The key thing in customer discovery is to discover what works for your business model. There are two resources with an availability of limited quantity – money and time. So, you want to learn if your business model works are not in a short time and with as less spending.
When you launch your MVP and do not get signups, the message is pretty loud and clear – your business model sucks, at least in the present shape and in the current time.
But, this is not entirely true for a reverse situation when you get a lot of signups. Merely having large signups of users does not necessarily amount to a great business model.
When a new tool or a new offering is launched, people who sign up do so for different reasons and some of them are:
- They mistake your offering as something else that they are looking for
- They just fancy new things and wanted to check out
- They believe their sign ups would help a new business
- They suspect, they would need this solution sometime in future
- They have a pain point that could potentially be solved by your offering
What is common to the first four types above is that these guys are tough to convert into paid customers and usually drop out after a free trial period. During the trial period too, they are not found to be very actively engaged users.
And, the reasons are pretty obvious; they simply do not have enough motivation and reasons for using your product.
And, this is where your situation on user acquisition sucks!
You want not just users who sign up but you want users who would use your product actively and extensively.
And, it is the users who sign up for the reasons of solving their pain point, who display this behavior. They are so eager to find if your solution solves their problem, they are more than keen to try out, more than once if the product shows some promise to meet their goals.
And, this is where articulating the “pain point” that you want to solve is critical when you are starting up.
How does articulation help specifically?
First of all, articulation of pain point helps you define the customer persona you want to target so you can work on appropriate messaging.
Secondly, it helps you look for places where such people are already looking for solutions, so you know where to find your first few users.
How does getting the users who have the pain point that you want to solve and who are already looking for solutions, help you? In many ways:
- the discovery of such people gives you the first signal that you are nor doing bad, they validate the problem hypothesis.
- they happen to be aware of how they think the pain point needs to be solved, they will give you feedback and insights that you aren’t able to gain on your own.
- they validate or invalidate all crucial elements of your business model – value proposition, channels, price and more.
- they will go for your product even if it is not a finished one, they don’t mind the bugs so no need to wait till “it’s perfect” before you ship.
Getting the “rights” kind of users or users who have pain points that you want to solve and who are known to be looking around for a solution, on board is crucial in the initial phase.
If you have them on board, your journey to product market fit is on track.
But, if you don’t, you end up having a lot of dead users or users who are not actively using the product.
What can you do in that situation?
You have two options:
- go back to the starting point and articulate the pain point for your business model well and then look for users who have demonstrated that they have this pain point
- go deep with the inactive users who you have acquired and explore to find if there is some other pain point they have that can be solved by building something else or tweaking the existing offering.
In both options, as you can see, your work entails articulating the pain point clearly for someone or other, and that is the most important step to boost your first chances of finding that elusive product-market fit before you run out of your resources.