This is an article by our guest contributor Arsalan Sajid from Cloudways.
You have the product, a complete business model, a team, and some funds to keep you afloat for a year or so. Now what? It is time to get beta users for your startup product.
Who are Beta Users?
Before you go searching for beta users (aka beta testers), it is important to understand who beta testers are.
Beta testing is a process where you release the products to a limited public audience to understand how they perceive it. This enables the team behind the development to work on flaws, remove bugs, and come up with even better features that can enhance the value of the product. You can carry out beta testing in different phases.
Why are beta users important?
If you are launching your product for the first time, it is important that your product is free of bugs. Otherwise, the public just won’t like the product and the startup will fail even before the official launch.
Bug-ridden products can impact your business critically and can lead to negative publicity. In tech, the word about negative publicity can spread like wildfire, as well as give your competitors time to add the features that your product lacks to their own products.
In short, beta users are important because:
- they can help you find bugs within the product;
- they can improve user flow and enhance usability;
- they can come up with ideas that you can add to the product to improve its value;
- they will do it all for free, so make sure you recruit only those who need the product and understand its purpose.
Who is an ideal beta user?
An ideal beta tester is anyone who is actually interested in buying your product. This isn’t your family member or a friend, but a person that fits your buyer persona. This person has a pain that your product can resolve. For example, if your product is a newsletter about the best dropshipping products under $10, then your ideal beta tester will be A) a dropshipper looking for under-$10 products; B) they want them to be available to them every month and that’s why they will subscribe to your newsletter. In fact, if your product is good enough, you can charge them $1 for the weekly newsletter.
Beta Bound, a beta testing job portal, shares that an ideal beta tester is someone “who would most likely buy the product once released. Often this isn’t cliche early tech adopters, but rather more mainstream users.”
Best ways to get beta users for your startup
We have decided to do the hard work for you by providing a list of the best ways through which you can get beta testers for your startup product. Using any of these ways can lead you to 100 to 500 beta testers easily.
1. Grab beta testers through landing pages
One of the best ways to attract beta testers for your product is through a landing page. You must be wondering why a landing page is so important? It makes the product look trusted. In fact, most people who will see a message about beta testing on a social platform won’t sign up unless they see the landing page.
Landing pages can help people make a decision about whether the product is a good fit for them or not, as it offers more information. They can also chat with the team to get more details about it.
This is the landing page we at Cloudways used to get 500+ early testers for our product back in 2013 when we were launching the business.
2. Visit startup listing websites
You can easily get beta testers for your website from the many services available online. Some of the best ones we found while searching online are:
Some of these are free startup listing websites exclusive to beta testers such as Betalist, Betabound, and Betafamily. Others are also good for finding beta testers, but you have to clearly state the purpose and provide an incentive.
3. Search for influencers to spread the word
Remember when professors in business class used to say to build your network? Guess they weren’t so wrong after all. You can pace up the job of finding beta testers if you have a network of influencers. These influencers can either become your beta testers or they can help you spread the word, which will lead to more beta testers in the space. Either way, you benefit.
You can also use a tool like Tweepi that tells about the social clout of a profile. If you want to find influencers on Twitter, then this is a great tool to access.
These can be community managers, Instagram influencers, twitter pros, and Youtubers. Just ask them if they’d be interested in testing your product. Most of them who are still in the initial stages of their career will definitely show interest in testing your product. Some of them will even promote beta testing among their followers, bringing you even more beta testers.
4. Double the number of beta testers with a referral program
Why not turn beta testing into a game? Instead of making it routine and boring, you can ask your beta testers to share your beta testing page on social media: the more invited users a beta tester collects, the earlier they get access to the finished product.
This strategy can double the number of early testers quickly.
5. Cold call/email
Another way to find beta testers for your business is through cold calling and emailing to potential users. Let’s say, you have found a person on LinkedIn who seem a good fit for your product. Simply message them asking if they want to test your product. Most users are happy to help out because they believe they can make a difference in someone’s life.
Here is a simple template you can use to message them.
Subject line: Invitation for Beta Testing of Our Product
Dear Potential Beta Tester (Replace with a name)
I am the Marketing Manager of Product X.
My team and I have been building a holistic solution to influencer marketing. As you posted in the group that you are looking for such and such feature in the influencer hunting software, we think you may be interested in our product. It has the features that you need while also allowing you to improve profitability. A few things you can easily do with this app are:
As this product is still in beta, we are providing you free access to it. In return, we want you to honestly share your opinion on how we can improve the product. This will include a list of bugs you encounter and the features that you are missing. In the end, the product will help you and many others who share your pain points.
Let me know if you have any interest in the product and I will send you the credentials.
Had the product tested by the beta testers? Fixed all the problems they’ve pointed out? Is the product is ready?
Now, depending on the type of product, you can move to public launch or go for another round of public beta testing.
If you are planning for a public launch, make sure the product is stable and bug-free. You can extend the beta stage if you are still uncertain about the functionality of the product. The beta stage of the product usually lasts for two to three months. Once you pass this beta testing phase, it is time for the big launch.
When are you planning to launch your next big idea? Let us know in the comments below.