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Test Closure

The Power of Thank You Notes

November 26, 2013

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’re tackling an important (and too often overlooked) part of beta testing: sending thank you notes to your testers. While rewarding your testers with products or gift cards is an integral piece of beta testing, adding a thank you note from your team sends a strong message to your testers.

So, without sounding too much like your mom pestering you to write grandma a thank you note for that Christmas sweater, we’re going to show you why thank you notes are such a useful (and easy) step in closing your next beta test.

How They Contribute to Your Beta Test

  • They’re powerful. A personal, signed note from an employee to a tester is often more impactful than the thank you gift itself. Many of your testers give hours of their free time to your project because they care about your product, so it’s good for them to know that you care about them too.
  • They give a sense of closure. A thank you note tells the tester that the test is completely over. There aren’t any tasks outstanding and their job is done.
  • They strengthen the long term relationship with your testers. By ending on a positive, personal note, your testers have a tangible reminder of your genuine appreciation for their contribution. This will make them more likely to rave about their experience with you and to clamor to participate in future tests.

Tips for Writing Great Thank You Notes

While thank you notes can be very valuable, they don’t have to be difficult. Here are some easy tips to make including thank you notes in your beta closure process simple and still helpful.

  1. Anything is better than nothing. They don’t have to be perfect. They don’t have to be handwritten. Any personal note stuck in with their incentive or even sent alone after the test will be a nice gesture that your beta testers will appreciate.
  2. Express yourself. You don’t have to say a lot, but make sure you communicate your gratitude for everything they’ve done to help improve your product. You know how valuable beta is your development process, so make sure they do too.
  3. Sign them. Have someone who was involved with the beta test sign the notes. It could be the person running the forums or maybe the product’s head honcho. The signature lets the testers know it’s a real person showing their gratitude, instead of a mail merge.
  4. Split up the work. Many of your colleagues had a hand in your test (or are benefiting from the data!). If everyone writes a couple notes they’ll be done in no time, even if the test is on the large side.
  5. Personalize them. At the very least use the tester’s name at the top of the note. If you can, reference a bug they found or some way they specifically contributed to the test. This reinforces the message that you’re listening to their feedback. If you have a large test, you can save this touch for your top testers.
  6. Update them on the product. Your testers are invested in your product. They would love to know anything you can tell them about your plans for the release or changes you’re making to the product because of their contributions.
  7. Keep the lines of communication open. These testers are some of your most ardent users. They can be a source for great testimonials during the launch or useful feedback after the product is out. Tell them how they can keep in touch with you moving forward.

Thank you notes can be a nice gesture to people who have volunteered a lot of their time to helping your product succeed. Don’t underestimate the power of a little personal touch in today’s world! These gestures of kindness show your testers that their contributions are valued, which builds and nurtures a true sense of community. For other tips to build strong bonds with your testers, flip through the Reaching 90% Beta Participation ebook.

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