How do you go from a beta version of your app to actual beta testing?

Jess Robins
8 replies
I'm a dev working on a side project, but for the first time I have a project that has a very well-defined audience (beauty gurus and makeup enthusiasts). I have a beta version of my app in the app store, but I'm nervous to reach out to people in the community because I feel like I only have one shot and I don't want to blow it during the early stages. Any advice? Thank you!


Matt Boudreaux
Hi Jess, You're not alone. I think this is a super common feeling when launching a beta version of a product (at least it has been for me :)) I've found the best way to approach a beta launch is to first figure out a number of users that you would like to get early feedback from. Then, reach out to people in the community and let them know that you're launching a beta, and you are looking for feedback from early adopters. Sometimes you can offer gift cards or even products that speak to the users you're targeting (ie. makeup and or beauty products). One thing I've done in the past was adding an​ "access code" to the app. You can share the access code with your beta testers. Then add a link "don't have an access code, click here to be added to the waitlist" that way you can begin to capture any people that find your app and want to be notified when you launch. The feedback that you get from your first users is so important to help define you define the product, that you shouldn't let the fear of sharing it too early stop you from getting that feedback. Reid Hoffman has a great quote about this: "If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late". Hope this helps!
Matt Boudreaux
@jess_robins No problem. One other solution that I've found to be helpful is to actually watch people use the app. Some of the best feedback you can get is watching where people get stuck, or are apprehensive about moving to the next step. Then you can ask what caused that reaction, and figure out what you need to do to solve it. Good luck!
Sean Hama
Hi Jess Firstly, don't feel like you have to worry too much about this point "I don't want to blow it" because if you do you will never get over a startup anxiety strain of "it has to be perfect". Key to your question is that you need feedback, and feedback fast.!! My suggestion is to try and get some of your friends/network of family friends etc to try out the app and provide feedback on your beta version. Once you do that, you'll gain some momentum in the feedback loop, then post reviewing/implementing/prioritizing the feedback that's important to you, reach out to your users (not all, but some) with a personalized message around what your doing, the stage your at and often them some reason to try you out.
I love the advice Simon Sinek shares in his TED talk about the power of why. As someone who is often contacted to test products, what I would like to see more makers to is tell me *why* they chose this problem to work on and *why* they feel I should be the person to help test it. I think if you really practise and keep refining your 'ask' you should be able to grow your pool of beta testers. You're working with an audience that is very active on social media. Think of how you will incentivise individuals to play around with what you have built.
Congrats on getting this far! I would personally enlist about 15 beta testers that you can observe using the app locally, and run some user tests. It's scary, but that will give you confidence that your concept is usable, understandable and potentially valuable. In the UK I know a guy who is the largest provider of products to beauty gurus, and he also runs a large online community forum for them. Can hook you up if you need it.
Reza Madjidi
Hi Jess, Congratulations on your work! As strange as it may sound, you don't need to have your product completely finished. My suggestion would be to define your MVPs (most valued product) for your target market and launch only the most wanted features. During the beta version your goal is to collect as much feedback as possible. So get your friends, family or a segment you can observe to start gathering feedback. Customer's feedback is your foundation to actual beta testing. Wishing you lots of success in your endeavors!