Do Yourself a Favor, Nail Your Product Hunt Launch

…because traction is everything.

Georges Abi-Heila
Oct 12, 2017 · 5 min read

This article is not about preparing your Product Hunt launch. Product Hunt themselves wrote extensively about that, as well as Gabor Papp from Hacker Noon & other great guys (cheers Hicham Amine).

Instead, I’ll focus on what you should expect from your launch & how to maximise the benefits for your company.

​“ All you need is users”
- The Beatles, 1967

🌧 It’s raining users!

We were really surprised by the success of our Product Hunt campaign.

🍾 We’re the 5th most upvoted product ever. Hurray !

The point here is not to brag but to understand that:

  1. For SaaS B2C products, Product Hunt can really help you gain initial traction.
  2. Handling the post-launch activity spike is as important as its preparation.
  3. With users, comes the ability to experiment and gather statistically valid feedbacks. A huge advantage for your business.

… & it hurts 🤕

We were definitely not prepared for such a tsunami.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of our mistakes:

  • On-boarding users with a welcome chat message
    Courtesy of Intercom

On first use, a chat pane popped-up to greet the new user, give hime some info & offering him help. This seemingly good idea lead to a support nightmare as it puts too much focus on the chat pane & pushes the user to answer (coz we’re all polite, ain’t we?)

→ Chat is cool but chat is expensive: when you’re small & nimble, talking to each of your end-users is a stairway to bankruptcy, especially for a B2C product

A few of the hugely critical tickets we received
  • Relying on implicit / not being transparent

When your world revolves around your product, you tend to forget that humanity doesn’t give a shit. You restrain from giving basic information because you assume that visitors know / understand your proposal.

→ On the landing page, we didn’t say on which platforms our app runs (Mac / Windows only). It triggered a lot of legitimate reactions from Linux users that we could’ve prevented.

IF (lack_of_info) THEN (public_reaction)
  • Not adapting our call to action to mobile

Since 2016, the majority of internet traffic happens on mobile platforms. So even if your app is desktop only, your acquisition funnel must be mobile efficient.

→ We built our landing page with desktop users in mind & that triggered a couple of avoidable mistakes. For instance, mobile visitors where prompted to “download our app” & where redirected post-click to an unadapted success page. Anyways, downloading a file on your smartphone is never really a use case…

  • Adding friction to conversion

On the website, we asked for an e-mail before allowing users to download our app. It might seem redundant as in-app login is done through Google Authentification but the goal was to be able to contact the users who forgot to install the app after downloading.

→ Overall, this was a bad trade-off as a lot of potential users bounced because of the extra-step.

This is what happens when you ask for an email address
  • Not having a clear on-boarding funnel

The SaaS market is heavily crowded & the attention span of users is ever-decreasing. Under those heavy constraints, guiding newcomers through the key features of your product is crucial. If the value proposition & the abilities of your soft are not cristal clear, churn is what awaits.

→ We didn’t have enough time & didn’t want to move the launch date so we gave up on that. Ultimately, the time we saved pre-launch on development was wasted post-launch on support tickets. And most importantly, a lot of people churned without understanding the power of our tool (for great on-boardings, check this awesome curation work by Samuel Hulick).

Is it worth it? 🤔

Like every startup, we have limited resources & we’d like our decisions to be as ROI oriented as possible. Beyond the vanity metrics, earning a critical mass of active users gives you a lot of interesting & actionable levers:

  • Ability to run A/B tests
    On landing pages, app-features, in-app notifications & mailings

Because we have more than +5000 active users, we can field test design assumptions & new features. We want user-data to be the Single Point of Truth for every impactful decision.

  • Ability to gather unbiased & valid feedback
    From online surveys, community forums & social networks

This is partially linked to the 1st point. Beta testers’ feedback is precious but fundamentally biased because it comes from a population (tech-savvy early adopters) that’s different from your target persona(s).

  • Ability to prioritise your roadmap
    Based on real user needs & consolidated support tickets

We now have a clear vision of the main areas of improvements that’s based on user experience instead of internal assumptions (cheers to the folks at productboard for helping us with that).

  • Necessity to streamline internal processes
    To handle the workload

The workload increase shedded light on inefficient processes & unclear ownership. There was no need to convince anyone to carve-out some time to work on it since it was now an obvious necessity.

  • Necessity to choose & scale the right tools
    To stay efficient

The massive spike in help tickets forced us to rethink our support approach from scratch. We revamped our FAQ, ditched the chat-pane for 90% of our users & established a strict support funnel who forces the user to read existing material before submitting a ticket.

Thanks a lot for reading, hope this helps 🙏

Free Hugs & Candies 🍭

About us 🤗

Based in Paris, we’re a small team of 6 whose sole ambition is to ease your workday.

Our product — a free desktop app named Station — has been thought & designed as a work only, distraction free platform. We’re laser focused on providing the best user experience on the “work hard” side; others handle the “play hard” side better than us.

Give it a try!

Cheer us up on Product Hunt!

Download Station for free 🚀

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