It seems like launch on Product Hunt become like a Rite of Passage for every project out there. Bee Informed was no exception. It was launched 15 days ago, Jun 18th and got around 230 upvotes that day. It ended up in 18th position. At one point it was climbing up to 9th position but that was it. Until now, it collected ~270 upvotes.
I want to share with you the preparation process, my thoughts on PH and expectations.
Managing the expectations
One thing that I’m keep telling to people is to always manage expectation when launching a product.
For Bee Informed, launch on Product Hunt wasn’t about bringing customers. Bee Informed customer is not on Product Hunt. And I knew it. So why did I launch it?
Bee is in B2B category and I’ve used PH launch to target end users. Not direct customers. But not in a way to drive app installations. I’ve used it to drive awareness of the idea. The main motivation was to check for a myth that tech writers are checking products for their next stories. To be direct, that was the ultimate hope. None of that happened. Well, I got an offer from an American TV show that claims to cover interesting innovation and tech news. It turned out they are just offering space for your commercial. But I’ve managed expectations on that from the moment I’ve received that email.
I managed to attract more than 230 upvotes from the people about the general idea. Pretty high number if you ask me, having in mind that I’ve launched product which can’t bring any direct value to PH visitors at that moment. It’s not something like a browser extension you can try immediately. Still, there were some serious preparation behind the scene.
Launch on Product Hunt was passively prepared for one month
I’m not talking here about preparation of content that you need to submit for a product. Illustrations, and all material was prepared one day before launch. Heck, the images were prepared just before I went to sleep the night before. Launching time here is 9 AM (if you follow that launch at PH midnight thingie).
I’m talking about preparing the “battlefield”. You can’t just launch and jump around with your fancy PH link. Everyone will ask – who are you? Move along! So here’s the list of things I did in that month
- engaged a bit in PH, participating in communities, got some followers this way or another. Followers are informed when you launch
- Got in touch with other makers who launched before and are willing to offer support. Matt from Taskable even went with me through his checklist. He had a nice chat. Hello Matt 👋
- I make a collection of links wherever I had short conversation with anyone about Product Hunt. In context of Bee Informed, of course. You know those “Great product, let me know when you launch at PH”. Yeah, I will. And I did. People don’t remember too much. You can’t just go and send DM out of nowhere. But if you reply on existing twitter conversation, you already get context for free.
- For the communities who are not aware of PH, I’ve created two posts. First one explaining what PH is and announcing our plans. Second one is actual launch announcement. Example of that is Facebook group of people who liked Bee Informed idea and/or using it while we run local tests. Around 400 people. Who knows.
Preparing conversation starters and graphic visuals
- Different communities are “talking differently”. I’ve prepared a different copy text for every community day or two before. You know these “Hello, we’ve just launched”. Yeah, wrote that before actual launching. Why? Well, your launch day should be clear, and your focus should be on the execution. You don’t need to spend hours thinking what to write and where. Prepare a list with exactly that. You don’t need creative block at the launch day.
- I was preparing different visuals for different communities or places where I was announcing it. I was using https://getstencil.com/ for that. They really work well with different formats.
- I’ve prepared (and hoping to apply them) some visuals for upvote milestones. First 50 upvotes, 100, 200. I had a plan to share them on TW to increase visibility. With every share I would link to the PH page
- Prepared text for Indie Hacker project milestone to be ready on the launch day.
- Prepared different text and format for LinkedIn post
- Have in total 3 Slack workspaces where I planned to spread the word
- Launched mini side project first to get the feeling how everything goes, from the technical perspective.
- Read several “how to launch” blog posts to get the overall impression how it looks like.
- Collecting email addresses from landing page. People subscribed to get updates about the product development
- Prepared my landing page to include ProductHunt badge. I had to paste the include code, commit and push. Had olready example from my previous product. I didn’t have to spend time on some CSS bugs on the launch day (center div, anyone).
Launch on Product Hunt – The execution day
I’ve cleared my schedule for that day since I expected launch on product hunt to be full day of work. These days I’m waking at around 6AM, had my breakfast and tee. Read newspapers and at around 8AM I was ready to start. PH midnight is 9AM here so I wanted to start preparing everything, submitting those necessary fields. I made a mistake, I should start at 8:30, since I finished everything and then I had to wait a bit.
At 9AM I’ve hit that publish button. First two tweets (from personal and product acc) were sent. For about 30 minutes I was getting some upvotes but still not getting featured on the front page. And I waited that to grab a Product Hunt badge to put it on my website. Not that it would make so much difference but hey, who knows. After some time we appeared on the front page.
For my first 50 upvotes, I’ve tweeted prepared upvote milestone visual and tagged almost everyone who upvoted. You can find their TW handles on their PH profiles.
I strongly suggest you to keep checking your signup form whole day. You don’t want some surprises. I didn’t have them, but it was on my check list to see if things are working properly.
I had my big checklist where to post those “conversation starters”, so I’ve started posting it around. “Hey, we’ve just launched…”. And upvotes were coming. Comments too. I had also a great support from my colleagues.
Shameless plugs everywhere. You know that feeling when you’re not sure if you should even mention the project. Screw it, it was a launch day. I wrote several posts in different subreddits, sent several DMs to some popular people. Hackernews? Why not.
Now, I’m not advising doing this or not. You can decide is it OK based on your personality and morale. For me it was a way to increase chances.
Upvotes were coming but it was not enough to climb up. We were 9th at our best. Later, even if upvotes were coming, our position kept dropping, so we ended up in the 18th position.
It was fun day for me, orchestrating everything, seeing upvotes rising. We had few registrations, but as I said in the beginning we weren’t aiming for that, since our customer persona was not there.
In the end, I haven’t seen any direct consequences of launching Bee Informed on Product Hunt. But it brought me a new experience.
For some reasons we waited with launch on Product Hunt for quite a long time. Not sure why. It was one of those you know you have to do some time. And I didn’t want to skip it. I wanted to do it.
Thanks for reading. I’m preparing my first video podcast. Yes, you read it correctly. Check out the mission and format. If you’re maker, I’m sure you would like it. Recordings will happen in the second part of July 2020, stay tuned.