The 6 Stages of Digital Product Development

In this digitally-dominated world of ours, the notion of selling various products and services has become the norm and even the very basis of how numerous business operate. When we talk about digital products, they can range from a variety of simple apps we all use on our phones, all the way to complex digital software solutions used by entire corporations. Their conception and creation, however, can be extremely complicated and intricate, and understanding the process can help your very own business develop its digital products, too.

Many startups, in fact, develop their digital tools in order to improve their in-house interactions and operations. Others will monetize their creativity and sell these products to customers and businesses alike, so the need is certainly there – depending on the idea that you have and the problem you’d like to solve. Bringing a digital product to life takes expertise and strategic planning, and the following steps and useful tips can help you improve the process. 

Collating knowledge and information

Research is the foundation of digital product development. You first need to understand the current state of the market, the needs of your target demographic, and the existing, available products. If you find a gap and a need you can fulfill, this is the perfect moment for you to focus on that particular problem and develop your product idea in that direction. 

Design and launch your digital product

Every brand is different and each product needs a unique approach to the development process itself. However, agile development has become the holy grail of digital product development today, and you should consider it as the backbone of your own strategy. Among many perks of this approach are the fact you’ll conduct regular tests, make changes on the go based on valid feedback and testing alike, and you’ll enable a collaborative environment for your developers and designers. 

This alone will help you create something with great potential to succeed. This high level of collaboration ensures transparency and keeps everyone involved, so when the time comes to deploy and track your product’s performance, each team member will be able to contribute. 

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Track the journey and refine

From the moment you research the market for possible problems your software can solve, all the way to the moment you start A/B testing certain solutions, and well after the launch, you need to monitor that progress. You can keep your eye on your progress with the help of a customizable SaaS reporting tool that monitors predetermined KPIs and helps you understand how you can improve your product. 

The purpose of this particular step is to improve the performance of your product for your customers, so when you notice that they lose interest during a particular step of the onboarding process, you can make the necessary changes to avoid such losses and sign on more customers. 

Market your product appropriately

Visibility and awareness are the two main ingredients in your recipe for SaaS success. You cannot expect anyone to know about your brand or your latest app without reaching out to your target demographic at the right time and in the right place. 

For starters, you should use social media platforms to market your new digital products, as much as you’ve probably used them to test out the playing field and collect impressions as to how your product will be received. Social networks are endless sources of low-cost marketing opportunities that will gain you enough exposure right before launch and well after your product is ready for use.

Provide ongoing maintenance and support

Reaching some level of success is one part of the story, but retaining any kind of recognition and respect is another issue. To keep your customers and make them happy, you should provide them ongoing support and regular product maintenance. There’s no better way to humanize a digital tool and to make the brand itself more appealing than by going that extra mile. 

Upgrade and better your offer

Even after the launch, ongoing research, and post-deployment success, your digital product still has room to improve. You should take that leap since there are bound to be other apps and software solutions out there similar to your own that are ready to incorporate yet another trendy layer to their offer. Just look at how Facebook has evolved to embrace live-streaming, filters, and creating watch parties, instantly elevating the social platform into an even more interactive experience.

It’s up to you to continue using the research you’ve compiled and to find potentially useful features you can embed into your product. This will keep your audience interested, and you’ll always have the chance to restructure your payment options to add a more “exclusive” vibe to one of your tiers. 

What many believe could be a simple “build and unleash” process is actually a rather intricate protocol of steps needed to ensure the success and viability of your digital product. Post-launch tracking and feedback incorporation are often neglected, leading to issues among SaaS businesses trying to push their own line of digital tools. That said, don’t make similar mistakes and respect the necessary process for your own digital products and you’ll be able to create something truly useful that will bring your business ample long-term success. 

Jolene Rutherford

About the author: Jolene Rutherford is a marketing specialist – turned blogger, currently writing for Interested in digital marketing and new technology trends. Love sharing content that can help and inform people.