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Beta Release

marketing Oct 12, 2020
 

Introduction 

Alright, so if you’ve made it this far you are straight up awesome! 

We are on the home stretch as we only have a few lessons left to cover before we finish your training. 

So far we've talked about: 

We’ve been covering a lot of information so far but we’re making progress.  Coming up we’re going to dig into: 

  • Why Beta Programs Are Amazing 
  • Positioning And Pricing Basics 
  • All About Upsells and Downsells 
  • Winning with Webinars 
  • Facebook Ads for n00bs 

>> Click here to get a FREE instant download of the PDF version of this post... I'll throw in my audio narration as a free bonus.

Then we’ll round things out with a few more lessons about product launches, scaling your business and then your next steps. 

Alright so enough blabber let’s talk about Beta Launches! 

Beta Beauty 

Let me ask you a question: wouldn’t it be awesome if you could know with almost 100% certainty that your flagship course product will get TRUE results for your audience BEFORE you ever slap a sticker price on it? 

That’s what the Beta Release is all about.  It’s about sucking out the sales guesswork by doing the hard work of loving your audience by paying attention to what they really need and want. 

Beta Testing is the perfect idea validation strategy and it will help you validate the results you think can help people achieve.  During the Beta Test you will basically get people to go through your training and tell you what worked and didn’t work for them.  Then you inject their feedback back into your flagship product and release it as a paid product.  You are essentially letting a small group of people who fit your customer profile drive your product development before you release it to the public. 

Another advantage of doing this is you’ll have the exact language you need to use in your email copy based on their frustrations and how they got results from your product. 

Dig back into the Survey Secrets lesson for more background on extracting customer language.

But the nice thing about this is you’ll know exactly where people are getting stuck in your product so you can address these obstacles before you release the final polished version.  This is good because it will decrease refund rates, increase customer satisfaction, increase the probability of getting results in your customer’s lives and improve your chances of really making a difference in their lives. 

The other goal of the Beta Release is to get your customers results so you can get testimonials and case studies.  You can then ask for permission to use these testimonials on your checkout pages and sales copy. 

So if you run a Beta Release to a group of 20 people and get 10 results you now can possibly have 10 written (or video) testimonials on your sales pages, on your home page, on your Facebook ads, in your webinar slide deck, on in all your copy! 

As you can imagine, this instantly gives you credibility and will improve conversions when you flip off the Beta Release switch and flip on the paid product switch.  Testimonials are very helpful psychological sales triggers for closing sales. 

Just make sure you have a specific goal or objective in the beta program so you can easily gauge customer success. 


Now amid all this awesome there is a downside.  

Doing a beta release is a ton of work and most course creators get discouraged as beta testers don’t complete the program.  You should expect about an 80% drop out rate so don’t let this tear you down. 

The other problem I’ve noticed is that most entrepreneurs will skimp on the test and sort of just throw one together.    For most people reading this, they will see this and say "man Vonnie, this is an awesome idea" but then they won’t actually put in the hard work to do it.  But please don't do that!  If you put in the work you will not regret it.   

“Think about it like this: if you don’t run a beta test, you risk spending weeks creating a program and putting it out there while you hope and pray for people to buy it.  If you want to avoid this hope approach do a beta test.  Put in the hard work now and you’ll reap the reward later.” 

There are two strategies here: 

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Free Beta Release 

you can make your beta release free to lower the barrier to entry but because it’s free you might get less results than if it were paid. 

Paid Beta Release 

If it’s paid, people might actually participate because they have skin in the game but you will have fewer signups.   So there's a trade off we need to consider.

To get started with this, you’re going to want to have your membership course created along with your email setup.  This will allow you to interact with beta testers in the community and then interact with each beta tester one-on-one via email so you get more information. 

You should also have Google Forms setup to collect valuable customer feedback and you’ll need Skype so you can call your beta testers and speak to them and hear what they are struggling with.  I have two suggestions when you use Skype: 

  • Try to schedule a Skype video call.  Why? You want to see if your testers have a welcoming or natural video presence.  If that’s the case, you should take a mental note and then try to get these people to be your cheerleaders with video testimonials because these are the most powerful form of credibility that exists right now. 
  • Record your Skype call: (with your beta testers written consent).   This will make it easy for you to go back through the calls, extract crucial words and phrases they used in the call and then integrate that into email copy, sales page copy and course copy.  Skype actually has call recording built right in and it notifies everyone on the call that the call is being recorded.  To do this in Skype all you have to do is start the call and then click the "More Options" button in the bottom right corner to select "Start Recording".

You can also schedule your calls using the free scheduling assistant called: Acuity

> Sign-up with Acuity today.

Once you finish your Beta Testing can think about Pricing and Positioning (we will talk about this in detail next week) 

But just to recap: for your software tools you’ll need: 

Beta Testing Strategy 

When you run a beta test you need to release a proposed schedule.

It’s often best to do a 29 or 28 day beta program if possible.  This varies by industry but the general idea is you need to get a handle on the exact day your beta testing will start and when it will end.  What usually works is to allot one week per module. 

So on Monday you can release your first module for your testers to consume and then on Saturday you send your testers an email with a survey link that must be completed before Sunday night. 

Then the next week, on Monday again you release your second module for consumption with a survey sent on Saturday with a Sunday night expiration. 

What goes in the weekly module surveys? 

Here are some things you can ask about: 

  • What specifically did you like the most about the content you went through this week?  What was your biggest “ah ha!” moment? 
  • What did you struggle with the most? 
  • What did you feel the most confused, stuck or unsure about this week? 
  • What do you wish could have been better? 
  • What specific results did you get? 

Once you go through all your modules, one per week, you send out an email on that last Saturday where you ask for specific results. Then you setup a time where your tester can recap their experience, explain their results and tell you what was awesome and what wasn’t so awesome. Again you set a Sunday night expiration and go from there. 

The Beta Release Sales Page

Next, you need to create a sales page that illustrates what the beta opportunity is all about.  Think of it like a sales page for your product.  You want to think of it like a sales page (even though you’re not selling it assuming you picked the Free Beta Release model). 

On this page you want to say you’re only taking 10 really lucky participants who will be accepted into this program.  Only a small number of people will be accepted because each person will get coaching and one-on-one personalized attention from you to maximize their results. 

You really need to emphasize that accepted applicants will be working with you one-on-one.  Then you can list all the benefits this will bring to your applicants.  

By the way, this is a perfect use case for scarcity and exclusivity which can increase sign-up rates.   

You also want to talk about who this product is for.  Who are you looking for? Who is not a good fit for the program? You don’t want to waste your time on people who aren’t a right fit because you’ll be going through all the applications so make it clear up front who you are looking for from the get go.

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You can also tell them why you're doing this.  But up front and honest and tell potential testers that you want to give them results so you can have awesome testimonials and you want to get a deeper understanding of your market's problems so you can maximize the impact you make with your product. 

You should also talk about how much the product will cost after it goes live following the beta test.  This shows that it is valuable and they are getting inside for free.   

After you do this you'll be ready to create your beta application.

The Beta Release Application

You want to frame it so it is more about you doing them a favor and less about them doing you a favor. Announce it on your blog and social media.  Drive Facebook ad traffic there and use your email list to really ramp up the benefits.  

When people hit your sales page there should be a link to your application with a completion deadline.  You should include their name, email and a form field where you can ask them to tell you a little bit about their business. 

Depending on your niche, you might also want to collect data about if they started an email list including the list size and how passionate they are about building an email list.  You can also ask their approximate business revenue over the last year. Whatever is important to you should be asked on that application.  Don't be afraid to ask questions that will give you meaningful metrics later when you're analyzing all the results when the test is over.

The last thing two questions you need to ask is this:

“Are you willing to fill out a survey at the end of each week and be available to provide feedback?” 

And:

“Are you willing to be interviewed by [your name] on video about your experience with this program?”

If you don't want to ask that last question you can change it to something like this:

“Are you willing to be interviewed for a testimonial about your experience if you get the results you desire?” 

These last two questions are critical because if people aren’t willing to fill out the surveys then they probably are a waste of your time.   

Once the Applications Come In

Once you get your beta tester applications in, accept 10 applications and expect 2 or 3 dropouts in the program. 

Make sure you get people from different ethnic groups, age groups, business types, personalities and gender.  Keep it variegated so your test becomes a representative sample of your entire group.  The best way to find potential beta testers is to email your email list, reach out to your fans on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or whatever and then send out a link.  Create banner images on your social channels, do a guest post or get on a podcast in your niche and you can soft sell your beta program there. 

Pre Test: What To Say In The Beta Release Calls

This is the phase of your beta tester where you want to get a crystal clear picture of what life looked like BEFORE they go through your course.  This is where you get you can marshal your mindset and metric questions so you can do a compare and contrast after they complete the course. 

So here's what it looks like:

Once you get 15 applications get the testers on a call and do the following: 

  • Quickly tell them what the course is about and what is in it for them 
  • Set the expectations.  You should tell them that as a beta tester they will complete one module per week starting on date X for Y weeks.  Tell them weekly checklists to keep them on track will be included.  Then tell them they should be prepared to allocate on average Z number of hours per week to consuming and implementing the content.  Tell them they are expected to complete the surveys on time which will be due every Sunday night and that the surveys are there so they can share results and enable you to track their progress through the course.  Finally, you can tell them how many Skype check-ins they should expect (for example: 2) and when that will happen (at week X and then at the end of the program with you).  I would then put in something that says, your goal is to help them get the best possible results with Y weeks but they must be willing to take this seriously which means putting in the time and effort.  You can finish by asking them for buy in by saying, “are you on-board to implement this training over the next X weeks to get results?” 
  • Reiterate who the course is a good fit for 
  • Break down the content in the course, the modules and the lessons 

Then transition to asking these questions on the call: 

  • Why do you think you and your business are a good fit for this program? 
  • Why would you make a good beta-tester? You want them to say they are great at providing feedback and stuff like that. 
  • Ask them if they have any questions 

Post Test: What To Say In The Beta Release Calls

After you complete the course with your testers meaning... after they go through the entire multi-week program you should ask follow-up questions so you can get everything you need to elevate your product to the next level: 

  • Tell me what your life and business was like before this training? What did you struggle with the most? How did this make you feel?  What was holding you back?  Ask them to paint the complete picture for you.
  • What mindset hurdles did you overcome while going through this training? 
  • What specifically did you learn inside this course that really helped you? 
  • Which specific training module, lesson or strategy did you love the most? 
  • Please share any big “ah-ha!” moments you had in your training 
  • Then for the most successful people that completed your Beta program you can ask them: “For people who are on the fence about getting X [X is the desired result your program is designed to give people], maybe they’ve tried Y and Z [Y and Z represent other courses, books, webinars, or training relevant to getting X] with no luck, what would you tell them about the training in [your course name]?”  

Pay attention to the words people are using because this will become your email copy, sales page copy and more.  If they say things like “this might sound really silly but” or “I feel stupid saying this but..” listen up!  This means when they share don’t interrupt them but instead listen and try to pull out more: Say things like: “Tell me more..” 

Collecting Testimonials

Finally you’ll take all these call testimonials, get them transcribed and highlight the big results.  Then go back and ask your peeps for testimonials based off their own results.  You can say something like, “Can I say something like this [insert what they said in the call] on my sales page?” 

Typical Workflow

So let’s take a step back for a second: when your testers get accepted into your program you can send a welcome email and follow it up with a private Facebook live kickoff call or something fun.  This is where you congratulate them for joining the program, you remind them of the great opportunity in front of them and you carefully walk them through their next steps and what they should expect.  For example you can say that step 1 is to complete the pre-training survey before jumping into your Modules this Monday.  Then step 2 is where you'll jump into module one. Watch and implement... and so on. 

Also you want to give the minimal weekly requirements at a glance. So you can give an overview and do something like this:

  • Monday (Start module 1)
  • Tuesday (Watch video and implement) 
  • Wednesday (Watch video and implement) 
  • Thursday (Watch video and implement) 
  • Friday (Watch video, implement and receive survey)
  • Saturday (Catch up on survey) 
  • Sunday (Submit survey by deadline) 

So you want to set a schedule like this but at the same time you don’t want to be too inflexible.  Make sure you listen and mold your schedule based what your testers tell you...  If you discover that you should offer more content as a result of the beta test then don’t hesitate to create make new training to meet new needs.  Remember, don’t be too rigid here, it’s all a test. 

Beta Test Completion

At the end of your multi-week beta test you’ll know what content works and what doesn’t.  You’ll know what results your customers can expect and you’ll have testimonials and case studies you can use to really push your paid program into a new stratosphere of quality!

This is why beta testing is awesome.  Yes, it's a boatload of work but it's almost a virtually fail proof way to succeed because it removes all the guess work out of how to write your copy, what to include in your course and how to price and position it.

Now, once you launch your new improved flagship product, informed by your beta release results, you can use a percentage of your sales income to inject higher quality content into your course.  This is when you can invest in higher quality cameras, lighting and all that awesome stuff.   

So here's how this breaks down:

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  1. Build your flagship product first (just the minimum product)
  2. Avoid perfectionism because you want your beta testers to be your perfectionists for you.  Their feedback will perfect your course
  3. Inject tester feedback into flagship course
  4. Launch your course (we'll talk about exactly how to do this in 5 lessons)
  5. Use sales from launch to invest in higher quality equipment to accelerate and scale your business.

Most amateurs either start at step 5 or they mess up step 1 by treating it like step 2.  Now you know how to avoid all these pitfalls and win!

Quick Action Result 

Man that was a meaty lesson wasn’t it? If you want the PDF version of this lesson along with all the lessons in this training series you can grab it for $14.97 here.  It also includes the entire series narrated by me so you can listen to the content on the go while at the gym or on your commute.

So where do we go from here?

I just want you to map our your beta program. 

Set aside 4 hours this week to: 

  • Decide if you’re going to run a paid or free beta release program 
  • Get Skype, Acuity and Google Forms Setup  
  • Outline the Skype questions you’ll ask during the tester interview and after the testers have completed your course 

If you have any questions about this process feel free to reach out to me by joining my email list so we can connect!  In the next lesson we’re going to dig into packaging your newly improved flagship product and talk about the power of positioning and pricing.  

I’ll see you in the next lesson! 

And remember, if you get behind - that's okay - you can always come back to the website and work at your own pace.  

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