Modern business is capable of gaining investors and making sales with real customers in one fell swoop. Product quality and consistency are always an issue with a mainstream product, but if you work from a research and testing angle you may be able to attract a lot of attention while moving a lot of product. Consider a few hype-generating product strategies that can help your product funding stay afloat as you explore the market.
How Does Beta Testing Differ From Standard Sales?
Beta testing comes from the technology world as a way to test programs such as games, productivity suites or tools with prospective, adventurous customers before entering the market at large. The beta testing community comes with an exploratory and experimental nature, bringing with it a lot of people who either want free stuff for their opinion or simply want to be part of something bigger.
For you, beta testing is a way to figure out what you need to do with a product without risking heavy investment into thousands of units of product. Create an idea and make the product available to order or to pick up at a local location.
Before starting, you need to set the ground rules and mood of the beta product; this is not the final product. There are many customers even in the beta testing community who expect nothing but perfection or simply skim through the description, only to demand compensation or better treatment if they're not satisfied.
As long as you have a thorough explanation of your product testing, the community will police itself. You'll certainly need to positively defend the testing product, but the general understanding of you product will be mostly limited to your group of adventurous testers.
More Profitable Than A Focus Group
Beta testing may sound a lot like a focus group, but it has a selling potential that far exceeds focused tests. As you measure success, you can gradually increase your production and even create custom markets.
Researching different flavors for ice cream? Experiment with certain flavors in one area while sticking to what works in another. Testing out a program? Sell invitational keys at a lower rate than your planned retail prices in the spirit of sharing and testing.
Returning to the computer and technology world, beta testing has become quite a powerful income generator. Many games have come under scrutiny by some avid gaming fans for selling participation beta testing, a privilege once won by luck or industry experience. You can still give the special experience for discerning testers by allowing special events and even complimentary goods, but the hype generated by a 'paid beta' can bring in sales that far exceed expectations.
Coordinate with a product design firm to begin a beta test product strategy that leads all the way to full release product and beyond.