For founders, running a beta test is a thrilling and terrifying time. You’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into making your idea into a real product and this is the first time that product is going to be hands of real customers. It’s the big moment where you’ll discover if people like your product as much as you think they will.
Since there is so much riding on your beta test, it’s important to select the objectives of your beta test carefully. You can only focus on so much during your beta period, and you want to make sure that you’re walking away with everything you need to launch your product, and brand, successfully. We’ve put together the primary objectives founders should focus on during their beta tests to give you a place to start.
Evaluate the Total Customer Experience
Beta testing provides the unique opportunity to ensure that all of the product components (including quality, feature/functionality, installation, documentation/training, support, delivery, and more) perform as expected, ultimately providing the intended total customer experience.
Assess Customer Acceptance or MVP Readiness
For new products, products introducing substantial new functionality, or products aimed at a small defined audience, beta offers the ability to achieve legitimate customer acceptance. This will ensure that the product meets the requirements of its audience. Similarly, in the MVP (minimum viable product) context, beta testing can help establish the minimum feature set for a lean launch.
Perform Competitive Analysis
Beta testing is not constrained to only the product being developed. Beta testing offers product developers the ability to incorporate competing products in an effort to determine customer sentiment including feature/functionality, quality, and performance.
Identify Bugs to Improve Quality
Your quality assurance team can’t run tests with every platform, peripheral, or product that might interact with yours, which means there are hidden defects in your product. Beta testing helps cover those gaps by providing real-world usage in an incredible variety of environments and scenarios. It’s surprisingly common for beta testers to discover a number of show-stopping bugs that QA was unable to discover.
Regression Testing on Solved Issues
Beta tests often focus a portion of tester efforts on ensuring that previously encountered issues have been addressed to their satisfaction, forming a complete “feedback loop” for issues. If you’re incorporating new features during your test (some of which may have been suggested by your beta testers), you can gauge acceptance of these features.
Test Real-world Compatibility
Compatibility testing is one of the most common beta objectives, focusing a real-world audience on testing the product with adjacent products and technologies that will influence its performance and uncover issues.
Collect Testimonials/References/Case Studies
Beta participants are the first customers who possess real experience with your product. This presents the opportunity to collect valuable testimonials for your marketing and PR teams. With high-cost or B2B products, you can also use beta participants as customer references, so the sales team can hit the ground running.
Acquire Early Adopters/Evangelists
Providing early access to a product or service is an effective way to gain an audience of enthusiastic users who will be more than willing to spread the word about your company and your product.
Generate Product/Launch Awareness
Public betas are now common in the release strategies for web applications, entertainment products, games, and more. The goal is to build viral, widespread awareness (and vast amounts of feedback) by offering an early (and free) version of the product, with the understanding that issues are still being worked out and expectations should be a bit lower than with a released product. This can end up being a key aspect of your overall launch strategy.
As always, your objectives will vary depending on your product and launch plan. However, these objectives should help you run a focused beta test that gives you the valuable feedback you need to improve your product and launch with confidence.
If you’re looking for more beta testing objectives, check out our complete list. For more information on public betas, download our whitepaper on Public Beta Tests as a Launch Tool. If you’re not a founder, take a look at our entire series on beta testing objectives to find the right goals for you.