When you try a recipe for the first time, verifying your assumptions is the main thing that happens. Following the recipe, you take ingredients, mix them and keep up with cooking time guidelines. This way, you validate that the recipe is correct and your dish is tasty.
The same is with a new feature or a product. When you develop an idea or improvement for an existing product, the primary action will be validating it with users. How do they perceive the innovation? Is it useful for them? Would they recommend your innovation to friends? These questions are implied in the MVP testing techniques and strategies.
The article below discusses the proven ways to verify your product’s market value. Thus, you can choose one or several of them that suit your business goals best and test your MVP.
What is an MVP?
A minimum viable product (MVP) means a workable version of the product with the minimum features or one primary function. It is released to prove that the idea or a product is valuable to potential customers. An MVP can be rolled out to the market with the main functionality and tested with early adopters.
The principle of the build-measure-learn loop in creating and testing your MVP is fundamental. It means that an MVP is open to constant experiments and enhancements.
Below is the video that explains what an MVP is and how your business idea benefits from testing it.
Why is it important to test an idea?
An MVP development service includes the essential features that require less cost and time for development. Testing it with real users gives you valuable insights into how you can improve your product. So, after trying your minimum viable product, you get the following outcomes:
- Less cost for development;
- Faster time to market;
- Early changes and improvements to the idea;
- Creating the initial user base of your product;
- Attracting investors with a tested MVP.
Therefore, creating and testing an MVP allows you to see its business potential at the earliest stage. Thus, you put less effort than with a full-fledged product.
A successful project comes from what you like, what people need, and what you can create. Understanding these points comes through testing with real users. They will try your product and give you insights on improving it.
The basic idea behind MVP testing
MVP testing is like approaching people down the hallway and asking them to try your product. You can ask people about the usability and features you included in your product's test version. For this, create tasks for them and observe how they tackle the problems. This process helps to validate if you need to change the flow and user interface elements.
For accurate results, ask people who know very little about your product. Thus, you will get a frank and unbiased opinion on your solution.
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10 best ways to test an MVP
There are various means to check how adopters like your MVP. Below we discuss the most common MVP testing approaches that help discover the demand and improvements. Let’s see what they are.
1. Customer interviews
Customer interviews are the best MVP testing method and a powerful weapon for collecting information. They give you an understanding that you might not be able to get with other approaches. Getting feedback from those who will use your product is the best way of MVP testing.
With user feedback, you will know your target audience's pains using your product. Moreover, you can discover if the value you intend to offer with your MVP works well for real users.
How can you reach the right audience for a review? For this, you can collect a database of customers online and offer them to test your MVP. Then, describe the bottlenecks they face while using it.
After that, ask users to grade each problem and tell if the MVP solves them. Note the answers to get a full view of the users’ responses. Thus, you will gain precious validation results that will help you improve your product.
There are a few notes to improve your customer interviews:
- Begin with easier notes, and then ask for more complex issues;
- Ask open-ended questions that invoke customers to reason their answers;
- Indicate the possible problems to get feedback on them;
- When you describe your MVP, focus on its value rather than promoting it;
- Be neutral with respondents not to influence their answers;
- Record answers to listen again if you need it.
In addition, you can ask adopters what issues your product solves and what features would be nice to have in the future. There is a chance that assumed and actual issues will differ when you test your MVP. Still, you get excellent information that will help enhance your solution.
In our practice, we also rely on customer reviews to know better how our products serve. For example, when we created an initial version of the referral management software for RefDental, customers left their feedback.
Thanks to customers’ reviews, we understood that the solution needs improvements. So, we added a new platform role, namely the patient, and a convenient booking system. Check the video below to see how the final solution works.
Crowdfunding means getting finances for your product idea from small investments of many people. Creators explain their startup ideas and provide a plan of how they will use the money raised under the campaign.
How can you use crowdfunding to test an MVP? The indicator is the amount offered by people. The more considerable the amount, the more people are interested in your minimum viable product.
There are many platforms, like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, that help startups get contributions from people. Aspiring entrepreneurs hold hundreds of campaigns on such platforms. So, your idea must be compelling enough for people to contribute to it.
In addition to the above platforms, you can promote your idea on the following sites:
An example of the successful use of this method is Pebble E-Paper Watch. They nailed it on Kickstarter as the first watch at an affordable cost. They raised over $10 million in less than 40 days thanks to their value and marketing approach.
Pre-orders are a method of MVP testing similar to crowdfunding. The difference is that pre-order investments will return to users as a product. Pre-order investments are used for the development and release of a minimum viable product. The paying interest shows the growth potential for the product.
This approach was used by Oculus, a billion-dollar company producing VR headsets and providing digital entertainment services. They started with a pre-order page suggesting a kit that was in production. The interest was so viral that the project went to Kickstarter and raised $250,000 on the first day. The company still uses the pre-order approach for new product releases to market.
Related reading: Minimum Viable Product Design: How to Build a Successful MVP
4. Explainer videos
If you want your adopters to understand the value of the offered product, the best option is to show it and one of the ways to test it.
With an explainer video, you highlight the value and features of your product and outline how it works. Thus, you let customers interested in your product decide whether they are eager to use it or not. Check the number of sign-ups following the explainer video. This way, you’ll see how many people need your MVP.
This is how Dropbox acted in the beginning. They created a short video describing what Dropbox is and how it works.
The product idea was perfect at the right time and with potential customers. The number of sign-ups reached from 5000 to 75,000 sign-ups overnight, measuring MVP success. The product resonated with the audience's needs even being under development.
When creating explainer videos, make sure they point out the pros of your MVP. One of the reasons why Dropbox worked so well was showing what you could reach with the app. Dropbox is not just a file-synchronization app. It gives speed and convenience in your work or daily communications.
You can upload explainer videos on Youtube and TikTok to get organic views from new customers.
5. Landing pages
Startups put a lot of effort into connecting with the target audience. So, the best way to show your MVP to potential users is a landing page. It demonstrates the primary features of your product. Also, it allows you to gather users’ emails and contact them in case you need more information.
Landing pages are helpful for MVP testing because they include only the basic features you need to present to your audience. Also, landing pages help to collect important metrics that show the level of engagement in your product. With a landing page, you can do the following:
- Offer several versions of your product;
- Offer different subscription plans;
- Ask about how your MVP solves users’ problems.
Getting these insights will help you to move on with your MVP. For instance, it was the case for Buffer, which started as a landing page. This social media marketing tool focused first on scheduling posts on Twitter. Later, it expanded features and social media coverage.
Keep in mind that you need to make SEO optimization of your landing pages so that they rank higher in search engines. Also, it is helpful to promote your page with personalized ads and content to attract more customers.
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6. A/B tests
A/B testing is a marketing MVP testing technique allowing you to test two different versions of your product. It is also called split testing. The approach uses customer data and verifies whether a feature or product appeals to the audience.
When performing A/B testing, consider the following aspects:
- Choose only one validation parameter at a time for A/B testing;
- Select the primary indicator that you want to test and the assumptions on the result;
- Decide to split the traffic between two versions randomly or equally;
- Choose the MVP success metric to understand where your product performs well.
Conducting A/B tests, remember that you need to compare statistically significant data. If version B performs better in one parameter, also check other data. The rates, such as bounce rate, conversion rate, or frequency of use, give you a complete picture of what version is better. You can use Optimizely or Google Analytics to measure these key metrics.
Related reading: POC vs MVP: What to Choose to Build a Great Product
7. Concierge MVPs
Concierge MVPs give a tailor-made experience to a specific number of customers. That is why such a customized MVP is called “concierge”. The assumption tested in such MVPs is whether the supposed customers are ready to pay for the suggested services.
Food on the Table used this MVP validation approach to test their idea. The app suggests recipes and grocery stores with the best deals based on your food preferences.
When the idea of offering cheap and tasty food was under testing, the founder, Manuel Rosso, would do the work himself. He suggested people to participate in the experiment, asking them what they would like to eat. Then, Manuel would create shopping lists, find coupons, and choose recipes. The founder automated the process when he received a positive response to his endeavors.
8. Single-feature MVPs
In the case of an MVP, you can focus on a single feature rather than a set of them. This is an excellent approach as it helps you to reduce development time and costs. Moreover, you focus on a narrow target audience before developing a final product.
A single-feature MVP also lets customers focus on the value of the product. That’s what makes this MVP testing strategy excellent. For example, Foursquare used it. The first and only feature of Foursquare was checking in the social networks with the current location.
The benefits of using single-feature MVPs are as follows:
- Saving time and costs for development;
- Narrowing down the tested audience;
- Ease of testing.
After testing one feature, you can add more functionality to your MVP in app development.
9. Social media microsurveys
Social media have become an integral part of our lives, helping us to share novelties with our friends and loved ones. It would be great to use this opportunity and test a business model.
Typically, microsurveys consist of two to three questions. Answers from social media users will help you understand if they need the feature or product you offer. As microsurveys are concise, users are eager to respond to them, and you will receive prompt results for the MVP test.
With millions of social media users, you get massive coverage of potential customers. Compared to other survey approaches, microsurveys deliver the needed user feedback fast and in full. For example, Facebook surveys have an option that enables users to add their answers.
Before testing your MVP with microsurveys, discover what social media your target audience uses. Thus, you will reach your potential customers improving the results of your survey.
Google and Facebook platforms help track demographics with ad campaigns. Also, with the services, you can achieve the exact target audience you need. Thus, you can discover what MVP features and benefits appeal to your potential customers the most.
For example, you can follow these steps when you use Google Ads to achieve the best testing results:
- Build a simple landing page with a description of your MVP and its incentives for users;
- Create a regular campaign on Google Ads;
- Use keywords that users will target searching for your product or service;
- Run ads in the market area where your MVP will be available;
- Set a price per ad affordable for you.
Thanks to click-through rate and conversion data, you will know where are the strong points of your MVP. Stable traffic in response to your ad campaigns means that people are ready to pay for your final product or service.
At the start, Facebook and Google even offer money to test the campaigns. So, you will have a base where to begin.
Related reading: Custom Software Development for Startups: 6 Tips to Save Costs
Codica’s experience in testing MVPs
MVP has become one of the best business practices as it has proven its viability. When customers come to us with new ideas, we advise them to start with an MVP.
This primary version of a product is easy to develop and takes fewer resources than a full-fledged solution.
Assessing the business idea value during discovery
How do we start with the MVP testing process? Each project begins with the product discovery phase. This is a development stage when our team discusses the business background of the project with a client.
Project discovery sessions help us reveal the project's commercial goals, target audience, as well as MVP strengths, and weaknesses. Based on the discovery results, we plan the development of the product. For example, the video below shows what the discovery phase is and what we discuss at this crucial stage.
We create a set of documents during product discovery, and digital prototypes constitute a part of those documents. Digital prototypes present the user experience (UX) and basic functionality of the MVP. They are clickable and look like an actual solution but without visuals.
After discovery sessions, our customers get business estimates and prototypes on-hand. So they can gather initial feedback from their target audience. Another option is to build an MVP and collect user feedback.
MVP testing with real users
That was the case with the fitness progressive web application that Codica created. This solution helps connect trainers and clients and assign personal fitness programs.
After discussions with the customer, our team decided to build an MVP and allowed users to test it. Upon feedback from trainers and their clients, we improved the accessibility of the search function. So, it became available among all programs, workouts, or nutrition plans. Also, we made the nutrition tool more flexible. We enriched it with meal list sorting and calorie calculating capabilities.
To get a feel of the fitness app, check the video below presenting its full-fledged mobile version.
Codica’s approach to MVP development and testing
When we start working on each project, we carefully analyze the project requirements and business goals. Therefore, the functionality we include is optimized and offers the best user experience. Check our portfolio to see the MVP projects we have delivered.
Nevertheless, there is always room for perfection. So, if our customer gathers feedback and needs improvements in the MVP, we are eager to help with that. After all, the build-measure-learn loop offers ways to improve the final product.
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Testing an MVP is a versatile task that embraces different techniques. Moving through the building and testing steps, you test and discover what customers like about your project. These efforts take resources, but in the end, they bring positive results and help your business evolve.
If you need a reliable team that knows how to develop and test an MVP, contact us. Our experts are eager to help you with your tasks to build you a successful product.