Well troops, we’ve made it to the end of our Beta Tips series. This final post is dedicated to showing appreciation for your hardworking testers. Giving out a reward after your test is great way to increase participation during your current beta, as well as lay the foundation for future successful tests. Here are some tips to help you say thank you to your amazing testers.
1. Make It Worth Their While
“Provide an incentive — a gift at the end of your trial, creating a better product that testers care about, or maybe inclusion in future beta programs. Testers need a good reason for spending their time testing.”
— Geoff Griffin, TiVo
2. Wait Until It’s Really Over
When testers receive their incentive for participating, that signals to them that the test is over. So, naturally, if you still need data or feedback from testers, you shouldn’t distribute incentives. Otherwise, you might find the participation levels on those last remaining tasks a little lacking.
3. Offer What They Wanted All Along
The best incentive for a beta test is usually the product being tested. Users signed up to test it for a reason. That’s not to say that other incentives aren’t appreciated (gift cards from retailers like Amazon are usually popular) but giving participants a non-product incentive is a little like depriving them of the fruits of their labor.
4. Keep the Incentive Secret
Giving out information about incentives before or during the test is risky. If your testers like the incentive too much, they might make up data or participate in other unhelpful ways to make sure they look deserving. On the other hand, if testers don’t like the incentive, they may stop participating entirely. It’s best to wait until the end and have it be a pleasant surprise afterwards.
5. Remember That Incentives Set Precedent
What you give as an incentive for one test affects how people think about future tests. This means you have to be careful about making incentives too cheap or too expensive. If they’re too cheap, testers will feel like you don’t value their input. If you make them too expensive, testers will expect that from every project.
6. Try Something Interesting
“Don’t be afraid to try enticing participants through techniques that others have failed with before or discouraged as too risky. Most great ideas that have received positive buzz (unique contests or methods of feedback) were always invariably laughed at and seen as likely to fail before they succeeded stupendously. Such ideas are rarely easy and/or safe in planning or implementation.” — James McKey, Symantec
We hope you’ve found our Beta Tips series helpful. If you’re looking for more beta best practices, take a look at our beta management library, which has free planning kits, eBooks, and whitepapers designed to help you run better beta tests.