When you forget to send beta testers the course
Today, we open the series with an unbiased look at how I totally screwed over my beta testers.
Two words: Epic Fail.
In mid-December, I pre-sold Fast50 by personally reaching out to 50 subscribers and sending them to the sales page to see if they would buy.
It wasn’t exactly a "beta test", because I already have proof that the product works. I did it myself and got results. I did it for clients. And I coached students through the system. But I also wanted to test the “study at home” version with beta testers - mainly to validate market demand and to get “Why they bought" testimonials for the sales page.
I was supposed to launch Fast50 publicly on December 26th, with the course materials going live on December 27th.
But then… life happened.
Someone I cared about had surgery, so I made an executive decision to postpone the launch to January. I wanted to make sure I’d be online to deal with customer queries when the course launched. (“Passive income” is never really passive. You work 16 hours days so you can make money while you sleep.)
Then my team and I systematically went through all the moving parts involved in the launch to make the necessary changes:
- • Created a new launch calendar.
- • Changed the dates of all the sales emails and rescheduled them in ConvertKit.
- • Created a new webinar link in Zoom.
- • Updated the date and webinar link in all the webinar reminder emails.
- • Fixed the date, countdown timer and copy on the webinar optin page.
- • Sent an email to everyone who registered for the webinar about the date changes.
- • Inserted a reminder into the course area inside Teachable (the platform that houses the course content) which read: "REMINDER: All of the course content and bonuses will appear in this membership area in early January, when the course officially opens."
- • Tweaked two million other minutia.
Yet I still had the nagging feeling that something was falling through the cracks...
(Apparently, I’m psychic.)
We caught every minor detail and missed the elephant in the room:
I forgot to email the pre-buyers about the date change.
LOOKING AT IT FROM THE BETA TESTER’S PERSPECTIVE
At first sight, that 2 a.m. email I received might seem a bit harsh.
But you know what? She’s 100% right.
Look at it from her perspective:
• She gave me detailed feedback on the sales page;
• Paid the full price for Fast50 (I don’t offer discounts to beta testers because that defeats the purpose of doing pay certainty validation);
• She did not get the course materials on December 27th as promised.
AND to add insult to injury, the first email she receives from me is about how I’m launching a course she has already bought using 3 different gurus’ launch systems.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
I sent this email in response:
Since this was an error on my part, I also gave her a full refund even though she hadn’t requested it.
By the way, here is my stance on refunds:
1) If w/in the refund period, always refund. No questions asked.
2) If outside refund period, but it’s my error and fairness demands a refund, go ahead and refund. Goodwill over profits.
3) If outside refund period, have them prove their claim. If someone claims Fast50 doesn't live up to expectations, I’ll ask them to prove it by mapping the course against my sales page.
My friend Bushra Azhar had a great Facebook Live session about this yesterday. I agree with her that you shouldn’t always “let it go”. If someone asks for a refund in bad faith and you don’t make a principled stand, they’re just going to do the same thing to the next course creator.
The trick here is always writing the sales page first.
Here is what I mean by that:
I create the course from my sales page. I write the sales page frist (so I know what I'm selling), then build a course to deliver on those promises.
Anyway, back to the 2 a.m. email...
I’m actually really glad she emailed me, because it prompted me to go back and check my system. Otherwise, I still wouldn’t have noticed how badly I was screwing over my beta testers.
After responding to her message, I then composed this email for everyone who bought Fast50 in December:
THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER
Incidentally, the angels on duty must be aspiring Hollywood script writers, because the episode just got a Happy Ending.
A few hours ago, I received this email from the beta tester who sent me the 2 a.m. email:
Treat people with respect, and they tend to respond in kind.
Of course, it’s easy to say that and not so easy to actually practice it. To own the truth, I’m rather hot-headed and I don’t take criticism well, so I don’t always handle email objectively (let alone gracefully). But I seem to growing up. 😉
LESSON #1: BLOOPS HAPPEN DURING A LAUNCH. YOU’LL LIVE.
It’s not the end of the world if you have an epic fail during your launch.
Just be open about it and move on:
“Ok, so I screwed up. Let me own that, so I can put my energy into fixing it rather than feeling guilty about it."
LESSON #2: LIFE HAPPENS.
I noticed recently that life becomes a lot less frustrating the moment you stop expecting it to treat you fairly.
Since I started working on Fast50, there have been 3 major terrorist attacks in Istanbul, which is where I’m based this year. Each explosion missed me by 5 minutes. That’s one traffic light.
Then someone I cared about had surgery on the eve of my first product launch.
Then I flew to Izmir for my mother’s birthday and the courthouse there got bombed on Thursday. But for the grace of God, had I not left the law to start my own business, I might have been in that building when the bomb went off.
Bombs, surgery, the unfairness of it all… You can’t let that get to you.
This is my life now. The only question is: What am I going to do next?
Also, the purpose of a terrorist attack is to cause terror. If we choose to live in fear, they win.
The bottom line is: I have no control over when I’m going to die. I could escape 5 bombings only to have a potted plant drop on my head from the 5th floor the next day.
But I have full control over how I live.
Actually, that’s B.S.
I can’t always control how I live, because I can’t control everything that happens in the world.
What I can control, however, is how I choose to react to what happens.
I could have bombs going off around me, but I can choose to be in peace.
And peace is a choice because peace is a state of mind.
PS: Bombs, surgery, epic fails — I am determined to get this course out the door come what may.