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Want to Build Stellar Products and Messages? Start with a Good Beta.

Stanley Fich

If you're like most product teams, you're exhausted by the time you reach beta.

You've put a TON of effort into the backend and now you're ready to finally get your product in front of some actual, real live people. But wait just a minute! Handing out beta trials like they're free ipods might feel like a great way to finally get some well-earned eyeballs on your work, but rushing into it can lead to some seriously costly mistakes down the road

Take a minute to craft a beta program that will set both your product and marketing teams up for some serious wins - from launch and beyond.

What's the purpose of your beta program?

First thing's first. You've got to know where you're going and why.

Do you just want to iron out the kinks in the product? Or do you also want to find the perfect market fit? Great beta starts with clear, measurable expectations and a product & marketing team that are 100% on the same page.

Sit down together and draft a beta plan that covers all your goals. Here are some objectives to consider.

Product Management

  • Find and fix bugs
  • Regression testing on solved issues
  • Collect feature requests for roadmap validation
  • Competitive analysis
  • Evaluate the total customer experience
  • Analyze and improve real-world performance

Product Marketing

  • Source customer reviews and testimonials
  • Establish a messaging hierarchy
  • Collect customer feedback
  • Refine your onboarding campaign
  • Hone in on your target audience
  • Collect an NPS score
  • Acquire early adopters and evangelists
  • Generate awareness

Notice some overlap?

That's exactly why your product design and marketing teams need to be beta BFFs.

Map out your winning beta program

There are so many different goals and objectives that could go on your beta wishlist. Suffice it to say, you can learn A TON from a well-planned beta program.

But beware, overloading your beta plan with too many objectives can end up spreading your focus too thin. One way to help keep it simple and effective is to use Dave McClure's Pirate Metrics to align your beta program with your marketing goals.

This is your prime opportunity to find out exactly what it is about your product that makes it a must-have for users. What do they need to do to be successfully activated and retained? Complete a profile? Invite their team? Whatever is is, find your "aha moment".

For Facebook the "aha moment" was getting users to connect with 7 friends within 10 days of signing up — a handy little tidbit that set them up for an ace marketing strategy.

Once you know what your "aha moment" is, how will you craft your marketing and in-app messaging to get them to take that action? Do you need a live training sesh? A clear CTA to get back into the app? Done right, your beta run will give you these answers and set you up for a wildly lucrative launch.

The #1 most important question you must ask in beta

There are so many elements that can be rolled into your beta program. So many questions to ask. Things can easily get overwhelming or overcomplicated.

But at the end of the day, there's really only one big question to keep in mind: "How can we deliver more value?"

Your product should deliver so much value that your user literally can't live without. Because in this day and age, it's not enough to have a great product — everyone has a great product. You need to deliver value — with both your product and your message — if you really want to hit the market with a bang and get customers to stick with you for the long haul.

Ready to rock your beta launch? Tell us all about it in the comments.

Read more from the CloudApp blog — Inside The Workflow

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