In part one of our series, we’ll examine how to conduct the research necessary to decide whether or not your app idea really has what it takes to go the distance.
How To Bring a Killer App Idea Into Reality: This six-part series is designed to give a basic roadmap on how to get your app into the hands of the people whose lives you want to improve. Whether you just have an app idea floating in your head, or a team of coders ready to go, you’ve come to the right spot.
So, Is Your App Idea Worth Its Weight In Gold?💰
Validating Your App Idea Overview
Launching an app is like opening a new restaurant: You have to cater to the tastes of your customers.
You might be the world’s foremost connoisseur of peanut butter, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should open a restaurant with peanut butter in every dish. Investing your time, money, and effort into building a product that nobody wants is a surefire recipe for disappointment.
This is why performing market research for your killer app idea is such a crucial first step. Market research makes sure that you and your potential customers are aligned in your goals. With this research-foot forward, your audience is more likely to be satisfied with your app, enabling you to pursue promising opportunities. In order to judge whether your idea has legs, however, you’ll have to do a lot more than a quick poll around the dinner table.
Three Simple Steps on How To Validate Your App Idea
1. Create Research Reports
2. Conduct Early Surveys & Interviews
3. Leverage Landing Pages
Step 1) Create Research Reports
For many entrepreneurs, the best place to get started researching is a familiar one: Google.
In order to judge your idea’s potential for product/market fit, tools like Google Trends and Google Ads Keyword Planner can help you understand how popular a particular topic is and how its demand and interest have changed over time. Exploring relevant forums and social media sites by searching them for keywords associated with your product can also help you monitor the conversations happening right now, or over time.
Are people asking specific questions related to your product idea? Are people across the net complaining about a lack of a solution to a similar problem? Diving deep into all the online conversations around your concept, and documenting the results in a report, is a great way to gather key anecdotes and get a clear snapshot of the potential interest in your new app.
Once you’ve made certain that your concept is a viable one, take a look at your prospective rivals. Search through the App Store and Google Play to see how well your competitors’ apps are performing in terms of rank and consistency.
Then make a short list of your closest competitors. Websites like Product Hunt, CrunchBase, and Linkedin can give you information about the details of those companies, such as their followings, how much traction they have, and how much funding they have raised so far.
Finally, map out each app’s features and business models so you can see exactly how your idea is different, as well as how it is the same, and then you can determine ways to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Now that you understand more about the trends surrounding your product concept through online research and have sized up the potential competition, it’s time to delve into the mind of your consumer.
Step 2) Conduct Early Surveys & Interviews
You might already have an inkling of who your app’s customer base will be, but market research surveys can help you uncover new and valuable information about your audience.
In the course of your interviews, be sure to formulate a crystal clear answer to each of these key questions:
🤔 Who is your audience?
Casting a narrow net might gain you the loyalty of a niche market in search of the perfect app, while a wider audience offers a greater pool of users.
👥 What does your audience truly want?
The most successful apps are those that clearly solve a certain problem or overcome a significant challenge. Trying to address too many pain points right off the bat will cause you to end up with a watered-down product.
📲 How will your audience use your app?
You need to understand your audience’s current workflow for solving your target problem in comparison to what their ideal workflow would look like. Focus on the parts of their workflow that are slow, inefficient, or extraneous and brainstorm how you can simplify them.
The most successful apps are those that clearly solve a certain problem or overcome a significant challenge.
There are a variety of ways to get survey data and interview data beyond the dining room table. One unique way to get feedback is using social media platforms like Instagram, which allows simple Yes/No polling in its Stories feature. You could make a post that features your new app, and ask people if they are interested in learning more about it.
Here’s a nice article on six creative ways to use Instagram Story polls.
Facebook allows multiple choice polling from personal or brand pages and in groups (which may be the best way to do it). You could ask your social network how they might engage with your new app idea. The multiple choice answers could reflect the variety of reactions you anticipate users would feel. This gives you hard data to show potential investors. Keep in mind, the wider the net of participation is, the stronger the data will be.
Twitter also allows polling on its platform for as short as five minutes and as long as seven days. After the Twitter poll expires, the most popular answer appears in bold, time stamped and dated. Consider tweeting at influencers who may be interested in using your new app idea. One retweet from an influential source can go a long way for brand recognition, and you may get a few suggestions from those accounts or their followers.
If you have a substantial email list, develop a survey for free on a site like SurveyMonkey and send out a blast email inviting your entire network to complete it. Incentivize their participation by offering them beta-access to your new app, or in some other form, e.g., Amazon gift cards, iTunes credit, best friendship-status, etc. Long-form surveys like the ones SurveyMonkey offers give you a wide net of in-depth questions, and reels in not only multiple choice answers, but also fill-in-the-blank feedback which is more personalized and nuanced.
If you’re like us, you probably use Slack quite a bit, so here are some options for Slack channels you might join for a chance to get feedback on your ideas.
Lastly, do not forget the power of good-old-fashioned person-to-person communication. Ask around in your workplace, throw out a question to a circle of people at a social event, attend functions related to your product’s market, and consider geographic locations that your demographic may frequent.
For example, if I was building an app that offered price-comparisons for movie tickets, it might not be a bad idea for me to post up outside movie theatres and politely ask patrons on their way in or out about whether or not they would appreciate that type of service.
It is easy to incentivize people with something as simple as a free sticker (another branding opportunity), or perhaps a coupon for the establishment they’re headed into (if you have a promo budget).
Grabbing a few minutes of somebody’s time in real life and recording it via a digital survey on a tablet, or voice recordings which you can amass (and playback for investors) can pay off in dividends because it provides deeper insight into your potential customer base and their desires.
Talking to people allows for real time Q&A and enhances the level of data you can pull from your potential user base.
Now that you’re armed with all the intel you can gather, you need to have a place to send them.
Step 3) Leverage Landing Pages
After validating your idea through initial research and interviews, creating a landing page is a great first step toward putting your idea into action.
Landing pages are a cheap and easy way to further judge the viability of your concept without investing unnecessary effort into building the product. To get started, purchase a website domain name (or skip this if you want to be super lean, there are free ways to publish a landing page) and put up a single page with a short, clean, 30-second “elevator pitch” about your app.
Sites such as ThemeForest have a variety of attractive and professional WordPress website themes that you can use to get up and running quickly. There are also many quick and easy drag-and-drop based landing page creators you can check out such as Lead Pages, Squarespace, or Unbounce.
The landing page should include a text and image based elevator pitch (or video if you’re feeling really fancy), and generally present as if the app is already available, e.g. describing its main selling points. Include a call to action form asking visitors to provide their email addresses in exchange for early access to your app. This list of emails will be highly valuable later as leverage for finding beta testers and early users. Note: You’ll want to follow up with anyone who subscribes for your app and let them know you’re still developing the product but that they are top of the list for early access “coming soon”.
Now that your landing page has launched, promote it organically across all your social channels, post in every forum that feels relevant, ask your friends to share, and even consider running an ad campaign on a popular platform such as Google Ads or Facebook.
The objective here is to attract targeted visitors, people who are potentially qualified and likely users of your app, and not only to capture their emails for later follow up, but also to capture their behavior on your landing page using services like Google Analytics. Use this to find out how many of them are clicking through, and from where the traffic is coming from, to get an idea of how many people are potentially interested in your app idea.
For a deeper dive on how to successfully use landing pages to validate an idea, check out this article.
Now that you’ve researched your market, analyzed your competition, listened to your potential customers, and made a place to bring them, you are ready for Part Two: Finalize Your Mobile App Pitch and Find the Funds which will help guide you towards answering the following big questions:
What Am I Going to Build?
How Do I Get Funding?
What’s in the First Release?
Having trouble getting your big idea off the ground? Let us help you with the heavy lifting!
The Dropsource team of mobile app experts is here to help you strategize, design, and build powerful mobile apps that delight. Get in touch with us for a free consultation to see how we can help bring your killer app idea to life.