One of the biggest issues when you’re making a new product is “the unknown.” Until you launch, you have absolutely no idea if it’s going to work. Will people buy it? Will people like it? Will it make money? You can waste a lot of time conjecturing and pondering, but at some point, you have to launch your product and see if it sinks or swims.
Fortunately, there’s a shortcut to get you there faster – a Mastermind Beta Launch (MBL).
A MBL is like a focus group for your product. You run a hand-selected group of beta testers through your course for a premium fee. They give you valuable feedback throughout the process so you understand what works and what doesn’t. By the time your MBL is over, you know exactly what to fix before your real launch. You also have a revenue bump and a package of fantastic testimonials from your beta testers.
Every product worth its salt should use a Mastermind Beta Launch, but it’s also a great thing to do when you’re not quite ready to launch and you want to get unstuck. It erases all of the “unknowns” on your horizon and gives you the head start you need to launch with confidence.
Here’s how to do it in seven steps.
1. Put out a call to your audience.
Tell them that you’re offering an exclusive, limited opportunity to try out your unreleased product before it goes on the market. It will be an even more in-depth experience than with a typical product, because you, the expert, will be involved and hands-on the entire way.
Position this as a premium opportunity – because it is – and make it clear there’s a premium price tag attached. Give it a fun name that includes something like “elite” or “premium” or “VIP.” Get your audience excited.
2. Accept applications from people who are interested.
Be sure to ask them in the application why they want to be involved and what they’ll bring to the table. Also ensure that they’ll be available to fully participate during the duration of the course. You don’t want to accept someone into your beta launch only to find they’re going on vacation right in the middle of it.
3. Sort through the applications and select about a dozen beta testers.
Based on your bandwidth, you may want to have more, or you may want less. Whatever number you go with, it’s helpful to assume that about 25% of your users are going to fail or drop out before the course ends. About 50% will be average users, and about 25% will be amazing and give you great testimonials.
When you have a group of applications that you like, hold interviews just like you would for a job search. Invite each potential person to a Skype session to get a feel for their vibe. This is the fastest way to figure out who’s a win and who’s a dud. The people you pick should be pumped up and raring to go. Ideally, they’re representative of the audience you’re eventually going to sell the product to. Previous customers are ideal beta testers because they understand who you are and what you offer, and they’ll be enthusiastic to work with you.
4. Reach out to your new beta testers and tell them the good news – they’ve been selected!
Give them the payment information, dates and any other details they need to get started. Make them feel special and welcomed into your new Mastermind group. They should also sign waivers that allow their feedback/testimonials to be shared publicly with their name attached. This is crucial!
5. Run your beta testers through the product experience.
You’re basically teaching the material in your product over a period of several weeks. Depending on your bandwidth, this could be through group coaching or one-on-one sessions – maybe a bit of both.
During this period, you’re not only teaching – you’re taking note of what works and what doesn’t. Document your beta testers’ progress along the way. Run surveys before and after each lesson to capture testimonials and to see if people are really learning the material the way you want them to. Encourage the group to share their questions and conversations in a private forum so you can see what they really think.
At the end of the product period, you’ll want to have one final survey where you can ask for overarching feedback about the entire course.
6. Incorporate feedback.
Hopefully, you have lots of helpful information to digest at this point. Go back and incorporate it into your product. This doesn’t mean you need to do a product overhaul, just rework things as needed.
Sometimes, with a lot of opinions coming from many different people, it’s hard to understand what’s legitimate criticism and what’s not. Ask yourself: What is my overall goal for this product? Does the feedback move me closer to that goal? Did I get the same feedback from multiple sources? If the answer to these last two questions is “yes,” then it’s probably good for you to follow. If the answer is “no,” document the feedback, but don’t feel compelled to incorporate it.
7. Update your sales and marketing materials with your brand new testimonials.
Compile and edit the strongest testimonials from throughout the experience and use them on your sales page and your email sales funnel. There’s nothing more helpful to a potential customer than seeing the value your product has brought to somebody else. Don’t be shy – let your beta testers do the bragging for you!
At this point, you have a super-strong product that has been tested by real life users. You can approach your launch with confidence knowing that you’ve worked out all of the bugs. Plus, you’ve enjoyed a revenue bump from your premium price tag. With a Mastermind Beta Launch, you have more than a head start…you’re on your way to winning the race!