You’ve got a new offer that you are SO excited to create. You know your audience pretty well, and you think its exactly what they want from you, and you have a feeling this could sell really well.

Now, if only there were a way for you to feel truly confident that you are delivering a winning product or service before you invest time and money marketing to your audience. Well, that’s exactly where a Beta test comes in, my friend.

Done well, a beta test can be a treasure trove of valuable product improvement information, potential marketing copy, a source of testimonials, and a realistic predictor of sales. (Sounds great, right?!) The problem is, too many business owners aren’t exactly doing this beta dance the right way.

Here are the main areas to focus on when you’re creating a beta test for your new offer:


1. What Will Your Test Look Like?

(Notice, the first step is NOT determining what your product or service is going to look like. That part should already be thought through, and completely ready for honest feedback and tweaking. )

The key to picking your beta test model is to make sure you aren’t investing too many resources into producing a product before you know if there’s interest. Some common ways to structure your beta test include: a limited run of a product, a pre-order opportunity, a test group for a product or service, or volunteer testers (but be VERY careful about working for free- state up front that you will need a certain amount of feedback in exchange for providing your product or service at no cost).


2. WHO Should Be In Your Beta Audience?

This is likely the most important step in creating your beta test, and one you should spend the most time cultivating. One major mistake I see business owners make is asking EVERYONE they know (friends, family, neighbors, the mailman) to try out a product and to give their opinion….or asking complete strangers (by posting something like “Hey, who wants to try out my thing?” in a Facebook group) to join in the beta.

You need your audience to consist of potential valuable and ideal clients. These people need to posess the same values, experience levels, and needs that the audience you will ultimately be selling to does. And they need to be invested in getting results, not just in making you feel nice about what you’ve created. Be picky so you can confidently trust their feedback (more in step 3).

A note on payment here: I highly encourage you to charge, even a reduced rate, for people to participate in your trial. Emphasize that they will get more personal attention from you and that they will have the opportunity to shape the service or product to better serve them. This will not only encourage your beta testers to show up and work through your offer (and avoid your offer ending up in the pile of free internet resources) but will also show them to be people who value your service- an important quality in an ideal client to have.


3. How to utilize your beta audience?

You’ve gathered a great group of testers, you’ve explained to them exactly how the process will work (including expectations for feedback), now what do you do?

First, run your program exactly as you intend to for a future, paid-in-full group. While some design bells and whistles may not be developed yet, or some premium features in your product may be missing, your beta test is not a excuse to throw half-formed thoughts together in a poorly organized fashion. The closer you can get to the true intent of your offer, the better your feedback will be.

And speaking of feedback, LISTEN TO IT. All of it. Trust that the work you put into step 2 has set you up with a group who’s opinions are valid and matter. Remember, you are looking for criticism and suggestions, so try and leave your ego at the door. of- listen to feedback- ALL feedback (trust the group you’ve gathered- why step 2 is super important). When you get positive feedback, ask if you can use it in a testimonial for future sales.

Make sure you are looking at the big picture- before you get stuck in details like packaging or membership site features, be sure your overall experience solves a problem usefully and would be something your testers would be happy to recommend to their friends.


Interested in refining your beta test process more?

Check out these fantastic articles:
Building A Better Beta from Pragmatic Marketing

4 Steps To Building A Bulletproof Beta Test from Fast Company

Using The Living Room Strategy from Tara Gentile

Using Beta Tests to Rapidly Optimize New Products from Ramit Sethi

Need some help in coming up with that new great offer for your brand?

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