When it comes to product development there are a lot of moving parts. In the software and app market in particular, that checklist includes testing assumptions, building a prototype, finding beta users, priming your sales and marketing funnel, and oh yes, developing your brand.
Thankfully, there are dozens of tools out there that have been specifically designed to help startups nail the launch. From discovering the "white space" in the market to finding beta users to test your prototype and even to securing investments, these ten tools will help guide you safely from your launchpad with slightly more ease.
Locate your users quickly
Okay, so maybe you made it to launch without using these two tools. If so, great. If not, I just want to bring your attention to a couple products that can help you get there. The lesson, as always: you can't test and research enough!
1. AYTM. Stands for "Ask Your Target Market." If you're looking for pre-launch verification on your chosen target audience, this is an extremely helpful tool. You can pre-screen your audience along several demographics and create quick surveys with massive reach. It's even useful post-launch to gauge target interest.
2. Invision. A premiere, cross-platform prototyping tool that integrates animation and recorded user feedback to give your audience the most accurate picture of what their experience will look like. It's ideal for use pre-build, but always relevant when testing new features once you have your market feedback.
Get feedback seamlessly
Initial feedback is key, whether it's from your audience or from interested investors. These tools are ones you want to have in your pocket right out of the gate.
3. AngelList. Start networking for the present and future of your startup with the best tool for connecting you with investors and eager potential employees. Continue raising capital and find a whole new source of angels ready to grow your idea.
4. BetaList. Early adopters are every lean startup's best friend. On BetaList, you have access to over 25,000 of them to get acquainted with your product and give you invaluable initial feedback.
5. Unbounce. The first interaction your audience will have with your idea is through a landing page, and that's why it's critical for a page to convert. Unbounce features nearly 300 responsive landing page templates that you can build yourself, cutting out the need for a technical support middleman.
Let your advocates drive your message
You could spend your money tooting your own horn and setting up focus groups, or you could let your audience help you with these two powerful tools.
6. Nouncy. Call on the power of your customers' networks to spread your idea for you. Nouncy allows you to crowdsource promotion with social posts instead of dollars by sending out your link across your user base and then collecting and publishing posts of support.
7. Hotjar. There's user research, and then there's Hotjar, which uses tracking technology like heatmaps, clickmaps, scrollmaps and more to follow a user's journey across your site. You'll gain insight that you perhaps overlooked in the prototyping phase when you see activity trends in real time.
8. Outro. This one helps you get referrals from the people who already know, like and trust you. It has automated the referral process so you don't have to manually sift through the potential mutual connections within your network before asking for introduction. Outro does it for you and incentivizes the referrer for actually making the intro.
Harness the power of email.
Score those signups and nail those referrals with smart email marketing tools that are far from junk.
9. ReTargeter. A simple way to drop cookies from first-time visitors that removes a lot of the painful legwork on your end.
10. Sidekick. Not only does Sidekick give you read receipts on every email you send out, it also provides you with a full social profile of everyone who sends a message to your inbox. Because you always want to keep learning about your audience.