One of the challenges you will encounter when planning your beta test is finding the right testers for your app. Finding and recruiting a beta testing community of willing testers who also fall under your product’s target market is sometimes tricky.
This is an easier challenge to overcome if your app is already on the market with an existing user base. When you recruit testers from your app's existing users, your testers are certain to fall under your target market and are more likely to be interested in your beta program. This post looks at a few things you can do to help you recruit and maintain a beta testing community from your existing users.
Before you start recruiting testers, take a good look at your existing users and how they interact with your app. Unless your app has a very limited use case or target market, your users will fall under different use cases and personas. Make sure that your beta testing community includes all these use cases and personas in ratios similar to your overall users.
Leverage your user personas to split your users into different segments or cohorts based on their demographics and in-app behavior. Examine your app’s analytics and try to identify the users that represent your app's use cases and personas. You can examine metrics like the number of sessions, average session duration, session interval, and screen flow to look for a pattern.
Once you uncover the common use patterns, divide your users into segments and map each segment to a persona. The segments will let you know who to recruit in order to have a beta testing community that represents your users. If your beta testers end up not being representative of your users, you'll know which segments are under or over-represented.
Keep in mind that on average, only one in five beta testers will actively participate in the beta test and you will need to keep that into account when you decide how many beta invitations you will send. However, when you recruit beta testers from existing users, the percentage of active testers tends to increase.
To improve this ratio further, from your segments, identify any users who have reached out to you in the past and reach out to them first. This willingness to actively communicate indicates a good beta tester and they will make up the core of your beta community.
While these highly communicative users make for great beta testers, you should make sure to include users who are engaged but might not be outspoken. In fact, you should also try to include some users showing low engagement to find out what would make them use your app more. This will make sure that you have a holistic view of all your users, not only the loudest ones.
Offer incentives, like a discount, to users who are willing to receive your beta builds and send you feedback and bug reports.
With your user segments ready and your pool of potential testers chosen, you will need to reach out to them. While it is tempting to just mass e-mail them with a download link for your app, that doesn't yield the best results. Your emails should further qualify them as testers and set their expectations for the beta test.
You might want to first e-mail your beta testers with a brief about your beta program, announce their selection, and include a short opt-in survey. The survey further qualifies your testers and their willingness to communicate, while also giving you more information about them. Moreover, this gives you greater control over who you are admitting in your beta community and avoids including more testers than your beta program can handle. You can use the survey information to further refine your segments and put their feedback into context.
After your users opt-in, you will need to send them a friendly welcome e-mail orienting them to the beta test. Use this e-mail to thank them for their participation and educate them about their responsibilities as testers and the scope and duration of the beta test.
If you are going to use an NDA or beta participation agreement (recommended) they should be included in this e-mail. A beta agreement sets your users' expectations and helps them appreciate the importance of their role, making them more likely to provide feedback.
Use the segments you have created to craft a personalized onboarding flow for each one. This can greatly improve the testers' activity and engagement with your beta test.
It is common for beta testers to start out a beta test enthusiastic and engaged, providing active feedback. However, this can sometimes be short-lived and be replaced quickly by silence and disinterest.
To prevent this from happening, you need to make sure that your beta testers are involved in the beta test and feel like they are part of the team. This gives them a feeling of community and shows your appreciation for their help making them more likely to take ownership of their responsibilities.
Try to engage your testers with regular reports on the progress of the beta test and its results. Provide them with updates on the status of reported issues and let them know what is fixed, in-progress, or delayed. Additionally, don't forget to acknowledge the testers who reported the issues and send them a shout out to make them feel that their voice is heard. Finally, you might want to send incentives to your active testers as a way of thanking them for their efforts.
Don't forget that in the end, beta testing your app is work and beta testers are investing their time to help you build a better app. This is another reason tester burnout is very common among beta testers. To minimize burnout among your beta tester community, make it as easy as possible for them to send their feedback.
In-app feedback tools like Instabug eliminate a lot of the hassle that comes with sending feedback and bug reports. They help your beta testers send more detailed and actionable feedback in an easier, more intuitive way. The ability to send their bug reports and feedback from within the app provides a more seamless experience for your beta testers. We have found that using an in-app feedback tool can increase feedback by 750% and save 45% of your time spent dealing with bug reports.
To make sure that the effort you put into building a beta tester community doesn't go to waste, you need to nurture it. This will save you a lot of time and effort with your future beta tests.
Try to maintain communication with your beta testers throughout the beta testing period, but also between tests. Occasional messages with updates on future beta tests or an inside glimpse of the app's development are usually enough. Creating a forum for your beta community where testers can communicate with each other is often a good strategy to keep them engaged with the community.
However, with time, you will inevitably face some tester burnout as some testers churn out of your beta program. Actively identify testers who have stopped being active for a while and remove them from the program, and go back to your user base to recruit a replacement. This will help you maintain a pool of active beta testers that is always ready to help you build a better app.