Launch & Test
Without effective marketing, your product will fail. It’s time to take all the feedback that you’ve received to this point and translating that into actionable outreach.
The speed at which you can capture, measure and analyze all the data is what determines your ability to respond to market and user conditions.
Having the right tools in place to get user feedback, as it’s happening, so that it feedback back into Step 2 is the goal.
1 : ONLINE MARKETING
Reaching your users online is cost-effective and measurable. We will be expanding on best practices and diving into the details in later posts on the site, but for now, here are a few tools that we find helpful. For an introduction to online marketing, check out Google’s Insights on multi-screen experiences and planning tools.
MOZ SEO TOOLS
A great set of both free and paid tools to help you dig into your current performance and improve your ranking.
2: EMAIL MARKETING
Reaching your users in their inbox is a requirement. From welcome campaigns to periodic updates, users expect you to communicate through email, and these services help that process to happen efficiently and automatically (in some cases).
“Do more with your email marketing — in less time. Powerful features and the best interface around. Every Emma account comes with everything you need to engage your subscribers. Drag & drop editor with an intuitive and streamlined workflow. Built-in social media tools to expand your email’s reach. Autoresponders that target new subscribers and more.”
“Constant Contact’s leading email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, local deals, digital storefronts, and online surveys — supported by free KnowHow, personalized coaching, and award-winning product support — help all types of small businesses and organizations find new customers, drive repeat business, and generate referrals. Today, more than half a million customers worldwide trust Constant Contact to help them drive success. The company further supports small organizations through its extensive network of consultants/resellers, technology providers, franchises, and national associations.”
“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.”
“All email for your app in one place. Send segmented newsletters without bugging developers. Change transactional emails without re-deploying your app. Create lifecycle emails to activate more customers. Customer.io lets you send newsletters to segments of customers using data from your site.”
3 : MOBILE MARKETING
Reaching users on their devices is becoming more important as mobile device penetration passes 100%. With a topic as broad as mobile marketing, we’d suggest checking out and signing up for updates from the resources below. SMS and push notifications offer an ideal way to connect with your users. Also, see a list of tools for engaging with wireless carriers/operators that you’ll want to explore.
“The award-winning Fiksu Mobile App Marketing Platform is used by the world’s top app publishers, game developers, and major brands to drive high volumes of installs by quality, loyal users – with outstanding marketing ROI. The Fiksu Platform combines centralized media buying from the world’s largest mobile advertising inventory with advanced optimization technology, to help app marketers deliver exceptional business results. Fiksu also provides full transparency into the performance of all your app marketing programs – for results you can see in real-time.”
For the latest news and updates on mobile marketing, we follow MobileMixed.com. “The cornerstone of Mobile Mixed is the web show hosted by Greg Hickman featuring free, uncensored, raw interviews with successful mobile marketers & the world’s top experts sharing their insights and advice to help retailers/marketing people like you dominate mobile. Business. Mobile thingys. Fun. Living Life. Giddy Up!”
“Urban Airship offers easy and effective end-to-end management of the push messaging process from customer and location targeting, to automation and delivery, including message composition, rich landing page, and Passbook pass creation, as well as analytics to optimize effectiveness. Its focus on best practices for marketing’s newest communications channel has enabled marketers across the globe to use good push to spark exceptional experiences, drive app engagement, and increase customer loyalty and lifetime value.”
4 : MONETIZING
Monetizing through ads is an easy way to both monetize as well as track user engagement.
5 : SOCIAL MARKETING
Listening to your users that are on social networks is a key channel for collecting feedback. Here are a few tools we’ve used to monitor and engage with users. Learn more on our social network tools page.
“Social metrics, most shared authors, scheduled monitoring, and a robust API – ALL FOR FREE! Find out where your competitor’s content is being shared and promoted. Let our enterprise-scale technology do all the hard work of sifting through data. Monitor, schedule and analyze social sharing metrics in one intuitive dashboard.”
“HootSuite is a social media management system for businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard. Launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audiences, and distribute targeted messages using HootSuite’s unique social media dashboard. Streamline team workflow with scheduling and assignment tools and reach audiences with geo-targeting functionality. Invite multiple collaborators to manage social networks securely, plus provide custom reports using the comprehensive social analytics tools for measurement.”
FOLLOWER WONK by MOZ
“Followerwonk helps you explore and grow your social graph. Dig deeper into Twitter analytics: Who are your followers? Where are they located? When do they tweet? Find and connect with new influencers in your niche. Use super-actionable visualizations to compare your social graph to others. Easily share your reports with the world.”
1 : MEASURING & REPORTING TOOLS
Analytics software helps you shift through all the data on your users to generate actionable reports. There is a wide variety of tools, free and paid, that can integrate with a single website or across all your channels. Here are a few examples for both online and mobile assets.
“Google Analytics not only lets you measure sales and conversions, but also gives you fresh insights into how visitors use your site, how they arrived on your site, and how you can keep them coming back.”
KISSmetrics captures what happens before a visitor becomes a customer, and ties that anonymous activity to their known activity once they have become a customer. This allows you to understand where they came from, what they did, what led them to become a customer, and everything they do after the transaction.”
“Analyze mobile engagement with real-time mobile app analytics, rich user segmentation, funnel analysis, cohort analysis, demographics, session, and event data. Put your data into action with customer acquisition management, ad attribution measurement, targeted nurture and retarget campaigns, and behavioral-driven in-app messages.”
“Mixpanel lets you measure what customers do in your app by reporting actions, not page views. Increase conversions by identifying where you lose customers in any process, and run experiments to fix issues that you discover. Retention reports visualize how often your customers return and engage with your application. See groups of users with similar activity profiles, improve your product by following along as people experience it, or send customers a message to get their feedback.”
“Use Flurry Analytics to understand how consumers interact with their mobile applications, to measure audience reach, engagement, retention, conversions, revenue, and more. The service is completely free, takes just five minutes for basic integration, and is continuously updated with the industry’s most advanced features. “
GOING UP! SEO TOOLS
All Free! “Improve your site with these fun and useful tools, courtesy of GoingUp! Including web stats, SEO optimizer, heatmaps, link and site diagnostics, and more.”
2 : CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT TOOLS
CRM tools help you track users after they have engaged with you across all the different channels. The goal of these tools is to learn about the user and to build the best possible profile of them so as to better engage and convert them from users into customers. While in the past companies were limited in their options, today there is no reason why companies of every size should not be utilizing and benefiting from CRM software.
“Salesforce.com offers everything you need to grow your company, whether you’re an up-and-comer or a FORTUNE 100 corporation. With no software or hardware to install, you’re up and running—and seeing a positive impact on your business—quickly.”
Infusionsoft is more than your typical CRM software. Built for small and medium-size companies, they provide tools to help you get organized, automate marketing, close sales, and sell online.
“Zoho CRM gives you a 360-degree view of your complete sales cycle and pipeline. Identify trends, spot opportunities, increase efficiency, and reduce costs with the right answers, right now. Automate day-to-day business tasks so you can focus on growing leads, closing deals, and driving revenue.”
CRM for apps. “Track key attributes, behaviors, and custom events on a user level. Use Appboy to test campaigns and optimize your marketing efforts. Engage your customers via push notifications, in-app messages, and email. Recurring messaging lets you automate these interactions in a very personal way. Gather feedback directly in your app to minimize negative app store reviews. Appboy automatically appends key user data to each support ticket.”
“When you use Highrise, contacts, and communication history can be shared across your entire company. Highrise is your home base for everyone that’s important to your business. It puts together all those little points of contact so you can see the bigger picture. It makes one history out of many interactions.”
Post-Launch Feedback Tools
1 : CHAT AND SURVEY TOOLS
The easiest way to hear from your users is to install chat and feedback tools onto your website. Whether you are just getting started and communicating yourself, or have dedicated sales and service teams, the following tools are easy to use and customize.
“Understand who’s on your site, make your customers love you, and earn more money. See all the activity on your site at once in real-time and proactively chat with your visitors.”
“Qualaroo makes it easy to create powerful programs to influence each visitor’s behavior as they navigate your website. Understand needs through targeted questions so you can serve just the right call to action.”
“SurveyMonkey is the world’s most popular online survey tool. It’s easier than ever to send free surveys, polls, questionnaires, customer feedback, and market research. Plus get access to survey questions and professional templates.”
“Kampyle, a pioneer in feedback analytics and customer feedback systems, helps businesses to excel in online lead generation, optimize lead capture landing pages, overcome shopping cart abandonment, etc. Similar to online questionnaires or online surveys, Kampyle’s feedback forms enable you to listen to the voice of the customer and to improve customer satisfaction.”
“UserVoice is a software-as-a-service provider of customer support tools that include: Feedback forums to understand the ideas users care about most, a support ticket system to track and respond customer support requests, and a knowledge base to answer common questions and help users find the information they need when they need it.”
“ForeSee Satisfaction Analytics bring together superior technology, a proven research methodology, and accessible reporting tools and analysis. Monitor the customer experience across a range of channels continuously for maximum impact. ForeSee processes customer experience data collected across various channels using our predictive satisfaction analytics engine. We deliver insights to you through a variety of reporting and self-directed analysis tools, scheduled reports, benchmarks, and expert analysis.”
2 : REVIEWS, FAQ, AND MESSAGING TOOLS
If you are selling a product, having customer reviews, and a place for users to ask you (and your site visitors) questions are good ways to bring the voice of your users to your product pages. Adding behavioral-triggered messaging services to that will ensure that you are capturing those conversations off your site as well, and are able to quickly address them.
“Our solutions let you host genuine online conversations about your brand and products, and give you deep knowledge to act on what your customers really want. Turn earned word of mouth content into insights for smarter marketing, better products, and higher sales. Bazaarvoice gets people talking about you and your products, without bogging you down in complicated technology. And because we innovate wherever the market is going, you’re future-proofed. You never have to worry about your data living in a walled garden or one-off project.”
Intercom enables “user communication with one tool instead of four. A smarter way to do lifecycle marketing, customer development, newsletters, support. It is a next-generation CRM and messaging product. It helps web businesses build relationships with their users and turn them into loyal customers.”
DESK by SALESFORCE
“Desk.com lets you see all your customers in one place and engage them across all your support channels (Twitter, Facebook, phone, email, chat, and discussion boards) in one easy-to-use desktop. Be there for your customers — anytime, anywhere.”
STEP 3 : WEBINARS
Webinars are a great way to connect with your users to show product features. There are lots of opportunities to host your own or to add value to someone else’s topical webinar. The main enterprise webinar companies are Adobe’s Connect, Cisco’s WebEx and Citrix’s GoToWebinar, and all offer comparable services and prices. Here are three alternatives that are less popular:
With more features being constantly added, cross-device support, and more integrated experience, Google Hangouts is a great option regardless of whether or not you are a Google Apps user. The platform offers both collaborative or broadcast functionality.
“AnyMeeting offers free and low-cost web conferencing, video conferencing, and webinar services for small business, with all the features and capacity of expensive services.”
“MeetingBurner is a fast and simple online meeting platform that we’re giving away for free. It takes about 10 seconds to sign up for an account, and you can be hosting a webinar and sharing your screen just a few clicks later. It’s built in the cloud (with multiple redundancies) to let us compete with the big boys on features, speed, and reliability.”
4 : CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT TOOLS
Customer engagement tools help you proactively engage with users across multiple channels to help you create a consolidated picture of how and where users are engaging with you. Where CRM tools help you track users as they engage with you, these tools help you manage the experience users are having to guide them to the ideal experience.
“MindTouch provides the best possible product to help experience for your customers and support agents across every channel using a collaborative, self-service platform. Track and analyze behavior and trends, react with content updates in real-time, and control your brand and increase customer retention.“
“Totango’s Customer Engagement platform helps online services create an active and engaged user base. Totango combines big data analytics with powerful segmentation and engagement tools to allow online services to take the right actions with each customer, in real-time.”
We previously recommended Parature, purchased by Microsoft, since they focused on helping employees communicate with customers on public social networks. Microsoft Dynamics now includes some of its functionality into its full-service solution competing with providers like SalesForce.
OUR TOP RECOMENDATION
“Zendesk delivers the leading cloud-based customer service software. Loved by customers for its simplicity and elegance, Zendesk is the easiest and fastest way to provide great customer service. Our solution is easy to try, buy, implement, and use. Both you and your customers will start seeing positive results immediately.”
5 : A/B AND MULTIVARIATE TESTING
Splitting up your traffic and letting them tell you what’s working is a great way to get quantifiable feedback from your users. Once you’ve launched your product and services pages, you will want to create landing pages to address the specific keywords that users are searching for. Learn more about keyword research used in the Listen Stage. Whether you are starting out with a simple A/B test, or ready to jump into a multivariate test, there are lots of tools that can help.
CONTENT EXPERIMENTS IN GOOGLE ANALYTICS
Formerly Website Optimizer, Google Analytics lets you segment, test, and optimize your pages for the goals that you already have set up in Google Analytics. As Google states, “Content Experiments is more A/B/N. You’re not testing just two versions of a page as in A/B testing, and you’re not testing various combinations of components on a single page as in multivariate testing. Instead, you are testing up to five full versions of a single page, each delivered to visitors from a separate URL.” Here’s a video with more details >
“Optimizely’s solutions offer fast, powerful, and affordable website optimization tools that virtually eliminates the need for technical web development resources in the a/b testing process.” Check out their explanation about the difference between A/B and multivariate testing >
“Unbounce makes it easy for Marketers to create, publish, and test landing pages. We developed Unbounce after experiencing ﬁrst hand the frustration of trying to get effective landing pages launched for our own online marketing campaigns. Choose from built-in editable templates for lead generation or click through pages, or create a landing page from scratch using our powerful browser-based drag and drop landing page builder. Publish the page live using your own domain name, and quickly set up an A/B split test – all without any knowledge of HTML.”
VISUAL WEBSITE OPTIMIZER
“It’s an easy to use A/B testing tool that allows marketing professionals to create different versions of their websites and landing pages using a point-and-click editor (no HTML knowledge needed!) and then see which version produces maximum conversion rate or sales. Integrating our split testing software is dead-simple: copy-paste a code snippet in your website once and you are ready to go live!”
6 : QUALITATIVE PRODUCT RESEARCH
There’s no excuse to not verify what’s been launched through qualitative research. Inexpensive and easy to use tools provide you with first-hand data to verify that what you launched is meeting the identified user needs.
“GutCheck is an on-demand market research solution that delivers real-time insights from specific customers with quality that is equivalent to traditional on-line vehicles. Unlike these offerings that can challenge timelines and budgets, GutCheck’s laser-focused services and advanced tools provide the required knowledge in days instead of weeks and offer the best value for the research dollar.”
“Qualvu will help you find your truth. We call ourselves pioneers. Pioneers in insight. Pioneers in research design. Pioneers in technology. Continuously improving, adapting, and evolving. Pushing boundaries, striving to deliver our clients the best research possible. And we’re delivering. New insights from new places. Richer, deeper, better data through mobile video diaries … your customer, in their homes, in the store, on the go. Wherever their lives take them.”
“UserZoom provides an all-in-one, Enterprise cloud-based software platform designed to help companies scale their research and testing, for both desktop and mobile Webs and Apps.”
“dscout is a web and mobile service that makes it incredibly easy to engage audiences in sharing real-world experiences, in the moment ideas and real-time feedback. We think in-context research can and should be, an essential part of how organizations large and small understand and engage with their audiences.”
STEP 7 : ENGAGING YOUR COMMUNITY
Once you’ve created something that your users want, capturing that energy and providing an outlet for them to collaborate can be incredibly effective. Not only does it have SEO benefits, but allowing your users to answer questions and become your advocate can reduce your support costs and increase loyalty. Here are a few tools that can help.
“Your Facebook Page makes your business:
Product Management can be a fuzzy term. We’ve embraced the ambiguity to offer you a range of services to meet your needs. Our team is here to help with your research, requirements, roadmap strategy, technical development, and marketing.