Ever Considered Email as MVP?
The term MVP stands for “Minimum Viable Product.” The author of Lean Startup, Eric Ries, defines the minimal viable product (MVP) as: The minimum viable product is the version of a new product that allows a team to gather the most amount of validated customer learning with the least amount of effort.
Validated learning is the process of identifying a metric that describes a desired goal, taking action, and then monitoring changes in that statistic to see if our activities were effective. But here also there is another important thing: MINIMUM AMOUNT OF TIME SPENT BUILDING… The reason for building the minimum amount of product necessary is that building the minimum amount means it gets built more quickly, and therefore we can begin measuring data and learning more quickly.
A skateboard, for example, would be an excellent MVP if our Big Problem is traveling from point A to point B faster than walking. That skateboard completely addresses the transportation problem. On the skateboard, we can iterate to make a bicycle, then a motorcycle, and finally a vehicle. Every iteration meets our users’ needs, yet our solution becomes more smooth and user-friendly each time.
I came across an article on Medium that is about creating products, writing software, is one of the most expensive ways to verify a business model. He is right, there are other ways that are cheaper to verify your idea without coding even one line. Let’s check what they are🥸
Types of MVP
The word “Product” is causing a lot of confusion but the critical phrase is “validating key assumptions.” Here are the most common 7 types of MVPs to help you🏻
- Email MVP that I want to highlight 😎 When we apply the same framework of MVPs to email marketing, we can build more successful emails that meet the needs of our subscribers faster and with fewer resources.
- Wizard of Oz
- Single feature application
- Pre-order campaign (Crowdfunding)
- Fakedoor/Landing page
Email is one of the most efficient ways to reach out to your target audience. So why not make an MVP out of it? Agains to the other types of MVP above or building a product or even a feature within a product, it’s a relatively inexpensive, quick way to reach out to your target group. You can even build a service with an email list without building a full-out product.
For instance; Consider that you saw an opportunity to create shopping lists for the people who are looking for healthy foods during the corona time. Rather than developing a software right away, you should do the follows:
1. Use an email service like MailUp to create an informative newsletter with healthy seasonal food tips that would be sent out to interested subscribers,
2. Test & tweak,
3. Update the newsletter with different information, practice tests, and other items of value to your readers,
4. Measure which options are seeing the best results with your audience.
You’ll find out if there’s a market for your idea at some point. You can now start developing more complicated products/unique software based on what you’ve learned and generated from your email campaign.
Pros of Email MVP
- A wide range of tools (MailUp and BeePro) are available to aid in the execution of your campaign.
- You have a low overhead cost, you can spend more time testing, tweaking and improving the validity of your idea.
- In most cases, e-mail yields greater outcomes than social media. While results will differ largely based on industry, the following benchmarks for email marketing:
- The average email open rate is between 15–25%,
- The average click-through rate of roughly 2.5%,
- The average click-to-open rate should be between 20–30%.
Conversely, on Facebook you can expect a click-through rate of a measly 0.07%. Also email generates $38 for every $1 spent — an astounding 3800% ROI. Social media comes in at a distant second place with an estimated average ROI of 28%. (You may reach the details here)
Cons of Email MVP
I can hear you; everything is ok Deniz, but how about the customer list?
You are not able to get the reasonable responses that you need to make informed decisions with a small group. There’s no science for how big audience you need, but you can grow your list as large as possible with a small effort. Social media, your personal and professional networks, or paid channels can help you o build a large enough e-mail list of potential customer.
A real-world instance of Email MVP
ProductHunt: Ryan Hoover tells how built Product Hunt from a 20mins MVP
“It was unusually chilly that morning in San Francisco when I walked to my office, Philz Coffee. I ordered and claimed my usual seat. After unloading my MacBook, I peeked at my to-do list to find something I jotted the previous week:
Create Product Hunt
In a burst of motivation to make Product Hunt a reality, I brainstormed ways to build a quick MVP to see if people cared to share and discover products. After noodling over a few ideas, I was reminded of Linkydink, a link-sharing tool by the friendly folks at Makeshift. Simply create a group and invite people to share links with other contributors and subscribers. Each day, the collection of posts are emailed to the group. “This is perfect!” I thought, mentally fist-pumping with excitement.
I logged into Linkydink, created a group, and invited a few of my startup friends to contribute. I wrote a quick blog post, announced the project on Quibb and tweeted. Within 20 minutes, I had an MVP.
I sat back, sipping my coffee, anxious to see how people would respond.
The Results: Immediately, I received overwhelmingly positive feedback, first from Ash Bhoopathy, entrepreneur-in-action at Sequoia Capital.” (Full story is here)
In 2013, Ryan Hoover created an Email MVP for Product Hunt, a platform to share and discover new software products. In just three years, ProductHunt allowed people to discover more than 100 million products and was acquired by AngelList, another platform well-known in the startup community.
Short story long: Maybe Ryan is more well-connected than most of us. But maybe, if an idea is viable, and if your content is interesting and valuable and people care about your cause, you’ll find your subscribers with a newsletter:)