One of the most common challenges SaaS founders face is finding marketing channels to promote their freshly launched startups.
We believe that the best marketing should focus on reaching your customer persona, but what if you have not yet found your ideal buyer and your product is ready to ship? This happens more often than we think, as it is common practice to create products based on ideas rather than on solutions to address specific customer problems.
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably also having trouble promoting your product and finding your first customers. That’s why we decided to put together this list of the best 15 places to promote your early-stage startup.
The list includes popular places you most likely already know about (e.g., Product Hunt) as well as less-known channels, with precise directions on how to launch on each of these.
We would like to emphasize that none of these channels will likely help you find a product-market fit. But while you’re working on a long-term marketing plan, this list could serve as a useful starting point to generate early traction and hopefully some revenues.
The best 12 places to promote your SaaS product + 3 bonus channels
Product Hunt is undoubtedly the most popular platform where SaaS founders promote their products and support other ones’ launches. If you are unfamiliar with the platform (which we find difficult to believe if you’re reading this article), the mechanism is quite simple: several startups launch their apps on a specific day, and the ones with the most votes end up at the top of the list. So, if the PH community likes you have built, you can expect plenty of visibility and traction on launch day.
If you are interested in launching on PH, we suggest reading their launch guide. Here are also three suggestions from our experience.
- Find a hunter: Even though most PH experts will tell you that a hunter is no longer important, we think the opposite and say that you should find one that launches the product for you. The benefit? You will be featured directly in the featured section (home page), which has the majority of visibility.
- Find early support: You’re competing with startups that have been working on their launches for months and have big audiences and support. For this reason, you need to collect at least 10–20 upvotes within the first 30–60 minutes to rise to the top of the list and compete with them. If you’re not sure where to start, reach out to your friends, family, etc., but remember that they need to have an active account to help you out.
- Promote your startup directly: Don’t expect to reach the top three, relying solely on the support of the PH community. You need to proactively promote your launch to increase your chances of success.
Indie Hackers is a popular online community where inspiring and successful founders hang out together to share experiences, learn from each other, and promote their products.
The community offers meetups, podcasts, newsletters, and especially a forum where you can interact with like-minded founders by creating and replying to posts.
You can promote your SaaS on Indie Hackers in three ways:
- By creating a post
- By replying to posts
- By submitting your product to the IH directory
To promote your SaaS by creating a post, ask for honest feedback and opinions instead of just spamming your app. When you reply to posts, only include a link to your app when it’s relevant. Otherwise, you’ll be kicked out for spamming.
Please note that you need to get a certain amount of karma before you can put links in your posts and comments.
Hacker News is well known for being a brutal place to promote a new idea. The community isn’t always supportive when providing feedback, and generally, critiques prevail over praise. However, Hacker News can help you reach thousands of users if you hit the front page. So, there is no reason not to give it a try.
Some suggestions for launching on Hacker News:
- Try to accumulate some karma before posting there. It will enhance your chances of reaching the top spots.
- Ask for external support if you can. Every upvote counts on HN, so the more traction you get, the better.
- Use the ‘Show HN’ at the beginning of your post. E.g., Show HN: ConvertAI – Smart PDF to HTML Online Converter. This will help your post reach the Show Hacker News section.
You are only allowed to launch once on HN, so plan it well, and don’t try to play the system by creating fake accounts or upvotes, as the algorithm will catch it.
Here is the official guide for launching on Hacker News.
Betalist is a well-known startup directory for discovering pre-launch and early-stage tech startups! The platform includes a front-page to browse startups in chronological order, and a top navigation to browse products by topic (e.g., SaaS, AI tools, mobile apps, etc.).
To promote your SaaS on Betalist, all you need to do is click the ‘submit startup’ CTA on the header and provide basic information, like a link, description, product images, etc.
If your product meets the criteria, your startup will be featured on the front page within one month of submission. Eventually, you will have the opportunity to purchase a paid submission to skip the waiting queue for $299.
Similar to Betalist, PitchWall is a startup directory for finding early adopters for your early-stage SaaS. The front of PitchWall has a Hot and New section, and hitting the first one will definitely give your app more coverage and exposure.
To submit your product to PitchWall simply click the ‘submit product’ link in the header and provide some basic information about your startup.
For a guaranteed spot in the Hot section of the directory, you will probably need to purchase a sponsorship for $199.
Reddit is a network of communities where people share their interests, hobbies, and passions. You may have already heard of it, since there is a community for pretty much anything there.
As you might expect, there are also communities of SaaS founders and startups where you can share your app and get honest feedback from other founders like you. The most popular ones where we recommend you promote your startup are:
- r/SaaS/: As the name suggests, the SaaS subreddit, is a space dedicated to founders where you can discuss SaaS-related topics and promote your product too.
- r/SideProject: This subreddit consists of a community of makers who share their side hustles and receive feedback from other makers. The space is not all about sharing side projects, and you can also find useful discussions for growing and scaling your startups.
Additionally, we recommend you look for communities where you think your potential customers are, so you can market your product directly to them.
Landing Page Galleries
If you have a well-designed landing page and are targeting designers, developers, and founders, landing page galleries can be an effective way to get some quality exposure for your SaaS tool. These niche websites generate a significant number of visitors by helping those who are on the lookout for landing page inspiration; therefore, if you get featured, it is likely that you will see a big increase in traffic in your Google Analytics.
Besides this website where you can submit your SaaS Landing Page, we have collected the most popular landing page galleries in this article: 10 Inspiration Sites Every Landing Page Lover Should Bookmark.
Software Review Websites
Software review websites are directories of apps/tools that help users find information about a specific product or a group of products in a particular market. They are useful for checking reviews and finding alternatives to a any application or tool.
Since they are directories of websites, you can submit your startup to the most popular ones to get ‘free backlinks’ as well as the chance to be featured among your competitors.
All of these directories offer premium packages to give your business an extra boost in traffic, but it is not mandatory to make a purchase to submit your startup.
Niche directories showcase apps/tools based on a specific niche. If your product falls within a specific niche (or even multiple ones), it is highly recommended that you submit your app to these directories, as they offer a great opportunity to obtain consistent, high-quality traffic.
You can find niche directories for just about any kind of market or space, and the bar is generally pretty low to get featured there.
If you don’t know if there are niche directories for your specific market, try searching on Google ‘the best AI tools’, ‘the best developer tools’, **etc. (obviously including your niche name). Alternatively, you can try on Product Hunt by searching for ‘AI tools’, ‘developers tools’, etc.
Like directories, niche communities are places where people with similar interests meet to talk and share experiences. They are an invaluable tool for your SaaS because, in addition to promoting it, you can also learn from people in your market by hanging out there.
Similar to the directory approach, you can find niche communities in your space by searching on Google or using networks of communities like Reddit.
Some examples of niche communities to give you an idea of what we will be looking for:
- Dev.to: Community of developers and programmers
- GrowthHackers: Community of marketers
- No Code Founders: Community of no-code founders
Similar to the previous channel, social groups are places where people with common interests interact with each other. The main difference between niche communities and social groups is that the latter are part of a well-known ecosystem (e.g., Facebook, Discord, Telegram, etc.). You can freely join, participate, and promote your startup as long as you have an account with them.
Here are a few social groups for SaaS founders that you can join for free right now:
- Maker’s Kitchen – Discord
- SaaS University – Discord
- SaaS Products & Marketing – Facebook
- SaaS Growth Hacks – Facebook
- TechMasters – Slack
You can find a more exhaustive list of groups and communities in this article of the best communities for SaaS founders.
Building in Public
We know, you might think that building in public can be considered a ‘place’ to promote your startup, and you’re right. But let me tell you that being open about your journey is one of the most effective activities you can do to promote your SaaS.
We are aware that building and sharing progress in public is not for everyone, but if you are good at writing and have something interesting to say, then it is worth giving this approach a try.
The best places to build your startup in public? Definitely Twitter or LinkedIn.
Bonus channel 1 – AppSumo
Unlike the other channels we’ve reviewed in this list, AppSumo is not only a place where you can promote your startup, but also a marketplace where you can list your product and get early adopters to purchase it.
The way it works is pretty straightforward: you submit your SaaS to the AppSumo marketplace, and in exchange for a lifetime discount you offer to the AppSumo audience, they showcase your product to thousands of potential customers, and you start making some cash.
I know what you’re thinking: Why should I give AppSumo a lifetime discount and make little money upfront over recurring revenue? It’s a good question, and there are two main reasons, in our opinion, for early-stage startups to launch on a platform similar to AppSumo:
- Even if you don’t make much money, you have the chance to validate if there is a demand for what you have built.
- You can benefit from the first infusion of customers by asking them for feedback and suggestions to improve your product.
In conclusion, if we were you, we would undoubtedly take this opportunity into consideration.
Bonus channel 2 – SaaS Mantra
Similar to AppSumo, SaaS Mantra is a marketplace specifically designed for SaaS founders who list their products on the platform in exchange for a lifetime discount.
The pros and cons of SaaS Mantra are the same as those we previously discussed for AppSumo, and it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth giving these platforms a try.
Bonus channel 3 – PitchGround
Similar to AppSumo and SaaS Mantra, PitchGround is a marketplace where you can submit your SaaS project in exchange for a lifetime discount.
This platform has similar functionality to the others we previously discussed, and you are free to apply to all of them and take advantage of three different potential audiences.
If you’re curious about what it looks like to promote your SaaS on platforms like PitchGround, you can read some of their customer stories on this page.
Conclusion and tips on how to get the most out of this list
There is no perfect product at launch, so we suggest starting promoting your SaaS in channels where you can gather early feedback and then in one-shot and more competitive places where you can only launch once. E.g., Product Hunt, Hacker News, etc.
Your launch checklist should be as follows:
- Phase 1: Launch to landing page galleries and SaaS directories to generate a first base of backlinks and traffic.
- Phase 2: Launch in communities and forums where you can gather early feedback. See Reddit, niche directories, social groups, etc.
- Phase 3: Implement the feedback and launch on Product Hunt, Hacker News, Indie Hackers, Beta List, etc. (test one platform at a time).
- Phase 4: Submit your product to AppSumo, SaaS Mantra, etc.
Another benefit of this approach is that you will have the opportunity to collect the first early adopters in phase 2, who will support you during phase 3. Increasing drastically your chances of success.