January 4, 2015
Fittr‘s Product Hunt launch was a joyous day. My phone began to blow up, our servers started heating up, and we couldn’t stop grinning for about 56 hours. For a few hours, our app was handling 6 sign-ups (not just downloads, signups) per second!
To say I’m grateful is an understatement. And that’s part of the reason I’m writing this article. The other part, of course, is to help y’all out, because, for all that we did do right, there are 10 things I wish we’d done differently:
10 Tips for Your Product Hunt Launch: The way I’d Do it Over:
- Launch it myself: While I will be eternally indebted to Shubham for taking the time to ‘hunt’ us, if I had a do-over, I would launch Fittr myself because having advance warning is invaluable because you can do things like:
- Prepare my friends/relatives/acquaintances with positive feelings toward me/customers: If you post your product yourself (or have a night owl or Californian friend with posting ability–it should go up just past midnight in Cali or just past 3AM in NYC), you can send a note around to your friends and relatives, even customers that you really trust, the night before. Word it carefully, hint at what you’re doing. Also, cross-reference against your Twitter list, because Product Hunt automatically discounts votes from Twitter accounts created that day. If your Dad doesn’t have Twitter, get him on there, stat.
- Harness my e-mail list: Start preparing an e-mail contact list, like, yesterday. If you’re pre-launch now, try BetaList! It’s an amazing resource for products that haven’t released yet, and for us, it was amazing at getting email sign-ups–only, the day of our Product Hunt launch, we were so excited, we didn’t even think to tap it! Which leads me to my next point:
- Know in advance who to contact: It’s important that you maintain a list of people who have your back. Heck, not just for this, but in general. I’d recommend keeping a short list of people you would take a bullet for, people you can rely on in general, people who have your back in business, etc. And definitely hit up everyone on that last list I mentioned. Don’t forget Facebook groups that you belong to, or societies that you’ve joined that might spread the word just to help a brother/sister out!
- Stay up later: I’m embarrassed to admit that I went to bed at 10 PM that night, meaning that I missed out on five whole hours of voting, as I live on the East coast. Ranking is time-based in that it takes into account recent traction, so even if you have more votes than a dark horse, they can overtake you because they’re the newcomer to the show (this is fair, if you think about it. Hunts posted later in the day need a balancing trigger.)
- Make sure press know we’re trending (gracefully): I think this would have been really smart, but honestly, you shouldn’t take any advice I have regarding press. I’m surprised that Sarah at TC doesn’t hate my guts…. sigh.
- Take more team photos: You know, I only took one photo that whole day and I regret that now! It was such a momentous day for our team, that I wish I had some of their reactions captured in image form.
- Watch what my coworkers say more carefully: I had one coworker (who shall go unnamed) offer to buy his buddies a beer if they voted for us, which might have been okay since he was joking; only he did it on Twitter, which means, of course, that Ryan Hoover himself noticed (beware the all-seeing eye!) He was nice enough about it, but sternly let us know that shit wouldn’t fly.
- Don’t take my place for granted: I would never, ever, ever, want to take my place for granted again. Instead of going to bed at ten, asking my also-sleepy coworkers to send out a few e-mails, I should have been grinding! We were in second when I went to bed, fourth (well, tied for third) when I woke up in the morning.
- Say thank-you even more loudly: I really owe a debt of gratitude to the folks at Product Hunt for the amazing traction we saw that day, but I feel that I didn’t go far enough in my thank-you. Why? Because while my thanks were very genuine, it was a wonderful place to promote Fittr and I didn’t capitalize on that. One great thing that your startup can do to gain traction and notoriety is to remain transparent. Post things about your journey on places like inbound.org, Medium, and Teamstory. And blast it. Don’t be afraid to tell your story if it’s helpful (as I am hopefully doing right now)
The 1 Thing I Wouldn’t Change about our Product Hunt Launch:
- Remain authentic! Don’t mock the vote, rock the vote. Don’t ‘hack’ Product Hunt, as it’s a wonderful test for your company’s sink/swim ability and the natural efficacy of your current marketing. Don’t be shady, honesty pays off in the end.
Anyway, I hope that helps! I’m available on Twitter @kikischirr if you have any deep questions, and I’ll try to respond to comments quickly and promptly! Thank you.
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