How do you recruit beta testers?

Clément Rog
24 replies
TL;DR: we're building a product to help remote teams make decisions faster and I would love your help on how to recruit beta testers. ––- Hey, I'm Clément and I work full-time at a B2B SaaS co that's been around 5 years and done well. For a number of reasons, we recently decided to pivot. It's exciting and scary. We originally wanted to build the best knowledge base tool in the world. We've hit Product Market Fit, even while competing with big guys Confluence & Notion. We've grown steadily. We have net negative churn. 90% of revenue comes from organic (word-of-mouth, SEO, product-led). A few thousand teams sign up every month. But we want do better. We want to anticipate and solve the problems that our market faces. This brings me to ask for advice. We're developing a unique product for a small, growing, market we love: async-first teams. We bet that while the pandemic forced a lot of companies into remote, we can all learn from the companies that operate with a remote-first mindest. That means fewer meetings, and less time online overall. More time on deep work, and on living your life. The first piece of the puzzle is faster decision-making. So here's where the company's at now: - We are now 100% focused on creating the best communication tool out there - We are working with beta partners to improve our new release: Discussions, a tool for making decisions and resolving problems in the flow of work. Our success will massively rely on growing our beta waitlist. We hope this will lead to a big public launch of the new version. We're looking to recruit teams of 10+ employees for our (free) beta, that are ideally software/service companies. Geography doesn't really matter since they should be async-first. These are some initiatives we focus on to grow our waitlist: - Recruit teams within our existing users - Invest a lot in content and distribution – we believe unique insights about remote will help us establish our position - Launch awareness campaigns on social (product tours, screenshots, call for beta testers) - Reach out to a selected list of "top remote companies" to ask for feedback - Reach out to "remote influencers" to get visibility on podcast, blog posts, etc. ** Do any of you have experience building waitlists? Out of curiosity, is anyone here interested in giving feedback about the product?** Thanks and looking forward to discussing it with you. - Clément

Replies

christian graves
building wtfh 🔮 + lmbk ✨
👋 clément! congrats on the pivot, we've also been there w/ the b2b2c path, its scary but also a new opportunity. finding betas can be super challenging, I think you're doing the right thing here on the PH community. having been there I always try to build feedforward loops with potential betas by offering to test their product + provide feedback. we have typically used typeform + then set automation loops to nudge interested users w/ a waitlist twitter is also a phenomenal place to reach the leadership at these companies and engage with them in the dms. this re is already a little longer so hope this might help + happy to chat if of interest as this is something weve banged our heads against the wall on a good bit too. go get em 🚀
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Clément Rog
Promoting a marketing you can bootstrap
@christianagraves thanks, I really appreciate your support! I've been growing on Twitter by developing and sharing unique insights – as much as I can – about async and remote work. I see it paying off already, but definitely need to keep being consistent. I'd be happy to chat this further on Twitter, I just followed you!
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christian graves
building wtfh 🔮 + lmbk ✨
@clementrog thx for the follow + let’s chat more!
Devanand Premkumar
Security Researcher
@christianagraves This sounds pretty interesting to me. Wonder how is your response rate to reaching founders over Twitter. Care to share your experience for the benefit of our community in here?
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christian graves
building wtfh 🔮 + lmbk ✨
@devaonbreaches for sure, twitter is a magical place and people are always busy so response rates can be a bit wavy (maybe 20-30%?)... best way to engage ive found is to have real convos w/ other founders, show interest in their product, find common ground + root each other on. the best chats evolve out of authentic relationships and usually move from twitter, offline (dms, meets, etc.) - hope this helps ✨
Sharath Kuruganty
Head of Community at Threado
You have to create FOMO to build a solid waitlist. If I were you: 1. I would double down on showcasing social proof - from influencers who are using the product. 2. I would build a social viral loop saying that if they tweet about your product, they get to test it before anyone. 3. I would put a bat signal on Twitter asking who would be interested in testing your product. Whoever does will get three months free. Lastly, I would focus on building the product in public. That way, you get a lot of eyeballs, and sometimes they organically reach out to you to be a beta tester. I hope this helps, and good luck on the pivot.
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Clément Rog
Promoting a marketing you can bootstrap
@5harath thanks! I have to say, I hate the idea of "building fear" into people. This sounds a bit like a hack, which I'm not really comfortable with. The product is still in its earliest version, so it's hard to leverage influencers or any social proof. Your 2. is interesting and I've raised a discussion internally to identify how we could do that. Building in public is definitely something we start doing more (slite.com/blog) but it's still early – hope this will pay off on the longer run. Thanks again! I appreciate your help a lot
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Devanand Premkumar
Security Researcher
@5harath Hey Sharath, 1-2-3 looks too good at a high level. But how would a new founder make use of 1 & 2, if they are starting afresh. Any suggestions from you for such founders who need to start this?
Richard Barker
knowledge seeker @gathersight
Hi Clément, with so many existing teams using your other product it would seem to me that you already have a strong community of beta testers available to you, which is a great position to be in. Do they not fit the target profile for the new product? Also, I'm curious, it sounds like you have a successful product and and good looking economics. What's pushing you into something totally new?
Clément Rog
Promoting a marketing you can bootstrap
@richardbarker hey, thanks for the kind words. We indeed have recruited quite a lot of teams from our existing users, but we're now looking to expand beyond that – especially "committed and demanding" remote/async-first teams. It's not totally new, we bring the existing Slite wiki together with asynchronous discussions. Main reason is we're passionate about communication in remote more than wikis :)
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Richard Barker
knowledge seeker @gathersight
@clementrog understood Clément, and I like the look of the product on your site. Is one of your challenges the fact that, in order to test a team tool, you obviously need a team and persuading an organization to integrate this just as a test is difficult/unlikely? It's a lot harder than inviting an individual to beta test a personal app. If this is the case, is there an opportunity to incentivize clients financially? Maybe offer a select group clients n years free product to be part of the test and to provide a case study. And.. have a follow!
Clément Rog
Promoting a marketing you can bootstrap
@richardbarker you nailed it, making a team commit to a beta program is so much harder. I've thought about the financial incentive but I don't see how this could work out for us. Do you have any idea? I can incentivize financially a person because they money goes right to her pocket, but can I incentivize a team within a company? Also I consider that financial incentives create a bias. There should be enough people out there who look like our perfect users, and don't need financial motivation to commit. It's just hard to find them :)
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Richard Barker
knowledge seeker @gathersight
@clementrog financial incentive is probably the wrong way to put it. What I mean is to give a test company such a good, long-term deal on your product that they feel it's it's worth their while running the test.
Lior Galante Cohen (Vaza)
Team Lead @ Amy
1. Friends & Family 2. A waiting list on the website 3. Sharing on social media and in relevant communities/groups 4. Partnerships / Design partners
Clément Rog
Promoting a marketing you can bootstrap
@lior_galante_cohen thanks, we're precisely looking for Design Partners. Hence building the waitlist. We already have some but we wish we could grow this count! 1. 2. and 3. are wip! If you're just curious about new products in the async space: https://twitter.com/SliteHQ/stat...
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Ste
dev/designer
Clément if you'd have access to a service that offers you relevant beta testers for a fee would you be interested?
Clément Rog
Promoting a marketing you can bootstrap
@stelian_dobrescu1 I guess it depends on the fee. There should be enough people out there who look like our perfect users, and don't need financial motivation to commit. It's just hard to find them :)
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Ste
dev/designer
@clementrog yup, that's the best case scenario. I haven't found an ideal place for that. I guess over here, on IndieHackers or Reddit. The only problem is that I mostly bump into other entrepreneurs most of the time. When what I really want is access to regular users. That's why I was assessing the possibility of building a platform where you can pay relevant users to take a look at your product.
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Ste
dev/designer
oh and by the way, I like your product, solid design. My initial thought is that it lacks a bit of focus on the unique selling proposition. The biggest hurdle I guess would be convincing users to support the migration cost from what they're already using - and right now the only thing that promises to do more than other tools is offer focus for my team. I see it sold more as a tool for handling documentation (and ask myself why shouldn't I use notion for that?). The pain point it solves isn't exactly clear. Hope this helps!
Clément Rog
Promoting a marketing you can bootstrap
@stelian_dobrescu1 thanks for the strong feedback, we're aware about that. Positioning is a hard game and we're iterating every week with our learnings. To reply to your great example: migration is quite seamless, we provide importer from main wiki tools on the market. On the value proposition, we want to build the best asynchronous discussion possible. And we're convinced that communication happens where work happens (so you should communicate in Notion if you document everything in Notion – or if you communicate in Slack, you should get work done in Slack). Here's a workflow example. Let's say, you want to launch a blog with your team and need to figure things out. 1. You start a discussion with your team (ex: How should we call our Blog?). Answers can include text, images, videos, sketches, etc. 2. You make a decision (ex: We'll call it On Your Own Time). 3. You create documents about your Blog's projects, per your usual workflows Everything is in one place, always in context, easy to reference to.
Clément Rog
Promoting a marketing you can bootstrap
If you're interested in trying it out with your team → https://slite.com/
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Everett Berry
Cloud Costs | Open Source | Angel
I actually love Polywork for this https://www.polywork.com/ you can select people specifically who are intersted in testing beta products
Clément Rog
Promoting a marketing you can bootstrap
@everett_berry thanks, indeed one of our beta testers recommended it to me. So I started using it be fruitless so far. Have you ever achieved something with it? Maybe I'm just using it bad.
Hugh Dawkins
Notion ambassador🧑🏽‍💻
Interested to hear answers from others but we went about it by reaching out to communities across Reddit and Discord as well as building in public on Twitter which natural gains interest from people willing to beta test.