We launched on Product Hunt for the first time and here's what happened...

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Why we launched - our strategy and success criteria

  • This would be our first launch, and it's an entirely new process to us, so we wanted to practice with the ROI Calculator, and leave the main Koneksi product launch to the future
  • We wanted to start growing a community on Product Hunt, which would become support for future launches
  • It's a nice reason to reach out to prospects again, to initiate engagement and stay top of mind
  • It leads to a boost in visibility and SEO rating
  • It's a milestone for any SaaS startup
  • It should help increase awareness that it's possible to drive great returns from LinkedIn outreach, which people might not have considered before
  • It should also help increase awareness that Koneksi can drive even greater returns from LinkedIn outreach than more generic messaging options
  • It should generate some initial signups for the Koneksi mailing list

How we prepared

  • Spoke to a network of people and friends who had launched on Product Hunt before, to understand their strategies and ask for advice
  • Created the launch page (and updated profile pages) on Product Hunt
  • Reached out to a hunter to get their agreement to hunt our product
  • Joined a number of niche communities and Product Hunt communities on Facebook, Slack, Reddit, LinkedIn and a niche Marketing one called Exit Five
  • Read a lot of advice online from others who have had successful Product Hunt launches

How the launch went

  • For the first 4 hours, no upvote statistics are shown
  • During those first 4 hours, the top ranking 9 products are still shown on the homepage, just with no upvote numbers
  • We spent those first 4 hours posting in every community we're in, and DM-ing everyone we know to raise awareness and ask for support
  • We did not make it into the top 9 products at any point during the launch period
  • At no point in the day was our product shown on the homepage - or any other page navigable by any visitor to the product hunt site
  • The 9th product was at around 90 upvotes by end of day, whereas we were at 57. Here is our voting curve:
  • We saw a small boost in traffic to our website:
  • There were no mailing list signups for Koneksi from this launch
  • We gathered a small number of new followers on Product Hunt and on Twitter

What we learned

  • Only upvotes matter for product rankings on launch day
  • There is no 'page 2, page 3 etc' of products launching - so if you're not in the top 9 products, your product is not shown to anyone and will not achieve any organic visibility or upvotes
  • The only possible organic viewership not driven from your personal profile comes from comments on your launch. Those comments make your product visible to your commenters' friends by appearing in the 'recent activity from your friends' widget on the homepage
  • Without any organic visibility, 100% of the traffic on our launch page was from our own work to bring people into Product Hunt that day (nice marketing tactic, Product Hunt!)
  • If you're not in the top 9, your launch dashboard does not tell you where you're ranking, it only tells you number of upvotes and number of comments you have
  • Our upvotes came solely from the communities of people we already know. A couple of upvotes came from visibility via our Product Hunt community discussion comments.
  • No upvotes came from any of the posts we made in any Facebook/Reddit/LinkedIn/Slack group
  • A lot of people with large LinkedIn/Twitter followings reached out directly, 'selling upvotes' - i.e. asking for money for them to share our launch with their followings - which we did not do and do not believe is right. It ruins the entire spirit of Product Hunt. We do not know if (or how many) others do this.
  • A small number of people DM'd to offer support for our launch and ask for support for their launch in return - which we did, and will continue to do. But beware, lots of people say they've upvoted you already when they actually haven't.. and then ask for your support - so always check!

What we would do differently next time

  • Given that most new support came from community discussion participation on Product Hunt and on Twitter, we should have engaged in communities well in advance of the launch - to gather more followers and supporters ahead of time
  • Some followers also came from the scheduled launch 'teaser' page, which was only live for one day - so next time we'd let that be live for much longer
  • Our hunter couldn't officially hunt the product because we'd already scheduled our launch by the time he agreed to hunt it - so next time he'll schedule the launch for us instead
  • We should have reached out to people from Product Hunt directly to ask for support, as they did to us. These are people who are launching soon, so they care about gathering support in return for giving it. Doing this doesn't feel super comfortable, to be honest, but if literally everyone is doing it, you only set yourself back if you don't get involved.

Was it a success?

For these reasons, no:

  • We wanted mailing list signups from this launch, but did not get any
  • We wanted more visibility and more followership than we got - which is only possible if your product is actually shown to new people. And that only happens on the homepage, and only if you're in the top 9 products.
  • It's too early to tell whether there is any SEO boost from Product Hunt backlinks

For these reasons, yes:

  • We learned about Product Hunt, how it really works, and how to launch successfully
  • We re-engaged with a number of prospects and generated a couple of potentially exciting opportunities for Koneksi
  • We gathered a small number of new Product Hunt and Twitter followers
  • We completed the milestone - we launched!

Final Summary

Thank you so much to everyone who supported us - your upvotes and comments mean the world to us! For a first launch, overall it went pretty well, and we consider a number of our takeaways a success. However, our ambitious mindset would have liked to have featured much higher in the final rankings. Our learnings will help us focus all efforts into the most effective activities next time, to give us a much better shot at achieving a 'top 5' goal. Keep eyes peeled for what's launching next!

Charlie
Charlie

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