At BetaTesting, we’ve sent out close to 5,000,000 beta testing related emails. Many of these have been beta testing invite emails designed with the specific purpose of communicating test details concisely and getting high levels of engagement from our community of testers. We’ve A/B tested, measured results, and redesigned our emails countless times based on those results.
With all of this data, we’ve learned that there are several factors that can influence the effectiveness of your beta testing invite emails. The pay-off is clear: Sending better invite emails will help you attract the right testers that are more likely to become active users of your product now and in the future. In this article, we’ll take a look at some things you can do to improve the effectiveness of your invite email:
1. Work Within Bounds
Understand that your beta testing invite email open and click rates, and your larger beta participation rates are primarily driven by the value of your product.
This is an obvious one (and maybe not the type of advice you’re after right now) but it’s very important to keep in mind that all the marketing/messaging/magic in the world can’t make up for a product that simply isn’t valuable / fun / interesting. If you build an exciting product that is fun and useful, some people are going to get in line to test it. On the other hand, if people aren’t intrigued by your product, the invite email isn’t going to change that. So, when designing the invite email, the goal is to fine-tune the messaging to simply and quickly communicate your product’s value. If you find yourself instead communicating something else (e.g. value your product doesn’t really offer) or leaving important information out in order to increase open/click rates, it’s a sign that you may need to change your product.
2. Communicate Your Product’s Value in One Short Sentence
When communicating your product, LESS WORDS > MORE WORDS
Think of this as the email version of your elevator pitch. Invest some time and effort in coming up with one simple sentence that accurately describes your product and catches people’s attention. Some helpful tips:
- Mention what problem your product solves, or how it might benefit the user.
- Avoid marketing lingo.
- Run A/B tests with different language.
When working with our clients, we have seen that when faced with the challenge of communicating something clearly, everyone’s intuition is to communicate more: more words, longer sentences, links, screenshots, etc. Unfortunately, this has the opposite effect from what is intended because most people are not going to spend the time to read every word you’ve written. More words ends up being more confusing (not more nuanced and complete as you expected).
3. Provide Key Information
What you should include in every beta testing invite email.
Besides communicating a short exciting sentence about your product, here are some other things to include:
- Expectations: Be upfront about how much time you expect the testers to spend engaging / providing feedback. Most people are busy, and they want to know the required time commitment before making a decision.
- Incentives: Let users know what’s in it for them. Although the primary motivation for most testers is to help you launch successfully, they still expect to be compensated for their time and effort. Knowing the incentives upfront will help them decide if the test is a good fit for them.
- Exclusivity: If you are running a private beta with limited invites, mention how many spots are available. The opportunity to be one of the few people that get early access to your product might make it more attractive for potential testers.
- Prerequisites: If there are any prerequisites to apply for your test, you should mention them in the email. (At BetaTesting, we help our clients filter for prerequisites through demographic targeting, and an additional screening survey for refined targeting on any criteria like interests, lifestyle, etc)
- Call to action: Be clear about what you want people to do, and include a “Call to Action” button in your email. For example, if you want people to apply for your private beta, your CTA button could be “Apply for Early Access” (which links to a landing page where users can apply for the test).
4. Measure The Results
A/B test several versions of your invite email to optimize your results.
It is unlikely that you will get the results you want on your first try. You will probably need to refine / re-design your emails several times until they are optimized. If you have a large enough list (thousands of people), you can send a few different versions of your invite to different groups. Each group should be hundreds in the minimum, but ideally thousands in order to obtain reliable data. After you run a few of these tests, you’ll be able to see what works best and you can stick with that version. If you don’t have a big enough list, run some tests with Google Consumer Surveys, or hit the pavement the old fashioned way and ask people on the street.
Finally, remember that while these tips can help you craft better beta invite emails, this is only one small part to achieving high levels of beta engagement. For example, if you are building an email list before you get to the beta stage, it’s much better to stay in touch with your audience and get them excited by regularly sending them interesting content and updates (not just waiting for one big beta launch email).
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