What is Beta Testing?

Beta testing is done prior to releasing your product for sale to find any bugs or issues that your software might have so that they can be fixed before your customers see them.

What is Beta Testing

Wikipedia says this about Beta Testing

Beta testing comes after alpha testing and can be considered a form of external user acceptance testing. Versions of the software, known as beta versions, are released to a limited audience outside of the programming team. The software is released to groups of people so that further testing can ensure the product has few faults or bugs. 

Beta testing should find as many of the bugs and problems as can possibly be found.  No beta testing will catch all bugs but if you don’t do testing, you won’t find them until after you release.

When you do testing, you get the opportunity to find, fix, solve or figure out why bugs or issues happen.

I’ve read and been told by developers that fixing bugs before your software is released is much easier.  It can cost you up to 10 – 100 times the cost after a release than it would if you fixed it before.  Part of the reason for that is your customers are demanding immediate fixes and that costs money.

In other words, get your software beta tested before you sell it!

Your beta testing can find issues with your product, your delivery, your sales page, OTO’s, customer expectations, support and services.

Your Product

Trying to make your product fail is what a good beta tester will do.  They don’t do it to make you mad or cost you more money or even just because it’s fun to do that. 😉 They will try to find all the ways your average customer will break it.

Whether it’s by pushing the wrong buttons, clicking on links they shouldn’t, finding that it doesn’t do what you say it does, trying to install it the wrong way, not reading your FAQ’s and training, the real world user of your software will find something that you and your developer missed.  Beta testing can  and will save you time and money when you release it to the product.

Always remember, there will be issues.  If anyone can recall any software product that’s been released without any bugs or issues, please let me know in the comments.  I’ve never heard of one!

A good beta tester can help you create documentation for your product

In a recent testing, the issues I found resulted in a 6 page FAQ where the answers provided by the developer explained why these issues happened.  Most of that FAQ referred to issues I had identified that were either:

  • a setting on my computer
  • using a MAC a zip file is automatically unzipped (needs to be zipped for wordpress)
  • the software working with my gmail account
  • where the registration key ended up (spam for some reason)
  • other issues that had nothing to do with the software working properly

If we hadn’t beta tested and made sure that it wasn’t the software, we would have been inundated with help requests and time spent checking on them with customers demanding ‘immediate fixes’.

Instead the seller was able to have his help desk refer to the FAQ and be able to provide an answer for every customer.  There was still a few bugs, but they turned out usually to be theme / plugin conflict issues. 

Delivery

I recommend that you get your beta testers to ‘buy’ the product.  Let them work their way through the entire sales funnel to identify issues.  I keep seeing sales where complaints come in that this or that link didn’t work, that they didn’t see other offers and that products weren’t delivered.  Getting your beta testers to run through your sales funnels identifies issues before release.

Sales Page

You’ve had your copy written, it’s been read by yourself and everyone else involved and it’s all good.  Still run it by your beta tester.

I recently saw a sales page where it kept saying the price was $37.  It was actually selling for $27.  The sales page made me think that if he dropped the price $10 that was good for me, however if he couldn’t fix the sales page, what else has he forgotten to do?

OTO – One Time Offers

Most sales include OTO’s.  Getting this tested may seem like an odd idea.  Usually it’s a product you already have or a better deal for the same product they just bought.  However, if you are looking at an upsell and it fails when your real world customer tries to access it, you have lost the sale.  Having your beta tester check the OTO’s, as well as checking that if they buy the original product, and then add on the OTO that it all works properly makes financial sense.

Customer expectations, support and services

This is a huge part of your business.

Your sales page, your marketing and your affiliates have given your customers expectations.  They expect that whatever you said your software will do, will actually work.  When your testing is done properly, you will find out if you are going to meet most of your customers expectation.

Get your beta testers to run through your customer support.  Looking at your documentation from someone outside your business will identify anything that’s hard to understand or doesn’t make sense.  Asking a beta tester to look at it can save you time and money from customer complaints.

Getting your customer support tested is also worth it.  Recently I checked the link for support within a software product and it had been entered incorrectly.  Just one letter was left out however, it meant the support was not available.  

You don’t have to do all of this when you get your software beta tested but the more you can get tested before release, the less time you spend on fixing bugs after.

Tania Shipman

I destroy your software
before it destroys your reputation

Beta Test your Product!