Finding beta testers

I’m approaching the point of releasing my first commercial plugin, and I am wondering how other developers find beta testers?

For an earlier free plugin I just asked a few producer friends, but this plugin is more complex and includes features which I think need more rigorous testing (preset saving & loading, installers, visualisations).

Any tips or advice about finding good testers, and getting helpful feedback from them? I have written a questionnaire for testers to complete: what OS and DAW did you test in, did the installer run correctly, could you successfully save a preset, etc. I figure I’ll put out a call for testers on my company Twitter and Facebook. Are there other channels I should be looking at?

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Might be worth setting up a mailing list and letting people join that when they download your free plugin?
You could use that to both build anticipation for the new plugin and poll if there are people with suitable skills and interest in your audience for beta testing.

Give those that respond a time limited license and then offer them a discount or NFR once they deliver feedback.

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I do have a mailing list, but signups are slow (several thousand downloads of free plugins and soundsets, ~200 subscribers!). Forgot to mention that I plan to put out the call to them too.

Give those that respond a time limited license and then offer them a discount or NFR once they deliver feedback.

Good call about making the full license dependent on feedback. I am a little concerned about people becoming beta testers just to get a free license.

Getting stuff for free should at the minimum require signing up to the mailing list, you’ll find then that you have about 90%-95% of the people who downloaded will be signed up (some freeloaders will sign up, download and then unsubscribe immediately).

Keep the free license for being on the beta testers group amongst friends and/or friends of friends, and/or people who come recommended by testers that trust will give good recommendations.
I think it was @jimc said you need about 200 testers to get 10 people giving feedback!
I personally have about 30 testers in my beta group and mostly don’t get much feedback, but when that happens I poke the group to ask if everything is OK, and the it tends to be that there was no feedback because everything was fine! :smiley:
I was given a license by @pflugshaupt for his EQ by being on the beta tester group, but I didn’t give any feedback because the plugin was great and worked flawlessly.
The other thing to remember is that those people who beta tested and got given a license will be more likely to evangelise about your product, and that is worth more than any amount of advertising you can do.

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Thanks for such a comprehensive reply @richie! I think I will take your advice about making mailing list signup a requirement to access free plugins/banks.

200 testers sounds like a lot! But I think I can manage 30.

You advised to only offer a free license only to a close circle of reliable testers, which seems like a good way to dissuade freeloaders.

EDIT: Thanks for the suggestion to make mailing list signup a prerequisite for downloading free products. I implemented this 2 days ago and have 65 new subscribers as a result :slight_smile:

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The forums in kvraudio.com are also a good place to look for beta testers. I offered free licenses to those submitting at least one issue with a demo version and I had some interesting feedback.

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when you find someone who is a good beta tester – reports reproducible issues, provides useful and actionable feedback:

treat them like royalty

Everyone thinks they’ll be a great beta tester; in reality those people are hard to find.

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