Today the Internet space is a key platform for doing business. Affordable and simple digital tools allow anyone to start their online business from scratch without having a technical background, development experience and team. Classic Customer Development can be transformed into Digital Customer Development.What is Digital Customer Development?
The American entrepreneur Steve Blank described Customer Development (custdev) as testing an idea or prototype of a future product on potential consumers, or building a customer-oriented business.
With the development of the Digital space and the growth of e-commerce sites (online stores selling social networks, marketplaces), it is interesting not only to transform this concept (forgive us Steve Blank) into Digital Customer Development, but also to systematize and describe a set of techniques for testing all of the custdev ideas described above in the online space with the result in creating a business model.
Any entrepreneur who wants to start a business from scratch goes through all the stages of the classic custdev - iterative steps to form an idea, create a product prototype and collect feedback from potential users - and so on until the business starts making money (or not making money and then you fail and this is an experience too). This became possible due to the availability of advanced and adapted digital tools, which are ALREADY designed for the most ordinary users and without large financial investments (we invested $ 150 in the creation of the website and one simple course). The tools help to realize current tasks, and make a specific decision for yourself, whether you should move on with the current idea in the current configuration, or should you change something, or even abandon the business idea altogether.Why is all this needed?
Any novice entrepreneur or business faces the main task - how to become visible and interesting to someone, how to find your buyer? Is it possible to create a business without large investments and a team? Answer: at the first basic stages - yes, and Digital Customer Development can help with this with a certain set of tools.What are Digital Customer Development Tools?
It is a collection of online resources, tools and applications that allow you to:
Who will benefit from Digital Customer Development tools and why?
- turn your business idea into an offer for users;
- land it on the Internet in the form of a landing page, website, online store;
- attract the first audience and grow it in subsequent stages;
- collect feedback from first users / customers;
- based on feedback, quickly change according to the realities of the market, and enjoy the growing business;
Digital Marketing Manager / Chief Digital Officer: the tools will help you solve your current tasks, as well as allow you to test your employer's new business idea (and you yourself can launch such an initiative if you think that you are at a dead end in your role within the company ?);
СEO / Entrepreneur / Top-Management: you have a new business idea on your tongue and the thoughts of an unoccupied niche do not leave you, however, you do not want to expand your staff and invest a lot of money in the development of a direction in which you have not yet touched clients. These tools will help you understand the whole process from the outside, and then correctly attract the available resources to launch a new business;
"It's crazy to do the same thing over and over and expect different results." Albert Einstein
A young entrepreneur who is passionate about his business: you have ambitious goals and objectives, and a modest budget for starting, however, the idea of your business does not leave you;
Schoolboy / University student: you have not yet decided what area you would like to work in, and everyone around you is just talking about this digital, so you have a chance to find out, at least at the level of tools, what it is - and this is an incredibly cool topic that can help you become a successful entrepreneur in the future.Meet the Top 20 Digital Customer Development Tools.
According to the logic of the classic custdev, let's divide digital tools into blocks according to which you need to move in order to carry out Digital Customer Development and build your online business for example from the scratch:
Let me remind you that the creation of an online business is the formation of a business idea based on market research, then the formation of an online showcase with payment (landing page, website, store, etc.) based on your idea, the promotion of this “showcase”, and continuous collecting feedback from users and clients to carry out all the necessary changes for the growth of your business.
Formation of a business idea based on the market research with available digital tools. At this stage, it is required to answer 2 key questions - who is your client and what is unique about your offer? And digital tools that will help you do this are presented below:Typeform
is an online prospect survey tool that is ideal for online research
You can find out without cold calls and verbal communication whether your target audience has a demand for the product, service, application, software or something you offer.Keywords Everywhere
is an online resource, also available as an extension for the Chrome browser, that will allow you to estimate the volume of queries relevant to your business ideas.SimilarWeb
is an online resource / platform available as an extension for the Chrome browser that allows you to analyze a similar business of a direct competitor or a competitor close to you.Facebook, Instagram, Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki
and other communities are social networks where by keywords you can find information about communities relevant to your business and assess the current maturity of your business idea.
The tools help you research the market, collect information on topics of interest to you, and, ultimately, shape your business idea. If you don't succeed the first time, don't worry, the main thing is to keep trying, searching, and doing repetitive iterations.Placing a Business Idea on a Landing Page / Website / Online Store
- The best place to start to test your business idea is by presenting your product / service on the Internet. Today, one of the best platforms for creating a landing page / website / online store for a regular user is WordPress (up to 80% of current websites on the Internet are built on WordPress). Over the past 10 years, developers have created easy-to-edit templates that combine the functionality of simple landing pages / websites / online stores. Anyone can buy a ready-made template and adapt it to fit their business ideas.WordPress
is a platform that serves as both a website development engine and a content management system (CMS). Trust me, you absolutely don't need to be an expert or a developer to create your website or online store from the scratch.Leadpages
is a resource for creating landing pages / landing pages and conducting email campaigns.GoDaddy or Amazon
are the resources for buying a domain and hosting, so that your business idea finds an address on the Internet.Ninjamock
is a rendering tool for your future landing page / website / online store that will definitely help you better imagine which ready-made WordPress template you should target.EnvatoMarket
is a resource for purchasing a WordPress theme or template that best suits your business idea.MyThemeShop
is a resource for purchasing themes, WordPress templates that best suit your business idea.Woocommerce
is a highly functional plugin for creating an eCommerce piece for your online store.Stripe
is one of the best payment system connection tools for online stores.
Based on the results of working out this section, you can spend, according to rough estimates, about $ 100-150, and at the end you have your own website or even an online store. Do not forget that with almost every template, you can buy support from the template developers, which will greatly simplify your work with it.
Promotion of your landing page / website / online store. The main work has been done - you have a resource on the Internet with a formed business proposal, and you understand to whom, why and what you offer. Now you need to let your potential customers know about it, and for this various channels and tools can be used:Mailchimp
email marketing platform is a very powerful resource for collecting contacts and sending mailings to potential customers, which allows you to convey information about your products and services, and really turn your users into customers.SEO
is a big section for building your website optimization and for that I use the following tools:
- Google Analytics and Yandex Metrika are absolute must-haves for any marketer who tracks website traffic and other important indicators;
- OpensiteExplorer, MajesticSEO, Semrush - tools for evaluating keyword positions for queries of interest;
- Yoast SEO Plugin - a plugin that allows you to carry out SEO-optimization of the site right during the setup of your WordPress template;
- Google Search Console is a free web-based tool that allows you to see how search engines identify your site, index it, and how search queries are executed;
- Google Mobile-Friendly Test - with the help of this tool you will check the operation of the mobile version of your site on mobile devices. Needless to say, how much time users now spend on mobile devices, and how much they order there;
- Google PageSpeed Insights - a tool to improve the speed and performance of your website;
The rest of the SEO life hacks are available on the site after the registration form in the form for downloading the SEO checklist.Social Media Marketing
. Of course, the promotion of your business on social media is now at its peak, and this is one of the most budgetary and affordable ways to tell your potential customers about your business proposal (works for both B2C and B2B), and directly test your business idea. Working with SMM is closely related to the presentation of good content, and, as you know, you need to learn how to serve it beautifully and "tasty":Canva
is a tool for creating colorful marketing materials - from logos and photos to professional presentations and brochures.
Getting the first customers, collecting feedback, and making quick changes to your online business.
Perhaps the most important stage of Digital Customer Development, which you will come to very quickly if you use the entire list of described digital tools. I want to add, do not be afraid to ask for feedback through the same online polls, pop-ups built into your site, letters and mailings, and be sure to communicate with your users - this is the only way you can quickly reorient to their needs, and, ultimately your business is bound to be successful.
A step-by-step walk-through of all the tools is available in the Complete Master Course about Customer Development by the link