How to develop a solid marketing strategy

2016-06-09

When you start working on a new product, how do you know your audience and how do you exactly define that the marketing strategy will work? The default definition to be used for a well targeted audience is a persona, which is also the number one activity for UX Designers. This helps especially when you want to justify the UX/UI decisions and also ensure a product that has a purpose for a real person.

In better words, UX/UI helps you define who your customers are and what they want to do with your product. Playing around with these defines a product strategy. But how do you test a good product strategy and how do you figure out which one is the right choice for your product? Let’s start by answering these questions:

  1. Who are your ideal users?
  2. What’s the key action you want them to do with your product?
  3. What’s the daily activity you want the users to do?
  4. How do users interact with your product while performing these tasks?

 

Your ideal users!

The most common mistake in real-life: start building a product and actually launch it before looking for an audience! How can you avoid this? Before your start working on your product, try to answer the following questions about your users:

  • Social criteria basics: age/gender (young, old, male, female, etc.)
  • Professional skill set: (designer, developer, copywriter, journalist, social media marketer)
  • Professional/personal development (student, employee, freelancer, business owner, etc.)
  • What stage of business development are they? (launching, scaling, growing, expanding, etc)
  • A certain function they perform within their business (email marketing, sales, social media marketing, etc)
  • What software products they’re already using? (This is an important question that helps you understand your competition as well)
  • Where do they hangout when online? (Facebook, Quora, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)
  • What books/blogs/websites/forums they read or participate?
  • What events/conferences/meetups do they attend? (Tech Conferences, Trade Fairs, Economic Forums, Dev Meetups, etc)

When going through these  questions you understand more about your customer. Ultimately, you should be able to create a clear vision of the product UX. If you don’t know all the answers, it’s fine. This means that you don’t know your customer well, but you have identified this issue and you can fix it.

Be able to understand certain processes like how are your customers going to pay and will they be able to. Also, know where your customers are, because this defines where you should invest in marketing, in the physical or digital world.

 

The goal of your product!

What’s that one specific goal you have in mind when creating a product? Is it enabling publishers to make online quizzes easier, is it enabling small companies to invoice easier or is it an app that enables strangers to talk to each other? With these goals in mind, always connect relevant metrics and stats. Each major goal has results/outputs and depending on the product, they may be quizzes in numbers, the number of invoices per month or number of calls per hour/day/month. There are of course other  goals that come along, but there should always be one major task that your product does.

Important to remember is that customers don’t pay for a pretty design or because they think that you are amazing. They pay or bring you many in some ways because you’ve build a product that they fall in love with and come back to use it every day. Don’t make Vitamins, make painkillers! Look at examples like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, Reddit, YouTube, Twitch, etc.

Hooked, a book by Nir Eyal, shows how to reach the ultimate goal of bringing users back again and again without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging. It’s a highly recommended book to read. When creating goals for your product always remember to have this certain cycle:

  • Trigger (you’ve managed to come to your product)
  • Action (you’ve managed to get the customer to sign-up)
  • Reward (you reward him with a free-trail for 1 month)
  • Investment (the customer pays for the service / product)

The ideal case scenario: You have this hook in place and repeat it from one customer to another. That’s your recipe for printing money.

 

Daily activity

You’ve defined your customer and you’ve defined the main goal of your product, now you need to put your hook in place. But how will users interact with your product? What processes do you have in place to trigger this? With just a few tasks put in place through a streamlined process, your product can make the much-needed difference. These tasks can be classified into three major groups: analytical, proactive and reactive. And in most cases all three of them co-exist within products.

  • Analytical – Tasks that engage the user in using a dashboard or digging into reports. Basically, they’re related to analyzing things. Examples include salesforce.com, Google Analytics, MixPanel, etc. Also, make sure to have not-to-technical or to analytically oriented product.
  • Proactive – Tasks that engage the user in creating and editing stuff. Basically, these are work related tasks. Examples include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Trello, Jira, etc. If there are no proactive reasons for the user to use your product, then he slowly disappears. (That’s why Facebook or Snapchat or others constantly roll out new updates).
  • Reactive – Handling incoming items like replying to messages, handling bugs, approving reports, etc. Examples include Zendesk, Desk.com, Crashlytics, etc. If there’s no reactive task for the user, he may easily forget it.

Daily activity is completed also through some other tasks like notifications, that have been proven as a great and powerful way to engage with users on a daily basis and get them to perform certain tasks. Apps on iOS and Android use them, while there’s a growing number of websites that are utilizing desktop notifications as well. Emailing is also a good tool, but it shouldn’t be the only one.

 

Interaction

How does the user use your product? Do they use it to collect subscribers from their website? Do they create marketing campaigns? Do they manage social media channels?  What else? These are the important question to have in mind when you think about ways how the user will interact with your product. These questions facilitate the UI that defines the objects with which the user interacts. This process is also related to onboarding, which tells the user what they’ll manage and how. (They should be easy to understand).

When creating interaction objects, ensure that you use terms of products that users know, especially if you’re building a similar tool. Research existing resources and materials: blogs, product reviews, and support channels to understand this (Quora, reddit, inbound.org and other channels help here)

 

How to develop a solid marketing strategy – Practice the process

Whenever you plan a new product, have the answer to these questions below. Once you have them, well you have a product strategy.

  • Who are your users?
  • What’s the key action you want them to do with your product?
  • What’s the daily activity you want the users to do?
  • How do users interact with your product while performing these tasks?

Apply this process and make the difference between your competition and your product.