How to use Early Adopters to create a better product?

Marta Przyłęcka
23 February 2021
3 min read

It’s no surprise that the number one reason for startups failing is not solving an existing market problem. Identifying real users’ pains is crucial when creating a new product. Product Discovery is a process designed to help ideate a solution that addresses these problems. Beginning with empathization, we get to know the user to define better his struggles and pains that your product could help with. We then come up with a concept for the product in the ideation phase. Thanks to prototyping and testing with users, we gather their feedback early on and adapt to their suggestions. We’ve broken down the Product Discovery process into a few intuitive steps and can conduct it entirely remotely.

Early Adopters will be a lighthouse for you to create a better product, and for users, to try something new

Early Adopter: a definition

Early Adopters are the first users of a service or a product. They will potentially use it before everyone else, so it’s smart and helpful to hear their opinion on the product during testing. Early Adopters should be interested in the product and experienced in the given industry or market. For example, when testing an app that counts calories, you would identify a dietician who looks for tools to improve their early adopter work. Ideally, they will share as much of their experience as possible to help you during the Product Discovery process. Early Adopters often have access to a broad audience and can later attract other users to use the product. They are not afraid of taking a risk when using new solutions. 
 

Early Adopters’ importance can be visualised with the Diffusion of Innovation curve that explains how an idea or a product goes from being an innovation to a mainstream product. Early adopters, the second smallest group, adapt ideas honed by Innovators and spread them onwards to the Early Majority group. What makes Early Adopters crucial to the process is their ability to bridge the gap between Innovators and mainstream.

Use your professional network to find Early Adopters as early in the process as possible

When to identify Early Adopters?

 

Ideally, you should recognize Early Adopters as early as when you identify a problem that your product will solve. Think of them as personas and make assumptions about their everyday lives and their pains and gains connected to your business idea. If the problem you’re trying to solve concerns more than one group of customers, try to segment them and rank based on their accessibility and pain level. 

You can check previously made assumptions during user testing and hear Early Adopters’ opinion on the product concept or prototype. See how to make the most of the user testing with Early Adopters.

How do I know who an Early Adopter is?

In essence, an Early Adopter has a problem and is aware of it. This is quite expected. You wouldn't be able to propose a solution to a nonexistent problem. What’s more, it's easier to connect with Early Adopters if their pain is known to them, because they are more eager to work on it. They want to solve a problem and have the budget for doing that. There is no use in targeting customers that are not willing to pay for your product.

Early Adopters also relate to the B2B business model. They may look for new solutions for their business not in the context of problems, but opportunities and gaining a competitive advantage. B2B Early Adopters often are up for early trials and are not afraid of using an unfinished product. Finding Early Adopters is easier than you think.

Tips & tricks for finding Early Adopters for your business

  • Go through your contacts and business partners (and their networks!) and look for potential user testing candidates.

  • Specify your target persona and take advantage of user testing platforms and their user database.

  • Use industry conferences and events (online as well) as networking opportunities to find Early Adopters.

  • Use the potential of social media (Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook) to contact prospective Early Adopters.

  • Remember that Early Adopters are market and product-specific. For example, someone crazy about tech news wouldn't necessarily try out a new task management system.

Last words

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to better define your value proposition and build a greater product. Working with Early Adopters is a chance to check your assumptions regarding the target persona. User testing with a prototype is the best way to contact them without straining the projects’ budget. Getting the most out of the user testing will provide you with useful insights from potential first customers. And the good news is that you can conduct remote user tests. Would you like to know more about finding and working with Early Adopters? We’d be happy to help. Write to us at hello@start-up.house

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