14 ideas for entrepreneurs who need beta testers

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Q. What's the key to getting as many beta testers as possible for a new launch?

1. In the beginning, reach out through social media

Reaching out to groups in social media is a good way to start. They're a lot of paid methods such as crowdsourcing tools like Mechanical Turk or the website usertesting.com. Working to connect with mid-level influencer is a good way as well to push to more testers. The thing is, you want beta testers in your market, so it might be worth launching a sponsored campaign and testing that out, too. -- Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

2. Personally recruit an audience to test your product

Reach out to people who you've connected with at industry events or people you know within your target market. By personally recruiting beta testers, you can get a first-hand look at how they respond to your product and get direct feedback from them. -- Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent

3. Start an email list ASAP

Create a landing page to capture emails as soon as possible. To capture the most emails, start blogging about your industry, answering questions your ideal customers are looking for. Experiment with the placements of your email capture forms through A/B testing to get the best results. This will make it so much easier for you when you're ready for beta testers, and eventually launch the product. -- Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

4. Build a community early on

The key to a strong early beta tester group is building relationships with potential users as early as you can. That usually demands that you find a way to offer them some value in exchange for their attention and time, which could be a useful newsletter or blog, in-person events, chatrooms or something unique and specific to your brand. Start early and treat your earliest users well. -- Derek Shanahan, SuperRewards

5. Look for a wide range of skills

The best beta testers are often neophiles — they want exclusive access to new features. Send invitations to the most active and committed users, those who engage with the company via social media and in forums. But make sure to invite ordinary users too: The power-user take is important, but you also need to hear about the average user’s experience. -- Vik Patel, Future Hosting

6. Involve testers from the start

Start collecting beta testers the moment you decide to go forward so they can provide input along the way rather than wait for the end of product development. This gets rid of issues much sooner, and offers some great advice that can deliver a better product overall. -- Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

7. Seek complete saturation

In addition to encouraging employees to pull from their friends and family members for the purposes of beta testing, I will often incorporate native advertisements on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to attract further testers. Doing this in conjunction with postings on sites such as Craigslist, I can ensure that we find the largest and most diverse sample size possible. -- Bryce Welker, Beat The CPA

8. Make them feel special

The key is to focus on the benefits to them rather than on the usefulness to you. Rather than talking about needing beta testers, talk about the advantage of being an early adopter or the first to discover something new. It also helps to offer incentives, such as free samples or discounts when you officially launch the product or service. -- Shawn Porat, Scorely

9. Offer a giveaway

There are a lot of people out there that have tons of time on their hands who would do anything for a tchotchke. A small fidget spinner, for example, sourced from China can cost you $0.50 and will attract a lot of eyeballs. Post recruitment listings on Craigslist or job boards where people are looking to get involved in something, offer them a small giveaway for their time. Fifty cents can go a long way. -- Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

10. Give it away for free

Give your app away for free or at an incredibly low price that is, in essence, free for a limited amount of time. Generally getting good feedback is more important than profiting off customers, so we try to give away beta software at a significant discount or sometimes free, so that customers can work with the software and give us the feedback we need. -- Liam Martin, TimeDoctor.com

11. Go to the right websites and forums

Your best bet is to do as much research and investigating as possible online to look for beta testers for your new launch. You can typically find them at websites like Hacker News, Product Hunt, and even forums such as Reddit and Quora. There are also plenty of beta directory sites which should help in landing more testers. -- Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

12. Tap the industry to find a large pool of beta testers

A successful beta test hinges on a good community of beta testers. But how do you find them? The best way to locate a large number of beta testers is to contact other, more established software companies, websites, forums, or blogs, or within the industry that offer similar technologies that don’t compete with your products and services. -- Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

13. Ask for a referral

The best way to get more beta testers is to ask the people you're currently working with for referrals. It's likely that they have friends or family that fit the bill, or at the very least can point you in the right direction. You can incentive the referrals, but you may find that it's not necessary because many people are happy just to share what they've been trying. -- Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck

14. Leverage your crowdfunding campaign

Crowdfunding helps entrepreneurs assess the potential value of a business idea, but a successful crowdfunding campaign also provides a great resource for beta testing. The participants have already expressed an interest in the product and they're invested in it being the best it can be — the perfect beta testers. -- Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.