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Community Management

Laws of Attraction: Developing a Community of Reliable Beta Testers

May 22, 2018

In a successful Customer Validation program, testers are the vital fuel that enable companies to get the valuable feedback necessary to ensure product success. But you won’t get the necessary commitment, responsiveness, and keen observations you need from just anyone. That’s why it’s often an ongoing struggle for those responsible for developing and managing a community of reliable beta testers to keep qualified users continually engaged with new project opportunities.

Even when your product is an “easy sell,” with positive media buzz and sophisticated features, there never seems to be enough ideal testers – meaning they’re part of your target audience and excited about testing – around when you need them. You may see response rates wobble between projects, or find a lack of qualified candidates applying to your tests despite your large community. You may try and recruit a pool of seemingly perfect testers, only to find your supply is full of inactive or outdated user profiles that could compromise the integrity and accuracy of your data.

If you’re having trouble attracting and keeping qualified users who consistently supply relevant feedback, your tester community may be overdue for a checkup. These three laws of community building can help you identify the challenges you’re up against, and get you on the road toward a thriving tester community that provides you with a constant supply of ideal testers for your CV projects.

Law #1 – Recruitment Response is a Direct Indication of Tester Community Health

Where a healthy community is a powerhub for keen user insights that drive product success, an unhealthy community eats up your time and resources while minimizing the return for your hard work. This is most apparent when you’re trying to recruit qualified users for new projects – without foundational practices like focused engagement efforts and continual user maintenance in place, generating the response you need from testers in your target market can take much longer than expected.

Unreliable recruitment response rates are a source of anxiety and frustration for many community managers, and unfortunately, there are no one-and-done solutions to revitalizing a struggling community. But it’s far from a lost cause. Some tools, like the Centercode Platform, have built-in nurturing automations that make it easier to stay on top of data decay, which hurts your recruiting efforts. Other times, it’s a matter of sitting down with your product and marketing teams to work out the exact audience you’re looking for. The key is to identify where your community needs the most attention and to start from there.

Law #2 – High Quality Testers Have High Response Rates

You can have 100,000 testers on standby – but it doesn’t mean much to either your Customer Validation program or your stakeholders if only a tiny percentage of those users are active and responsive to your participation requests. Even large, high-profile tester communities will see inconsistent recruitment rates, declining participation, and subpar feedback if you aren’t taking strategic measures to reach a relevant, engaged audience.

Working smarter means devoting your energy toward building a community of high-quality, targeted testers you can rely on when it comes time to recruit for new project opportunities. A small community of active, passionate testers is more valuable than a disengaged community ten times its size. It’s the “ideal testers” – what we call targeted, enthusiastic strangers – that will make your recruitments easier and faster, who will stay engaged throughout the duration of your test, and who’ll provide the useful feedback you need to make insightful product recommendations.

Law #3 – Time You Spend Cultivating Your Tester Community is Returned by Tester Enthusiasm

A farmer doesn’t just throw seeds on the ground and walk away expecting a healthy crop come harvest time. He needs to water, weed, fertilize, and diligently nurture his fields in order to enjoy the (literal) fruits of his labor. Similarly, the hard work of community management isn’t just in attracting the right testers; it’s in consistently keeping them active and engaged before, during, and after your CV tests. You need to continuously grow and maintain your community for prolonged success. This means regularly carrying out community-growing strategies, such as:

By cultivating your community, you’re taking care of the testers whose feedback fuels your Customer Validation efforts, and can ultimately have a material impact on your company’s product success. Like the work it takes to maintain your community, the benefits of doing a thorough job are ongoing, and deepen the organizational impact of your CV program – from increased and predictable response rates during project recruitment, to leveraging user segmentations for stakeholder buy-in from other departments.

For practical techniques on honing your recruitment efforts and bringing more targeted, reliable testers into your community, don’t miss our on-demand webinar, Smart Strategies for Building a Relevant and Engaged Tester Community!

Watch the Community Management Webinar

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