You probably have an enormous list of goals they need to hit every month. The top among them is finding new ideas to improve their product, grow their audience and solve new problems for their existing customers. Sounds like a lot, right?
At the core of solving this problem are ideas. Most people start with their own on how to make improvements and get more customers. However, great ideas sometimes come from unexpected places.
One of the best ways to put them all in one place is to use an idea board - a place where your team and your customers can collaborate with ease.
What is an idea board?
In a broader sense, an idea board is any physical or digital board that lets you put up ideas on it and discuss and evaluate them.
In a narrower sense, if you’ve ever used Trello or any other project management app, you’re probably familiar with the concept of a Kanban board - or at least a board.
It’s a place where your customers and your team can leave ideas for your product. For example: bug fixes, feature requests, redesign ideas, you name it.
Ideally, you want more than one idea board. At least one should be internal - where your team can see the ideas they propose themselves. The rest can be public, where your customers can suggest ideas, comment on them, upvote them and make their voices feel heard.
When to use idea boards for your product
The right time to get ideas is - all the time. It doesn’t matter whether you just launched your product or you have a seasoned SaaS application with 100,000 users - the situation is all the same.
Ideas are a form of feedback coming from your customers and no matter how established your product is, you always want to gather feedback. Primarily, you want to keep your existing users satisfied and prevent them from churning. Once you solve their pain points, attracting new customers becomes easier too.
Last but not least, you want your customers’ ideas to lead your upcoming feature development. There is often a misalignment between what product people think that their customers need and what the customers actually need. An idea board comes in pretty handy here.
Why use an ideas board for product development?
The reasons are plenty, but here are some of the main ones to get you started.
Validating ideas and collecting new ones
Nothing kills a product more quickly than assumptions. An idea board lets you validate the ideas you have yourself about your product and the way your customers use it. You no longer have to rely on a hunch when developing new features and creating new ones.
You can also use an idea board to collect completely new ideas from your customers. Once you give them a new space to share feedback, expect it to come pouring in.
Collect customer and user’s ideas, requests, votes, and feedback
One of the most common pain points of product management is that feedback comes in from a variety of different places. Emails, calls, website chat, social media - you name it.
An idea board allows you to put all of your feedback sources in one, neatly organized place. That way, you can categorize everything, group similar entries, and avoid duplicate ones.
Another great aspect of an idea board is that it’s interactive. Customers can leave comments on your board and interact with each other and your team. On top of that, they can vote on existing features/ideas to give you a better idea about what is important to them.
Give your team a voice
You know who else has something important to say and it’s not your customers? Your own team.
As they are the ones interacting with both your customers and your product, they’re at the perfect crossroads to communicate about what matters. They use your product until they break it, and if there’s anyone with ideas worth their weight in gold, it’s your team.
They too can use an idea board to share their thoughts and interact with each and your customers.
Surface the best ideas
Numbers matter. And even if an idea seems like it’s just perfect, it makes no sense if only a handful of your customers want it.
An idea board lets you quantify feedback in a way that you can immediately see which ideas are worth your time. As customers leave their votes on the ideas on the board, their votes will show you what ideas, features, and updates are worth investing your time and money in.
Types of Idea Boards
There are different reasons why you may want to create an idea board for your company. Depending on what you sell and how you communicate with your customers, this is what you could do:
- Get customer feedback for ongoing projects
- Feature requests
- Marketing ideas
- Design ideas
- Event ideas
- Building a product
- Bug reporting and tracking
- Naming (a product, for example)
- Presenting different options
And basically, any interaction that you can think of where you need to communicate with your customers and your internal team.
How to create an idea board
There are a few ways to get started. The most difficult one is to build a website from scratch, which would require quite a bit of code, so that one is off the table immediately.
You can also use an app such as Trello to get started and create a board in their ecosystem. It will look good and have the basic board functionalities but you’ll have a hard time with giving access to different parts of your audience. In other words, it will be hard to create a public board that your customers won’t interfere with.
Instead, you can give FeedBear a try! Within 5 minutes, you can create your account and get started with your idea board. No credit cards, no lengthy forms, just a few fields and you can get started with your free trial super quickly.
FeedBear, a simple feedback board with voting functionality
FeedBear is designed as a piece of feedback software that does all the heavy lifting in communicating with your customers. You can use it in many different ways, but the main purpose remains the same - offering a way for customers and internal team members to give you ideas and feedback on what you’re building.
Setting up FeedBear
All it takes is going to the signup page, filling out your basic information and you’ll be halfway there. If you don’t feel like filling up all the information, you can just sign up with your Google account with one click.
Once you’ve done all that, you’ll get to the next page where you can fill out the details of your board:
Your project name is usually the name of your product and it will automatically become your subdomain name, if it’s not taken. Upload any image you want for your logo and you’ll be ready to move on to the next section.
Most people start with feature requests but you can name your board whatever you want and give it your designated use. Let’s create an idea board.
You’ll then be prompted to add a few projects/ideas - what you’ve recently finished, what you’re working on, and what you’re planning to work on next. This is a great way to inspire your customers to share their own ideas.
And just like that, your first idea board is set up and ready to go.
How to get people to join and send ideas
Getting people to join your idea board is pretty easy. All you have to do is share the link to your board. This can be anywhere:
- Your homepage
- Landing pages
- Social media
- Live chat in customer support
Once they click on the link, they’ll get to your board where they can immediately add new ideas on their own. They don’t even have to create any accounts of their own.
Once an idea is added to the board, it’s open for discussion for everyone in your team and every customer that opens the board.
If you have a number of ideas from elsewhere, you can easily import them to your FeedBear idea board by uploading a .csv file. Likewise, you can export your ideas and use them elsewhere by creating a .csv file in FeedBear.
Comments and discussions
Once your board is up and running, your customers and your team can discuss the ideas that other people put up. This is how it looks in action:
As mentioned before, a customer doesn’t need a FeedBear account to be able to leave a comment or upvote anything in your idea board. As soon as they fill out the necessary details, they can leave any comment they want for the world and you to see.
How upvoting works
An upvote is the best way to give measurable feedback for an idea. Your customers can upvote all the ideas on your board with a simple click of a button.
Once again, no account is required to upvote. This gives you an easy way to measure which ideas your customers really like and what needs to be scrapped instead of put into production.
Automatic email notifications
While everyone can participate anonymously in your idea board, it’s best to require your customers to use their emails for one simple reason - email updates.
Once you turn an idea into a planned feature, the customers that left a comment or upvoted will get an email. Once that feature goes from the backlog to development and even publishing, they will also get an email update.
This allows you to close the feedback loop and inform your customers about the ideas and feedback that they give you. All of this is automatic so you don’t have to lift a finger to keep your customers up to date.
Keep people in the loop with a roadmap
As mentioned above, an idea board is not the same as a roadmap. A roadmap is a plan for your features and updates which your team will build in the future. The best ideas from your idea board make it to the roadmap.
This is your public-facing plan of the features you’re going to build and an easy way to communicate with your existing and potential customers. In the same way that you can send updates from your idea board, you can send them from a roadmap.
As soon as an item on your roadmap changes its status, everyone involved in upvoting, commenting or creating that object will get an update through email.
An idea board is one of the easiest ways to start and manage a discussion among your customers and team members. You too can create one today in FeedBear! Sign up for a free 14-day trial to get started so you can start gathering ideas from your customers and building your product based on real feedback.