When you have launched a startup or prototype, one of the most important strategies to prove is your business concept and gaining early user traction. If you’re like most startup founders, you don’t have much money, nor do you have enough money to hire a PR agency. However, to become a great entrepreneur means you have the inquisitiveness to look elsewhere to get your startup liftoff. To gain further product validation and reach product/market fit quickly, so you can scale, there are many platforms available to help you engage with your target users.
Gaining early user traction is often the hardest part of the startup life cycle and there are hundreds of platforms to help. However, after much research, these are the best platforms to promote your startup for a very low cost.
1. Hacker News
Hacker News is a great platform if you have a startup serving a technical audience. It’s a great service and if want to target the tech people, then it can be a great community to promote your offering to a community of hackers and entrepreneurs. It currently has 150k plus subscribers and guess what, the subscription is free! You can see how one entrepreneur used hacker news to help him nearly receive over 70,000 hits in just one day.
2. Product Hunt
Product Hunt is now the forefront when it comes to showcasing your product to the startup world. It is a great platform to promote services on Technology, games or books, and well, pretty much everything. It has voting system which enables your product to rise in the list of new products. The benefits of Product Hunt if something goes viral, similar to Hacker news, can significantly grow your startup very quickly. If you are looking to attract customers who are always in search of newer products, then Product Hunt, which has more than 90k subscribers. Subscription is free.
Betalist has been around for a few years now. It has been home to featuring some of the world’s biggest startups today as we know them, before they launched. These include the likes of Pinterest, About.me, IFITT, Nuji, Skillshare and many more. This platform will help you feature in 48 hours if you pay $129 as a subscription fee to promote new products to people looking for new staff. Free subscription may take pretty long time to get featured in a platform of 25k users.
Index.co was unveiled recently by one of the co-founders of The Next Web, Patrick de Laive. Index’s purpose is to be a business intelligence tool that tracks thousands of tech companies around the world. Index’s aim is to make tools for gathering information on tech companies “previously only available for Wall Street and the Fortune 500 companies – for the ‘Main Street’. Index.co will help you create your own customisable stream of companies, locations and markets to track. You can sign up for your company profile get updated easily for no fee for a platform which has now more than around 7k users.
5. Reddit-Side Projects
Reddit is fantastic when it comes to getting very quick feedback and have discussions on any topic around the Web. Reddit-Side projects is a great subreddit for new startups to get feedback on ideas for businesses and small side projects. Being engaged with the community of 9k subscribers will help you sell your idea more for no fee at all.
Reddit-Entrepreneur is not a place to submit your startup, but you can tell stories for free about your product to of 100k+ subscribers. There is a likely chance with more discussion around your startup story or entrepreneurial concept, that you may get featured on the front page. The only limitation is that you need over 10 karma points, but if you’re an avid Reddit user, this is perfect to launch your startup.
If you need funds to raise funding for your startup, Angellist is a great platform to build a community that will help you get seed funding. Within the startup world, it’s one of the best directories for exhibiting startups globally. It’s now also starting to become a social network, meaning you can connect with investors and high-net worth professionals to help receive funding for your startup.
8. Designer News
Have startup product or service that can help designers? Designer News can be a great place to promote your product then as you will be able to target designers in a platform of 17k subscribers who get to sign up free of charge.
9. Erli Bird
Despite this title stating that you can launch your startup for virtually nothing, I couldn’t leave out the platform Erli Bird which can provide incredible value. Erli Bird is a fantastic platform for rigorous and highly-detailed feedback in relation to technical issues, business modelling, pricing, and many more topic areas. There is a three step process and you have to be accepted into the program to see the benefits.
They recruit over 50,000+ real world users to form a focus group for your startup. The subscription fee is around $149 if you intend to target early adopters to beta test your product for platforms like IOS, Android etc. However, the customer reviews seem very well worth the financial investment.
SignUpFirst is a unique platform unlike other out there, and taps into the growth hacking practice of referral marketing. The concept is for both founders submitting their product, and an opportunity for users and customers, to get their hands on great discounts and deals. It can be best described as a crowdfunding site but for signups startups in beta. It is an ideal platform to provide incentive to potential customers to get your product if it is still in its development phase. You can state the number of sign ups you want in your site and state the reward you are offering. All for free.
11. VentureBeat Profiles
This is only a tool that I discovered not too long ago, and it’s a great way to show your startup to many high-profiled entrepreneurs. Very similar to Index.co, it’s a handy tool to get updated with the trends of your industry for free. You can add your company there and get the latest updates on recent trends to plan your business accordingly.
12. The Startup Pitch
The Startup Pitch is another great directory, but in a pitch format, just like what you would send to journalists to have your startup being featured in a major publication. The platform also has a community of subscribers of 25k who will give you feedback on your pitch and even share what your startup is all about. You will get to interact with the community of entrepreneurs who will give you feedback on your startup. It’s completely free.
13. Launch Sky
If you can afford to pitch your product or concept to professional people who will give you their valuable feedback, then Launch Sky can be a nice place to get subscribed for a charge of $19. It has nearly 10k subscribers and many affiliate networks. Very similar to the startup pitch, it’s a great way to receive feedback for your startup and pitch before you launch onto other channels for promotion. First impressions count on larger scale channels, so having feedback on a smaller scale such as Launch Sky is ideal.
14. Beta Bound
When launching a startup to market, you will often not only get feedback on your product, but also feedback on bugs and other technical issues that your users will find. As we know, this is something as founders we want to minimise as much as possible. If you have apps that need to be tested, then this platform with over 90,000 beta testers and subscribers is a great place to test your apps. With a rigorous selection process of testers, It’s not your average platform to showcase your startup, but it’s a great platform to get technical feedback on issues, before you roll out a launch to a larger scale. This will help increase confidence and provide a more valuable first-time user experience, which will then lead onto a positive on boarding experience and referrals.
15. Feed My App
Feedmyapp is a platform to feature new apps in relation to major startup platforms that already exist For instance, if you have a new product that integrates with the twitter API, and helps users identifying who their top followers are, then this platform cannot be missed to feature your product. Submission can be done free but with a fee starting from $9, probability of getting featured highly increases in a community of 5k users.
16. Feedback Army
Similar to Beta Bound, Feedback Army is a platform to get feedback from anyone who is willing to review your startup form a technical perspective. In comparison to Beta Bound, Feedback Army selects your candidates specifically to review your technical issues and give you an overall usability rating in just 10 minutes. With Beta Bound, you need to specifically state your startup and potential technical issues (although most of those will be found for you). With a one-purchase fee of $40, you can get reviewers from Amazon Mechanical Turk and get an insightful comment on your startup. It’s certainly great for new startup founders.
17. Launching Next
Very similar to BetaList, Launching Next is an impressive platform that features the most promising startups on a daily basis. Why do I mention impressive? It has great guides and content in relation to launching startups to gain early user traction and successful case studies of entrepreneurs launching startups at a low-cost. Further related to their content, they have individually interviewed startup founders launching their startups, and asking them their experiences of launching startups, and what lessons they learnt.
Springwise is a fantastic platform covering all facets of startup ideas and innovation including; health and education, lifehacks, Internet of Things, fashion, retail, entertainment, homes & housing and many more. They only feature 3-5 daily new ideas/products to it’s social reach of over 400,000 users, but if you have a compelling product that is truly innovative and want to gain significant exposure, get featured on Springwise.
Makerbase is a new platform that only launched two months ago, and has already become a prominent place to share your projects to the world. It is sponsored by Mailchimp, Slack and Hover, which may suggest that Makerbase is making a big push to become the centre point of launching projects to the community. You can also add ‘makers’ who may have launched successful startups or are about to launch a new startup. Could this platform be up there with the likes of product hunt?
Image credit: Shutterstock
Read next: Amazon Music adds Android Wear, Auto support