How We Grew Our User Base and Built a Strong Community

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Aug 24, 2023

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How We Grew Our User Base and Built a Strong Community

Introduction:

In the early stages of building Product Hunt, our focus was on user acquisition even before we had a fully developed product. Just 20 days after its public launch, we were proud to have a community of 2,000 users. This article will discuss the strategies we employed to achieve this milestone, highlighting the importance of user engagement and retention, as well as the significance of initial users in shaping the community's culture.

Building Excitement with Linkydink:

Product Hunt initially began as an email list using Linkydink, a collaborative tool for creating daily email digests. However, we wanted to do more than just customer development – we wanted to get our users excited and make them feel like they were part of the product. While the platform was not yet ready for a public launch due to bugs, we still wanted to ensure that the initial users enjoyed the product before expanding to a larger audience.

The Power of Initial Users:

We understood the importance of seeding Product Hunt with the right people from the start. We recognized that the initial users would help create the culture of the community, and once established, it would be challenging to change. Therefore, we focused on attracting early adopters who could contribute positively to the platform. We wanted to prove to the tech community that Product Hunt was not just another fleeting experiment.

Engagement and Retention as Key Metrics:

While user acquisition was crucial, we realized that engagement and retention were even more critical at this early stage. We understood that acquiring users was not the end goal; rather, we needed to ensure that they remained engaged and continued to use the platform. Retention and engagement became the key metrics we focused on to gauge the success of our growth strategies.

Personalized Outreach and Storytelling:

To attract influencers and contributors, we adopted a manual process of sending personal emails. Whether it was Nathan or myself, we would reach out to these individuals, inviting them to contribute and sharing articles from reputable publications such as PandoDaily or Fast Company that told our story. This approach allowed us to recruit valuable contributors and establish open lines of communication for future feedback.

Building a Strong Community through Referrals:

Similar to our approach with press coverage, we didn't just ask for referrals to acquire more users. Instead, we aimed to build a stronger and more engaged community by encouraging existing users to refer others. By doing so, we fostered a sense of inclusivity and belonging, making Product Hunt more than just a platform but a community that people wanted to be a part of.

The Power of Mechanisms:

In his article, Nick Foy emphasizes that good intentions alone are not enough – mechanisms are necessary to achieve desired outcomes. In the context of growing Product Hunt, we understood that having a well-defined process, utilizing effective tools, driving adoption, and conducting regular audits were the key components of successful mechanisms. These mechanisms provided structure and ensured that our intentions translated into action.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize engagement and retention: While acquiring new users is important, focus on keeping existing users engaged and active. Retention is crucial for long-term success.
  • 2. Personalize your outreach: Instead of mass emails or generic messages, take the time to craft personalized emails or messages when reaching out to influencers or potential contributors. This approach can yield better results and foster genuine connections.
  • 3. Build a strong community through referrals: Encourage your existing users to refer others, but emphasize the value of building a community rather than solely focusing on acquiring more users. Referrals from engaged users can lead to a more dedicated and active community.

Conclusion:

By prioritizing user engagement, retention, and community building, we were able to grow Product Hunt from its early stages to a community of 2,000 users within a short period. By employing personalized outreach, storytelling, and fostering a sense of belonging, we created a platform that users were excited to be a part of. Remember, good intentions are not enough – mechanisms and actionable strategies are essential to achieving your goals.

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