beta testing stamp

Beta testing is for Marketeers

Why Best Test?

I recently met a small company that’s getting ready to release a new app for sale. It’s a great idea and I wish them success, but I was really surprised to learn that they’d had almost no beta-testing. Beta testing isn’t only about bug testing. Asking prospective clients to use your service provides you lots of information that’d be really hard (or painful) to other wise get. Specifically:

  1. Actual use-cases; knowing what our clients actually do with your product is surprisingly helpful. It’s not always when, where or what you might think. How they’re using your product might have an impact on whom you market to, or how you market it to them.
  2. What they like or dislike; if your friends & family are testing your product, you might not get the same level of objectivity, or a large enough sample size. Importantly, the larger you sample size, the more valid your data. There’s no sense in building features that your audience isn’t interested in.
  3. Market testing; The best beta-testers are your prospective clients. Approaching them directly should be straight forward if you know your customer. If they’re not interested in beta testing your product, consider how you’re going to sell the product to them.

Don’t sign them up and ignore them. Remember to speak to your testers, they’re your gateway to real feedback and (actually) important feature requests. Engaging with them in a non-intrusive & un-annoying way can provide you a wealth of information. Your testers are also the most likely prospectives to convert to paying customers or, if you’re really lucky, early evangelists.

Beta Test Sites

If you’re not clear on who your target audience is, or you’re looking for more general feedback there are plenty of beta-testers available through beta test sites. Here’s a list of a few sites where you can register your product and get some impartial feedback:

  • prefinery.com
  • utest.com
  • centercode.com
  • Betali.st
  • Startupli.st
  • killerstartups.com
  • feedmyapp.com
  • listio.com
  • StartupTunes.com
  • openforbeta.com

Forums

You can also start working the Internet forums, it’s a great way to get your service in front of very targeted audiences. Some of the forums drive enough traffic to make your product successful just through their traffic alone. The caveat is that you’ll need to be a reasonably regular member at the forum before your post will be taken seriously (or even allowed to include external links). So you’ll need to start work early. There are far too many forums for me to list here, but a quick google search will show you exactly where to go.

tweet a coffee campaign

Social Media Campaign Realities

You may have heard about the new data released by IBM, suggesting that social media barely drives 1% of e-commerce sales. It’s disheartening, but not necessarily an indication of the medium’s merit. Perhaps it’s an indication of the measurement system & social media campaign strategies being used at large?
Let’s take for example the recent Starbucks tweet-a-coffee campaign. The campaign embraces several key factors:

  1. Sharing; You can’t directly benefit, but your friends can, (you may benefit reciprocally) providing a strong incentive to share.
  2. Customer behaviour; Whilst there’s always a portion of people that buy just the one coffee and leave, most people buy other products too. The campaign doesn’t force cross & up-sells, but takes advantage of the broad understanding of client behaviour.
  3. Altruism; giving things away is perceived as a good thing to do, especially when it’s tied in to a cause. As Richard Branson writes “quote here on brand value”, you are your brand, and you need constant positive brand reinforcement.

Tweet A Coffee   Starbucks Coffee Company

 

It’s a social media based strategy, that positively benefits your branding and provides trackable (account creation & spend) results. Whilst I’m not privy to the success of the strategy, I’m confident more than a few people have been sending their friends coupons.

The “inherently social” or “designed to share” component is what makes the campaign successful on Social Media. If you have an app or a product that provides any type of interesting data, allow your users to share it! It makes your product more valuable to them, and is a great way for you to promote yourself.

Nobody’s interested in sharing a Starbucks app, or a Starbucks website, but they’re more than happy to share a $5 coupon. Ensure that whatever’s valuable to your users, is easy for them to share (preferably via a social medium).

Helicopter landing pad

The 7 key elements of a good Landing Page

By now the importance of good Landing Pages should have been drummed into every good web designer. They’re not a mystery, the anatomy of Landing Pages has been dissected repeatedly by many competent authorities. Whilst most of the analysis have the same common elements, I’d still recommended reading through a few of them – if anything to get a breadth of knowledge and a better understanding of how best to construct specific elements.

fuzebox landing page with numbers highlighting key sections

I recently stumbled across this FuzeBox landing page, and one element stood out like a sore thumb. I couldn’t believe the number of landing pages that had omitted it. The basic elements are all present:

  1. Navigation – Reduced navigation, preferably nil, to prevent people clicking away
  2. Bold headlines – Clearly answering your question, or stating why you’re still reading
  3. Bullet point content with headers – we don’t want to lose you in fluff, here are the essential points
  4. The best picture we have – so you know what you’re buying
  5. Clearly visible (above the fold) contact us form – so we can get your details
  6. A submit button – that doesn’t say submit but instead holds the promise of something more
  7. and FINALLY – the telephone number, so you can call them right NOW if you actually want to

The number of websites & landing pages I’ve reached when sourcing a product that don’t have contact numbers is incredible. I want something now. I want to call you to buy it. I don’t want to fill out your form.  Don’t lose a prospective inquiry just because you’re supposed to have “some-annoying-form” filled up. Your telephone leads are just as important (if not more so), and need to monitored & managed just as carefully. You could even consider adding a telephone CTA/offer in the body of your content!

Do you have your contact number boldly visible on your landing pages?
Are you tracking your telephone leads?