My experience with online communities is mixed. Those work best if you have a value proposition that appeals to a large mass for a short period of time - i.e. a game.
For something like healthcare I'd imagine you are looking to have people engage regularly and for an extended period of time. That is going to take more time to convince people to use your platform.
You should be looking for your core user. If you developed personas and user stories, you can use those to identify groups to start with and expand from there. A beta test with a few hundred core users is better than 1000s of users that don't fit your model. If you didn't develop personas or user stories, I'd recommend taking time to go back and think through those. Either way, I'd be happy to help you get started.
Pick up the phone. But first, have a crystal-clear value proposition. Healthcare is a highly competitive industry with thousands of vendors competing for providers' valuable time. Second, identify your target. Don't try to boil the ocean. Find a narrow segment with problems you can solve and identify the specific decision maker you need to speak with. This person must be accessible via the phone. Third, create a simple and concise message (elevator pitch) including: Who are you? Why are you calling? What's in it for me (WIIFM)? (all from the buyer's perspective). And deliver a confident alternative close, for example: "I'm sharing web-based demo next Tuesday and Wednesday, which day works best for you?" Always be grateful, never pushy, but pleasant persistence pays off. Finally, frequency is key. It's a numbers game. Calling on the right target, with the right message, and the right frequency, is the winning formula. You'll eventually secure a customer and deliver value. Then nurture the relationship, produce a case study, and develop a raving fan to leverage as a reference.
Happy to talk more if you have questions. Good luck!
I have been in healthcare marketing and sales for a many years. The easiest way to get beta users for your healthcare app is to approach a large Managed Long Term Care other other home care agency. I have done it repeatedly for software companies.
Whether you are selling B2B or B2C, you have to focus on selling to only one person. You can actually sell to one person at a time while selling to millions at a time. They are one and the same. Don't get off track, what we call digital marketing selling is just selling in print. And that has not changed since Cluade Hopkins wrote "Scientific Advertising." Really long before he wrote the book.
The secret to success: I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with some of the biggest names in business, celebrities, actors, entrepreneurs, business people, and companies from startup to billion dollar operations. The number one reason for their success is doing what they know and love while doing it in new, creative, and innovative ways.
While you are thinking, think big and think of something at least 1% better, newer, or different. And being cheaper is not a winning strategy.
Best of luck,
Take massive action and never give up.
Michael Irvin, MBA, RN
It all depends on the amount of users you need, how targeted they need to be, where online they are active and the way you approach them. One of the problems is scalability... You may have identified some online communities in which your potential users are active, but trying to reach out to each and every one of them is a time-killer and not scalable if you do that manually!
What worked for me in the past, and is also working for the Startups I advice to today - is the development of automated tools that will reach out to your target audience. The market/industry is irrelevant, as long as you can identify where online your target audience is active, and then build tools around these websites/platforms.
In my current Startup I've used this technique to acquire 3,000 beta users for a business networking app. It didn't take long, as it was VERY targeted (converted very high! almost 10% of the people we reached out to ended up installing the app!)
This was also the case in a previous Startup - different industry, but same approach. I developed these tools for the purpose of creating a beta community. It was so powerful that we kept using it long after the beta ended. 5 years later we reached over 100M users! (around the first million came with no marketing $$ spent)
With that said, it may take some time to build these type of tools, so it all depends on the amount of users you're trying to get, as well as the cost of alternative solutions. The good news is that you can keep on using these tools for growth and user acquisition on later stages too.