Our side project got #1 Product of the week on Product Hunt: +1.7k unique visitors, +1k downloads, +106 premium subscribers
You always hear that some team got #1 Product of the day on Product Hunt. But what does one get out of it?
Here's what this post is about: the aftermath of getting to the top of PH for one day. If you want to see the outcome right away, feel free to skip to the Results part.
After 1.5 years of working on a side project during evenings and weekends, we launched it on Product Hunt.
It got to #1 Product of the day on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 (and later became #1 Product of the week).
It's called Alfread.
Alfread is a beautiful app to actually read articles later. Or skip them. No pressure.
Here's how we prepared for the launch and got to the top.
Why Product Hunt?
Product Hunt is a pretty big deal for makers. According to SimilarWeb, it has 4 million monthly visitors. When done right, it can be a good jumpstart for your product.
Getting ready for the big day
Following the steps won't help you get to the top. But it's a good way to educate yourself on what to do and expect for the big day.
I wrote to-do's for the launch myself, just based on browsing other launches for the last few years. Then I came across a checklist from TallyForms. It gives a good impression of what should or could be done.
One of the most important steps (that I didn't see in any of the guides) was to write down everyone from my network I could reach out to for support. They mostly were: friends, acquaintances, communities I was an active member of.
To make the best of the launch, you have to get support from engaged Product Hunt users. Asking your grandma on day X to sign up and write a comment about your product wouldn't help. So it's worth checking who in your network has a PH account beforehand.
Asking for upvotes outright is banned, so you can only ask for support or feedback.
The first image on your Product Hunt page and thumbnail are the most important:
• The first image becomes a preview for your URL. It should both capture the essence of the product and be attractive so that there's enough incentive to open it and then see more screenshots/learn more about the product.
I was choosing between these four below. In the end, I went with the last one since it both shows what the product does and is attractive enough to interact with.
• Thumbnail. For PH users that browse the homepage, you only have the thumbnail, name, and one-liner to make them click. The visual is the one most important here: it informs us what the product is about, from there we decide if we want to learn more.
Here's how it looks:
Who is your target audience?
If you want to have a successful launch, you have to understand who hangs out on Product Hunt. It's mainly tech and knowledge workers: developers, managers, journalists, designers, entrepreneurs. If that's who you target, great! If not, it's worth looking for other places to launch.
Alfread has a significant overlap between its target audience and Product Hunt community, so it might be one of the reasons it did well in the end.
The launch day
When I was seeing advice to clear out 2 days for the launch on Product Hunt and after it, I didn't take it too seriously. "It can't be that bad", I thought. Well, it can.
Anyway, I didn't have any other plans for the launch day and it was a good idea.
Our launch was scheduled for midnight Pacific time (9am Berlin time). Starting from then, it was just constantly updating the PH home page, replying to all the comments, chatting with friends, and asking for support.
The first hour is crucial since it sets up your product for the rest of the day. Somehow, we got to first place within the first 30 minutes and stayed there until the rest of the day.
Scheduling your posts on different platforms can be a good idea, here's how it worked for us:
9.01am Berlin time — post about the launch on Twitter
🚀 After 1.5 years of work @AlfreadHQ is live on @ProductHunt!— Fedor Shkliarau (@shkliarau) December 7, 2021
It's a beautiful app to actually read articles later. Or skip them. No pressure 👌🏻
RTs and feedback are appreciated 🥰https://t.co/bRBVTaVQW2
9.15am — send out an email to beta users (TallyForms recommends splitting the groups you send the email to so that it's not all at once);
2pm — post on LinkedIn;
4pm — post on Facebook and Instagram.
Post regular updates on Twitter during the day.
Since no one knows how the Product Hunt algorithm really works, it's recommended to be very active on your page during the day. Upvote and reply to all the comments as quickly as you can and hope for the best.
Even though we got fewer upvotes than the second place by the end of the day, we became the #1 Product for December 7 🎉
We didn't have expectations for how successful our launch would be. Looking at the tools in the reading space on Product Hunt a day before, it seemed that probably it's not the hottest topic.
No better way to prove ourselves wrong :)
So what did we get?
• Launch numbers
By the end of the day, we got 776 upvotes. Here's how it looks one week later:
• Website visits
Within 1 week since the launch, 1514 users opened Alfread's website:
• App Store page visits
Got 220 App Store page visits within 7 days after launch (interesting, that the website got 7 times more visits)
• App downloads
Within 3 days, we got 990 downloads, 553 out of them coming on the launch day. Alfread was published on the App Store on December 3, so that spike 4 days later was very useful :)
• In-app purchases
We have a premium version in the app: users can get a monthly or yearly subscription with a 7-day trial. We sold 42 of those on the launch day and some more later.
• And a lot of love 💛💛💛
Thanks a lot to everyone who supported us!
Don't put all your marketing eggs in Product Hunt's basket
Product Hunt is definitely a great place to jumpstart your product. But as you can see, it can't guarantee you commercial success right away. It should be one of the steps in a product's marketing strategy but not the only one.
Launch something you're proud of
We spent 1.5 years of weekends and evenings working on Alfread. We definitely could have launched much sooner and gotten a decent result.
If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late.
Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn
Don't listen to Reid when it comes to launching on Product Hunt though. If you are embarrassed by your Product Hunt launch, you launched too early.
Build audience/make friends/be interesting
This point is very popular these days but it has to be mentioned here too. To have a successful launch, you have to bring external traffic from places where you and your real and Internet friends hang out.
It then helps your launch to get discovered by PH users.
This post isn't meant to be an extensive guide and I definitely missed a few points and learnings. If you want to read more, here're some links:
• Learnings from Pingr that got #1 Product of the day on September 1, 2020
• Mugshot Bot's launch that got #5 Product of the Day
• TypeStudio's detailed guide based on 10 launches in 12 months
• Demand Curve's in-depth guide
If you need a place to save and read these later, I know an app ;)
Hope these help! And remember: "you either win or learn". Launching on Product Hunt can be a good reality check if an idea has legs. It will help to decide where to take it next.
If you want to follow our progress along, follow us on Twitter