Why it's better to beta

~ 2 min read | Category: Newsletters

You‚Äôve heard about ‚Äúbeta‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúbeta‚ÄĚ concept comes from the world of software development.¬†Alpha¬†testing is where the developers test their own code.¬†Beta¬†testing is when ‚Äúreal‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs¬†polished (or even finished)
  • You can get valuable feedback while there‚Äôs 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‚Äôt make much money in the short term. (Also you have¬†to¬†be vulnerable enough¬†to¬†say ‚Äúthis might not be quite right yet‚ÄĚ.)

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‚Äôve rebuilt the opening lessons¬†to¬†follow that format so the whole course is consistent.
  • A couple of people told me they wished I‚Äôd 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‚Äôt join the Facebook Group where it was happening. So this time I‚Äôve 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 ‚Äúreal‚ÄĚ 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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