10 Places We Found Beta Testers For Free

A strong Beta waiting list can make or break a startup. That sounds a bit dramatic, but too many startups have closed because they blew their entire angel budget of £15k on Google Adwords to try and bring in Beta testers.

While it’s true that PPC can get you Beta testers, there’s a big difference in the dynamic of a startup paying £3 to acquire a waiting list user, and paying nothing. And why pay, when there’s a ton of early adopters out there who are literally begging to use new products!

Here are 10 resources that we used to get Beta users for free. Some will work better than others depending on the type of startup, but we’ve used these for Trakio’s early waiting list with amazing results!

1. Betali.st

Probably the most active and prominent place to find new Beta’s. Betali.st will list almost any startup that meets basic quality guides (no LaunchRock landing page, must not be public launched). This means there are usuall 2-10 new startups go live every day, so you need to use the short opportunity to stand out to it’s full potential. A great screenshot and a clear, simple description are clear wins. The worst listings on Betali.st have obscure, vague descriptions. Don’t be that startup.

Betali.st has an audience made up of startup founders, tech consumers and investors.

Betali.st also have optional paid advertising packages to use after your free listing has ended. A great technique is to use something like trak.io to see which source brought the most active Beta testers, and then consider advertising afterwards.

Website: http://betali.st & http://betali.st/submit
Twitter: @BetaList

2. Erli Bird

Erli Bird is focussed around getting qualitative feedback from your Beta, with an emphasis placed on leaving comments on the app on the Erli Bird page itself. You have the option of listing your startup as pre-launch, private access (with promo code) or a paid focus group. The optional paid focus group is a good option if you’re a consumer app, but less relevant if you’re a B2B product.

A great listing is essential to get the most from Erli Bird – good screenshots, a video, and engaging in the discussion are vital to get featured. Once you’re featured, you’ll see a good boost in traffic and signups to your app.

Be sure to track how effective Erli Bird is, as they offer various paid promotion options blasting some or all of their mailing list. They also donate a % of all revenue to startup or programming charities.

Website: http://erlibird.comhttp://erlibird.com/startups
Twitter: @erlibirdapp

3. StartupLi.st

StartupList is very similar to Betali.st however there are some notable differences. First, listings are controlled and edited by yourself – you create an account and can edit your startup listings. Each new startup needs to be approved before it appears on the homepage feed.

The number of signups you’ll receive compared to Betali.st will be slightly less, and there are no premium options available. However it takes 2 minutes to re-use the same screenshot and description as from other listings, and the site has a strong Twitter following too.

Website: http://startupli.st/http://startupli.st/startups/add
Twitter: @thestartuplist

4. Quora

Quora started off as an exclusive hang-out where the inner circle of silicon valley could hang out and talk about tech startups and investment. It’s grown to be a Q&A site across all topics, however it’s core tech startup community is still extremely strong.

By participating in questions about your industry, and your competitors, you can start to build a content-driven stream of inbound interest. It won’t be an instant rush like you’ll see with directory listings, but by following laser targeted topics where your potential Beta users will be hanging out, you can build a much longer term influx of interest. Try answering questions (with links to your startup of course, but only where appropriate) for 1 hour, 3 days a week. After 1 month, look at your analytics to see how successful Quora has been as an acquisition channel.

Quora has a points system so you can attract attention to particular questions, but there are no ‘quick win’ advertising options available. Trak.io currently receives a steady stream of Beta signups from my activity on Quora, which is mostly discussing alternative analytics tools.

Website: http://quora.com

5. Hacker News

Of course no list would be complete with Hacker News. However, take this with a big caution: Beta testers from Hacker News don’t stick around. There’s a huge amount of “watchrepreneurs” who aren’t actually doing business but just admiring those who are, so they have very little need of a product that might help their business better, and certainly won’t be paying for it. If you’re launching a consumer product, targeted at tech adopters, you’ll have much better results.

Also notice that it’s very unlikely a brand new HN member posts something that makes it to the front page. You need to have a good reputation already, have friends who will support your post by voting it up and commenting, and/or be posting something truly amazing. We all hear about the fantastic success stories where HN drove 10,000 visitors in 1 day, but you don’t hear about the other 100 startups who submitted their link to HN on that same day and got a handful.

Even with those warnings, HN is a great opportunity to get big exposure. Just be sure to turn it into something valuable.

Website: http://news.ycombinator.com

6. TNW Market

Quite a recent addition to the space, popular European tech magazine The Next Web launched a Market as part of their wider strategy to monetize their audience (also including a Udemy style Academy).

While primarily a place for specific special offers or promos, you can also create a listing of your startup for free. If you do also have a special offer you can create (e.g. first 3 months free) then it costs nothing to post and you can monitor the affect it had using stats.

It’s still really early days yet for TNW Market, but with such a big news site behind it, I’m sure it will soon be a great resource of driving signups.

Website: http://market.thenextweb.com & Add New Company
Twitter: @TNWMarket 

7. Slideshare

Sharing valuable content is going to be the biggest part of your marketing strategy. And while there’s a lot of online options, such as Blogging and Podcasts, you’re probably doing a lot of in-person presentations too at local meetups and events. (If not – you should be!).

Once you’ve done your presentation, you should get the most out of the slide decks and upload them to Slideshare, making sure to add plenty of tags and description to increase it’s visibility. Good practice is sometimes to make adjustments to ensure the slides contain enough information so that they’re still relevant without hearing the presentation itself.

While Slideshare might be full of stuffy, unattractive and un-engaging content, there is a lot of well made decks up there, with an engaged and educated audience interested in finding out more about the people who made those decks.

Perhaps you have a Udemy course, or other webinars, and you can re-purpose those slides too? We haven’t yet used Slideshare for trak.io to great effect, but many other B2B startups see a solid influx of engaged Beta testers. Make sure to monitor Slideshare as an acquisition channel using something like trak.io

Website: http://www.slideshare.net/

8. AppStorm

The Web (or Mobile) channel of AppStorm can be a great place to get a review of your product. While most reviews tend to be public Beta, the network has very high traffic particularly for consumer tech products.

There’s no guarantee you’ll get accepted, but a solid pitch could mean an extra couple hundred Beta signups plus a good reference when pitching for future PR.

AppStorm do offer premium sponsorship, where you get a sponsored review post and they’ll do some tweets. For the Web channel, it’s $299 a week. Be sure to monitor the performance of traffic acquired through AppStorm before you spend big bucks though!

Website: http://appstorm.net/ http://web.appstorm.net/about/submit-an-app-for-review/
Twitter: @appstorm

9. Killer Startups – http://www.killerstartups.com/

Boasting over 700,000 monthly visitors, Killer Startups is a startup news site that accepts submissions for review. While they do offer a free application,  they warn that they’re very lazy about reviewing startups unless you pay them $167.

With any premium options, you should try and get a sense of the ROI first before spending anything big, so try and leave some comments on articles first to get a feel for how the Killer Startup audience will react to your startup first.

Website: http://www.killerstartups.comhttp://www.killerstartups.com/submit-startup/
Twitter: @killerstartups

10. CSS Galleries (and Dribbble, Forrst)

This one is a bit of a wildcard. CSS galleries, and their more recent replacements like Dribbble and Forrst, have huge communities of designers, UX/UI and entrepreneurs. Everyone is looking for inspiration for their next project, that webform redesign that isn’t working or that landing page that doesn’t convert.

If you have a product aimed towards helping UX/UI guys, and you also have a great design, then showcasing your designs on galleries and in communities can have a secondary effect of bringing in valuable Beta testers. If you aren’t yet on any of the designer community sites, you might not see any great returns until you’ve participated for a while (posting comments and feedback on other peoples designs) but if you were launching a new Wireframing tool, I couldn’t think of a better place to find Beta testers.

When I owned an agency, we used to pay an external service to do the bulk of our CSS gallery submissions. Depending on how bootstrapped you are, you can also manually do these but be aware of the ROI on time spent.

Websites: http://dribbble.comhttp://forrst.com

Published by

Liam Gooding

Liam is the cofounder and CEO of Trakio. Previously an engineer, he writes about growing subscription companies using data-driven techniques and inside glimpses to Trakio's own growth journey. He wrote a book, "Growth Pirate!" which discusses data-driven growth strategies for startups.

  • Great Information, Liam thank you

  • Thank man, this was super helpful. Already tried betalist and result is awesome.

  • Hey Liam, FYI the link to http://thenextweb.com/ is broken.

    • Whoops looks like they shut down the project 🙁

  • StartupTabs

    Hi, just wanted to add http://www.startuptabs.com.

  • Nick Katz, FRICS

    Nice article and thx for the connection on LinkedIn Liam. Any ideas for London or UK based beta users?

    • Hi Nick,

      If you specifically need hyperlocal testers, I’d advise the high-touch approach of meetups (many will allow you to pitch your idea, especially ‘speed pitching’ type events) and if you have budget, try some geo-targetted Twitter ads.

  • Thanks for not just the list but the helpful tips. I’ll be putting the ideas to work for getting some initial beta testers on board.

  • Hi Liam,

    This is great stuff, thank you very much for sharing! We will for sure make use of several of these resources in the public beta of our product (http://membees.com).

    Keep up with the good material, especially useful for other “technical-background” founders.

    Cheers!

  • Stamper

    Thank you Liam on that great article for finding beta tester. One question : from what you know, has Erly Bird a free access plan ? Couldn’t find any !

    Again thanks for these tips and all your great work for startups !

  • mijahn

    If you are in Germany, you can also use http://www.testerpool.com to find beta-testers for free.

  • OmniContext

    Hey Liam thank you so much.
    We were looking for creative ways of recruiting public beta testers for our self-tracking productivity app OmniContext (http://omnicontext.org/). These were a great help! Looking forward to more creative suggestions!

  • Pretty credible places Liam. I have also came across few others like Betabound, Erlibird who can get you beta testers but guess there is a price for that. We recently created a list of 120+ sites to submit a startup: http://promotehour.com. It also consist of bit of advice and few imp. metrics like audience segment, reach, etc. Hope it helps.

  • Felipe Betancourt Celis

    Hi Liam,

    Thank you for the resources. We’ll for sure apply some of these strategies to the public Beta of our product (http://cheersapp.io)

    Keep us posted if you discover new and interesting ways to Beta-Test startups.

    Cheers!!

  • Great article Liam,

    Will definitely be looking at these resources this week. We’re struggling to find beta testers at the moment so hoping that at least one of these sites will prove to be a success.

    Kalin
    http://www.liser.co
    http://www.facebook.com/retaapp

    • Shama Keskar

      Hello Kalin, Are you still looking for beta testers? I have a start up for providing testing services through which I can help find those nasty defects to launch a quality product. Let me know.

  • Daddy-Government Knows Best

    Betalist gave us some great early beta testers, but that eventually dried up. We are sort of a launched beta with a product for IT people. In other words, we’d give deep discounts for customers that would give us feedback on our Lite-RMM / Remote tech support app: https://remotetopc.com

  • Sedarius

    Awesome post Liam! Did a search, read the article then checked out the author and found out it was you. Great stuff man! We’ve used Betali.st to great success in the past. Thanks for referring all these other spots. Definitely will go through the list in stride and let the community know how it goes. Will also check out http://www.promotehour.com and testerpool.com

    Cheers!
    Sedarius
    http://www.gemshelf.com

  • growbeta.com works even better for tech startups.

  • Wow this might have just saved my software. Thanks so much for putting this list together Liam!

    This is my first SaaS and we’ve been struggling to find beta users for our new ad management software https://sempad.com. I’ll be reaching out to all the sites listed. Thanks again!

  • Женя Бро :)

    Hmmmm. Sorrym but the header of this post looks like…weird. 1) You can get some free testers for your mobile game or for some very popular product (like Windows 10 mobile) but for all other apps 90% of potential testers will ask “How much I’ll get per hour?”. 2) If you want to be sure that your app tested well no free testers are required. People must test your app very good and check all details. Do you think that some guy from Pakistan or India (Or Ukraine, Germany… any other country that you like) will seriously test an app for free??? They will make a tiny part of the test and then will tell anyone that “spent days for testing”. We have tried some “Free solutions” before and stopped on Ubertesters and Easternpeak to get the qualified testing services

  • Some places you can get free testers, but they will work according to their preference. If you really want proper testing then you have to hire some professional tester to do job for you. Check out professional tester site: https://websitetestingqa.wordpress.com/

  • Kushal Soni Socialee

    Thank you for such a wonderful list. We would love to test our product http://www.pointsonly.com here.

  • MostPop

    Awesome we just launched a Beta and we are very existed to have beta testers come in so if you are trying to sell items through social media register now

    Requirements: website that you sell items from and a Instagram account

  • Anandita Bhuyan

    Thank you so much Liam for this article. If my startup is from healthcare industry and my target customers are patients, from which above beta testers I can get most appropriate results?

  • Paul Towers

    Hi Liam,

    Great post summarizing all of the different startup listing sites available. I actually listed my startup, Task Pigeon, on BetaList the other week. I found it to be a pretty effective form of advertising for Beta Testers and put together this review on the process. http://blog.taskpigeon.co/betalist-review/ I thought you might be interested in taking a look.

    Talk soon

    Paul

  • Good list of resources to help startups. With so many resources out there for startups, most entrepreneurs with SaaS tools can have a way to get their software in-front of new users by listing them where their potential user hangs out. There is also a complete list of saas directories here https://www.backlinkfy.com/submit-your-startup-to-saas-directories This can help new entrepreneurs build a foundation and customer base for their new business.