This story is part of our journey as a startup. There is plenty of tools out there. How do you choose the right one? I hear already “we don’t have the budget”, “we should focus on our product.”
All of this is right. Although there are tools that can help you get feedback and reach your users faster, you shouldn’t neglect them.
We have been preparing our launch. My co-founder has been programming and I have been occupied by the business/traction side. As a product manager, I always find the best way to get feedback as much as I can.
So in my quest to find new tools to be more efficient, I always ask myself:
How can we get the best value out of it?
Feedback is always important in the process of delivering the right product. Although when you start building an MVP, your request for feedback is almost vital to validate your assumptions. I have done some MVP trials in the past and the problem is always the same: it’s a burden for your users to do. I don’t blame them, they also have businesses to run. Unfortunately even I don’t have the time to do it for my contacts.
Although, as the person responsible for the product, you know that is quite important to get feedback on new features/products. It helps you to validate your hypothesis and assumptions and improve your product before the launch.
The next question is how can you get this feedback without it being a burden to your users and get it the smartest way possible.
How do you get feedback the smartest way possible?
You may notice that your beta testers give you the answers you are generally looking for, which is not helpful. The real answers you want, are the ones you can’t see, the ones that are hiding from you. The only way to find them is to observe your users while they are not looking. Unfortunately, by building a SaaS product you don’t really know where your users are and when they are going to use your product.
I looked for tools which could help me get feedback without having to witness the actions of my users.
Here are the three useful tools that we are going to use for our beta. Every startup should know them!
1) Hotjar: Getting feedback without asking
Hotjar is the first tool on this list. In a nutshell, it records every visit of your users and creates a video with all their actions. By using it, it will be like you are looking over their shoulder.
The video records every movement of the mouse so it helps you understand the focus of your user on your site.
Their free plan is perfect when you are a startup. It allows you to record 2000 page views. The time per session is not limited, you will just be limited by the total page views of all your videos.
I talk here about page views and videos. You have to keep that in mind that a video can be multiple page views.
A Little trick: It’s 2000 page views for all videos, it’s a limit not a through time. If you go on Hotjar and delete the videos which are useless, it will free up space for more videos.
2) Intercom: One database for your customer relations
Intercom will help you track all the information about your users. All the people that connect to your app will be registered under one record on Intercom. From there, you can check their information, see their last visit and the number of web sessions.
This database is free until you use their other products. As they say, it’s free forever. You can send other information to their API. The data is not limited to what they defined, you can add as many custom attributes as you want.
Intercom can help you also onboard your users by sending emails to them automatically under conditions, educate and support them. You will have to pay an amount per user to access those features.
A Little trick: Try to link all the details that you need to review the list of users and make buckets by profiling their usage. In Intercom, it’s called “Segment” of users and you can tag them to retrieve them easily later. Those segments can be used to send emails and notifications automatically on your app.
3) Facebook group: Gather and start a community
The last tool I will be using the beta is a Facebook group. As a product manager, I want to create a community from the beginning and create a movement around my product. Facebook is an undervalued asset nowadays for Product Managers. It’s pretty sure you will find people who are on your target.
Your beta testers have a certain profile so they have certain things in common. By uniting them under one group, they can help each other and ask questions, which can be helpful for everyone.
It’s also a good way for you to create a connection other than by email. We assume that all our users have a Facebook profile/page, so for us, it was the best and easiest way to communicate with them.
+1 is Mailchimp (updated)
With the release of the free automation tool, Mailchimp is back in the game for small companies and startups that are just launching their app. You can use the tool to attract your community and keep them in the loop of your changes and also prepare them for the launch of your product.
Obviously, we don’t use MailChimp for one to one feedback, we use our personal email (next point). We use it as a help for all the users that connect to the website and register to use our app. With all the updates on automation and templates, Mailchimp is back to help all the communities.
Just build it once and don’t think about it…
Didn’t talk about EMAIL :O
Aside from those 3+1 tools, I still use my email to contact my users and check with them if everything is alright. I didn’t mention email because it was too obvious for me.
Take care of your beta users the best way you can and try to find what motivates them to help you.
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What do you use for your MVP? What do you use to validate your ideas an evolve from it? I would like to exchange with you on it and learn more.
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