LEVERAGE YOUR COMMUNITY
Once you’ve got an online audience, it’s time to actually get that audience working for you through interacting with it. If you don’t interact with the audience you’ve built, it will wither away and become nothing - interacting with your audience is how it stays alive.
Lets go over some ways you can interact with your audience.
Guiding Feature Development
You need to be proactive in engaging with users about what they want your app to be. It doesn’t occur to non-technical people that they could play a significant part in the direction of development an app takes. It’s on you to communicate to them that they can.
The customer support system UserVoice does a great job of this. Reccomended earlier in this book, it is a standard email and social media customer support system. But in addition to this, they have an Ideas & Feedback section of their service, where users can contribute ideas about your app and then vote on which ideas are the best. If you use UserVoice, you can list all of your different ideas on UserVoice and then simply prompt the online community to vote on which ones they like the best.
Feedback on what features users actually want becomes really useful several versions in, when you aren’t sure what to update next. It can be easy to start developing feature after feature without checking whether or not users actually want it, and then end up with lower sales or unhappy users because you were stuffing in useless features. Just like you checked your initial app idea, always check that users want subsequent features.
Don't be afraid to let an idea pivot your entire app model; sticking to a poor one because you've already put hard work into it might mean failure when adapting to customer requests will mean success.
We've already went over how to beta-test properly, so lets focus on how to find people for that process.
Reach out to your community, and say that you’re building a beta-testing team for future large releases of your app, and give any testers the app for free. You can do this by...
- Putting a permanent sign up link on your website
- Reaching out through social media
- Sending a newsletter looking for testers
Even if you’re not working on an update right now, you want to have a beta-testing team in place for when you need it, instead of wasting time putting one together when you need it. When you need the testers, you should be focusing on your app's release, not wasting time putting together a functional beta-testing team.