Finding the first users or beta testers for your new product can be a very tedious task. During the last 8 years I launched more than 10 different products, startups and side projects. In this post I collected a variety of different platforms which I used to launch new products, promote them, find early adopters and most importantly — to get early feedback. This list aims to help fellow product developers, makers, and startup founders to make the best use of these platforms in order to get their first users for their product. It’s neither complete nor a guarantee to get any users, nevertheless a good starting point if you’re about to launch a new product.
Product Hunt is definitely the most well known platform to discover and launch new products. There are probably already hundreds of How-To articles out there with best practices and tips on how to make the perfect launch on Product Hunt. In my opinion most of these “tips” should be take with a grain of salt (I wrote about that here), nevertheless you should take care of these 3 things at least:
- Prepare your assets (screencast or explainer video, screenshots, …)
- Find someone who will hunt your product (e.g. one of the top 500 hunters)
- Be prepared to jump into the conversation and answer questions
Hacker News is a social news website focusing on computer science and entrepreneurship. It is run by Y Combinator, one of the top ranked seed accelerators in U.S. While the UI seems pretty outdated, the topics and conversations are highly relevant for everyone working in tech or startups. There’s a section called “Show HN” where you can submit your product, even if it’s still in a very early and rough stage. From my experience it’s not easy to get your posts in front of many people due to their ranking algorithm, but it’s always worth a shot.
BetaPage is a community of 65k+ tech lovers. Submitting your Startup or Product is free and there are no constraints. After submitting your listing is publicly accessible through a link. In order to be listed in the “Recent” section your listing needs at least 5 upvotes, so it makes sense to share the public link on your social accounts. For around $60 USD you can upgrade your listing to a paid listing which will be featured on the home page and will be sent out through their newsletter (30k+ subscribers).
Very similar to BetaPage, but with much more selection criterias. Betalist only accepts submissions which are recently launched, in private beta and not launched on any other site like Product Hunt. Submitting a listing is free, but after your listing is reviewed it can take 2+ months until it’s published. There’s a paid option (~ USD 130$) to skip the waiting queue.
There are plenty of communities on Facebook, some of them are very focused on tech, product and startups. There are also plenty of other relevant communities which could fall into your target audience. It’s very likely that there are several groups for which your product could be interesting for.
Before posting to Facebook groups, make sure
- it’s not against the group guidelines
- you are not just spamming this group
- you are posting something relevant to a group
- you explain why it’s relevant to this group
- to ask for specific feedback or add a clear call to action
If you post to multiple groups, write a specific post for each group and don’t just copy&paste it. Spamming groups with your product or product links without relevance or explanations will very likely hurt your brand more than helping it succeed.
Similar to Facebook Groups, Reddit has a huge variety of highly relevance communities. Many of these communities are very strict about their content guidelines, so make sure to check them first and be even more cautious about posting irrelevant content to groups. Like for every community platform it’s always a good practice to frame your post around asking for specific feedback on your product rather than just promoting it.
AlternativeTo is a crowd-sourced recommendation platform which lists alternatives to a huge variety of existing products on web, desktop and mobile. It’s often used from businesses and consumers to look for alternative solutions of existing products. Listing your product next to your competitors or similar solutions will bring your product in front of a highly relevant audience.
Quora is one of the biggest Q&A platforms on the web. While this is not a place to just “post your product” and wait for users to come (like one of the listing platforms mentioned above), Quora can still be a good place to find early adopters and qualified leads. There’s quite a huge tech and startup community on Quora, asking questions about product alternatives or best ways for specific jobs to be done. These questions can be a good entry point to jump into these conversations and offer your product as a solution for their problem. I would not recommend to simply plug in your product link, rather elaborate on your thoughts and ideas why you came up with the solution you’ve built for their specific problem. Of course, this will require more work than just posting it on a listing platform, but it’s definitely a more personal way to approach potential leads and your first touch-point to start a strong customer relationship. Another positive aspect is that you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your field by thoughtfully answering these questions and forming opinions.
Did I miss anything? Add it in the comments!