Beta testing – Why And How You Need To Do It

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I get questions all the time about how to feel more confident in your business, and how to actually make yourself believe that your services are worth it (because right now the thought of someone paying actually kind of scares you!) If this is you, or if you’re new to business and have no idea how to get started, don’t skip this post!

 

The best way to feel confident and feel good about charging great money for your services is to actually get out there and DO your services, with real people, and get better and better at it as you go.

 

But how do you start? How do you charge people for something you have never done and aren’t confident about yet?

You beta test, baby.

Usually, that term usually refers to testing new software or products, but since it sounds fancy and makes you feel like a cool business owner, let’s just call it that anyway. We make the rules, remember?

Beta testing your service involves actually trying it out for the first time with real people (instead of just the make-believe clients that you’ve run it though with in your head).

I’d recommend testing a service with at least 10 people before you slap your higher prices on it and make it a set service.

 

There are a few reasons I absolutely insist that you MUST test your services before you start:

1. You’ll be able to get feedback to make tweaks on what works and what needs improvement. This is crucial, you guys! Just because it sounded like a good idea to you doesn’t mean it works in real time. Constantly tweaking your services is something you need to get used to now, because you will be doing it forever as you grow and evolve as a business and as a person. What’s that saying about sharks? If they stop swimming they die? Yeah, don’t stop tweaking or your services will die.

2. You’ll be able to get testimonials from people to show that your service works. Testis are KEY in helping you sell things. People want to know that what you have created WORKS, and the best way to show them that is to have other people tell them what great results they got in working with you.

3. You’ll become more confident in your process, which means it will be easier to sell at a higher price when the time comes. If you’re not confident, it’s hard to sell anything, and the best way to get confident is to do it over and over and over.

4. You’ll have a chance to create content as you go, rather than all ahead of time. You might have an idea of what your program will need content-wise (worksheets, in-between work, additional resources etc), but it’s not always the best idea to go ahead and create it all at once. Not only is it overwhelming, but it’s usually not necessary. You can totally create it as you go, so that if things change along the way you can make sure your content fits with exactly what your client needs, instead of what you assumed they would need.

5. You get to generate some hype around your service. People love hype! You can hire a hype man (or hype woman… hype person?) and everything! Get people excited, start to create a bit of a buzz about
what you’re putting together. Your beta testers will feel extra special that they got first dibs, and other people will be hungry to sign up for the next round.

6. It takes the pressure off if things don’t go well. You don’t have to feel like everything will be perfect because you can explain to your first clients that this is a test run that will help you smooth out the kinks. They won’t expect it to be perfect (and full paying clients will). I know that might sound like a lot, but here are a few really good reasons to test it out a ton before you make it official:

 

HOW TO DO YOUR FIRST BETA TEST

First you need to decide whether your service will be free or paid.

There is no right answer here. I personally started coaching for free. I was terrified and needed to get some experience under my belt when I started. I then moved on to ‘pay what you want’ after a few months, and then eventually transitioned into full prices. Now that my business is more established (and I feel confident in what I am doing as a whole), I generally charge for first runs of a program, but I make it a no-brainer price.

 

The goal is to get people to sign up easily so I can test and tweak, NOT to make a boatload of money on the first run (that can come later!).

 

I charge enough that my clients still see the value, but not so much that it’s a HUGE investment for people that will make them hand over their first born.

The exact number of first born babies you want them to have to hand over will depend on who your clients are. If you’re just starting your business, I’d recommend working through your particular program for free to start, to learn the ropes and acquire the big C (ew, not chlamydia, gross! I mean confidence!). If you’re more established, charging 50% or less of what you’d normally charge is a great starting point.

Then you need to find people.

Start with the low hanging fruit – your friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and possibly family (careful with this one though – you may feel really awkward working with someone who you already know so well). Tell them what you’re up to and what kind of person you are looking for. Then ASK THEM FOR REFERRALS. See if they know anyone who might be a fit.

You can also start by reaching out in any groups you’re a part of either locally or online. Don’t be afraid to ask people if they know anyone who would be a good client for you.

Also, make sure to let them know what the offer is. Don’t just come at them with “Hey wanna work with me, it’s free! Dear god, please say yes I’m desperate! I’ll take anyone at this point.” Not surprisingly, this makes you sound desperate (since you used that word and all,) and doesn’t make your clients feel very special. Instead, explain to them what you’re creating and who it’s for to make sure they are a real fit (taking on non-ideal clients won’t be doing you any favors here).

Then tell them WHY you’re doing it for free or at a discount. You want to make sure that people actually value what you’re offering, so instead of just slapping a giant tacky FREE sign all over things, explain why you’re doing it this way. Then, let them know that in exchange for your work, you’ll be asking them to complete a feedback form within a week of finishing your work or whatever your feedback parameter are), to help you get an idea of how things went and what might need changing. Be clear that this is a requirement! That way they can’t skip it if they don’t feel like doing it (those slackers!). Then get to work, kids! Work with them, rock your shit, and use every ounce of feedback to improve and do better next time around. 

You can do all of this in a simple email or Facebook post. You don’t have to have a proper sales page on your website for it (though you could if you wanted to). This is all about getting people in so you can START, so don’t procrastinate thinking it all has to be perfect.

Once you’ve run through your service several times and you’re feeling confident in what you’re offering and have the testis to prove it (am I the only one who shortens testimonials down to testis? Because I’m pretty sure everyone should do it), move on to picking a price for your service and get it out there.

 

MORE ON GETTING FEEDBACK

No matter what you are selling or giving away for free, you want social proof that it’s actually good, from real people other than yourself. Yes – that means even your freebie (the free thing you give away when people opt-in to your site) should have testimonials. You want to be collecting testis from day one, for everything you do, ever. One of the main ways you’ll sell your services is by having proof that they’re awesome. The proof is in the pudding (and now I’m hungry.)

So here’s what you need to do: Send your clients a feedback form when you finish your work with them. Create it in Google forms and disguise it as a feedback form. Just kidding – it’s not a disguise. It actually IS a feedback form, just with very carefully worded questions so that you can also use it for testimonials (two birds with one stone and all that jazz.) I give you 100% permission to blatantly copy my feedback form. Click here to see it. Just be sure to tweak the questions to make sense for your business.

One thing to be absolutely sure to ask your clients is if it’s ok if you share their feedback in the form of a testimonial on your website. Let them know you will be including a photo, and their website (if applicable). But you MUST get permission first, so the easiest way is just to ask right on your form. If the work you do is SUPER sensitive, you can tell people that you’d love to share their words anonymously, and you can explain on your testimonial section that because your work is personal/sensitive, people prefer to remain anonymous. Abracadabra – you’ve just earned more trust!

This whole process might sound like a lot, but it doesn’t have to be! You can get your first test clients TODAY if you wanted to. In fact – I dare  you to get started now if you have been putting this off. If you’re like me, you can’t turn down a dare.

 

xo becca

PS. You might be asking “But Becca, what if I have no idea what my program even is yet? How can I test something that’s still so unclear?” If you need help actually figuring out what to sell in the first place, you might want to check this out.

Read 9 Comments & Leave Yours

  1. Iris Weaver

    Very helpful, thank you!

  2. Ah, wonderful. Thank you. I’ve just setup a way to test out my services and get my first clients via a free 30-day challenge. Part of the challenge includes the opportunity for a 1-on-1 mini session in exchange for feedback. Thanks for sharing your feedback form, this is very helpful!

  3. Linda

    Even though I’ve followed this advice of yours to with great results, I still enjoy reading your advice on getting referrals, your hilarious quips about how to sound desperate, and a new word for testimonials that I’ll probably never use myself but will laugh over when I see you do.

  4. Beta testing is hard, but it really works. I did UYB this past April and created a marketing strategy package that was one size fit all. As I’ve been testing, I’ve realized 1) that one size fits all is the exact opposite of how I operate and 2) that there are 3 different more targeted packages that would better serve my clients and be more fun for me to deliver.

    Now I’m beta-testing one of the targeted ones designed to help coaches be more successful with their guest blogging and podcast pitches. I’m so much more excited about it because it builds on the part of marketing that I enjoy the most – researching the gaps in a topic and helping people make their stories more juicy and compelling.

    I’m grateful to Becca and UYB for helping me create a package to start with. It was so worth it to get help to get ‘close enough’.

  5. Karen

    Great post! Really helps clarify what we should be doing next. I love the step by step instructions… So helpful! ?

    One tiny suggestion : You might wanna change that term “testis.” It, um…. well, Google it and you’ll see what I mean. ?

  6. Rebecca Tracey

    That sounds awesome — good luck!

  7. Rebecca Tracey

    But you should totally use it and see how it feels :) haha. Thanks for the kind words!

  8. Rebecca Tracey

    Thanks Karen! And I definitely know what the word means – it goes hand in hand with my program “Hey, nice package!” ;)

  9. ming alexander

    Ah testis and packages…My kinda coach…Thanks for producing the most useful coach coaching site on the internet:D