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To sew a dress, you first need to make a rough version of it and try it on, then fix the style and make the product fit perfectly. This “fitting” in IT is known as the MVP: minimum viable product. Before building a large-scale product, consider developing and testing a product with the bare minimum of features. How can you test a product idea? What are the best ways to test an MVP? In this article, we’ll discuss the process of testing the MVP and taking it through the different stages, from an idea to a prepared basic version.
What is an MVP?
The MVP, or minimum viable product, is a test version of a product or a service with basic functionality, which brings value to the consumer. The purpose of creating an MVP is to test hypotheses, check the viability of a product and understand how valuable and relevant it will be in the market. To learn more about how to create an MVP, read our comprehensive guide. Here are some of the main features of an MVP:
Why do you need to test the MVP?
Launching a product on the market without testing the idea is a significant risk. The test results of a minimum viable product and the resulting user feedback can help you understand whether it’s worth developing the project. Here is the result you get after testing your MVP:
- changes that should be made to the testing strategy;
- good decisions related to the current product;
- less mistakes;
- product improvement;
- saved money in comparison with a full-fledged project launch.
Ways to test the MVP
Fortunately, there are many effective ways to test an MVP. We have described the most popular and effective ones. We hope that you can apply them to your project to make a high quality product and avoid serious mistakes.
1. Customer interviews
Purpose: to test a business hypothesis and get acquainted with the target audience.
The purpose of an interview is to gather information about the problem that your product solves. An interview shouldn’t sell the product but explain its value. As a follow-up to this process, you can list all the problems that the product solves and show this list to customers, ask them for their opinions and rank the issues found. These interviews can provide you with helpful information. Even if you eventually realize that the previously identified problems aren’t important for customers, you will have data on hand to help you build a good proposal.
2. Social media micro-surveys
Purpose: to find out the preferences of your potential clients.
Modern audiences love novelty. Many social media users can participate in your surveys about the product you intend to create. You can run a Facebook ad campaign or create a full-fledged Instagram account to communicate with users. This will help potential customers get used to your presence in the media space. What’s even more important is that they will start to communicate with you and tell you what they want from the product.
3. Landing page MVP
Purpose: to build an interested client base.
A landing page is the first page that users and potential users will visit on their way to your product. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate the product’s features and attract the audience. At the same time, a landing page can be a strategic step for your product and act as the “MVP of an MVP.” Make landing pages more than an email collection tool: add a page with pricing plans so that users can choose something suitable. By interacting with the website, potential customers will not only demonstrate their interest in the product, but will provide you with the information about the most appropriate pricing models.
Purpose: to establish contact with people and share the uniqueness of your project.
Blogging is a great way to conduct target market research with minimal effort. First, you can post about the progress of the project. Share your work progress and demonstrate the achievements and challenges you managed to overcome to get closer to and engage with customers. Second, a blog will allow you to gather a warm audience, ready for buying, even when the product isn’t ready yet. In the future, this will help you quickly launch sales and rapidly acquire customers for your new products.
5. Ad campaigns
Purpose: to find a suitable niche and start selling the product.
Platforms like Google and Facebook allow you to track demographics and target the exact audience of your interest. You can find out which features and aspects of your product are most popular with your target customers. These services allow you to collect click-through-rate and conversion data that can be useful in determining the overall idea of the product and its functionality.
Purpose: to have more development opportunities and find reliable supporters.
Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo provide an excellent opportunity for MVP testing. There are numerous MVPs collected on these websites. There, you can measure the market interest by the visitors’ donations. Thus, you can gain valuable knowledge and raise money for product development at the same time. Moreover, you acquire a group of interested and actively involved clients. They invest in your product, which means you will get feedback and some free advertising as well.
7. A/B testing
Purpose: to understand what works best for your clients.
A/B tests are helpful for checking the effectiveness of changes made to products or marketing ideas. A/B tests will allow you to test two different versions of a page or a newsletter to determine the best option through user interactions. Some of your visitors will see version A, while the rest will see version B. Using analytics tools such as Optimizely or Google Analytics, you can measure the key metrics of each version: bounce rate, conversion rate and frequency of use to determine which option is best.
8. Single feature MVP
Purpose: to start fast and test your idea without additional effort.
It’s often reasonable to focus on a single feature of your MVP. This will save development time and make it easier for users to focus on the main purpose of the product. Constraints help reduce the initial number of users and allow you to focus on running app tests and checking market viability. At the same time, you won’t be distracted by additional tasks like supporting numerous mobile platforms or developing a web version.
9. SaaS and PaaS
Purpose: to start communicating with the audience and study the market.
Instead of investing in flexible server architecture, you can rely on online services and platforms. Services like Mailchimp, Google Forms and even WordPress can be helpful in usability tests. These platforms will simplify your development process and accelerate the time to market for your MVP. You will have all the necessary tools at your disposal, and it will be easier to launch an MVP. You also won’t have to work on additional issues like cross-browser compatibility, mobile design or code optimization.
10. Digital prototypes
Purpose: to show people a product and find out if there is a need for it.
With the help of mockups, wireframes and prototypes, you can demonstrate product functionality under realistic conditions. These digital prototypes can be low-level, such as sketches or screenshots. However, modern technologies allow you to make them detailed and create versions of apps that mimic the real user experience. Clients will see a product close to the final version and better understand its main functions.
MVP testing will help you in finding out the strengths and weaknesses of the project, as well as getting new development opportunities and eradicating threats. After that, your work on the full version will be much more intentional and focused, and the result will meet user expectations. If you need help in building and testing an MVP, contact us. We will gladly guide you through the process of product creation from the idea to the product’s launch.