Captain's log, stardate d19.y37/AB
In over two years and a half of existence, we have had the pleasure of working on more than thirty different projects from different sectors (fintech, social entrepreneurship, marketing, e-commerce, 3D printing, etc.) for our clients in different countries (USA, France, Germany, Spain, Finland, etc.).
From all these projects, we have learnt many lessons. One of them is that we are able to reduce the time to market for your project so you can maximise your chances of success. Read further!
Gear up! The market will not wait.
What is the time to market?
Time to market, according to Wikipedia, is:
In commerce, time to market (TTM) is the length of time it takes from a product being conceived until its being available for sale. TTM is important in industries where products are outmoded quickly.
In today's ever-changing market of apps and startups, one needs to be bold and get something out there as soon as possible. Normally, companies launch a landing page as a starting point.
This gives the following advantages & possibilities:
- You will secure the domain you want.
- You are giving information to visitors & potential visitors.
- You will start accumulating SEO ranking.
- You can collect emails through a newsletter subscription (such as Mailchimp).
- You're sending a message out to competitors.
- You can start doing marketing campaigns.
This list is - of course - not exhaustive. These are just some of the main advantages to having launched a landing page for your app.
Therefore, we can conclude that getting something out there can only bring benefits to your company. Even more so, if you can use this landing page to collect data about your potential customers and use this feedback to iterate your product. We should, at all costs, listen to our customers.
To sum up, as Reid Hoffman (Founder of LinkedIn) put it, if you're not ashamed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late.
Here's what we can do for you to start attracting clients for your company in four steps.
Step #1: Landing page
The first thing you should do is to get a landing page up and running. You can either do it yourself with services such as Strikingly, SquareSpace or even Wordpress. You can have a landing page in literally just a few minutes.
Or else, you can have us develop a custom landing page for you. In our last blog entry, we taught you how to create fast, secure and SEO-oriented landing pages.
A landing page will be useful to attract the first visitors to your project. We recommend that you launch a landing page as soon as you've got an idea for an app or a project, as it will help you to validate that idea with real users.
How to market your app at this point:
- Get a landing page up & running that explains what is your app and how does it solve your users' necessities.
- Collect e-mails & send them regular updates on the state of development.
- Create your social media profiles & start interacting with prospective users.
Step #2: A navigable concept of your app
Every project needs to be defined in terms of functionalities and the general look & feel of the platform. In this initial phase, which we call unsurprisingly definition phase, we also drill down to how every page & workflow will look like and react to the user. This is where we define the user experience (UX).
After the aforementioned definition phase, we go into the layouts phase, where we chop the design (from .psd and .sketch files) to HTML/CSS files. In this phase, we set up a design server where we upload a navigable version of the app. This only contains fake data & placeholders, and there's no real processing: everything is simulated.
This will not only help our clients to browse through and get a real tangible thing of how it will look like when it's finished, as opposed to working with wireframes or mockups, but it can be used to show the progress they're making to investors, shareholders or other departments.
How to market your app at this point:
- Update your landing page & place screenshots of your app to start generating hype.
- Send your users regular updates on the state of development through the newsletter.
- Start pitching at startup events/contests. You can include screenshots in your slides.
Step #3: A test server for demos
Once we have completed the layouts phase, we start developing each screen. We usually try to tackle the main workflows & screens first, and we implement the functionalities enclosed in each one.
Once a page is implemented, we upload it to a second server that we use for test & demos, usually called development server.
This way, the client can see the state of development in real time. They can also see the real progress by checking our Trello boards and the other management tools we use, as we explained in our previous entry How to Handle Client Work Remotely: Our Communication Stack.
This development server can be used - again - for internal demos or to pitch investors & potential partners. But by having the implemented functionalities & workflows, our clients can also use them for training or for QA.
How to market your app at this point:
- You can use this server to do alpha/beta testing with a reduced set of users.
- You can create videos of the navigation or usage of the platform to post on blog posts or social media.
- You can demo this in pitching contests or the keynotes/conferences.
Step #4: Joint Marketing actions
We are a development consultancy and as such, our main focus is to develop the best projects for our clients.
However, by working with so many talented clients & partners, we have learnt a thing or two about marketing. We can provide real value here to our clients by conducting joint marketing actions.
We usually advise them on how to market their product and how to make the best out of it from a technological standpoint, but as a consultancy, we also bring the business expertise.
First of all, we are the organisers of Startup Grind Barcelona, a monthly event that garners over 100 people every edition. As a client, you might want to come to the event to mingle with entrepreneurs and pitch it on the open mic session we do. Furthermore, you might want to sponsor the event or partner with us and leverage that position to reach a broader audience.
Second, we run the Barcelona Startups community on Slack. A free & open community for entrepreneurs and startups based in Barcelona. We're over 430 members helping one another, discussing events, technology and even Pokémon Go! This is another community our clients might want to tap into.
Third, we also like to track how the users interact with our clients' apps. We use Google Analytics and their tagging system to keep track of the users' actions. We also combine it with Google Webmaster Tools & other SEO-friendly best practices (schema.org, Facebook Open Graph, Twitter Cards, etc.) to make sure your web app ranks better in the main search engines.
Besides these main actions, we've done other minor things that have worked well in the past:
- Used our strong global network to make warm introductions to key people.
- Get our clients to talk in conferences or industry events.
- We have promoted their apps in our Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook accounts.
- We have helped one of our clients to apply for public funding.
- We have advised our clients on their pitch deck when they're raising funds.
Every project news bring ideas on the table, so let's explore this together!
These are only some of the services we offer to our clients, to maximise their chances of success with their startups and apps.
If you would like to hear more about this, drop us a line and we'll contact you for a free quote of your app idea.