Knowing how to make your app stand out from others, and how to get users addicted to it can be difficult. When launching your digital product, this is what needs to be taken into consideration in order for it to be successful. Flavilla spoke to Kyle Whittington, founder of the design and development agency, Bad Dinosaur. They discussed the points to consider in order to not fail your digital product launch.
Kyle is a software developer by trade, and it is also what he studied at university. In his younger years, he was always selling something related to tech. At school he sold CD’s to his classmates because he was one of the only ones who had a CD burner. From here he started to make custom built PC’s, which went on to be his first company.
After he had finished his degree, Kyle was able to get involved with some of the animation studios in South Africa where they were using a technology called ‘render farms’ to do all the 3D animations. He was involved in the set up and maintenance work for these render farm’s, in a handful of studios. This was the basis for his second company called ‘HOWTOfarm’. From here, he went on and got a development job. At this stage he was keen on starting his own company again.
When visiting Edinburgh on a work Visa, he fell in love with the city. He was only supposed to stay in Edinburgh for a year, however, he is still there today. Whilst located here, he tried to build a company called ‘Tutlings’. This was a product aimed to help students at school find a private tutor. This platform gained good growth and Kyle wanted to work full time on this company. However, there was not enough money coming from it so he decided to start contracting his services, and thus came about Bad Dinosaur.
Biggest mistake people make when creating a digital product.
The first thing that everyone seems to do is get ahead of themselves. They are always thinking about what they will do when it reaches a million users, and so on. But at the start of a product’s lifecycle, these are not the questions you should be asking. It is not worth getting caught up in this as it can put a huge strain on the development process. You need to have the basics and foundations first, and then build upon this.
Over complicating the initial version of a product is also a common issue. At Bad Dinosaur, they are all about Minimum viable products. This is the idea of distilling the product down to the core problem that is trying to be solved. When people start adding all the bells and whistles on top of their core product, they spend a lot more. However, they don’t know if these extra bits are needed until they put it into the hands of the users. “What is the problem you are trying to solve?” is the question Bad Dinosaur asks at the start of client meetings. This immediately enables them to lay out the options available in order to solve their problem. This saves them adding lots of unnecessary features and wasting money.
What makes a digital product really addictive?
If you are offering an app that is solving a problem that users really find value in, then those users are more likely to put up with any initial problems within the app. If users really want that app to do something for them, they will put up with it. These users can also give the early feedback in order to find out what changes need to be made.
Brands are always finding ways to make the user open the application after the first use. Whether it is push notifications to communicate with the user, or an assistant at the initial use of the app. But again, it is important not to focus on this at the early stages. Remember, if you are solving a problem, users will come back to it.
What else do we need to know in order to not fail a digital product launch?
One big piece of advice to remember is not to feel embarrassed if it does not look perfect. Do not try and follow in the footsteps of the companies that seem to have had the perfect journey. Yes, they have been lucky in terms of achieving this. But companies such as Apple have had plenty of perfectionist leaders in order to do so. However, there have been many thousands of companies that have tried to replicate this and have failed.
Bad Dinosaur really try to get founders to be ok with having something that isn’t perfect in the initial launch. It is a journey. If you try to achieve that perfect app right off the bat, a lot of money will be lost. Many struggle with this idea and worry about users dismissing their product and them losing months worth of work. However, they need to remember that if this app is targeting a problem. It will be used regardless of the minor issues which can be fixed later on. Don’t compare yourself to the big ‘unicorns’.
Some people also get caught up in tech details such as the platform you are building on etc. Again, in the early stage of building your product you do not really have to worry about that. Once you get traction and there is an appetite for what you are creating, you will most likely have to build several versions anyway.
Don’t forget about the importance of marketing
Marketing is also important in terms of not failing a launch. Many people just assume that once it has been released onto the app store then that’s it, it sells itself. But when was the last time you sat and scrolled through your app store looking for something to download? That rarely happens, and so advertising your app within the market is so important in order to gain traction. On the initial version you release, start immediately promoting it.
This leads on to another important point. There isn’t really such a thing as a ‘launch’ date for an app. On day one it is usually quite slow. You may only get a few users that have come through adverts from other apps, or your marketing campaign. Launches realistically happen over a few months or years because of the new versions you are constantly releasing.
Some successful businesses built by Kyle and his team
Some of the more recent businesses they have been working with are small-medium enterprises. There have been big changes during the pandemic in terms of purchasing patterns and in the demand from the market.
One of the more recent digital product’s they have been working on launching is around enabling distance purchasing of drinks and food inside bars and restaurants. This has now become a lot more of a requirement due to Covid, rather than just a luxury. This app should get a lot of traction due to this recent need.
A few years ago, some applications Bad Dinosaur had launched for small businesses completely changed the way those businesses worked. They did so by turning manual processes into fully automated ones.
At which point of your journey should you reach out to Bad Dinosaur?
Even if you already have your digital product, it is not too late to reach out. Kyle and his team help people at all parts of a product’s journey. For entrepreneurs who have just thought of an idea in the shower, as it were, Bad Dinosaur have a link on their website in which you can look for types of funding avenues you can go down. Alternatively, you can call or message them to start a conversation.
They also have clients who have had an idea formed for around 6 months and have already looked into funding. Some even have an investor who is willing to go in on it with them. The other client they get is founders who have fallen out with developers, or there is something that has not been done right. Kyle and his team look at the existing software and see if there is anything they can build on.
What should people know when reaching out to Bad Dinosaur?
One of the biggest assumptions clients make is that it costs a lot to build initial versions of their products. Maybe around 15 years ago when coding needed to be created from scratch it might have cost more. But nowadays, a lot of existing frameworks are readily available to us. Therefore, many first prototypes can be within the range of a few thousand pounds rather than a few hundred-thousand pounds.
Some founders will approach Bad Dinosaur asking for development in a certain framework. However, it only really matters what software will get your product out the fastest. Whatever makes it cheaper in terms of skills and releasing onto the market, that is what you should use. This is because you can then change this once it has an audience.
About the speaker
Kyle Whittington is the founder and Managing Director of Bad Dinosaur. Kyle is an expert at understanding how to deliver lean products that can be tested in the market. He has over a decade of experience in starting businesses and building tech products. Kyle has gained knowledge and expertise from over 50 early stage product journeys since he started Bad Dinosaur in 2013.
Get in touch via their website or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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