How We Decided to Launch a Complex B2B Product on Product Hunt and Got Into The TOP-5

Almost all articles about Product Hunt launches are dedicated to mobile applications, website builders, and entertainment portals. This article will share how we decided to go out with our complicated cloud-based B2B platform LeaksID. In addition, in the end, we added bonus templates that can help you.

Our solution is a cloud-based platform LeaksID, which allows you to mark confidential documents with invisible anti-leak marks, and in case of a leak using the investigation tool, find the source of the leak. The solution is developed on our own patented invisible marking technology and works as a B2B product. We knew right away that Product Hunt mostly came up with more straightforward, end-user solutions. There you can find platforms for creativity, site builders, fintech ideas, marketing tools, but almost nothing on our topic.

What if you want to give it a try, but the product in its current form is not quite suitable for Product Hunt?

Deciding that we would try to launch on PH, we decided to redo our concept about two months before the launch. From a cybersecurity solution that sounds very complicated, we decided to turn ourselves into a converter that enriches documents with invisible anti-leak marks. This is easier to understand since many of us already use various converters to convert, for example, png to jpeg or mp4 to avi.

This is how we became an online converter, with the help of which anyone (both a single user or a company) can upload their documents and receive a secure pdf with invisible marks at the output. And in case of a leak, make an investigation and identify the source of the leak. As an additional feature, we proposed storing these documents inside the platform (as in the regular virtual storage) and performing any manipulations during the working process: download, view, print, share a link to a file, etc.

We have a concept. What are the next steps?

For the initial testing of the hypothesis with a new concept, we decided to go to Ship a month before the launch and create our own Upcoming Page (an additional functionality offered by Product Hunt). This page is a preview of your product with almost identical information that will be used on your PH launch day.

What you need for Ship:

• Select a layout option (3 options, here you can find the difference)
• Title
• Short Tagline (60 characters)
• Extended description
• Logo
• Background Image
• Images/gifs/video for the main profile
• CTA for the subscribe button and the text for the thank you message

An example of our LeaksID page in Ship.

We decided to buy the PRO plan for 1 month for $79 to test additional features offered by Ship. So what was the result?

Pros:

● We got more than 50 organic subscribers to our Ship page, which in the future, on the day of our official launch on Product Hunt, received a notification;

● We were able to make personal mailings to these subscribers through the system (although we found a bug on the site during the formation of such a letter — there was an error in attaching pictures to the letter). But just thanks to this bug, we contacted with the support, and there we met one of the active members of the PH community, who tried our technology, and on the day of the launch, he actively supported us;

● We were able to send mass mailings to subscribers; for example, on the day of launch, our letter was viewed by 98 people, 23 of them clicked the link and visited our page on PH (not so many, but still additional potential upvotes);

● Ship preparation made us get all the stuff for the main launch faster.

Cons:

● There is no point in overpaying for the extended package since all the main functionality works anyway (the only thing is that at the basic tariff, you can make only 1 mailing per week);

● The paid plan should allow you to appear among future products (Upcoming Products) automatically, but after paying for some reason, we immediately got to 7th place on the page and then dropped to 12th in a month;

● Extended subscription should give you the right to appear on the main page of the site in a random list among Top-3 Upcoming products, but during the month, we have never seen ourselves there (although, maybe someone noticed us there :))

Therefore, choose for yourself whether you need a paid package or not.

Here you can find the Ship template (Notion): https://lovely-sponge-983.notion.site/Ship-f08693d9d860467dbbaffb9f3380c35e

Warm up your accounts and get acquainted with the community

Approximately 2 months before the launch, our whole team created accounts for ourselves to warm up them a little.

The system works in this way:

● After registration, you become a new user, and your red balloon is on, it will burst only seven days after registration;

● Then you accumulate points: for 100, you will get a bronze medal, for 500 — silver, above 1000 — gold. It’s hard to say what precisely these points affect, but most likely, they give you the right to put more powerful upvotes (but we are not sure) + your topics in discussions always rise to the top.

● Points can be accumulated by leaving votes and comments under other products’ pages and being active in discussions. Our strategy was about one topic per day. This helped us to gain points quickly, get acquainted with many startups from the site and members of the PH community.

Examples of popular topics in discussions on Product Hunt.

On launch day, everyone with whom you managed to build at least a kindly contact will be your potential support.

Pre-launch activity: our plan and tips

Aside from preparing the actual launch materials (we spent the most time on GIFs), it would help if you came up with a plan for how you can get high up before launch.

We decided to come up with an activity that would demonstrate the work of our marking technology and would not be too difficult to understand. However, since our technology functions only within the platform’s framework, it would be complicated to drive people there.

Instead, we created three samples of text, each of which contained our invisible anti-leak marks, and invited users to take a screenshot of any fragment, and send it to us. Then, we conducted an investigation and found out the number of the fragment.

We sent out such a case to everyone who subscribed to our Ship page, those we contacted on PH, and a previously prepared list of top hunters from the site.

Our result: in addition to the guys who sent their fragments, Chris Messina and Kevin William David, two top hunters, answered us! At the same time, Kevin immediately offered to hunt us, although we did not ask him.

Chat with Kevin.
Chat with Chris.

For fun, we also decided to send fragments via Twitter to the founder of Product Hunt, Ryan Hoover. He has over 190k subscribers. And … He also answered!

Chat with Ryan.

Hunter: is it worth it?

When we got an offer from Kevin to hunt us, we were in doubt. Before preparing for launch, we read many other stories, recommendations, tips, and all said that now the hunter is not as valuable as it used to be. At one time, all subscribers of the hunter received a notification by mail that he had launched the product, but now they get pushes in their accounts. The effectiveness of such notifications has decreased to a minimum.

But in one article, we found that the hunter still has significance in two things: his voice itself has a considerable weight compared to the voices of the others, if he hunts you, you will immediately go to the main page, and not to the “newest” section.

In general, the choice is yours. But you need to understand that you send all the materials to the hunter in advance, discuss the time, and the hunter fills in everything and launches your product. So you cannot control it. Only make fast edits to the product page after launch. (Looking ahead, our hunter launched us only 12 minutes after the start of a new day, perhaps this did not allow us to start quickly at the same time as other startups, but nevertheless, we appeared immediately on the first page in 7th place).

Hunter does everything for free. They cannot take payment (only can ask to buy a coffee). That is why, if you suddenly decided to launch with hunters, make an agreement with them in advance, at least three weeks before.

A list of some of the top hunters that we selected for our activity: https://lovely-sponge-983.notion.site/Hunters-b50216c26ca44bff8b38d2095d6ebed0

Final materials for the launch: why it is worth doing them in advance

Before preparing your materials, we advise you to look at the latest top products’ visuals and get inspired by ideas.

A shortlist of what you need:

• Hunter: Any member of your team can be a hunter
• Product Link: the main link to your website
• Name of the product:
• Tagline: a short description (60 characters) that will be above the materials
• Topics: 3–4 topics your product is suitable for
• Thumbnail: logo (better to use a GIF)
• Gallery: 3–4 images or GIFs
• Video: will automatically be the first in a row of materials
• Description: extended text that will be under the video
• Promo Code
• Product Twitter
• Product Angel List
• Product FB
• Maker Comment: a prepared first comment that you will post immediately after your launch
• Team comments: we additionally prepared comments from all team members
• Makers: a list of makers (members of your team)

In a convenient format, the list is here: https://lovely-sponge-983.notion.site/Final-materials-for-the-launch-b122af29723c4af2bd8ed0b1839266a1

If you decide to come out with a video, it is better to do it no longer than 1.5 minutes, and instead of static images, choose GIFs. They are more attention-grabbing.

This is how the page content looks like on the launch day on PH.

Day X: quick start, mid-day competitor, and global cut of votes

All materials are ready, and we are ready to start. We decided to launch at the beginning of a new day at Product Hunt (at 00:00 PST). The entire launch lasts 24 hours. That is, be ready right away and stock up on food :)

Timeline and insights (PST):

0:12 am Hunter launched our product. At this time, product #1 already had 20 votes. So we were in 7th place.

0:00 am–3:00 am We posted info on different channels with the Russian-speaking community (groups in FB, Telegram, Mesto). We know Russian, so it was a part of our strategy (moreover, it was only 10 am in Moscow). We overtook competitors and took 5th place. America was still asleep at this time.

Insight: having started at night by PST, it is worth considering that the site is asleep. There is a low English-speaking audience there. So it will not be possible to organically collect upvotes (but Europe and India can give you some votes).

2:00 am We launched a discussion on PH. We were in 4th place. We noticed that a new product based on MS Word had appeared in the lists, confidently gaining points.

3:00 am The product caught up with us and took the 4th position. We were in 5th place.

3:00 am–10:00 pm We were confidently holding 5th place, posting information on various English-speaking platforms.

Insight: it is better to register there in advance. Some sites require a certain karma level to write posts, so you need to be active before launching on PH.

Useful shortlist:

• Mindtheproduct.slack.com
• product-school.slack.com
• backlinks.slack.com
• crohacks.slack.com
• Reddit r / ProductHunters /
• Reddit r / marketing /
• Reddit r / growmybusiness
• Reddit r / startups
• Indie Hackers
• Hacker News
https://www.facebook.com/groups/naimatpakistan/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/startupnetworking
https://www.facebook.com/groups/saasproductsandmarketing/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/producthunt.exchange
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1131418596887815/

10:00 pm (2 hours before the end) At that time, we confidently fixed on 5th place with 320 upvotes, but then we began to notice that the number of likes was falling. 315. 305. 290. 280. We lost about 40 upvotes in a few minutes and were already imagining how we were slipping into 6th or 7th place.

10:15 pm The rollback of likes was over, and the system updated the positions. We appeared in 4th place! An unexpected thing happened, and the product, which was in 3rd place, was caught cheating, and they were moved to 6th place, raising everyone by +1.

Insight: we still do not understand what it was. There is an idea that all new users who registered on the site and put upvote on the same day were removed. Therefore: it is better to ask all your friends to make profiles in advance!

10:15 pm–11:59 pm We tried not to lose positions and not slide to 5th place, as the competitor followed us with a gap of only 20 upvotes.

12:00 Midnight end of the day at PH. We are 4th!

Insight: You can watch the progress and speed of your product and competitors through https://pw2.akkio.com/ . It displays the growth rate of likes, comments, and the forecast for the place that you can take.

Visualization of the speed of upvotes and comments with trends in the distribution of positions. At the end of the graph, you can see the “cleaning” of the system.

Next steps

To summarize, it was interesting. But, of course, the feeling is that you are sitting and watching Eurovision, and you do not know the final result. But, in general, we have fulfilled our goal for LeaksID: we received a large number of feedback from users and advice.

Results (during the launch day):

• 317 upvotes (now, after 2 weeks, already 490 upvotes, people continue to see the product)
• 252 comments
• 16 reviews with a rating of 5/5 (it is also essential to ask people to write them, as they affect the algorithm)
• 730 new website visitors
• 90 new trial users
• Several requests for a larger-scale implementation of our on-premise solution
• There is still traffic to the site and new subscriptions

What we understood for ourselves:

  1. Even if you think that your product is not suitable for the PH audience, try. Either way, you will get feedback from users and rethink your concept.
  2. Do not expect that the site will give millions of traffic (perhaps it was once so, but now the scale has diminished). However, traffic will be higher if you start fast gaining upvotes and stay on top for 24 hours to get organic upvotes.
  3. The launch itself is an excellent case to review many aspects of your system/application/interface. While preparing the creatives, we decided to redo even a part of the platform’s functionality because you start to think about the little things that used to pass by.
  4. Product Hunt is about the schedule. Be sure to make a schedule of activities in advance. We created it in excel, entered an hourly breakdown of tasks for each team member, and followed it. The platform will not approve if you have an uneven distribution of upvotes, for instance, only at the beginning of the day. Therefore, have trump cards in your pocket.

Below you can find all important links and templates:

  1. Template for Ship https://lovely-sponge-983.notion.site/Ship-f08693d9d860467dbbaffb9f3380c35e
  2. Template for the main launch: https://lovely-sponge-983.notion.site/Final-materials-for-the-launch-b122af29723
  3. List of hunters: https://lovely-sponge-983.notion.site/Hunters-b50216c26ca44bff8b38d2095d6ebed0
  4. Timeline for 24 hours: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NBWXYFMegq7fwS-6S0ksUwMwna-jnGU2AqXcQIG0yZE/edit?usp=sharing

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