Tips for Creating a Reliable Group of Beta Testers

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STEMEntrepreneurial Q & A: What is the best way to put together a reliable group of beta testers for a new product?

A: Use awesome incentives and perks.
“Beta testers are so critical to the successful launch of your new product that you should shower them with gratitude. I was part of a group of beta testers for a developer of new software that promised us thousands of dollars in value, including the most premium monthly membership for free. I felt valued, and therefore I put a lot of effort into being a reliable beta tester.” Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World

Engage unhappy customers.
“Candidly, our first launch was far from perfect. One blessing was that lots of very advanced customers shared very constructive feedback from their user experience. Oftentimes they were less than pleased. We used this as an opportunity to convert unhappy customers into beta testers by offering them the ability to be part of the solution. They responded well and became happy beta testers.” Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Doorbell

Use your team.
“Leverage your in-house team first, from developers and accounting to sales and HR. These teammates should always be using your product and have a set process in place to report bugs and feedback. Expanding beyond that, it’s often valuable to select some of your most enthusiastic early adopter customers to test out new features with.” Nanxi Liu, Enplug

Implement targeted pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns on social media.
“Employees and friends are both biased groups for different reasons. Instead, find your target market on social media — Facebook and Twitter are a minimum, while other social networks depend on the demographic and industry you’re after — and set up PPC campaigns to recruit them as beta testers. Set up a funnel to assess whether they’re interested enough to commit to giving regular feedback.” Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent

Outsource it.
“Most of the time, when it comes to knowing which questions to ask and whom to ask them to, most product developers are completely out of their element. BetaEasy and Centercode recruit beta testers specific to the demographics that you would like to target, and know what to ask in order to both improve your product and give you strategic data in order to successfully launch marketing campaigns.” Cody McLain, SupportNinja

Go where the early adopters are. “We’ve found great success finding quality early testers by posting on BetaList, Hacker News, Product Hunt, forums, etc. Based on your niche, you should be able to find at least a few places where your potential customers aggregate. Simply asking these people to try out your product can go a long way.” James Simpson, GoldFire Studios

Start a local meetup.
“Organize an event using Meetup.com, and put together a group of targeted individuals/testers. Drill down your market as much as possible. You want to go as hands-on and face to face as possible with beta testers to ensure accuracy, get a visual reaction, collect data, analyze tester’s application and make sure everyone is on the same page with your product.” Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP

Use gift certificates to motivate beta testers. “Techniques for gathering beta testers vary widely. One of the easiest things to do is go to a coffee shop or cafe with your laptop, buy some gift certificates (either to the cafe or to Amazon) and offer people free gift certificates for beta testing your product right there in front of you.” Arian Radmand, CoachUp

Make it two-fold: internal and external. “For me, it’s a two-step process. First, leverage internal users that are excited about your brand and will look at it from a company perspective. Invite stakeholders from different teams so they process moves smoothly. Second, leverage brand loyalists that love engaging with your company. Treat this as a perk — they get to beta test your product before anyone else — to maintain engagement.” Benish Shah, Refinery 29

Use your own best customers.
“We have found beta testers through campaigns on Google for tech-savvy volunteers, but our best beta testers come from our own clients. Often, we test a new feature by providing the service or product to our customers for free in exchange for feedback about their experience. The advantage is that heavy users will already know what works and what doesn’t, how to use it and what you’ve changed.” Ty Morse, Songwhale

(Source: TCA)