CEO & Chairman at Techtic Solutions, Inc., which helps progressive organizations & individuals build digital products on web & mobile.
In today’s digital era, developing a product is a great way to grow your business. There are a plethora of advantages to having a digital product for your business. However, keeping it healthy requires ongoing effort.
Most of the time, a product is built and goes on for years without having any changes to the application. The product eventually fails to cater to the audience and dies. Staying youthful in the digital product arena is the best way to keep the product healthy and viable.
Many products die because there is no innovation taking place while the owners are busy increasing revenue. If a digital product is not updated constantly by solving the problems of the users, it quickly becomes irrelevant. This is especially true when a competing product is already tackling user problems with innovative solutions.
If you’re a product owner, it’s time to ask yourself an important question: Am I doing enough to keep the digital product healthy? As someone who specializes in helping companies build digital products, I’ve found that most product owners have one of these answers:
• Our users are happy with the current product we have and do not demand anything more.
• Our users know what this product is capable of and are happy with it.
• We have already given the users more than what they could ask for.
• We have implemented several new features over time, and our users don’t use them very often.
The above answers all point to one specific problem that the product failed to address: user interviews. Reaching out to your users is the first step in keeping your digital product healthy. Learn more about the other steps you’ll need to take to keep your product relevant in a competitive market:
Listen to your users.
To keep your digital product healthy, start reaching out to the users. You don’t want to focus only on the users who have been interacting with your application the most. It’s also important to get feedback from those who only use your app periodically and those who have dropped out. Identify their pain areas and how they look at the future generations of your product in order to define the problem statement.
Run a design sprint on the problem statement.
Once the problem statement has been identified, start working on a five-day design sprint. Identify the right solutions, keeping all the stakeholders on board throughout the process. Once the wireframe and prototype are created, work on the user interviews again, and validate the solution.
Work on product engineering.
Next, it’s time for the product engineering team to jump in and work their magic to come up with a perfectly articulated solution covering the real needs of the users. Once the product engineering team has created the new features of the product, get it quality assured.
Launch and learn.
The final step is to launch your digital product with new features that fulfill your users’ demands. This is the best time to give a shoutout to the users by telling them about how you solved the problem and created an amazing solution for them. Identify how they are leveraging the new features, and determine how your product engagement has improved over time. To keep your users happy, make sure the learning process remains ongoing.
Size up your competitors.
Product owners should also be doing a thorough analysis of their competitors and the product discovery steps they are taking to woo their users. This will help you introduce a better version of the competitor’s new features so you can integrate them with current user demands. Competitor research can be a game-changer, and it’s especially common in the digital product arena.
For example, Instagram originally did not have stories. Instead, it innovated this amazing new feature to meet customer demand, and it became one of the most popular elements of the app. Eventually, many other social media platforms integrated this feature in their own ways.
Avoid the ‘FOMO’ trap.
Some digital products lose their user base due to the fear of missing out (or what I call the “FOMO effect”). As users find other products with better features, they might stop using your digital product. Other users quickly follow because they don’t want to be left out of the latest digital trend. If product owners don’t introduce new features based on the market and user demand, their user base will constantly decline.
At the same time, product owners can also experience FOMO that leads them to add new features to their app without finding out whether it fits their users’ needs. They may see these types of features doing wonders for their competitors, yet the same features fail when incorporated into their own digital product. Instead of falling into the FOMO trap, the product owner should always merge their user interviews, competitor analysis and market research into the product innovation and discovery process. This is a surefire way to come up with the most accepted yet innovative product for their user base.
If you want to keep your digital product healthy, set aside funds from the annual budget for product innovation and extensions. Product owners should periodically repeat the steps mentioned above to develop application features that are innovative enough to keep the product alive and youthful.