Many startups initiate their marketing and growth only at the point they want to start selling. But that’s a wrong strategy. If you only start building your audience when you want to sell, who will be there to sell to? And what do you think the conversion rate will be? No one likes a sales pitch.
Start building your community before you launch your product by creating interesting content on your site, social media pages and partner sites.
Then, once you are ready to showcase your product to the world, you will have an initial audience who will be waiting to hear about your launch. In addition, for the launch you can make use of several online websites with a large following, that will help you boost your marketing efforts and drive traffic to your site.
Before submitting your product to these websites, make sure you have a landing page or a website in place, and analytics all set up. If you only have a landing page, make sure it has some call-to-action like a subscription box to your blog, "notify me when you launch" etc.
Keep in mind a visitor's behavior on the site - which page do you want them to view and what to do there and test that it’s all clear.
Also, the launch resources below should be used combined with promotion on your company and your personal social media networks. Once your product is featured, make sure to spread the word in your own network.
Here are the top 5 places to launch your product in and get huge exposure. Check them out before your want to launch and try and be part of the community before actually being featured. Just like anything in marketing - build your community early on for it to be more accepting and embracing later:
The undisputed king (still) of product launches is Product Hunt. It is one of the most popular resources for launching products as it is the home for a great and heavily involved tech community. Being featured on Product Hunt (free) can really give you a great boost in traffic during the day of the launch and even after. Why after? Because if you think of a full strategy, not just to be featured there, you can develop relationships with people that upvoted you: reach out to them later thanking them for upvoting, see if any bloggers or reporters upvoted you and reach out to them with a story etc. Many tech journalists use Product Hunt as their go-to source for new product releases. Check out one of the most if not the most famous article on how to make it on Product Hunt.
BetaList is not only about exposure. It also allows your startup to gain valuable beta testers to try your product. Betalist says it has an audience of over 25,000 early adopters you can feature your product to. Before you submit your startup to Betalist, they ask that you don’t have a full website but a landing page (not an Unbounce/LaunchRock template but a unique design). It is up to you to get the highest conversion and optimize that page but this is a great opportunity to capture valuable leads. Being featured is free but they have an “expedited” one-time fee of $129 if you don’t like waiting in lines. They do guarantee though that if you did pay for the expedited review and are unhappy with the results (number of people sent to your site), they will refund you.
Y Combinator is probably one of the best and most well-known tech accelerator in the world right now. Hacker News by Y Combinator is a social curation site, of technology related topics, and it’s also a great place to feature your product. Show HN is a section on the site dedicated to sharing products and startups by members of the Hacker News community. You can submit your site for free and get exposure and feedback from the members of the community.
You probably know Reddit as a source to answer questions. But, it can also be a great place to feature your site to their community. However, there are strict unwritten community rules at Reddit. You cannot just add a sales pitch there. Anything that sounds sales-y is automatically picked on by the members. And trust me, Reddit hard core members do not like that and it can turn around against you. If you do want to feature there, think of a subtle and organic way to do that, like asking the forum members what they think about your site, or ask for help to finish building it. Make sure you choose the right subreddit and do not be spammy.
Developed an app? There are many app review sites out there but try to find the ones that get the most traction (you can check their traffic on SimilarWeb). One of the sites that gets a lot of traction is 148apps. This website gets around 650K visits per month and can be a nice place to add your app to. Before submitting your app, make sure you did some ASO work, that the pictures are in a good resolution and that overall, users will know what the app is once they’re on your page at the store.
There are several high-profile online directories that you should add your website to. This will help not only potential customers find you but also future employees and investors. The main ones you should add your company’s profile to (and your personal profile too) are: AngelList, VentureBeat Profiles, Crunchbase.