Understanding Users and Their Needs

80% of new digital products that are launched fail.

One of the top reasons is that businesses don’t understand users and their needs well enough. You don’t need to spend big money to understand your users.

Here are 10 ways to do user research on a shoestring budget.

  1. Find keywords on the Google keywords tool. Analyse what users are searching for. This is old economy but it is still a crucial exercise as you’re building a new product. It will also give you an insight into how competitive the market segment you want to be in is.
  2. Listen on social media. Float new product ideas on your social media. Listen to the feedback. Is there demand for your product? What are user pain points with a competitor's product?
  3. Run polls. You can run quick polls on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. This is a great way to get quick feedback on any product/feature ideas (and also a great way to boost follower engagement)
  4. Build an MVP (minimum viable product). This could be your product with one key feature or a manual version of what your digital product does.
  5. Test your MVP with your network. Start with friends, family and colleagues. Test it with your social media followers. Run targeted ad campaigns on social media.
  6. Analyse your competitors. Understand their customer. Use Google keyword tool to find out how users discover their sites. Analyse their reviews and social media and learn what users liked. Trial their products to know their user appeal.
  7. Use free analytics tools like Google Analytics. Understand what are your key search terms. Learn who your users are. Learn about their habits. For e-commerce products, it’s also key to find out where in the sales funnel you’re losing customers.
  8. Run online surveys. Target your key user segment to understand what they need from your product. Pay for a small sample size. The more targeted, the less money wasted, and the more valuable the insights.
  9. Interviews and focus groups. Surveys are great for getting quantitative data. Interviews and focus groups are for qualitative data. Focus groups would cost less than interviews. It’s better to run them when you’ve done your basic research elsewhere and need deep insights.
  10. Connections and communities. Last but not least, leverage your connections and any communities that you’re part of. They could also be part of you target user group. Send out emails, DMs, or call to find out what they think of your products.