Before launching your app in beta, you need to make sure you are ready for the road ahead. You only get one chance to launch, and a few missed details can potentially ruin your beta test's success. In this post, we have compiled a checklist of everything you need to have ready before announcing your beta launch.
Your app might still be in beta, but that is no excuse to launch a product that is too buggy to be usable. If your app is experiencing too many/severe issues, you should wait for a few more iterations on the alpha build. Ideally, you should dogfood your app internally to resolve the major issues before distributing the app to your testers.
Before you go ahead with your beta launch, your app must be able to offer at least its core functionalities with reasonable stability and an absence of critical issues or data loss. This isn’t to say that it must be bug and crash-free, rather that these issues are not frequent or severe enough to make the app unusable.
Beta testing tools
Throughout your beta test, you will be using several channels and tools for distribution, feedback, analytics, bug reporting, bug tracking, communication, etc. Ensure that your tools are tested and ready and that your teams are familiar with using them. This is not restricted to tools you might integrate into your app and should include the website, forums, and even telephone if they are used.
Onboarding and documentation
It is a common mistake for developers to be so focused on perfecting their app that they forget about critical issues like onboarding and documentation. While they are not exactly a part of your app, they are crucial for your users to maximize the value they get from your product. Your onboarding experience and documentation should be ready for your beta launch if you want to improve the test's results.
Another benefit of having your docs and onboarding ready is that you can use this opportunity to beta test them and tweak any issues before going live. A good onboarding experience ensures that your users are able to extract value from your app and is especially important for your app’s early stages where you need to focus on engagement and retention.
Beta test plan
This might seem obvious, but having a detailed plan ready for your beta test is essential. Your beta test plan must define the goals and objectives of the test and how you intend to achieve them. This also includes the processes and workflows for handling testers, their feedback, and how it will be acted upon.
Whether your beta test is being handled by a dedicated beta team, an ad-hoc squad, or by you single-handedly, the roles of each stakeholder must be well defined. Each member must have a clear idea of what falls under their responsibility and the whole team must be aligned with how the tasks are distributed. Ensuring your teams' readiness will streamline your beta launch and the overall beta process.
Beta test data
Throughout your beta test, you will be using several metrics to track your test’s progress as well as the performance of your app. Identify the metrics that will track your beta test’s health and give you a view of its performance. As for your app, retention and engagement metrics are usually the most important in the early stages and might need a special focus.
Your testers are the backbone of your beta test. Make sure they are aligned with the goals of the beta test and have a solid understanding of their responsibilities. Familiarize them with your chosen feedback channels and any tools they might need to interface with. Additionally, make sure all testers participating in your closed beta have signed their non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and fully understand all its terms.
Blogging your beta launch
Blogging about your app’s beta and its progress is a simple and efficient tactic that can help you drive users to your beta test and generate buzz around your app.
Ideally, you should start blogging long before your beta launch to help you acquire testers and make them anticipate the arrival of your app. Your blogging efforts should not stop with the start of your beta test; try to post regular updates about the progress of the beta test and the milestones it has reached.
Beta landing page
Like blogging, this is another tactic that you can use to recruit beta testers and should be implemented early on. Even if you have all the testers you need, it will help you build an e-mail list of potential users and testers. You can then use this list to scale the number of beta testers as the test progresses, and use it to market your app to these early adopters.
Having influencers talking positively about your app can do wonders for its adoption. Identify influencers within your niche and reach out to them before you start your beta test. Many of them will be happy to help you test your app, and their feedback can prove invaluable for your app’s iterations. Come launch time, you can use their testimonials and followers to help you market your app.
Pricing and positioning
Beta tests are a great opportunity to test the pricing and positioning of your app. In fact, it is usually the only chance you get before the actual launch of your product. Have your approaches for product pricing and positioning ready to be validated and fine-tuned before the start of your beta test.
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