; if you’re not creative enough, you can hire graphic designers online for as low as $5 through platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.
  2. Create a few posts talking about your product, the problem it solves, and the way it solves it. Please pleeeease make your posts look nice; you can have the most informative post, but if people can’t look at it, it won’t matter.
  3. Put some money in paid ads; Around 10KD (30$) should get you 10,000 post views.

I like to push things a bit further by building a website. Platforms like Launchrock allow you to build websites and collect emails easily; just make sure you are presenting your product well and offering a deal in return for emails i.e 1 year free subscription.

I Got a Few Hundred Followers and Tens of Emails!

Congrats! You’ve got something promising in hand. Now start building your MVP quickly; you don’t want your newly acquired customers to forget you, and more importantly, competition will soon be on your tail - don’t give them a chance.

Bonus Tip

Building a high quality MVP is detrimental for your success. You can have everyone talking about your product and waiting impatiently for its release, but if it’s not built properly, it is bound to fail.

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