I am just finishing up running by first ever beta program at the time I am writing this article and I am so glad I did.
Sure it is a lot of work to prepare, define and set expectations from participants, careful select the few that you’ll accept in the program. But trust me on this one, it is ALL worth it.
Not only did they help me build the course The Power of Memberships that I have today, it’s empowered me to continue finding ways to educate my audience through online learning.
Doesn’t mean I am quitting 1:1 work, the 2 can and will work hand in hand nicely. After all my courses will just build more credibility for my expertise. At least that’s how I see it!
So, Beta program or no beta program? Here are 4 reasons you need to create a beta program for your course or membership.
1 – VALIDATE THE IDEA BEFORE YOU SPEND BIG MONEY ON A LAUNCH
Running a beta program is a great way to test your idea and get real feedback from people that are actually going through the program.
Whether you decide to do a paid or free beta program you also need to make sure that you validate that there is an audience that actually would pay for this as well.
The point of the beta program is really to:
– make sure that what you have to offer correspond to a need
– people are willing to pay for it
– your content is better than anything else out there and delivers on the promise
– Identify where people get stuck and need more help/tutorial/hand holding
– Get killer testimonials that you can use in your promotion
2 – GET VALUABLE FEEDBACK TO REFINE YOUR COURSE
You’ve put all you got in your course, and in your eyes, it’s perfect.
But the reality is, until students have gone through it, you don’t know that, they will tell you what’s great, not so great, what’s missing, what’s too long or should be extracted and put in a resource section,…
It’s important to set clear expectations for the beta testers and what kind of feedback and commitment you expect of them.
I was really clear from the beginning that I’d love feedback as they were going through the modules and that there would be a survey at the end where they’d be able to provide more general feedbacks and suggestions. That worked out really well!
3 – GATHER TESTIMONIALS AND BUILD CASE STUDIES
There is one thing that will make your beta program efficient above everything else: how you choose your beta testers.
I can’t stress this enough. Especially if you are going to offer the beta for free (which I don’t recommend you do); you need to make sure they are not going to shelve the program and look at it at a later time because you need their commitment NOW (or whenever your beta is ready).
I was really clear from the beginning with my beta participants that the goal of the beta was to test the program AND gather testimonials and build case studies to prepare for the launch.
I committed to them to be there for them for the whole duration of the program and to make sure that there were no road block for them.
The result? 10 happy students that are about ready to welcome their first students in their course or membership!
4 – EVALUATE THE AMOUNT OF SUPPORT THEY’LL NEED
I found that working with a smaller set of people makes it easier to get to know them, their needs and adjust the program accordingly. I was able to provide extra resources and tutorials.
Because I only had 10 beta testers I was able to individually go check each individual project to see if they were able to apply what I teach. That’s where I learned that I had to break down some of the videos into smaller chunks so they would be easier to consume.
Here are the details of the beta programs that I ran for my course The Power of Memberships:
I posted my beta program offer on facebook on 3 groups and got over 100 applicants (did not post to my list).
That alone validated the idea that there was something that could be done to help this audience.
– I selected 10 people through the application, primarily based on their number 1 struggle: the tech stuff and now knowing what to do
– My Beta program was a paid program ($497) where they get their money back if:
* they go through the course and produce result (I teach how to build an online course or membership)
* they have to provide me with feedbacks
* they have to allow me to use their work as a case study
In exchange they get:
– access to the VIP version of my program for life, extra special attention from me during the 6 weeks of the program (and then ongoing through the facebook group)
– a beautiful and functional online course or membership ready to welcome students
– the confidence that they can build another one or add to the platform ON THEIR OWN. That is gold.
– they have full control of this powerful new asset they’ve created for their business.
It turned out to be a win-win for everyone and that’s exactly how I pictured it!
I honestly don’t see any reason to not run a beta program, it’s a great way to validate your idea and get great testimonials for when you’re ready to launch!
Now I’d like to hear from: have you run a beta program before? Would you run one? Please share your experience in the comments, either as a runner or as a participant!