If your team has developed a SaaS product, you might be inclined to make it available to the public right away.
This would be a mistake. You owe it to your future customers to have your product tested by a small group of people first.
That way, you can get feedback and make improvements to your product before you make it available to a wider audience.
In other words, beta testing is critical to a product’s success.
Finding beta testers, however, can be a tedious task. In this article, we’ll look at how you can find and reach out to people willing to test-run your product so you can get user feedback.
The ultimate goal is to launch a great product that your users love. So, getting feedback before you launch is essential.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Step 1 for finding beta testers: Use emails effectively
To start, make use of email for finding beta testers.
You can ask your company employees to add a note in their email signatures that you’re looking for testers for your product. Your company’s employees most likely send lots of emails every day. That means if they include that small note in their email signatures, it can reach a vast audience of potential testers.
You can run a campaign with your existing email list, too. Since those people already receive your content, they’ll be more likely to read and respond to your request.
Keep your email short and to the point, and send no more than two requests to your subscriber list. Make sure you break these up with plenty of the useful information and quality content your audience has come to expect from you.
Step 2 for finding beta testers: Make use of Facebook groups and Reddit
Facebook and Reddit have beta testing and marketing groups you can join in your search for beta testers and in which you can post your request for testing volunteers.
Make sure your post is short, to the point, and clear. Your goal is to get your message across so volunteers can come forward. Explain what your product is, what you need beta testers to do, and when you require them.
Since testing your product can take up a lot of time, it’s best if you offer something in return for their services.
Here are some of the incentives you can offer:
- Gift cards for online retailers like Amazon
- Your company’s other products, if any
- Behind-the-scenes perks such as access to your team or a VIP invite to a company event
- Personalized gifts such as a t-shirt or mug
- Product discounts
Make sure that the overall value of your incentives aligns with the efforts your beta testers will have to put into testing your product.
Step 3 for finding beta testers: Make use of Product Hunt, Betalist, and other beta testing sites
Product Hunt and beta testing sites such as Betalist are great for connecting with product users who wouldn’t mind spending time trying out new products. All you need to do is meet the site’s guidelines and submit your product for consideration.
To post a product on Product Hunt, you just need to sign up with a personal account. A product must be “hunted” to feature on the site, and it’s the Product Hunt community that upvotes what they like and what they find useful.
However, don’t worry—you can either “hunt” your product yourself via your personal account, or ask someone else to hunt it for you. Hunting your own product saves you time and allows you to have the most control over the launch.
You need a little bit more than an account to post a product on Betalist.
According to its submission criteria, you and your product should meet the following criteria:
- The product should be new
- The product should not have been featured on Betalist before
- The company behind the product should be a technology startup
- The product should have a distinct, decent-looking landing page
- Visitors should be able to sign up to a mailing list
If you don’t have a landing page yet, you can use a landing page builder such as Unbounce, Landingi, or Leadpages to build one. Tools such as Mailchimp and SendinBlue can help you create an email signup form.
The great thing about posting on Product Hunt and beta listing sites is that, along with attracting great beta testers, you’ll also draw traffic to your site and raise the profile of your product.
Step 4 for finding beta testers: Blogging and guest posting
You might be asking yourself what blogging and guest posting have to do with finding beta testers. But, guest posting is a good way to give your product (and your search for beta testers) increased visibility.
You can create an in-depth blog post about alternatives to your competitor’s product, for example. These types of round-up posts often perform well in Google search.
Include your new product within the list and mention that you are seeking beta testers (don’t forget to link to a page where potential testers can sign up!) You can expect a healthy number of sign-ups once your post is published.
With quality blog content, you can also build a strong email list you can use to run your email campaign for beta testers (see the section on using emails effectively).
To write for other websites as a guest blogger, you need to connect with the people running your target websites. All those people are added connections within your network, which means you can ask them to check out your SaaS product if you think they would benefit from it.
By using this strategy, you don’t just grow your network and get the beta testers you need. You can also build links to improve your website’s overall search ranking and drive valuable additional traffic to your site.
Step 5 for finding beta testers: Reach out to influencers
Social media can help you reach thousands of potential beta testers and future customers. But unless your brand already has a huge social media following, you can’t rely on your followers alone. This is where influencers can help you.
Reach out to relevant influencers with a proposal to beta test your product and promote it to their audiences (which might contain other potential testers and even future customers). Make sure you choose influencers in your niche and whose audience aligns with yours.
It’s best to email your chosen influencer instead of messaging them via social media. Remember, they probably get hundreds of direct messages every day. Use an email verification tool to look up their email address if it isn’t listed.
When you reach out, be professional and make a clear and specific request. You should also be clear about what you can offer as compensation in exchange for their time and access to their audience.
Learning from your beta testers
Congratulations—you’ve found your first 100 SaaS beta testers. Now it’s time to gather their feedback and put it to good use.
Remember: Your beta testers are doing you a favor. That means you have to make it easy for them to give you feedback.
Using a feedback management tool like Canny can streamline the process and make it easier for you to analyze comments, compare them, and spot patterns and recurring issues.
But, if you’re not ready to invest in a tool, here are two other ways you can gather feedback:
- Via email: This requires more work since you’ll need to manually collate the feedback in a document for future reference.
- Via Google Sheets: Give your testers “edit” access so that they can add their comments and experiences.
It’s best not to specify a minimum feedback requirement. Again, beta testers are doing you a favor, so don’t make it too hard for them. You can always give them the option to provide more feedback details if they wish.
Once your testers give you their feedback, thank them. It doesn’t matter if the feedback was positive or not—they put in the time and effort to test your product, and that deserves acknowledgement. Don’t forget to follow through with your promised incentive, too.
Finally, make adjustments to your product as the feedback comes in. When you’ve made significant product updates, reach out to your testers again and ask if they’d be willing to try out the new version.
The bottom line
Beta testing is crucial to your SaaS product’s success. If you let a group of people test your product first before the official launch, you can easily identify problems and tweak things accordingly. Address problems during beta testing means you’ll have far fewer issues to resolve when the product becomes more widely available.
Finding the right beta testers is critical. Beta testing requires an investment of time, effort, and money. But it will be worth it once you see the rave reviews from paying customers coming in.
Now it’s over to you—here’s to a successful product launch!