I'm about to launch a new web startup in less than a month. It'll be a freemium web application which will offer a Facebook-related service with various pricing plans.
I'm still a bit unsure on how to promote it at the start, so any advice is well received. What I thought so far is that I could release the first version as a private beta which requires an invitation code to sign up and maybe try to get some reviews from blogs. The only ones which I came up with are Mashable and TechCrunch and while it would be great to get a review from one (or both!) of them, I know that it is very hard, so if you know any other good place where I could get a review let me know too.
Anyway what else could I do? Buy Google ads? Or maybe Facebook ads since my product is Facebook-related... as I said any advice is well received, thanks!
I think Jarie pretty much covered the main ideas. But wanted to add some thoughts regarding blog outreach.
Mashable and TC are probably not the first publications that will write about you so you need to build up to that stage. Since its a freemium model, it works in your favor to send it out to bloggers that you think will use it. Spend time to research targeted smaller bloggers that are very relevant to your app and would be interested in writing about it. Work your way up. If enough people like it, you should build momentum that you will get picked up by other (and bigger) blogs.
I'm not an expert but I'm working through this very issue myself. Here are some resources I've found useful - go through them if you haven't already. I've got a bunch more if you want to read. They're a goldmine of information.
how-to-create-a-good-blogger-pitch preparing-for-launch thoughts-on-product-launch-promotion pitch-to-tech-bloggers three-keys-to-laying-a-strong-pr-foundation fab-5-product-marketing-blogs how-to-get-your-first-1000-users Oh and write on Onstartups :-)
You certainly can buy ads but that's only part of it.
What you need to do is create some buzz around that you are doing. Building the proper buzz takes some planning but it's achievable if you build layers. What that means is you have more than one promotion route or campaign. Consider these additional things, besides ads, that can help you build buzz:
As you can image, it takes some time to develop a network of people that like what you are doing and will promote it. Even if you get on TechCrunch, you still have to have the layers of other campains to keep the buzz going.
To promote your product, you really need to think like your potential customer. Who are they? Where do they hang out? What is the best approach to target them? Every service, no matter how broad, should focus on a niche type of customer or vertical and just hammer it until some traction is met.
Typically when I launch a product, I look for forums related to a niche the highly resonates with the product. Then I just write a little blurb about the product (be sure not to come off as spam) in the forum and get some feedback. This has been very effective for myself, one product we launched had over 10,000 beta testers in one week. When we launched we saw over 10% convert into paying customers.
Focusing on posts from general tech blogs like Techcrunch or Mashable will send you some traffic and some early adopters, but in a weeks time you'll fade off the map unless you have some great viral capabilities built-in. Look for long term growth and not short term growth.
Getting listed on Mashable and Tech Crunch is very difficult for a founder who is relatively unknown in the tech startup industry. A better option would be to craft an outstanding pitch (including your story, why you're starting your startup, and what odds you've had to overcome to get to where you are today), and submit it to startup blogs and directories. Bloggers will see your startup listed and consider writing about it. Then, as more bloggers pick up the story, it could catch the interest of larger tech blogs.
You should also submit to startup communities like Launching Next, which include thousands of subscribers looking to hear about promising young startups.
Hold off on promoting your startup through paid tactics. Spending money on things like paid search or display banners as soon as you launch is a great way to burn through cash without knowing if your website/landing page needs improvement first. Instead, recruit your first users organically (social media, blog posts, friends), adjust your website layout/content and product offering/price based on their responses, and then look into paid promotions. You'll find yourself in a much better position later on.
Most of the things which i have in my mind was in my previous post :)
But most important thing is to generate curiosity about your application keep a landing page and also ask your twitter friends and other friends to give a tweet about it or ask them to send an invitations to your friends because mass email will not give a good desired results but man to man marketing will give initial customers which might be helpful in expansion of the customer base ..........Not only tech crunch but if you ask any popular entrepreneur to give feedback in twitter it also helps you a lot.