Finding the right pool of beta testers isn’t as easy as it sounds. Our startup founders share their personal experiences and best practices to find beta testers for your new product or service.
The answers below are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.
At Salty Girl Seafood, we’ve chosen to categorize our potential customers by interest. We reach out to specific groups in our community, such as yoga studios, university programs, alumni networks, job-posting listservs, food bloggers and athletic teams to use their contact lists. When people hear that they fit your “ideal” testing group, it feels exclusive, and they’re excited to participate in a best test.
Finding beta testers is a matter of talking to as many people as possible in your target demographic. For selecting beta testers, send out a short survey using any of the many free tools out there, and ask questions like, “What part of product/service interests you most? Are you willing to provide feedback every day?” and the best beta testers will reveal themselves graciously.
Aside from family and friends, there are other areas AlignedSigns.com used when we first started finding beta testers. First, we created a series of landing pages with targeted objectives. Then, we spread the word about the pages out various social networks, ran a few ads to better understand our audience, and reached out to bloggers that we thought might want to share with their audience.
We’ve found that by putting a survey up on Craigslist on a Friday, we often have 500 responses by Monday. Often, we use the survey results to weed out people who don’t fall in our target demographic and then we invite the people who are a good match into our office for a focus group and beta testing.
When you’re a small company, you have a more personable relationship with your users. They tell you when you have a bug, what they hate, etc. So before release day, we canvas our top users for beta testing to see how they like it. They often have invaluable advice as to what does or doesn’t work in the flow, and they are always happy to have been heard. After all, they are the ones who have to use the feature.
Through our network of website communities and internal mailing lists, we have the ability to reach out to our audience and get their perspective on anything we’d like beta tested before it’s fully released. This works out great as they are the ones who not only approve and subjectively review what we are working on, it also gives our audience the feeling of importance and growing the community in which they live.
FounderSociety is an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious founders and business owners.