Product Hunt describes itself as “the place you discover your next favourite thing.” Product hunters are known to be influencers and innovators with great connections – in short, if you’re a start-up, you want to get their attention. We wanted to be that next favourite thing.
Our product, Bookmark, is an entrepreneurial platform with a beautiful yet simple-to-use website builder at its core, plus other supports for small business success: e-Learning courses and a budding community forum.
We covered all our pre-launch bases
- We did our homework
You don’t want to come into this unprepared, so doing your research and learning from other companies’ experiences is a no-brainer. Tons of articles are available which are invaluable lessons learned which we digested in the weeks prior to launch.
- We got active on Product Hunt ourselves
If you want to engage a community, you’ve got to engage with that community – make connections, find out what makes this platform tick.
- We connected with Prime Hunters
Our good friend and product evangelist Paul Kemp from the App Guy Podcast introduced us to a strong hunter Violeta Nedkova, who also loved Bookmark. Her influence and followers got us onto the featured page on launch day, which is a great start.
- We prepared for the day
Apart from stocking up on coffee, and clearing our calendars, it’s important to have a strategy in place to keep the momentum going or you can peak early and then drop out of the front page. Remember, you can’t ask for votes, so your strategy needs to be subtle, yet effective.
- We created a special offer for Hunters with Introbar
We decided to offer 1 month free Pro membership to Bookmark for everyone through Product Hunt. We did this through an introbar.
Even with all the prep work in the world, actually living through launch day is an adventure with unexpected twists, turns, highs, lows and surprises.
Starting with a Jolt
The day started not with a jolt of caffeine, but with an unexpected jolt of adrenaline when I tried to log in to Product Hunt only to get the dreaded 404 page of doom. After a ten-minute freak out and some technical assistance from a calm-voiced friend, I was successfully logged in and watching the numbers climb.
Nothing can describe the feeling of watching your product, what you’ve lived and breathed and sweated and slaved over for many months finally getting its day in the sun. You’re on a high. Then to see that you’re up against a new app from an extremely popular established brand, GoPro, is a bit deflating. There were more ups and downs to come.
The traditional internet wisdom of “don’t read the comments section” doesn’t apply to Product Hunt. Product Hunters might just be the best community of commenters I’ve ever encountered. They give great encouragement and advice, ask good questions, reveal your weak points (but in a supportive way), and also applaud your strengths.
As the day progressed, it was fun to share this experience as it unfolded, which was easy to do using Product Hunt’s comment tweet-out feature:
The Demo Videos
Preparation paid off when Hunters asked to see a demo of Bookmark. Previously I had prepared a couple of short demo videos of Bookmark in action for interviews we had with accelerators Y-combinator and TechStars. Posting these inside the chat on Product Hunt gave people a chance to see our product in action – exponentially more powerful than a cover image and description.
Y Combinator Demo
Techstars Demo Video
The Front Page!
We’ll let this gif speak for us:
We spent the rest of the day on the edge of our seat, as we battled in and out of the top 3, ultimately ending up at #5.
After 48 hours
- 307 upvotes
- 29 comments
- 4,500 total sessions on our website
- 02:21 average sessions duration
- 450 registrations ( 150 through the Product Hunt Intro bar )
On those two days, our website traffic was:
88% male / 12% female
25-34 – 49%
35-44 – 20%
18-24 – 17%
55-65+ – 8%
45-54 – 7%
Our visitors came from:
You will read this statement again and again from companies who have been Hunted – the boost you get from a front-page Product Hunt launch day really does last. This speaks to the power of the Product Hunt community and their long tail of influence.
Customer engagement with our product soared – more comments came in through our customer communication channels than ever before. The quality of Product Hunters as product users was evident there, too. They continued to offer encouragement and helpful suggestions about Bookmark.
The day after the launch, Paul Kemp Interviewed me about the Product Hunt launch on his App Guy Podcast. This was a first for me, so I was more nervous than I expected to be. Paul is really patient and calm, so once I settled into the talk it smoothed out.
Then Bookmark started getting mentions where we didn’t plan them. The first time you discover your product featured in a newsletter article – and it’s a good review – it’s pretty awesome.
Media mentions tend to spawn, so be prepared to keep an eye on the press your product starts to get.
You really can’t over-prepare
No matter how ready you think you are, there’s always more that you can do to be ready for the burst of attention. Practice your talking points so that even in the excitement of the moment, you can speak clearly and calmly about your product. Organize your communication channels so that you can get the word out smoothly and efficiently.
Don’t just spectate, participate
Get in there in the comments section, and engage with the Hunters. Don’t shy away from questions that reveal your weak points – hashing these out in the safe space that is the Product Hunt community is an invaluable experience. Product Hunters like to see your product in action, so having demo videos that I could post in the comment section was important.
Don’t forget to have fun!
Launch day (and the day after!) can be a whirlwind of activity. Take the time to savour your success. Good days like these can be a source of inspiration in the inevitable ups and downs of start-up life.