If you want to make money online, create a digital product. Why so? According to Statista, online is the most likely place to meet your customers, with 75% of people shopping online at least once a month.
Digital products may take many forms, from online courses to mobile apps — but whatever you pick, it’s vital to develop it thoughtfully and invest enough effort in its creation and launch before calculating the revenue streams it will generate.
For startups, creating and launching a digital product the right way may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! In fact, once you break this complicated process down into the following steps, you’ll find that it’s actually straightforward. We’re here to explain how to create a digital product that generates profit.
This article reveals four main steps in digital product development:
idea validation & testing
MVP & digital product launch.
In addition to describing what these steps involve, we’ll provide recommendations, checklists, and secret tips from our practice to make your digital product launch as smooth as possible.
With over five years of experience in the digital market, Arounda has already launched more than 130 digital products. Such expertise allows us to share guidelines and tips for making profitable digital solutions that stand out online.
The first step in digital product design is identifying the acute problem your product idea is about to solve. Why so? Because the existing problem links your concept to reality and ensures people will really need your product in the long run. In other words, it will let you test your idea’s viability and make your product market-driven.
But how to make sure the problem is worth solving? Customer pain is the answer. You should identify how big a pain point this problem creates for those who suffer from it. People, or your target audience, will be willing to spend money on a solution if any pain is involved.
It’s a good idea to take note of the potential willingness of your target audience to spend money (e.g., the amount of money they would pay for an app). These insights will help you figure out how many resources you should invest into development and marketing efforts before the release date and what kind of ROI (return on investment) this product could bring.
As a result of the discovery phase in digital product development, you should be able to envision the solution as a clear roadmap. This digital product plan will let you visualize the goals and deliverables of your product journey.
1. Identifying your target audience and its problem
2. Collecting information about the customers’ pain
3. Business analysis to gather extra information
4. Identifying solution requirements and tools
5. Product roadmap
Ideation is a term in psychology that refers to the initial process of generating ideas or possible solutions. When you launch a digital product, ideation means brainstorming all the possible solutions to explore new ideas and learn more about your customer.
For this phase, it’s worth inviting different specialists, including marketing, engineering, and customer service. This way, every team member can share their thoughts on how they envision the product will be used by customers and what issues might come up for them. This discussion will make your solution even more effective in solving customer pain.
The result of the ideation phase is the creation of a strategy that will provide concrete guidelines to product launch.
1. Brainstorming: Keep the group of 5-7 people as diverse as possible.
2. Prototyping: Put down the idea into a prototype or a design system you can visualize.
3. Storyboarding: Use the narrative as another idea visualization method.
4. The Five Whys: Toyota method of asking 5 Whys to get to the problem root.
5. 6-3-5: 6 people write down three ideas in 5 minutes and pass the ideas around the table for other team members to review and add their thoughts.
At this stage, your task is to gather as much data as possible to refine and improve your final idea. It’s time to conduct market research, meaning collecting facts and stats about your target audience, reviewing competition in your niche, and checking on the details about the problem you’ve identified. In this case, idea validation means discovering if the demand for your product is there.
Once your idea is validated, it’s time for testing, meaning finding out whether or not your launch roadmap is feasible and gathering more data until the idea is honed sharply so that it can cut glass. A working approach here is to develop and test several hypotheses regarding your product's success and pick the most valuable one.
You can use different methods to test the hypotheses, ranging from conducting client interviews to building landing pages. Usability testing can also be effective here to validate and test user experience while navigating inside your digital product.
1. Checking product simplicity
2. Ensuring the product doesn’t take long to navigate
3. Improving navigation till it’s catchy and intuitive
4. Figuring out the level of customer satisfaction
MVP, or a minimum viable product, is a product with limited functionality that solves customer pain. In other words, it’s the bare minimum you need to start a campaign, launch, and collect feedback before working on the full version of your product.
The goal of an MVP is to find a product-market fit that will solve as the foundation for you to empower your solution further. For example, if you are creating a mobile application, you might create an MVP that has three core functions:
one purchase transaction per customer.
This way, you can start a pre-sale campaign for your e-book before investing in your complete online course's production, design, and promotion.
It’s essential when creating your MVP that there are many scenarios where customers would use your service. Therefore, we recommend focusing on the core problem only but building enough features to address each of these scenarios in the MVP. In the pre-sale e-book campaign example, it’s worth adding all the payment processors you can get to let different users complete transactions in the easiest way possible.
For launch, it’s important to polish the digital product till it’s bug-free and works smoothly in different browsers. If you’re not sure about that, it’s worth going for beta-launch to collect extra customer feedback, see what works and what’s not in practice, and evaluate your digital product's potential value and price.
Regarding the pricing models, you can go for the following:
free trial (to let users get hooked and pay for your services later),
pricing by use (to offer several options for money in addition to the basic functionality for free)
pay as you go (meaning offering your digital product for many right away).
The exact choice depends on the value you deliver and your digital product type.
1. You’ve met your audience and know what your customers want.
2. You’ve designed a solution that solves the particular pain point for your target audience.
3. You’ve determined the exact results your digital product will bring.
4. You have a working hypothesis you’ve tested carefully.
5. You know the unique selling point that will make you stand out from the market competition.
6. You have a solid strategy and all the resources needed to cover it.
7. All your product documentation is ready.
8. You have all the tools to evaluate the results you’ll collect.
9. You didn’t launch the full version of the product to all your target audience right away.
As you can see, launching a digital product is not a hard task if you have a real problem and a working solution that can solve it. All the rest is a matter of a well-defined roadmap that includes market insights, best ideas, and tested hypotheses.
However, even the best roadmap will not work if you don’t have a reliable team with the skills and knowledge to bring your product idea to life. Arounda can be your partner in digital product development.
You can rely on us to cover all the key steps to creating and launching the digital products we’ve mentioned here or provide a valuable recommendation if you’re stuck in the development process.
For launching digital products, we have vast experience in covering the following tasks:
Conducting market research and competitor analysis
Identifying target audience
Idea generation and visual presentation
Creating information architecture
MVP of digital product
Wireframing and prototyping
Product launch and support in feedback collection
Our team is ready to help you design your product idea, work closely on its realization, and support you until you achieve the expected result.
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