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Where to announce a new product?


#1

As I mentioned in my introduction, we’re planning to announce our productivity product for designers and developers on Wednesday.

We have a list of outlets, blogs, news sites that we’re going to send press releases to to try to get some coverage. We also have a list of people on twitter we’ll try to get involved.

I wondered if anyone here has any good suggestions of where to get their product featured, to help with driving traffic?

Here’s where we’re planning to push it:

.net magazine
Creative Bloq
Smashing Mag
Mashable
Tech Crunch
Venture Beat
Hacker News
Designer news
Side bar
Adbuzeedo
Medium
Product Hunt

Plus a host of web design showcase/gallery sites.

I don’t know if it would be of interest to any of you guys, but I’ll happily share how we get on with the announcement as far as traffic and numbers go.

Any places we’ve missed?


#2

That’s a great list. For our new product we’ve been collecting places to do small ad buys. I’d be really interested to hear how a PR push like you’ve listed above works out.


#3

Thanks @dperrera. I’ve thought about ads, but I’ll try to get some traction without spending money first. I’d be interested in hearing how they work out for you though. Also considering sponsorship opportunities with conferences etc, but it’s hard to judge the effect.

I’ll report back later in the week with some initial feedback on the announcement.


#4

It’d be great if you shared some of your results. I’ve often wondered if we should be doing more PR pushes.


#5

I would be interested in seeing how you do, my service for designers/developers has a similar media target. I posted review requests and sent emails to many of those same places with little or no response. Paid seems to be the only way to get in.

My personal thoughts on startups taking cash investment is that a lot of the money goes towards the initial marketing push to get some media face time. Running some napkin numbers on a few of the competitors in my space I figure they are easily spending thousands/month for ad words/reviews etc. Everyone wants a slice of the pie for publicity. For a bootstrapper one of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to get the word out and where the best bang for the buck is when you need to shell out advertising money.


#6

Here’s the big list of places where you can announce your new product:

http://whitetailsoftware.com/2013/10/pre-launch-email-list-building-directories/


#7

Thanks @dgrigg. Yeah, I’d agree. Having a team of devs means we can develop the project internally, but marketing is the biggest issue. There’s a chance of getting a small amount of local government funding to help with the development, but if we do get it I think I’d save it for a marketing push. Is that ok to say on here?? :-/

@shantnu Thanks, that’s fantastic list. I’ll certainly keep it for when we have beta.


#8

@ian Cheers Ian, I’ll come back with any results (If there are some!)


#9

I follow BetaList and they not only list your startup/app on your site but they also tweet it out to their followers. It seems to be a pretty good way to reach out to early adopters and people willing to try something new. The first answer on this similar Quora question alone includes 40 sites, a few you’ve already mentioned.

The other resource I’d look for would be places online where your target customers gather - forums, Facebook pages, etc. Follow the rule of the land when it comes to posting and sharing a product or resource and be clear and open about who you are and what you’re promoting.


#10

Thanks @mikeroberto, I’ll take a look at BetaList.


#11

Sorry for the cross post, but I mentioned on here that I’d post the results of our announcement. Here’s a post I wrote about the first 36 hours — http://blocksapp.io/blog/the-first-36-hours / @ian


#12

This post has a section that talks about where they posted and the results they saw from a few different sites: http://blog.rivalfox.com/how-we-grew-our-saas-startups-mrr-from-0-to-over-2k-in-under-one-month/


#13

Wow, great! That’s an amazing number of email sign ups for that level of traffic. Are you close to releasing or just getting out there early?


#14

Nice work @tomlloyd

I’m not surprised the high traffic sites didn’t pick you up. A site like hacker news gets so many submissions every hour, you need plenty of luck to rise up.


#15

Thanks @SteveMcLeod, yeah it was a bit of a shot in the dark. I did submit to HN, but it quickly disappeared off the ‘new’ page. I hadn’t seen http://www.producthunt.co before, but I put a link on there and it drove quite a few visitors.


#16

Thanks @ian! Yeah, we’ve been really surprised by the pick up, especially as some feedback was that we should have stuck with just email, rather than asking for first and last names too. We’re a couple of months off releasing a beta, although the base app is something we’ve been building for ourselves for a couple of years. It needs adapting to take to market.

We wanted to check the demand before going all out on development.

Update: currently on 968 sign ups from 7,421 uniques.


#17

@tomlloyd Make sure to start taking money from people as soon as possible. Signing up for free info is an easy decision. Giving credit card info to you is not…there’s no validation - nor motivation - like the one that comes from people giving you money - especially if the product is clearly still in development.


#18

I am a bit late to this post, but thought I would share what has worked well for me before.

This blog by Peldi @ Balsamiq I found really helpful a few years ago:
http://blogs.balsamiq.com/product/2008/08/05/startup-marketing-advice-from-balsamiq-studios/

So, I have done a lot of personal emailing in the past.

(Before I get told off for being spammy or a growth hacker, ** I am not suggesting just spam hundreds of people.** Only contact relevant sites/outlets that look like they are OK to be contacted e.g. they do lots of reviews/write ups or they are a trade journal etc.

Don’t hit up personal bloggers who don’t do reviews for example and don’t buy off the shelf mailing lists. If it “feels dirty”, don’t do it.)

So, I build up a contact list. Search on Google for blogs and websites that cover your industry (small and large), find who has linked to your competitors, find app review sites and listing/directory sites plus check out offline publications as well such as trade magazines and so on. I aim to find 300 to 500 contacts.

Not many Bootstrappers seem to do offline, but it has worked really well for me. Niche publications in my experience are often really excited to hear from you, believe it or not!

Find the contact details and name of the most relevant person at each.

Then send a personal email to each person, or a personal message through their contact form. Don’t use something like MailChimp, send one at a time like a normal email and include your full contact details - including a phone number. In my experience, most will never call, but I figure it is reassuring to include this.

(Obviously for listings/showcase sites, you are probably just filling in an “add” form, so this may not always apply.)

If they reviewed a competitor you can say - “you reviewed XYZ in June, which is very similar to ABC, so I was wondering if you would be interested in…” Show you really did bother to read their blog and research them before you got in touch.

If appropriate, you can offer them something as well, such as a free upgrade for X number of their readers.

Link Builders who do this for SEO would probably say follow up once or twice, but I normally just contact once and leave it. Chasing up feels to spammy to me, but maybe it depends on your industry?

If they do feature you, always send a personal thank you email and write it from scratch each time so it really is personal.

It can help to have a press or blogger section on your marketing website which offers free accounts for bloggers and the press… only if they get in touch, so you can validate them and also start to build a relationship/can follow up with them.

On this page, have screen grabs, logos and some about text that can be downloaded. Make it really easy for the people who want to write about you by providing everything they may need up front. Don’t make them work too hard. Maybe include a link to this page in your contact emails if you think it is appropriate.

This is actually a really easy process, but pretty dull at times and really time consuming.

You can do this really slowly over a period of time though e.g. contact 10 new people each week for a year.

If you struggle with time to do this, maybe hire a local college student or VA to do the research part and build some of your contact list for you. Always check everything before you send any emails though! Plus, you will also know of some sites that they won’t.

I’ve used Peldi’s approach to grow one web app from a few hundred visits a month up to about 9000 a month and another from a few thousand to about 28000 visits a month.

I just did this to get some interest going, but if you do this you will get an SEO benefit plus coverage on social media as blogs tend to tweet it out as well etc.

If I am honest, there is a part of me that is always uncomfortable with all of this (I am not a sales guy and hate obvious link bait emails!), but I have never had any issues and have had loads of thank you messages and nice feedback. I guess this comes down to careful targeting and research.

Sorry if I am about to state the obvious, but this is just a small part of your sales funnel. So not suggesting this is all you need to do!

Sorry, this got really long, but hope this helps.