As an Australian web design company
, we’ve had a hand in helping with some awesome new products and services. It’s part of the reasons why we hook into online systems integrations, mobile apps
and love staying abreast of new technology as well. Webcoda loves nothing more than strapping on the boots and walking into the territory of new ideas for our clients.
Healthy, thriving organisations pop on over to the other side of the fence and check out the land of opportunity on a regular basis. That new land of opportunity can come in the form of new customers, product ideas, additional services and the integration of technology with your current offerings.
Whatever the case may be, when we drop on in on Opportunity Town, we’re usually looking for new ways to gain, retain and reinvigorate our customers.
Here are some of the considerations you need to include when chasing that new audience through a shiny new idea
Does it solve a problem?
The first place to start with any project by an Australian web design company or technology builder is the problem it solves. The essential idea behind building any kind of feature, product or service is that you are solving a customer problem. This is especially true with new markets. After all, if consumers feel that you already solve their problems, they buy the stock you already have.
When you are looking to expand your range or juice up the features, you have to make sure you solve a problem.
One of the simplest ways to do this is to look at your new idea and/or that new audience and run a SWOT analysis. SWOT is when you look critically at an idea, campaign or reaching out to a customer group in critical terms. SWOT is defined as:
- STRENGTHS- what are the valid case points for the campaign, feature or consumer market? What makes them a viable match?
- WEAKNESSES- where are the problems with this group? Where are the potentials for failure found?
- OPPORTUNITY- why is this group, feature or idea a good one? Where does the ability to make money, make a splash and improve your offering lie?
- THREATS- what are the pressures, internal and external, that could derail the success of your product or feature?
You might recognise this from cheesy 80s style business. It’s making a comeback for a very good reason as it helps you easily and succinctly spot that you solve a problem for your customers. And what you’ll have to overcome if you are going to make it work.
Personas are a fantastic way of identifying your existing and future customers. They give you a unique insight into features that your customers have. It’s about locking down these features in order to attract the right new customers. Personas can give you everything from demography to media consumption and marketing strategies. Knowing that amount of information can be empowering.
We covered personas in our last blog, but there are a few things we add to the information gathering process when looking at new products and audiences. When using personas, make sure you:
- Define the customers you already have
- Think deeply about the customers you want using market trend data, like minded products and shared audiences
- Consider the drift that might be created with existing personas. E.g. charting their reaction to new features, answering their questions and allaying their fears can help make space for new ideas
- Think about saboteurs – there might be people out in the community that resent your expansion or new ideas, especially if it is similar to other ideas on the market. Knowing how to silence their objections and minimise their influence on your existing customer base and/or new audience makes life a lot easier
- Speak candidly to existing members and even draw older, legacy members into the feature creation process. That way, your community elders can help lead not only the product design but also adoption
Personas are a fairly magic tool for all kinds of occasions. They are the measure of a good Australian web design company, product manager or software builder. Make sure you spend time using them!
Another feature of the Australian web design company repertoire is the user story. User stories and acceptance stories are great way of applying the vision you have to the personas and into development. Think about how your audience will interact with the products and services you create. Meet their objections in their own language. And also be them. User stories work best when you provide a framework for their development. This includes:
- Knowing the personas well enough to write a convincing story. So allow time for development in both instances
- Be the user within the user story. Think like them, move like them, be them. Once you start thinking in character, the bias we hold melts away and we start to see navigation and interaction through the real user’s eyes. That makes for much better design and development
- Expect collaboration as part of the process. The drive for new customers may be coming from business development or marketing. The development of personas might usually be the domain of web and product development departments. Perhaps IT is the lead. That doesn’t matter so much as ensuring that all perspectives are included. We all look for different things so bringing that combined knowledge together to create, refine and update approaches is superior to user stories created by one person in isolation
- Motivation is key- you don’t have to have a bucket of research or a tome the size of War and Peace to create a great persona or write an awesome user story. You need to know who and why (so what motivates them to action and what they want from the experience overall)
Be brave enough to realise that user stories are part of the process, but they are not the whole ballgame. You still need to look at storyboards, assess workflows, test personas and products on people, mock things up and consider outside influences. Plus, you can’t ever assume that a persona or user story is entirely complete. So be prepared to draft, iterate, share, redraft, iterate, re-share and actively look for improvement as much as you can to get it where it needs to be.
The importance of thorough education
When changes are afoot, audiences young and old need support and help. This is where your content marketing counts. Not only do you need to build what you intend, you need to convey the rationale behind change. Some groups will resent the change, others will embrace it. But how much fall out you receive will come down to how important you make the communication of that change to the existing and new customer base. Areas that you’ll need to include in communication are:
- Briefing your customer service team appropriately
- Developing scripts for call centres, instant chat and so on
- Including information for press releases, blogs and social media
- Preparing appropriate press releases, blogs and social media to help with the transition
- Newsletter content regarding the changes
- Planning for disaster and backlash through contingency planning
- Updating frequently asked question files, how to help files and any customer instructional information
- Assessing existing content such as brochures, downloads, checklists, video, audio and so on to make sure the information remains relevant
- Updates on any support for customers with disabilities that may impact their use
- Creating internal messages to aid with understanding and support
- Updating any automatic messages such as IVR communication, chat bots, auto send SMS, email flows etc
In all things, knowledge is power. The more knowledge your new and old customers have, the greater their ability to adopt change as an empowering act.
Take the time to understand and communicate
Opportunity Town is the place where innovation resides. There’s a great quote that says “the only person that likes change is a wet baby”.
As an Australian web design company with a wealth of experience teaching us otherwise, we don’t necessarily believe that always to be true. However all change can bring shock. What matters is how you deal with it.
By understanding your audience, existing and new, as well as providing the ability to transition with confidence, you vastly improve your chances of making change a positive process. Invite your new audience to solve a problem and learn how your product works for them is the first step. Continuing that journey through empowering your internal and existing external customers with education and information and you can seal the deal.
Want to understand your customers better and build better products online in the process? Use an Australian web design company and technology specialist that knows opportunity when they see it. Get in touch now!