Maximize Lessons Learned in Beta Launch

course creator course design entrepreneurship learning development Oct 13, 2021

How does it feel to spend around $30k only to realize you've made a mistake and there's no refund?

Saying you'd feel absolutely awful doesn't even begin to describe the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and the damage to your confidence, finances, and business.

Unfortunately, this is no hypothetical situation. This is the reality for coaches who prepare a program. Maybe you're paying the development costs yourself, or maybe you're paying a learning experience designer.

Either way, you can avoid so many mistakes by beta testing your program.

And not just a last-minute-thrown-together beta test — you can maximize the opportunity to test out your program and understand what improvements you need to make all while preparing for your big launch.

Let's talk about why you absolutely must beta launch your work and how you can do it as effectively as possible.

Why should you always beta launch your work?

Boiled down to just one reason: beta launches help you reduce your risk big time.

You can test the price. See if your concept will actually sell and, along the way, collect some extra information. Properly pricing your course is difficult — it's easy to underestimate the value you're offering but it's also easy to overestimate the price people will legitimately pay. Beta testing your price point will help you get a pulse for your market's financial heartbeat.

You avoid reputational risk. You can't just put any course or program out there and hope it sticks and people love it. Your reputation with clients is on the line. If you take the time to run a beta launch at a reduced cost, you can still guarantee the value of your product while also avoiding potential resentment from clients.

You avoid financial risk. It can cost $30k and upwards to build a course, membership, or coaching program when you want to do it right. That includes the technology commitments, web development, sales and marketing, market research on participant's needs, designing and developing all the course components, planning quizzes and/or assessments and/or gamification, internal marketing to keep participants excited and engaged throughout the program, and then, of course, the editing and re-doing. That's a massive financial investment!

Beta launching gives you a chance to prototype a less polished version of your offer before spending loads of cash.

I've run many beta launches of my own programs and helped others run their own beta launches. I can guarantee that you will be changing your content or flow or structure or something after the beta launch!

Convinced? Amazing. Let's move on to the next step of a successful beta launch:

How can you make the most of your beta launch?

You're on board for a beta launch, but now what? Well, now you need to learn how to maximize the precious time you'll have with the audience who joins your rough-around-the-edges beta launch course. Here are my non-negotiables:

  1. Survey the heck out of them!
  2. Benchmark their assessments
  3. Survey them again
  4. Assess them again
  5. Tell your ego to take a hike
  6. Have conversations and focus groups without you present!
  7. Get a professional to look in and open your eyes to possibilities you could never have seen
  8. Get a professional to look in and open your eyes to the flaws you could never have seen
  9. Observe with a plan

Let's break the main components of a successful beta launch:

Surveys: Use surveys cleverly to capture information about likes, dislikes, knowledge being learned (or lack thereof), skills being learned (or not being learned), confidence (or lack of), and mindset. Your goal is to determine whether your content is landing and where it's just not. You want to ask questions about the experience, content, length, promised result, roadblocks, and mindset hindrances that your beta audience encounters.

Benchmark Assessments: Take advantage of the golden opportunity to measure where your participants are at when they come into your program. You don't have a restart button so don't screw this up! You need to focus on measuring their knowledge, skillset, confidence, and mindset when they enter the doors of your course. You'll want to come back to this initial assessment to track progress and show quantifiable, data-backed results at the end.

Tell Your Ego To Take A Hike: Feedback is a gift. And now is not the time to reject that gift and get precious about your content. The more you hear about people's likes and dislikes the better!

Feedback, Feedback, Feedback: As much as you tell your participants that you're open to feedback, your participants may find it really awkward or difficult to give objective, unbiased feedback directly to you, the course creator. There are all kinds of psychological reasons why this is, but what's important for you is to give participants a chance to provide anonymous feedback without you in the room.

Hire someone to facilitate a focus group near the end of the pilot program to capture feedback on multiple levels of content: did they like it? Or not? Did they learn something new? Or not? Are they doing something different now? Or not? Were they able to apply the learning? Or not?

Capture feedback on the experience too: right from onboarding, throughout the course, on using the support systems, and on the design.

Capture feedback on everything! And as you're doing so (or, preferably, having another facilitator do so), allow time for open flow brainstorming and discussion. Your pilot participants may have (and probably do have) fantastic ideas for how to improve your program.

And if you're only hearing good news, that brings us to the final component of a successful beta launch...

Professional Course Audit: Have a learning professional take a look at your course! (If you didn't know that was possible, now you know!) I can 100% guarantee that a learning professional will find some amazing, jaw-dropping opportunities to enhance engagement and make your course more bingeable. They'll save you time in the long run. As a side bonus, you'll also be able to advertise that you've had a third-party audit, helping you stand out from the crowd and helping boost your credibility to potential participants.

Getting a learning Professional to observe your beta launch, give their assessment, and evaluate the course will help you maximize this opportunity. You'll be able to recreate your offer before the final program is released and you'll be able to launch at your full price with a valuable, effective course.

Feeling a little uncertain?

I can help you create amazing learning experiences that get results. For more information, book a discovery call. I’ll help you break through your plateau and boost your learning experiences, coaching programs, and course.

Are you a business owner looking for a community? Your Greatest Work Mastermind is having an open house. Apply Here for the next Open House Mastermind (October 26, 2021)

I’d love to hear from you, connect on LinkedIn, Instagram, or email [email protected]

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