You probably entered the entrepreneurial life believing you had a great product. Do you have evidence to back that up? Beta testing for new products before they hit the market is crucial. With an abundance of observations from potential users, you'll be able to create a product the public will love. However, there are a few do's and don'ts you should follow when it comes to testing out your merchandise.
Don't ask people you know
While it might be nice to hear positive comments from your family and friends, you need to also garner feedback from other sources – particularly unbiased ones. The people in your life aren't going to be able to provide you with the information you need to make your product better. Instead, you need to choose consumers who are part of your target audience, Help Scout explained. Beta testing is meant to show you who, how and why people are willing to invest in your product. You won't get that information if you ask consumers who aren't in your group of potential buyers.
Do get a variety of feedback
You can't expect people to give you comments on your product without you prompting them to. You need to provide them with the means to do so, according to the source. Offer them myriad of ways to offer you feedback and make sure you initiate contact often. Talk to them in person, send out surveys, email consumers or create polls. This will ensure you hear back from different groups of people.
Don't expect everything to be positive
The point of beta testing is to discover any faults in your product. You can't expect everyone to love it as it stands in the first round. Even items already on the market need to update their products from time to time. Tester feedback will provide you with insight on areas of improvement and what they liked, Fast Company explained. You may miss some of the smaller details when you're testing out your product on your own, but first-time users could find a fault or a hidden benefit. You need to trust that they'll know what they're talking about and that they won't lead you astray.
Do offer a prize
You can't know how your product will do on the market without those first customers. They're taking the time out of their schedules to offer you the feedback you need to make the item successful. Give them something in return, Entrepreneur suggested. Let them keep their product, offer them discounts or enter them into a drawing. You may have to work this into your financial plan, but your customers will be grateful. They will feel appreciated and may be more likely to help you out again in the future.
Don't change everything
While beta testing should help you smooth out any issues before your product hits shelves, it doesn't mean you have to take every suggestion to heart. Trying to change too many things can leave you with a mess that won't appeal to anyone. The testers don't know your company's goals or plans, so you need to make sure you keep those in mind when you're improving your product, according to Fast Company. It's important that people can use your merchandise in their daily lives, but you don't want to make it just like every other item out there.
Do stay in touch
Finding beta testers for your first product can be difficult. However, if you're lucky, that will be the only time you'll have to do it. Even after testing, stay in contact with the group, Fast Company suggested. Keep them involved in the process and the happenings in your business and you may find loyal customers.
Beta testing can offer significant insight into your customers and your product. When you go about it the right way, you'll be able to create an item your audience will enjoy.