A brief explanation for those who don’t know what this is or how & why it works
A beta-launch allows you to build a beta-list. A beta-list is basically a virtual line of people waiting to use your minimum viable product (MVP). People join this virtual line when they want to be the first to try your startup’s new product, service or masterclass.
There is one rather large difference between a beta-list and an established brand’s waitlist. People on an established brand’s waitlist are typically brand loyalists who are very familiar with that brand, they expect an epic customer journey, user experience and everything else that comes along with the launch of an established brand’s new product or service.
Whereas people who join a beta-list know that signing up for your beta-list means that they will get free, discounted or early access to your startup’s MVP and are expected to give you feedback and be patient as your services and processes develop.
You can see 100s of startups carrying out beta launches over here.
How is a beta launch a “growth hack”?
Many “startup growth gurus” call a beta launch a growth hack, but why? In the journey to get 100,000 users (aka clients or customers). Who are the hardest ones to acquire? Typically it is your first 10. These 10 write the testimonials and are the subjects of your first case studies. These case studies and testimonials make it slightly easier to attract and acquire your next 100 customers. Who make it easier to attract your next 1,000 & so on.
Below is a screenshot of The Million Dollar Pineapple’s first testimonial (when we offered all of our marketing consulting services under the parent company).
How many new clients would purchase a product or service through your website tomorrow if they read something like this ^ about you and your startup?
If done right, with each customer you acquire, the next one should be cheaper and easier to attract and retain.
A well done beta launch can secure between 100 & 10,000 beta testers, thereby pushing you past the hardest initial growth hurdles quickly.
What is the other purpose of a beta launch?
Aside from acquiring customers, the other goal is to test your product or service with 100 to 1000 users before you launch to the public. So how do we execute a successful beta launch?
Beta Launch Step 1
As soon as you are ready to start speaking to people (maybe even just friends and family) about your startup, you want to create a very simple signup page (example below).
The goal here is to collect the emails of friends, family and fans who express an interest in your startup idea. So you don’t need to publish a lot of information since the value of the idea is typically communicated when speaking with the people who go sign up at a page like this.
The only people who signup for the type of beta list above, know you or your brand. Do not expect strangers to stumble upon your website and sign up for this without learning about the concept from you or a mutual connection.
What if you want more than just friends & family to join your beta list?
Then you should keep reading, but note that I start scheduling my marketing promotions as soon as I have a simple signup like the one above.
Below I will walk you through how to do a beta launch when you need to have more than just your personal sphere of connections sign up.
Depending on a long list of factors, you can expect to see somewhere between 10 & 70% of the people who join your beta list, actually convert into beta testers. For this reason I suggest aiming to build your beta list to 10x the number of beta testers you hope to work with.
Beta Launch Step 2
In preparation for your own beta launch, you will want to head over to betaList.com to study other startups that are preparing for their beta launches.
If you were an art student you would go to an art museum, to gather inspiration from the works published by the greats who have gone before you. We are going to pull this tried and true strategy of the centuries, into the startup space.
When you arrive at BetaList.com you should scroll through the homepage to see what pops out to you. Take screenshots of the designs that catch your eye, place all of these in a folder titled “landing page”.
Next scroll up to the header of betalist.com and click markets, to find startups in your market.
Look for brands that are similar to yours. Look at their beta listing and ask yourself “How could I create better designs and more persuasive copy than this?”
Next visit their sites. Scroll through each website and copy your favorite phrases into a document. Take screenshots of the website flows that you would like to mimic. Dump them all into a file labeled “inspiration”.
Beta Launch Step 3
The goal is to arrange a marriage between your startup and the people who don’t know they’re about to fall in love with your startup. How do we do this?
We do this by conducting market research. If you don’t know how to conduct market research, I created this guide that walks first time founders through how to do this, because meeting your true revenue growth potential is a science, not guesswork.
It all starts with knowing what your customer wants to see and how they want to perceive a brand offering your product or service.
This guide will help you to determine which of the designs, phrases and website flows in the folder (the one you created while looking at BetaList.com), will work best with the people you want to have fall in love with your startup.
Beta Launch Step 3.2
Molo9 can help you to create a brand identity that gets hockey stick growth.
Bookmark it for later. If you need help with this, call me.
Beta Launch Step 3.3
Add in common terms and phrases used by those in your target market. What is a phrase that identifies your target market’s pain point and indicates that you have the solution they’ve been looking for?
By the time you finish: reading through my guide on market research and your convo with Molo9 on branding, you should know which colors make your desired audience feel confident, empowered, safe or excited (or however they should feel when they arrive at your website.
At this point your website should look very different from your initial beta list page.
Beta Launch Step 4
Once your website is updated, it is time to promote your finished beta launch website.
Start by applying to betalist.com
If your goal is to get at least 1000 people to sign up and participate in your beta launch follow these steps:
- Share about your beta launch on your social networks (example below)
- Talk about it as a guest on Podcasts
- Advertise your beta launch using paid ads
Beta Launch Step 5
Once your beta launch is up and people are testing, you should start working on developing a referral program or affiliate program.
There are two times that are optimal for launching an affiliate marketing program, if you want to see it get growth hacking-like traction.
One is before your first big PR campaign, the other is at the tail end of a beta launch.
Passion and excitement are powerfully contagious amongst humans. Guess who the best sales agents are for your product or service? Those who are passionate and excited about what they’re selling, they are your brand’s biggest cheerleaders.
At this point, your company’s biggest cheerleaders are the beta testers who stuck with you through the entire beta launch.
This post was written by Adi Soozin of MD9.co. If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more like this: follow MD9 on Telegram, or drop your email in below to receive our Pineapple Report (1 – 2 times each month). The Pineapple Report contains exclusive updates, founder invitations and Adi’s latest password protected growth hacking strategies.