Meet the Team, Follow Progress and Enjoy the Ride

This blog is about the lives of a few entrepreneurs who are aiming to establish the next trend in social networking and the concept that will make it happen. Since our venture is all about connecting people together, we want to be involved and connected to you and we want you to be involved and connected to us. We'll be sharing with you: who we are, how we got started, how we’re doing and where we’re going...we're taking you along for the ride!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Beta Testers: Who Are They and How Do You Benefit??

If you are launching a Web 2.0 company…beta testers are your best friends for the first few weeks (may be months) of your official private beta (or alpha) launch.

Here are a few things (according to Ann) about beta testers.

They are very knowledgeable about the web, technology, social communities, bookmarking, blogging, tagging…and all that is the Web 2.0 and the latest happenings.

They seek and keep looking for the next best thing.

They DO NOT represent your target market

They all have Web ADD. I say this with kindness…I’m guilty of it too. Plus, it's what makes them good at what they do and who they are. They explore and test many sites.

The majority are very technically inclined (programmers and developers)

Some are business development types, marketing/PR types and some are just Web 2.0 users

They are all Web 2.0 fanatics. They all have lots of opinions, and for the most part; they all have some sort of platform (blog), from which, they share their opinions and input.

Many travel in pacts. You can increase the interaction and feedback you will get, if you allow them to invite the pack to come in with them.

I want to reiterate two points: Beta testers are NOT typical web users and they are NOT your target market. They are part of your market and some will stick around, but by the time your target market gets to your site…the beta testers will have moved on to something new. In their wake, the beta testers will leave you the following:

Honest and thorough feedback. It will probably vary from one extreme to the next. But, they will openly share their thoughts, so ensure you give them an easy platform to give you feedback. Be sure to interact with your beta testers…particularly if you are working on building any type of community.

They will thoroughly test your site. They will click through everything and find everything there is to know about your site and the features you offer.

Recommendations. Recommendations and Recommendations. They will tell you how to improve your site and features. (When considering the recommendations from beta testers, remember the level of skills and web knowledge they possess. Ask yourself if the recommendation makes sense for a basic web user.)

Your beta testers are your initial evangelists. Treat them well, welcome them and connect to them. They love what they do…they love getting first looks at new sites, communities or new features. They love to talk about and report what they find.

They’ll even write code…if you’re too slow to implement a feature that makes sense; they might simply do it for you.

Like I said, some beta testers will stick around and they might become your most powerful and loyal users. It all depends on what type of site you’re running.

A lot of sites are now starting out as private betas, which require invitations to get in. I know that on Pownce, private beta invites are exchanged in the pack of folks that are beta testers. You can also find your beta testers on Inviteshares.com

Sites like Mashable, Techcrunch, Webware and the few other good ones that report on the newest Web 2.0 company, site, application or widget are the source of choice for news for the beta testers. They follow what’s happening, and then; they work on getting in. They are not the front line of reporting, but they are a very close and knowledgeable second.

I know I’ll be brining on quite a few beta testers unto Why Go Solo once we have the private beta up, and I’m really happy to say that many of those beta testers have become friends; we’re already jumping unto the latest things together. It will be awesome to open the door to them to my own home, welcome them in and receive their assistance in strengthening our offerings.

I can’t emphasize this enough about developing and starting a Web 2.0 site/company…you MUST become part of what you are building in order to ensure greater success. If you don’t participate in or understand the web…how to you expect to be successful in it?

If you don’t belong to the web, respect the web, and understand it…don’t expect that to change over night. At least be smart enough to seek the people who can help you: The Beta Testers.

3 comments:

DiggUser said...

Great article from a Web 2.0/3.0 startup point of view of chat!

Geoff_Livingston said...

Participation within the community is essential to success. I am so glad you see this Ann and are doing it. I am sure you will do well.

Ravi Karandeekar said...

very interesting info and you have put it rather well. looks like you are doing your home work. i am sure you will rock.