ALL guideS

Validate, Build and Launch an MVP Product

Convert your idea into a product and and advertise it to real customers.
In 52 steps, you will:
Define the product USP
Create an acquisition funnel
Build a landing page
Set up platform integrations
Connect the payment system
Set up email campaigns
Run AdWords campaigns
Optimize ads
steps inside
52
ESTIMATED TIME
80h

What you will do

This сomprehensive guide will equip you on how to sell a new product or service to your first audience. By using third party services and platforms, you can easily build a very basic first version of your future cash machine. No coding skills required.

About author

Boris has achieved quite a stellar career in digital marketing and advertising. In 2014, he co-founded Moosetank - a software development company that helps clients in building applications, platforms, and MVPs.
“You can build your new startup in just one week, but it may take years to get yourself together and make the first step. Follow this guide and make your first step today!”
Boris Goncharov
Co-founder at FocFoc, Moosetank

Perfect Fit for

Founders of Small Startups
First-time Entrepreneurs
Intrepreneurs

Read Full guide (6)

52 steps
Define a business idea
2 steps
DO THESE STEPS
Explain your business idea in one sentence.

This is the cornerstone for all communications, including ads, website copy, company name, etc. Your explanation of your idea should be simple and straightforward.

Here is a good template (with the short guide) for this: [company name] is developing [product or service] to help [target audience] [to solve this problem] with [a secret sauce].

Formulate a USP for your product or service.

Your unique selling proposition, or USP, is something that allows you to stand out from the rest of the competition.

MVP structure
5 steps
DO THESE STEPS
Define the target customer action for your MVP.

Do you want to sell your product, or do you want to get subscribers to your new blog? Do you want to sell a subscription for services, or do you want to invite people to contribute to your platform?

Whatever it is, your target customer action should be clearly defined. You will measure your success by the amount of visitors who complete this target action.

Determine your customer acquisition funnel.

What steps are necessary in your customer development model? The answers will describe your MVP more than anything else.

For example, you may provide a free trial of your service in exchange for registration and an email subscription. So, your funnel may contain these steps:

Visit page ⇒ View service demo ⇒ Sign up for a free trial ⇒ Confirm your email ⇒ Try the service ⇒ Receive marketing communication ⇒ Upgrade to a paid account.

Draw your MVP ecosystem.

What are the necessary elements to market and sell your very first product? If you follow the example customer acquisition funnel from the previous step, you will need a domain, a website, a MailChimp account connected to your site, a payment solution like Stripe or PayPal, Google Analytics to track visitor activity, and AdWords to run the micromarketing campaigns.

You can use the MindMeister tool to draw an ecosystem with all the connections.

Research competitors websites.

Find at least five to 10 competitors in your niche and look for inspiration. Determine elements of their websites that you would like to improve upon in your own business and site.

Determine why your product is better than others.

Determine why you stand out from the crowd of competitors. It may be price, delivery time, quality, additional features, etc. Whatever it is, use this as a key benefit of your offering.

Write the content for your landing page
8 steps
SAVE TIME WITH THESE GIGS
DO THESE STEPS
Create a landing page structure.

Create a Google Slides document and make a separate slide for each block of your page. Examples of important page blocks to include are hero page, Product Benefits, Changing the Life of the Customer, Features, Pricing, Testimonials, and Subscription. Here are some useful tips for page structure.

Write a hero block with a headline and the product benefit.

Within the first few seconds of a user clicking on your hero block, you want to clearly answer these two questions: "What is this website about?"" and "Why do I need this product?"

State your value proposition and explain the product benefits.

If your product or service is better than others, point out the benefits of your product or service over competitors. If your product or service is similar to others on the market, be honest about your product and be proud of it. Here is more information on value propositions.

Describe its features.

Be specific on important product details; omit things that are common and unnecessary to mention.

Showcase real-life examples of usage.

Highlight use cases to demonstrate how faster, cheaper, or better the customer’s life would be with the product.

Show the price table and summary of what you sell.

Explain how much your product costs and be clear about what your customers receive after the purchase. If there are different prices, explain the differences.

Reread your text and remove unnecessary items.

Reread your text to ensure you have stated everything in a clear and straightforward manner. Your text should have no double meaning; try to use words that have antonyms. Read this and this for more help on copy optimization.

Add pictures to the copy.

Find supportive imagery that will empower your message. Make sure the images improve the copy and do not confuse people. Unsplash and Pexels are high-quality, free stock photo sources.

Build the landing page
7 steps
SAVE TIME WITH THESE GIGS
DO THESE STEPS
Build a landing page with a page builder.

Choose any page builder you like, such as Tilda, and create the page according to your structure and copy.

Ask 10 people whether they understand what your page is about.

After you have built your page, show it to 10 people and ask whether they understand what the page is about, what the product benefits are, and what they would be paying for.

Collect feedback and improve the page as needed.

You need at least eight out of 10 people to clearly understand all of those elements of your landing page. They do not have to like your product or want to buy it, but they must understand what your page and product are all about. Tweak the copy and images based on their feedback.

Create legal pages.

You will need terms of service, a privacy policy, and a return policy (if applicable). Use templates from Shopify or order your customized legal copy from here or here.

Create a ‘Contact Us’ page.

You should provide a contact form, email, or phone number so customers can ask questions, discuss returns, or request additional services. The bare minimum is a contact form that sends messages to your email.

Create an ‘About Us’ page.

Include a simple description of what your company does and what you offer to people. An “About Us” page is good for Google search rankings.

Work on pop-ups and checkout.

If you have any pop-ups, product carts, or any other non-page elements, do not forget to develop them, too. The default setup may be unclear and unwelcoming to users on your site. Subscribe forms have to be simple. Include only one or two fields to fill in; only email is mandatory.

Your checkout process must be user-friendly. Allow users to go back and shop for more and to change the quantity of products from their cart.

Configure the back-end
16 steps
DO THESE STEPS
Do you sell a physical product? Set up an e-commerce service.

We recommend Shopify, but you are free to choose from many other solutions. Register an account with Shopify and select the “buy button” plan (the cheapest one).

Do you sell digital products? Set up a processing solution with online delivery.

We recommend Plasso or SendOwl.

Create the products.

Go into your Shopify, Plasso, or SendOwl account and create the products you will sell by writing the descriptions and adding photos. Set up product prices, discounts (for quantity, seasonal, and coupons), and taxes. Configure your tax policy—this is necessary for physical goods.

Set up payment processing.

Register for a PayPal business account and select the “express checkout” plan. If you are planning to use SendOwl or Plasso, create a Stripe account as well. Connect your payment processor with your bank account.

Integrate payment solutions with e-commerce.

Connect your PayPal to Shopify, Plasso, or SendOwl. If you have Stripe, connect it as well.

Configure the free trial access.

If you offer services or access to any content that may be put on a free trial period, set this up through Plasso or any other CRM with a subscription solution. Configure the access for free trial users, set up a free trial term duration, set up all necessary notifications for starting and ending the trial period, and connect it with MailChimp.

Set up all integrations.

Ensure that your page builder has all the necessary integrations you need for your funnel. Register accounts on Google Analytics and AdWords, Stripe or PayPal, and your e-commerce solution. Choose an email service, such as MailChimp, for your contact and subscription forms. Create contact lists for your future subscribers and customers. Make sure that everything is integrated with your page builder, CRM, and e-commerce platform.

Add links, buttons, and menu items.

Make sure that all buttons, links, and menus on your page lead to the proper places. Add links to your “About Us,” “Contact Us,” and pricing and products pages to the main menu. Add the same links as well as legal pages to the website footer.

Create a MailChimp account.

Choose the plan that fits your current customer base—MailChimp offers its services for free until you acquire a certain amount of contacts.

Set up contact segmentation.

MailChimp allows you to create different lists of contacts for different purposes. For example, if you sell a product, you may have these segments:

  • People who subscribed for updates
  • People who bought one product
  • Returning customers
  • Abandoned checkout carts
Create an autoresponder for subscription.

Create an email for new subscribers and set up the trigger in MailChimp. All new subscribers have to receive an email that confirms their subscription and verifies that they can unsubscribe if they signed up by mistake. Read more about triggers for MailChimp here.

Customize order notifications.

If you sell a product, you must set up an email to notify customers of their purchase. A quick and easy way to do this is through Shopify; it’s harder but more beneficial in the long term to set it up through MailChimp.

Create an email for abandoned carts.

If you sell a product, you may have customers who add items to their carts but abandon them without making a purchase. Create a follow-up email that will remind customers of their purchases and encourage them to return to their cart. You can find detailed steps for setting up abandoned cart emails.

Create a set of notifications for free trials.

If you have a free trial, make sure that you have all necessary email notifications for all points in the customer’s journey, including: starting a free trial, a notice or warning a couple of days before the free trial ends, notification for the end of the free trial, and additional emails that will try to motivate users to upgrade after their trials have ended.

Configure analytics.

Think of all events and user actions that you want to track to understand the real journey of website visitors. Google Analytics is sufficient for most analytics needs. If you want to track the “heat map” of user activity on a page, you will need a Hotjar account or another tracking solution. Set up all trackable events such as visits, clicks, purchases, time spent on page, etc.

Test all elements and user experiences.

Click on all links and buttons on every page to double-check that everything works properly. Go through the subscription, checkout, and free trial process to ensure that there are no mistakes and that the process works smoothly.

Run a micromarketing campaign
14 steps
SAVE TIME WITH THESE GIGS
DO THESE STEPS
Create a promotional map.

Use MindMeister to define all channels you would like to use to acquire your first customers. The most common channels you may want to utilize for your first launch are Google AdWords (or Bing or Yahoo), Product Hunt, BetaList, Promotehour or Submit.co, an on-site blog, Instagram and Facebook ads, Reddit, and additional press from guest posts and articles.

Set up a PPC account.

Find a Google AdWords coupon, if possible, as it gives you $100 when you spend $25. Register your Google AdWords account with this coupon. We recommend using Google AdWords, but you can also try other platforms, such as Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, or wherever you want to find your audience.

Research keywords.

Use Google Keyword Planner (or any other tool) to research keywords that are relevant for your selected niche, product, and customer location. Make sure that there are enough search inquiries per month for the keywords you want to pick, and check the price your competitors pay for these keywords. If you do not like the average click cost, try to find different keywords or collect more long tail keywords for better results.

Plan the budget and your desired customer acquisition cost.

To determine your desirable customer acquisition cost (CAC), follow this formula: [CAC] = [average price for click] / [conversion rate into purchase]. For example, if one click will cost you $0.40, your CAC will be $20. The average conversion rate to purchase (or any other customer target action) from the landing page across industries is about 2 percent of visitors.

Optimize the bet for selected keywords.

You will not need to blow your budget on attracting every single click, so try going lower than the average bet suggested by Keyword Planner. Find the best bet that has enough clicks for your planned budget.

Create ads and submit them for review.

This is the most important part of the pay-per-click game. It’s better to create a sample ad and modify it for every single keyword you use to make sure that the selected keyword is used in the ad headline.

Don’t forget about links, extensions, and price tables—all of these elements are very important when you jump into the first position in the search engine.

Set up a daily budget and run the ads for 3 days.

Start with a daily budget of $20 to $30 a day to see how the ad performs on searches. After three days, you will see who has clicked on your ads, which search inquiries are getting more clicks, your click-through rate, and more data.

Check your customer acquisition cost and match it with your margin.

Use the formula [CAC] = [CPC] x [amount of clicks] / [total amount of sales] to determine your customer acquisition cost. Go back to your predictions and check whether this customer acquisition cost fits your business model. If it does not, you need to tweak the ads or keywords.

Check your conversion rate.

Use the formula [conversion rate] = [number of sales] / [amount of clicks to the website] x 100. If your result is below 2–1.5, your proposition may be unclear or irrelevant, or you may be attracting the wrong audience to your website. It’s time to tweak something and measure these numbers again.

Check search inquiries and optimize your keywords.

Check whether the search inquiries are correct. If your target audience is not searching for your keywords, review them. For example, let’s say you want to sell design services. You have started working with the keyword “good designer.” But after two days, you discover that you are getting a lot of clicks from the search term “how to become a good designer.”

Based on this information, you now know that the chances for the search term “good designer” to convert your target audience to clicking on your site is low. With this information in mind, you can adjust your keywords to more specific terms, such as “find good designer” and “hire good designer” to appeal more to your target audience.

Optimize your ads.

If you observe that people click on your ads but do not buy anything, you may be attracting the wrong people to your page, or your visitors may have the wrong expectations. For example, if you are trying to sell design services and people expect to find a designer job on your page, your ads may not be clearly written.

Double-check whether your ad contains a clear definition of the offering, includes the price in the ad, and names the actual product or service customers will pay for.

Tweak your landing page copy.

Determine which search terms are bringing the most visitors to your site and read through your landing page copy with their perspective in mind. You may need to make the copy clearer for this audience, describe the product or service in a simpler way, or review the price.

Make 10 sales on your PPC channel.

Run ads until you make 10 sales at the price that fits your business model. If you have completed this step, congrats! Now you have a scalable business, and it is time to grow.

It’s time to scale!

Now you need to experiment with your sales channel and try to minimize your customer acquisition cost, upsell customers, and do many beautiful things to your newborn business.