How to end #1 Product of the Day on Product Hunt with (almost) no preparation

Guillaume Moubeche
7 min readApr 3, 2018

I know that you may have seen a lot of articles about the perfect way to launch on Product Hunt and how you need to prepare months in advance for the perfect launch….

However, in this blog post, I wanted to share our story at lemlist and how we managed to end up #1 Product of the Day with only half a day to “prepare” the launch.

I know what you’re thinking… This f**** french is bragging about being #1 Product of the Day without even preparing his launch!

Well… it is a bit true… Saying that we’re not proud to end up #1 Product of the Day on Product Hunt would be a lie but, the truth is, I really to wanted to present a different perspective on what has been written for the last years about Product Hunt.

Did we choose not to prepare our Product Hunt launch? Absolutely not! But before explaining why and how we launched on Product Hunt let’s take a step back and look at what has been written so far.

When searching on Google “How to launch on Product Hunt” you’ll find hundreds of different guides and checklists on how to prepare THE perfect launch…
When reading such guides you clearly realize that launching on Product Hunt is really something that need to be prepared thoroughly!

Well… at least that’s what we thought.

A really good example of such article is the one from Gilles D.C. at Salesflare , where they detailed step by step how they spend weeks (months?) to prepare their launch so they can be #1 product of the day.

I really believe that all the guides out there are great! They show you all the things you should not forget when launching, but in our case we didn’t really had time… so we kindda did the minimum and it worked pretty well 😎

So, why the hell did we launch without preparing it?
Well… lemlist is The first outreach email platform with personalized images.
One of our key differenciator is that we create personalized images automatically in cold sales emails which help increasing the reply rate and hence the close rate.

We believe that cold emailing is a great way to build relationships and that personalized images really brings differenciation in an industry that has not changed in years!

When we launched the beta, I made a post on a Facebook group (about cold emailing) mentionning that I was looking for beta users for lemlist. The post was really popular and got shared in other groups where one of our competitor decided to publicly say that he was going to try to copy our exact same differenciation feature…. What he didn’t know is that I was in that group 😂

It was the first time we had a competitor trying to copy lemlist and we were really not expecting it to happen during the beta 😬 😬 😬

Initially, our plan was to fine tune our product with about 20 to 50 beta testers and launch on Product Hunt with THE perfect product (if such things exists…..). However knowing that our competitors was already using “Ship” (A way to build a waiting list on Product Hunt) we decided that we needed to launch ASAP.

And when we say ASAP it means ….

So how do you prepare a Product Hunt launch when you want to launch the next day?
This is when our team decided to switch from human to machine. Knowing that we already had read most of the guides out there we decided to create our own checklist of important stuff to do… Let’s call it, The Survivor Checklist!
It was divided into two parts. A tech part (Vianney) and a Marketing part (Me).

Before the launch

Step 1: Find a hunter
There is a loooot of content out there about how to choose the best hunter and how you need to “book” him sometimes months in advance … In our case we just asked a friend that was on Product Hunt for long enough to be able to hunt us.

Step 2: The hunter kit
It’s basically all the info that your hunter will need in order to be able to post your product.

  • Name of the product (max 60 characters)
  • The URL you want to promote. If you have app URLs as well, put them here too
  • Tagline (max 60 characters)
  • The platforms your product runs on
  • Media — between 5 and 10 images showcasing different parts of your product. If you also have a YouTube video, that’s perfect
  • Tell them what goodies you’re preparing to give out to the Product Hunt community, if any.

For the media part, lots of startups spend months with an agency to create a great video in order to show how the product works and what problem it solves. I strongly believe that a video is really important because it kind of makes your product alive.

However, as a bootstraped startup and proper doers… We had no money for an agency…. And also no time to create an animated video… So we decided to try a new way 😎

I decided to introduce myself and the product in a short video (about 2 minutes). I really wanted to tell publicly to people that we were super happy to be on Product Hunt and that we were looking to have as much feedback as possible.
At lemlist we strongly believe that it is extremely important to build strong relationships with our users. Our idea is to build a software that gives the best ROI possible and the best user satisfaction. So having a lot of feedback is really what drives us to build the best product possible!

With the video we also included images showing what problems we were solving.

Step 3: The tech part
This is a crucial part! We wanted to be sure that whenever a new user is signing up, he has the best user experience possible. In essence a Product Hunt launch can generate quite a lot of new sign ups and hence some server stress. Vianney took care of it so we were sure that our infrastructure could be scalable extremely quickly in case of server stress (❤️ )
Also, in order to show some love to the the Product Hunt community we added a banner on our website and switched the logo of our Talkus chat to the Product Hun cat.

During the launch

Step 4: Promotion
This part is probably the most important… And that’s probably why there is so many guides explaining how you need to spend time to warm up your audience before your launch… In our case we didn’t have time so here is what we did:

1- We sent an email to all our current beta testers to announce that we were on Product Hunt. As beta testers they are the one who can give the most honest feedback about our product since they’ve already been using it.

2- We reached out individually to people who had previously showed their support to lemlist in order to make them involved in our Product Hunt Launch.
When developing a product it’s really important to have “champions” or advocates. Those people are usually super happy to help out with the growth of your startup whenever they can because they really like your product, your team and/or your mindset.
We were really amazed to see how much support they gave us! Without asking, they posted on Facebook groups, slack communities and so on to promote our launch! It was amazing and we were really grateful 🙌

3- We also reached out to people who could give us access to a bigger audience. Being part of many groups on Facebook and active only in a few, I decided to reach out to 3 group owner in order to ask them permission to post on their group. The idea was to allow people from those groups to join the lemlist adventure and show some love on Product Hunt once they’ve tested out lemlist!
We also decided to reach out to the community manager of Station F (Our incubator based in Paris) to tell her our story. She really liked it and decided to share it on the Station F Twitter account which gave us quite a lot of visibility 😎

Step 5: Support
When doing a successful launch on Product Hunt you really need to be prepared to answer questions all day and all night.

We really loved it ❤️
We had users from all over the world asking questions and giving us feedback on how we could improve lemlist.

So now, you’re probably wondering what type of metrics you can have when doing a successfull launch on Product Hunt:

  • Thousands of new visitors
  • Hundreds of new users
  • Hundreds of sign ups to our Newsletter

and the most important of all:

  • Hundreds of feedback so we can build the best automated outreach email platform with personalized images!

Launching on Product Hunt was really amazing and having the chance to exchange with so many users is really helping us building the best product possible.

There’s many more stories to come with lemlist so if you liked it, feel free to clap 1000 times (at least 😇)

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