Yesterday, we talked about the basic first steps of defining your startup’s minimum viable product. Now let’s dig in a little deeper and get into the finer details of your website as your MVP.
So you have a great idea. You know how to produce the product or provide the service. Now how do you promote and sell it?
A major part of the promotion—and hopefully the selling!—will depend on the website you build for it. After all, what is the first thing most people do when looking for a product or service? They search for it online.
Optimize, Optimize, Optimize
In order to be found when people take to their favorite search engine, you have to make sure your website is optimized from the get-go. So many people make the mistake of thinking simply having a website is enough, then wonder why no one is visiting it and no one is buying.
Speed also plays into this. Not only does Google pay very close attention to the load time of your pages, but visitors generally tend to have a short attention span and won’t wait for more than a few seconds for a page to load. If your startup website is your MVP, you’ll lose any chance of converting them if they don’t want to stick around and wait.
Going Beyond Face Value
Sometimes, more than the minimum is needed to capture people’s attention. If your website is your MVP, it must convey tangible value and convince visitors to stick around. This could be as simple as listing the advantages of using your product or service on your homepage, including a few revolving testimonials (videos work particularly well for this), and presenting the most important features of your product or service where they can be easily found.
Drilling down beyond the homepage, your content might include position papers, client lists, case studies, contact information, biographies of the leaders in the company, how you came up with your idea, and product/service details laid out in a way that is easily digested by a skimming user. Each page should have a purpose and a call to action for what you want them to do next.
Conveying Professionalism With Your MVP
Can you or your teenage nephew throw together a site for your startup? Maybe, but unless you’re an unnaturally fast learner or he’s going to school for design and development, it might not come out looking as good as it should. Remember, the competition is fierce out there and visitors will gravitate toward the startup website that looks the most professional and legitimate. If you don’t have the chops to do it yourself, consider enlisting the help of professionals.
The same goes for your content, in terms of quality—spellcheck is your friend!—and consistency in your messaging. The content must always focus on the customer and answer the question: "What's in it for me?" People will always want to know how a product or service will improve their business or life.
Decide on your strategy for communicating exactly how you can help them. Will it be a blog, a newsletter, surveys, or maybe an online community? Since this is your minimum viable product, the feedback you receive through this exploration process will help you build a better product or service down the line.
Defining your minimum viable product is just the first stop on the long road to growing your startup, but it’s not the time to cut corners. By leveraging a well-made, value driven website to promote your product or service, you have the chance not only to experiment, but get a head start on getting your startup’s name out there into the world. So do it right!