Once in a while, you’ll experience a beta test plateau. This is a situation where your test has been running for a while and tester feedback has noticeably decreased. You’re still missing some critical data and aren’t quite ready to end it. So here are 5 things you can do RIGHT NOW to revive a dying project:
1. Assign “homework”
If you’ve gotten to a point where user feedback and participation is basically non-existent, you can get a final burst from testers by providing them with a set of structured activities. This could include a survey, set of tasks, or another defined process that grabs those last important pieces of data you are seeking.
2. Show appreciation
Simply showing your tester’s appreciation, offering praise for their prior contributions, and reiterating how important their participation is, can entice them to return. Testers also respond to personal appeals. If you have the time and your contact list of testers is not too massive, a phone call can work wonders. Pick up the phone and touch base with each tester. Thank them for their time up to this point and ask if they might get engaged in the test again. Very often, this personal touch is all you need to get the ball rolling again.
3. Promote a special release
A helpful way to revive user engagement is to have your developers push out a release of the product that rekindles their interest. If your development team can create a special build or tie the test to an upcoming build, it can create buzz with your users. This is especially effective if it addresses any of the big concerns they expressed or bugs they found during your test.
4. Remind them of the end
Many of your testers could be burnt out from beta testing. Towards the end of the beta, clarify to your testers that it’s the end and remind them that last minute feedback will help close up the project. Don’t forget to express your appreciation for their participation efforts as well!
5. Incentivize them
If you’ve engaged these testers for an excessively long time (based on the complexity of your product), it’s also a good idea to consider an extra incentive. Sometimes offering monetary compensation (in the form of Amazon or iTunes gift cards) actually works!
In the end, a beta test is not truly dead until you call it out. However, the longer you wait to end a project, the more difficult it is to re-engage testers. Reviving a dead project will allow you to really close up the test and get that last bit of critical data you need.