One of the most important aspects of conducting successful usability tests is having the best users possible. At HubSpot, we have a database of 300+ customers who are eager and willing to help us at the drop of a hat. However, there are plenty of situations where testing current users of our software would not be helpful, so we begin a search for non-customers.
Recruiting non-users for usability studies is much harder than the process of finding people who use your product. Some of the main issues I’ve encountered are:
- They don’t owe you anything - you’re not helping them at the moment
- If they don’t show for the test, it’s no loss to them
- They are solely speaking with you for the gift at the end of the test
I’ve had my fair share of duds when recruiting for non-user testing, so I’ve adapted and created a process that works best for me here at HubSpot. I learned a lot from Google Venture’s Michael Margolis in his blog post on recruiting, and have created a flow that works best for me when finding participants for a non-user test.
Write a screener
Writing a screener eliminates a few steps of back and forth with potential users. Create a landing page and add a form on there with any information
you’d need about a user to decipher if they’d be great for your upcoming study. Some questions I’ve included on my screener are:
- A LinkedIn URL (to ensure the user is a professional and not a bot)
- If they’re a solo marketer or part of a larger team (helps us figure out if they’re one of our buyer personas)
- If they’ve tried the HubSpot software before
Once people submit the form, they’re sent to my email and I go through and decide if they’ll be a great candidate for the study. If I’m already full for this particular one, I’ll email them and ask if they’d be willing to participate in the next one.
Buy a few Craigslist postings
For HubSpot, the Craigslist route has seen little success. I’ve had a lot of bots fill out my form and have rarely gotten a truly qualified person for my tests. For me, our focus tends to be people in the marketing industry and those are rarely scanning Craigslist with ways to make a quick $25. However, if you have a different audience that spends more time on websites like Craigslist, you very well might see success. It’s worth a shot.
Use your social media following
I’m lucky enough to have HubSpot’s giant social media following on my side when recruiting non-users. On Twitter alone, HubSpot has over 350K followers. When I am looking for users, I write up around 5 tweets and send them to our Social Media Manager. She then schedules them out over the week prior to the study. As I mentioned earlier, our main target is marketers and most consider HubSpot a great resource, so there are a lot of qualified non-users following us on Twitter.
There are a few other tactics the sisters plan on exploring in upcoming test recruits. We want to try recruiting using:
What do you do to recruit non-users for usability studies? I’d love to hear your thoughts.