Building a startup is hard. First and foremost you have to come up with an idea that solves a pain point. Then you put together a minimum viable product. But the more daunting task is finding early adopters who are willing to try out your far-from-perfect product so you can learn from them. This can help you validate early assumptions and make critical improvements to your product.
To reach those initial users, you may need to get your product in front of online communities such as Reddit and Product Hunt. Quite recently our team launched the second version of our platform on Product Hunt. Here’s how you too can launch successfully.
Find the right hunter
To improve your odds of being featured on the front page of Product Hunt, you'll need to find trusted makers within the community. It’s important to reach them because they have a lot of virtual points that are essential to helping you rank higher. One thing to note is that not all upvotes are equal. The makers with the most points significantly increase your odds when they upvote or comment on your product. We learned this the hard way when we launched the first version of our product last June. We put a lot of work into the launch and ended up only getting upvotes from people we knew. Most of the people who upvoted us were the ones we had asked to do so, which resulted in minimum visibility for our product and exactly zero sign-ups.
This time around we decided to connect with a hunter named KP who has a lot of points within the community and has successfully helped multiple other products launch on Product Hunt. This helped us get our product in front of a lot more people and landed us on the front page within hours of our launch. To help you find the right hunter to hunt your product on launch day, here's a list of influential makers.
Clearly communicate the value of your product
Why should anyone care about what you are building? If you can't effectively communicate this, you'll quickly lose the attention of potential users. Before our launch, we came up with a few key materials that helped people better understand the full value of our product.
First, we made sure that our one-line product description was interesting enough for people to want to learn more. We've found that the best one-liners elicit an emotional reaction from the reader. To do this, work on communicating a major user pain point that your product alleviates. Ask your users (or potential users) about what excites them about your product.
Next, ensure that all marketing materials (graphics, videos, screenshots) communicate how your solution addresses the user pain point in a simple manner. Be sure to include any user testimonials, if you have them. During our launch, our team designed a few simple graphics that clearly presented the value of our platform to a potential user.
Finally and most importantly, your maker message should tell a brief story about why you decided to pursue the problem you are solving. Since buying decisions are mostly subconscious and based on emotion, storytelling may be the best way to connect with potential users of your product. This helps you stand out from the crowd, and you are more likely to get a great outcome as a result.
Engage with the community
Once your product goes live on launch day, prepare to address any questions and comments that come up. The Product Hunt algorithm looks at the number of comments and reviews you get to determine your rankings. In addition, this is an avenue to start building relationships with potential users who are interested in using your product.
During our most recent launch, we decided to give regular updates about our rankings to our followers on Twitter and LinkedIn. As a result, they began to engage more with our posts. Also, consider sending an e-mail about your launch to help boost engagement. Be sure to keep the conversation going so you can have other people share your product with their networks.
After weeks of preparation, it's finally time to let the world know what you’ve been up to. It’s exciting to put your product out there to see how people respond to it. Take a moment to reflect on all the work you’ve done up to this point. You are now embarking on a journey to create a better future. Hopefully, your launch will set you up for continued growth. Have a great launch!
This article was originally published on Entrepreneur.