Last week we launched Krock.io on Product Hunt and got 5th place 🏆. It is my first experience launching a product there, but I say we roll the dice 🎲
Since I haven’t had my own experience yet, I studied everything I could find, made a playbook for implementing this idea, and then steadily acted according to my detailed plan. I wanted to get as much experience as possible and launched without a Hunter. It will be helpful for the subsequent launches and other marketing activities.
Foremost, you should set your goals. Product Hunt has a reputation for being a place where you can attract lots of new customers to your product. But according to feedback from other founders, Product Hunt has changed. Almost no one makes sales on the platform. So, you should set the correct goals.
- Get the highest place in the competition for the Product of the Day (We planned to get 1st place; we got 5th place—still a winner).
- Get a higher (or identical) result than our direct competitors who launched earlier (100% achieved).
- Reach new people and receive valuable feedback (700 visitors and 30+ registrations on a platform).
- To get a good backlink to our landing page (completed automatically).
Fair winning strategy
Lately, the upvoting process on a platform seems like a race for a badge, but not actual product testing. Unfortunately, many users are buying upvotes (yeah, there are such services that offer you 1st–3rd place). Some founders use such methods as their winning strategy. Similar offers I got on launch day and tweeted about that.
There are a lot of tricks. For example, one company that launched the same day as us shamelessly manipulated visitors’ trust by publishing fake social proof on their landing page 🤷🏽♂️.
When people asked them about that, they made an excuse. It’s better to ask for forgiveness when you get caught. But you can’t fake a reputation. You can only build it ✊.
So, let’s return to the fair methods of competition that may come in handy. I read plenty of articles on how to launch on Product Hunt. For the most part, they are similar. The official blog post covers all the essential recommendations. But in my article, I want to uncover the exact steps you need to take for a successful launch without shady methods of getting upvotes.
Four keystones of a successful launch
For a start, you must prepare an excellent presentation that explains your product quickly. In practice, just a tiny percentage of voters will watch your video. It should be catchy and short. Most visitors will try to understand your product fast by sliding images. Show the product value on the first images.
☝️We spent a month preparing our presentations. Of course, we used Krock.io to discuss and approve every piece of media created for the Product Hunt launch.
Watch our step-by-step preparation to the PH launch, the required project components, and the stages it was divided into.
Secondly, it’s crucial to make a detailed launch day schedule. Later in the article, I will share our launch schedule, which you can use for your own launch.
Third, build your audience. It’s impossible to have a successful launch without an audience. I launched Krock.io only after I got 900 followers on Twitter and 12K contacts on LinkedIn. Krock.io’s social media pages had ~500 followers on Twitter and 800+ on Instagram. But the primary influence on your launch will be your Twitter audience. By the way, you can follow me on Twitter ✌️.
Fourth, ask for support from other founders and indie hackers on Twitter beforehand to be sure they will retweet your launch message to reach their audience. It will have a substantial positive effect. I recommend asking them directly if they can help you. I asked about five founders with a big audience whom I followed a while ago and whose content was relevant to me. Don’t be spammy. Just ask for help from the people you like. I got a few positive responses, and they retweeted my post. Some of my followers did the same even without being asked 🙏.
It helped to stay on the front page during the day. After some retweets, we got third place. Don’t underestimate such support.
Some people, who supported us with their upvotes, say it’s also essential because they usually have strong accounts on Product Hunt and their votes have more influence than new profiles.
Make a Detailed Launch Schedule
I’ve divided it into three stages:
- before launch day
- launch day
- after launch day
Why is it so important? Cause you create a roadmap for your launch and prepare content for every activity. The schedule is your task list for the preparation and realization of the launch.
Before Launch Day
Product Hunt recommends creating a Ship page for your product. But it didn’t have any effect on my launch.
- Schedule a launch on Product Hunt Tweet about the launch.
- Start a Google Ads campaign to promote your product. As an additional benefit, visitors may find a Product Hunt badge on your page and check out your launch. You can put Google Tag Manager on the button and track those clicks.
- Start Ads campaign on Facebook. Finalize Product Hunt Page Ask your team to make warm-up accounts (create accounts on PH, vote for a few projects).
- Send the newsletter to your contacts with the main product updates.
- 5 days before launch, Retweet your tweet about the launch and ask the audience to send a DM about it (I’ve asked to put 🥑 in response).
- 3 days before launch Twitter Counter POST like this.
- Another tweet — Twitter Counter Post (1 day before).
- 1 day before, hold a webinar with your audience about your product (invite people from all social media and newsletter lists to join), show the value, and at the end, let them know about the upcoming launch at Product Hunt.
- Prepare a Cover for Twitter that you will use on Launch day.
- Prepare an email newsletter for Launch Day. In this letter, we shared a link to our launch page and asked our community to check it and give us feedback (never ask directly for upvotes). We also shared the link with a list of our main posts, which they can support. We did so.
- The day before launch, ask your team to check other projects on Product Hunt (warm up their accounts).
- Add a Product Hunt badge on the landing page.
- Add tag-manager to this button.
- Final Check Registration Process at Landing Page (onboarding should be smooth).
- 1 month before launch, check new products on a daily basis. Follow interesting people, and they may follow you back—these people will get an email about your launch.
- You can schedule first posts and bulk mailings. That will help you a lot since every minute is worth its weight in gold.
- Consider preparing a few post templates in case: you have achieved the desired results, you need additional support or extra help, etc., since the results cannot be predicted in advance.
Launch Day 🔥
It would be best if you prepared everything in advance. You should copy-paste prepared content during your launch day and engage in the comments section with others. Especially on Product Hunt, the number of comments affects your global score. Divide all activities into segments. Don’t do everything at once. It’s crucial to maintain the tempo of upvotes and comments throughout the day. It affects your score.
- Don’t forget to change the avatar and the cover.
- Make your Youtube video visible to everyone (add a link to your launch page in the description).
- Share tweets and launch the page with your coworkers. It would help if you got about 💯votes in the 1st hour. It will help you stay visible to new visitors and stay on the front page.
Our step-by-step actions🚀
10:01 Launch on Product Hunt (12:01 Pacific time).
10:02 Tweet About Launch (Your Account) — here is an example of my tweet. I had premade texts for all of the following tweets. Send a link to all your partners. Tweet from Krock.
10:10 Share a post about the launch on Facebook:
- Krock Page
- Reshare it on your Partner’s Page (with the recommendation). We referred to Hound Studio, who created all the visual materials for us from illustrations to the final video
- Likes from the Team
10:15 Share the same Post on LinkedIn:
- Krock Page
- CEO’s Page
- Team’s Pages (as many of their contacts as possible should see this in their news feed)
- Reshare it on your Partner’s Page (with the recommendation)
- Likes from the Team
10:20 Send pre-scheduled 1st newsletter (add correct link to Launch page)
10:30 Post a prepared message to all PH-related Facebook groups—you need to join as many such groups as possible in advance and be active there a few days before your launch
10:40 Post to related Reddit communities (same as with Facebook groups). Each subreddit has rules! I’ve posted on a few subreddits articles in a storytelling format, where at the end I shared the link to our launch page
10:50 Share your launch message on related Telegram channels like this
11:00 Update the current launch status on all social networks
11:30 Contact all the interviewees who appeared in our articles. (Since we had a lot of interviews with different creative people that are published on our blog, we decided to turn to them for help in reaching out to their audience
12:00 Share posts in Slack channels (same as with Facebook and Reddit)
12:30 Share a post at IndiHackers with the Founder’s story
13:00 Twitter: Contact everyone from Avocado post 🥑 in DM – yeah, it’s time to reach your Twitter supporters
13:30 Twitter & LinkedIn (Video Update Post). We shared a post about our 3 different YouTube videos and invited the audience to vote on them, also adding a link to our PH profile
15:00 Send the 2nd newsletter to your contact list. In our case, the second try had a better open rate (current progress, plans, same link to support)
17:00 Twitter & LinkedIn — another tweet (you can make them as many as you want, but not too much. Try to be interesting, not spammy)
18:30 Share current results
During launch day, reply to each comment and engage with the audience
Be prepared that something will not go according to your plan (especially the timing) and you need to be calm in any scenario.
Your rating can go up or down. We watched the results with bated breath, hardly ate, stayed stuck to the screen, and couldn’t leave our laptops for 12 hours in a row. Feeling like watching a race.
On launch day, we added another batch of new ideas to the pre-agreed plan, which was about 10-20%+ of our action plan.
One of them is to seek help from companies that support local businesses or some cool startups (for e.g. a voluntary movement connecting IT companies).
We created a Discussion on PH.
After Launch Day
- Thank each of your supporters.
- Announce the final results. If you got first place, continue your activities, but not as active as on launch day. You have a chance to fight for a Product of the Week.
- Send a newsletter with your results.
- Get some rest.
Good luck with your launch! If you know of other helpful tactics that increase your results, please let me know in the comments.