Design, development and deployment. These are topics that we discussed in the last part of our Startup series. We have also shed some light on how to easily and effectively create and use forms and surveys, mockups and wireframes. In this week’s Startup series, we are going to be going into detail about social tools, marketing, and minimum viable product, as well as presentation and beta-testing. Read on, for the next 5 steps in your startup path.
Nowadays, it’s all about social networking – digitally of course. There’s a wide range of social networks, that your business can and should use, whether to present yourself on more platforms or to support your customers. This should naturally be done with analyzable goals and targets, which need to be tracked and managed. With the tools below, you can do just that:
Hootsuite is the world’s most widely used social relationship platform, with more than 10 million users in 175+ countries. Use Hootsuite to manage your social media programs across multiple social networks from one integrated dashboard.
Identify and analyze online conversations about your brand, product, and competition. Easy to use, reliable and cost-effective. Follow-up on positive comments from your brand ambassadors, or respond to a dissatisfied customer before the story gets ahead of you. Brand24 can be used as a source of analysis and reports about your target group, displaying data on its behavior and trends associated with it.
MVP(Minimum viable product)
The MVP theory hasn’t been around that long but startups are employing this strategy as it is very cost-effective. Create a minimum viable product or service, give it to the people and see what they do with it and think about it. Collect valuable feedback and then modify the product accordingly, instead of wasting months and years on developing something that is already “perfect” on launch. With these tools, you’ll have your MVP in no time:
QuickMVP uses a super simple technique to help you validate a new startup idea in literally 5 minutes. It’s the only software that combines a Landing Page Builder with a Google Ad Creator in one tool. If you’re looking for something simple, this is the right place for you.
Marvel is a free prototyping and collaboration tool that lets designers transform their files into interactive, sharable prototypes viewable on any device and get feedback. It enables designers to present and test their work on any device in just a few clicks.
Remember how we talked about market research? This is the continuation of that step. How you handle the marketing of your startup, is how you handle its whole image and the message you want to bring across to your customers and/or clients. Communication, support, visibility, branding….we could go on, but if you really think about it, everything is marketing. The following tools can help you – in some ways – to achieve your goals:
MailChimp helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results. It’s like your own personal publishing platform. MailChimp also offers a variety of plug-ins for other programs. Utilizing an open API, Mailchimp allows you to integrate it with PayPal, Google Analytics, Shopify, and more.
SumoMe is a web-based platform providing a suite of free online tools that can be used to grow its users’ website’s traffic. It provides tools that will make it easy for your readers to join your email list, share your articles and optimize with analytics. The free tools include:
- List Builder will let you create a fancy lightbox pop up to build email subscriptions.
- Heat Maps help you see where people are clicking (or not) on your website.
- Scroll Box is an email collection box triggered by how far your reader makes it down the screen.
For more tools – free and paid – visit Sumome’s website market.
All ideas need proper testing, for some, you need a lot more people than your team can probably offer, so what do you do? Hire beta-testers of course. These early users, whether paid or not(in case of friends), will make sure that you know about every little bug, as well as visual or functional problems well before you officially launch your product. If you don’t have access to bigger groups of willing people, try these platforms to find your perfect testing team:
BetaList has previously covered startups such as Pinterest, IFTTT and Mailbox before they launched and made it big. They provide pre-launch startups with their first hundred users. Their aim is to help startup founders better understand their customer through qualitative and quantitative research so they can make sure they are building the right product for the market.
ErliBird is an early adopter and beta testing community with 40,000+ real-world users. For Android, iOS apps, websites, and tech gadgets with real-world tech lovers.
Erlibird is the site where early adopters can discover innovative new technology and help shape today’s best tech startups. Their community is made of influential tech consumers, founders, journalists & investors.
Who doesn’t like a good presentation? And who doesn’t NEED a good presentation? Not everyone likes making or even watching presentations, but we can assure you, that a startup will need at least a few of these in the course of building itself up. Investors and other potential partners will need to see, what your idea is all about and you need to deliver the message with style and elegance. If you’re not a Powerpoint fan, try these web tools:
Slidebean is an easy-to-use, web-based platform for building presentations. Their interface takes your content and it automatically formats it to create a great looking result. If you share your presentation through Slidebean you’ll be able to track who saw it, what percentage of the content they viewed and how much time they spent on each slide, making it ideal for tracking investor activity.
Infogr.am is an easy app for creating infographics on the web. You can build real-time, interactive, beautiful, shareable, embeddable and downloadable infographics using more than 30 chart types, text objects, videos, images and maps. No programming or design skills needed.
And that’s all the advice for this part of our Startup series. As always, share your opinions and your own tips on these topics in the comments below and stay tuned for the next part, in which we will take a look at launching demos, supporting customers and analytics.