Find the right beta testers and they’re more likely to become real users.
When testing for Usability, UX or running a Q/A Bug test, you typically want to run the tests with participants that match your target audience as closely as possible. When you obtain feedback from users that are representative of the people who will actually be using your finished product, you can draw meaningful conclusions from the data and take the right actions to improve your product.
Although testing with your true target audience is sometimes not possible (e.g. very niche audiences), when it is, you also get an additional benefit: Your testers are more likely to turn into real users. In fact, your testers are probably more likely to become active users of the end product than organic users that you might acquire through other methods.
The reason that the right testers are more likely to become real active users and ambassadors of your product is that they will probably feel a sense of buy-in. If they have provided you with feedback and have helped you improve the product, they will feel like they have some ownership in the end result. This is more likely to lead them to continue using your product and even spread the word about it. They might brag to their friends about that fact that they got early access and helped with testing, which will result in more exposure for you.
Now that we’ve established why it is a good idea to test with your target audience, let’s take a look at where to find the right beta testers.
Here are some of the best FREE resources to find beta testers that might be a great fit for you:
- Reddit – Reddit is one of the best resources to find any sort of a niche audience. Subreddits are communities within Reddit for different interests, and it is very likely that there are subreddits that relate to your niche. You can promote yourself or your product by engaging and adding value to the group, or simply by running ads within them.
- Hacker News – A social news website with entrepreneurial / technical audience (developers, startups, etc), that are generally eager to help. This could be a great website to promote your startup / product to potential beta users.
- Blogs / Press – Here is a good list.
- Daily featured startup email lists – Featuring your startup on popular sites like BetaList, Product Hunt can be a great way to add a lot of beta users to your email list. The users you find on these sites might already be early adopters in general – so people that sign up for your list are likely to be enthusiastic about providing feedback and are self-selecting as a part of your target market.
- Beta testing platforms (not free) – Beta testing platforms like BetaTesting and others are a great option for finding the specific users that you’re looking to target. At BetaTesting, we can help you target your ideal audience through demographic targeting, and a screening survey for refined targeting on any criteria: interests, lifestyle, etc.
- For specific countries – In addition to the above mentioned resources, there are some things you can do to acquire users from specific countries. For example, you can advertise in those countries through Google Adwords or Facebook, post on blogs/press sources that are specific to that country, and target users in their local languages.
Finally, just because you’ve managed to find the testers that match your target audience doesn’t mean your work is finished in turning them into real users. The likelihood that they become real active users depends on one thing: Are they excited about your product and do they want to continue using it? Treating your testers as customers from the very beginning can help immensely in ensuring that they remain excited.
Here are some tips to follow to get better beta engagement:
- Remove obstacles – Any inconvenience in using your product can turn off users easily. Go out of your way to make sure that the process of testing / using your product is as easy and enjoyable as possible.
- Be thankful – Don’t take your users for granted. Appreciate the fact that they are taking time to provide you with valuable feedback. Always make sure to read their feedback and respond directly where applicable.
- Communicate – Communication is key. Keeping the users updated is not only helpful in the feedback process, but it will also help in keeping them excited about the product. You can provide a quick recap on the test, update them on any changes, and let them know your launch date etc.
- Distribute – Be sure testers have access to the full public product when you launch. They might have had access to the “beta” version through a third party app like TestFlight. Do let them know when the finished version is available through regular channels like App Store / Play Store etc.
- Improve – If for some reason, you see that users aren’t engaging as much as you’d expect, it’s a sign that they are not interested / excited or that they don’t find the product useful. It might be a good idea to read some of their feedback and improve the product or make necessary tweaks.
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