Ryan Hoover, co-founder at Product Hunt (left), Poornima Vijayashanker, Founder at Femgineer and Erik Torenmberg, co-founder at Product Hunt (right)

How to Build a Community of Evangelists for Your Software Product

Interview with Ryan Hoover and Erik Torenmberg, co-founders at Product Hunt

We all want customers to crave the products we build. Next, we want them to spread the word, because WOM (word-of-mouth) marketing is THE strongest and most authentic for your product.

WOM is a testimonial delivered from one customer to another. The customer spreading the word cares about helping the other person out and is willing to vouch for the product based on benefits they’ve personally experienced.

These days, most customer-to-customer testimonials live on the internet through social media, forums, forwarded emails, and other online communities.

They also live on Product Hunt, TechCrunch’s Best New Startup of 2014.

Product Hunt is an online community where members submit and vote up the best new tech products. A simple upvote arrow is the site’s distilled version of word of mouth, and highly recommended products float to the top of the site and get an influx of visitors. According to TechCrunch, Product Hunt is“taking the industry by storm as founders, investors, early adopters and other tech enthusiasts now check the site on a daily basis.”

Recommendation-driven user acquisitions aren’t the only benefit for products that succeed on Product Hunt; they might also nab press coverage, investor interest, or high-quality feedback from the tech enthusiasts.

When Product Hunt was just getting started, it faced a classic chicken-and-egg problem that typically burdens community-based products. You need users on your home turf to attract other users, but how do you go from an initial 0 users to 10 or 100?

Product Hunt did a phenomenal job building up a following. The founder, Ryan Hoover, started with a simple email list that grew into a strong community of evangelists eager to use the product every day.

In today’s episode of FemgineerTV, we’ll cover how he did it. Any new startup — even if it’s not social or community-based — can use these strategies to drive word-of-mouth recommendations for their product.

I’ve invited Ryan Hoover and his founding team member Erik Torenberg to candidly share how they used evangelists to accelerate Product Hunt’s growth in the early days. They’ll also explain how they continue to build fervor for the product through an engaged and growing community.

Watch the episode and learn:

  • What they did to create a positive first impression of their company on prospective users and influencers.
  • How they attracted early adopters even before ProductHunt was built.
  • How they mobilized their early adopters to evangelize the product and bring in more users.
  • Strategies that did and didn’t work to increase community engagement.
  • How they keep users hooked and coming back.

If you’re struggling to get traction for your software product, watch the episode. You’ll definitely walk away with some valuable insights to apply to your business right away!

After you watch the episode, let me know in the comments, what is one new strategy you are going to use to build your community?

The next episode of Femgineer TV airs in May. I’ll be hosting Indi Young, the founder of Adapative Path, a user experience consultant, and author of two books: Mental Modelsand, most recently, Practical Empathy. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to know when it’s out!