Date: October 7, 2021

Why it's better to beta

You’ve heard about “beta” launches, right?

It’s where you open up your new course to a small group of customers for feedback, then launch it with more fanfare later on.

(The “beta” concept comes from the world of software development. Alpha testing is where the developers test their own code. Beta testing is when “real” users get to kick the tyres.)

Beta launches have several advantages for course creators:

  • You can get your course in front of people earlier, before it’s polished (or even finished)
  • You can get valuable feedback while there’s still time to adjust the direction of your course
  • You can make some early sales by offering your course at a discount in exchange for feedback

The main downside is that you don’t make much money in the short term. (Also you have to be vulnerable enough to say “this might not be quite right yet”.)

Personally, I’m a big fan of beta launches.

When I first launched my Online Course Sprint, it was a beta version. I was creating content on-the-fly and listening to the feedback I received along the way.

I’ve just relaunched the course (welcome onboard if you’ve recently signed up!) and here’s what I changed based on what I learned in the beta:

  • Originally, it took me a week or two to realise that people loved bitesize lessons. This time, I’ve rebuilt the opening lessons to follow that format so the whole course is consistent.
  • A couple of people told me they wished I’d talked about launches earlier in the program, and I agreed with them, so I added a lesson in the first half of the course talking about that topic.
  • I condensed the training into 20 short lessons over 4 weeks, which meant dropping some lessons but it allowed me to create a tighter, more consumable course.
  • A surprising number of people who signed up for the original course didn’t join the Facebook Group where it was happening. So this time I’ve switched platforms to see if that helps.
  • Finally, I was diligent about following up with my first students and so I was able to reIaunch with 12 great testimonials (last time I had just one quote and it was about me, not the course.)

So there are lots of good reasons to do a beta launch first, even for a free course like mine.

One of my favourites is that a beta gives you permission to release something that’s not perfect yet. Which is powerful if you’re a perfectionist like me.

If you want your “real” launch to have the best chance of success, take my advice and do a beta launch first.

See you soon,

Glen

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