Every entrepreneur’s dream is to create the ultimate product/service that their customers will love and come back to on a daily basis. There’s a lot of discussions all over the web about hitting product market fit and how successful businesses achieved it. Most of the discussions cover the growth strategies behind hitting product market fit. However, there aren’t that many guides out there that talks about how you really know if your product has hit product market fit. (Hint: it’s a product market fit survey)
Product market fit is a hot topic in the startup space, but it’s a concept that can be applied to any business.
What is product market fit?
Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market. It means that you’ve created a product that your customers love so much that they will refer their friends to the product and become an advocate for your product. It also means that you’ve created a go-to solution that solves a tough pain point for an individual or company.
Marc Andreesen was the first person to introduce this concept. You can always feel when product/market fit isn’t happening. The customers aren’t quite getting value out of the product. Word of mouth isn’t spreading. Usage has stagnated. Press reviews are kind of “blah”. The sales cycle takes too long. Lots of deals never close. You know the deal.
In addition to that, you can always feel product market fit when it’s happening. You start getting “good problems”. Like your customers buying the product as fast as you can make it. Or usage is growing just as fast as you can add more servers. Money from customers is piling up in your company checking account. You’re hiring sales and customer support staff as quickly as you can. Reporters are calling because they’ve heard about your hot new thing and they want to talk to you about it.
“Product Market Fit is when customers sell for you”.
Now just because you have a product that’s getting towards product/market fit, doesn’t mean that you can stop worrying about competitors. And it doesn’t mean that you should stop exploring new growth and user retention strategies. A big part of hitting product market fit is being able to retain users and making them happy about your product.
Another thing to note is that product market fit isn’t a single person’s job in a business. Everyone plays an important role when it comes to getting to product/market fit. It’s a tough journey, but every little thing you do adds up over time. Customers play an important role in this as well because they will be the ones that are paying for your product and telling their buddies about it. They’ll be your promoters.
In Ryan Holiday’s growth hacking course, he explains,
“Today, it is the marketer’s job as much as anyone else’s to make sure Product Market Fit happens. […]
But rather than waiting for it to happen magically or assuming that this is some other department’s job, marketers need to contribute to this process. Isolating your customers, figuring out their needs, and designing a product that will blow their minds — these are marketing decisions, not just development and design choices.”
The most important question that you need to ask!
One of the biggest problems that entrepreneurs run into is that they think they hit product market fit because of media hype. But all the buzz they’re receiving from press releases and social media interactions isn’t an accurate way to measure product market fit.
For example, I mentioned in my previous article, “Should You Use One-Click Surveys or Long Form Traditional Surveys?” that we received a lot of buzz and sign ups from our launch on Product Hunt. The problem is that a lot of people sign up for your app or share your app via social media, but they didn’t do it because they found a good use case for our product.
We realize that a lot of sign ups came from people who just wanted to see our design or some were just curious to see how we differ from our competitors. Those sign ups never converted and never came back. Because of this, we knew we needed a better way to figure out what our customers really want and whether or not our product was really as solid as we thought it was.
The problem is that a lot of people sign up for your app or share your app via social media, but they didn’t do it because they actually found a good use case for your product. We realized that a lot of sign ups came from people who just wanted to see our design. Or some were just curious to see how we differ from our competitors. Those sign ups never converted and never came back. Because of this, we knew we needed a better way to figure out what our customers really want and whether or not our product was really as solid as we thought it was.
Product Market Fit Survey
The best way I’ve found to measure product market fit is by asking a very simple question. This question is simply, “How would you feel if you could no longer use [PRODUCT/FEATURE XYZ] anymore?”
You can get creative and re-word the question in many different ways. Another variation is that you can use is, “How disappointed would you be if you could no longer use this product?”. Or “How likely are you to recommend [PRODUCT/FEATURE XYZ] to your friends?”.
All three of those questions will help you get into the minds of your customer and determine if your product or service has really achieved product/market fit.
The best way to do this is to provide a list of responses for them to select from. You can send the survey in a regular email, but providing a list of responses is key. Then your customer just has to click once to answer! This will increase your response rates because they won’t need to hit reply and type up a long answer. Here’s a picture of Buffer using the same question to determine if their new “power scheduler” feature is a feature that people love.
Here’s an example of how you can ask this in your emails that you send to your customers:
How would you feel if you could no longer use YesInsights anymore?
- Very disappointed
- Somewhat disappointed
- Not disappointed
- I don’t use it anymore
You can create a simple one-click survey with that question above using YesInsights. You can also track exactly who responded to the question and view all the analytics right within the analytic dashboard.
Here’s how the one-click survey will look if you’re creating it with YesInsights
And here’s how the analytic results will look:
If you find that a high percentage of your customers are saying that they would be “very disappointed” without your product, there is a great chance you can build sustainable, scalable customer acquisition growth on this “must have” product.
Conversely, if a good chunk of your customers are saying that they won’t be disappointed, then you might want to think about how you can improve your product. This is a good sign that you should prioritize improving your product over pouring more money in acquisition without knowing what your customers want.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Using NPS is another great way to measure product market fit. The standard NPS question is, “How likely are you to recommend Product XYZ to a friend?” I went into further detail in this post, “How To Leverage NPS To Drive More Sustainable User Growth and Retention” on how you can leverage your NPS to build a better growth strategy and overall product map.
The NPS will help you determine how much your customer loves you. And you’re in good shape if they love you so much that they will be willing to recommend your product to their friends 🙂
How many responses do I need for an accurate measure?
When it comes to measuring results, the more the better! But in general, you shouldn’t need any more than 50 responses to determine if people love your product or not. You don’t need a ton of responses to start getting insights seeing clear patterns in the responses.
Another thing you can do is by sending everyone that answers the question to a custom landing page where they can leave additional comments.
For YesInsights, once someone answers a survey, we would send them to an additional comment landing page that’s built within our survey system to learn more about their thoughts and why they chose that response. Our customer Piktochart gets 25% additional comment responses from the post survey landing page. It looks like this:
The additional responses along with the product market fit question should help you figure out what your real customers are thinking about your product.
Who should I send this survey question to?
Let’s say you have a huge database of sign ups. You might be thinking that it’s best to send this survey question to everyone on the list without segmenting it. Of course, you can test it in many different ways. But I recommend that you only send it to a certain segment of people for an accurate measurement.
There are many ways you can segment your list to send this to, but here are a few options:
- Beta testers – Let’s say you’re launching a new feature or a new course. Survey the ones that signed up for your beta phase to see how they feel about the product. Maybe there’s a lot of bugs? Maybe the feature/product isn’t as good as the previous one.
- People who have used your app at least 5x – These are people who already have been onboarded and hopefully already know how to use your product. So these are the customers that you want to ask.
- People who have used more than one feature – If they came back to test out another feature, chances are that they have found a use for your product, so this is a good segment as well.
A product market fit survey is already important, but becomes even more important as your product grows! It will be crucial to understanding what your users really think about your product and how you can create a better product roadmap to delight your customers. Listening to their feedbacks and talking to your customers is the number one key to success in any business.
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