September 2, 2014

The Beta Invite: Tell Me What Your Startup Does Again

I’m a sucker for an interesting beta, which means happily signing up for this, that and everything. It is like attending a country fair where they hand out free samples.

The problem with “beta samplers” is the gap between the time applying to get access to a beta and when the invitation actually arrives.

Sometimes, the gap is a week. Sometimes, it’s weeks or months.

When an invitation finally hits the inbox, here’s the most important thing to do: provide a reminder of what your startup does and why I’m interested in using it. It is something like:

“Hey, you signed up for the beta of Productiviti, the service that makes you super-productive by eliminating digital distractions. If you’re still interested in checking us out, it’s only takes a few minutes to register.”

It is short, sweet and offers a little insight into what got you interested in the first place.

On the other side of the coin are startups that assume you will reminder their original pitch. I got an email invitation recently from loglr that included a mini-description of what their service did – see the browsing history of “inspiring” people”. Let’s just it wasn’t the most compelling proposition.

beta invite

While there is some information about what loglr offers, explaining the benefits is required. In other words, sell me on why your beta has some appeal.

One of the challenges with beta programs is keeping people interested over a period of time. In a world where multi-tasking and short attention spans are rampant, it is difficult for startups to capture someone’s attention, let alone keep it.

As result, it is crucial for startups to keep the marketing machine running all the time. Every time they touch a potential or existing customer, they are marketing to inform or encourage people to do something.

There is simply too much competition and distractions for a startup to think people will have no trouble remembering them.

This includes the beta invitation. If you’re able to get someone excited in the first place, the key is keeping the excitement going or re-igniting the excitement down the road.

For startups looking to jump-start their marketing, I offer strategic and tactical services: marketing strategies, core messaging, product marketing and content development.

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