The Morning Hunt

Philippe Lehoux
May 24, 2016 · 6 min read

Last week we successfully relaunched Missive on Product Hunt. A couple of close friends asked us how it went, so instead of fragmenting our response, I will share the results and takeaways here.

TL;DR: We relauched on Product Hunt, and while doing so we created a small web app to help you do so, thehuntchecklist.com. It lets you:

  • Find the best time to submit your app
  • Create thumbnails to help you stand out
  • Craft your submission’s first comment

The false start

On a cold morning, last October, we decided it was time to put Missive’s home page online. At that point, we only had a web app, everything was still pretty rough. Our plan was to get just enough attention, to gather a few beta testers. But to our big surprise, someone hunted us on Product Hunt. 😱

Missive was not ready for prime time then. It was bug-ridden. The hunt was not planned, but we told ourselves “No worry! It’s better now than never, let’s try to do our best of this situation! Make it big.”

Most of our time was spent making sure hell didn’t break loose, a.k.a. fixing bugs. Given the size of our team (4), this prevented us from taking advantage of the opportunities of all those eyeballs looking at Missive. It was a total failure.

We asked ourselves if that was our official launch? It could not, we knew we would try to relaunch on Product Hunt in a couple of months when the product would be more polished. We had to.

Hence last week’s rehunt.

The early rise

Product Hunt is an invite-only community of early adopters where members hunt and upvote new products on a daily basis. The more upvotes you receive, the better your chances of being featured at the top of the home page and earn precious visits to your product page.

Since it’s a daily contest, every day at midnight (PST), the home page resets. Midnight + 1 is the best time to submit your product, because the earlier it’s hunted the more time it has to gather upvotes. You absolutely want to be at the top of the home page when people wake up in Europe. People in Europe will upvote, then when Americans wake up you will be at the top and they will upvote, then it goes on… till midnight.

Because we all suck at time zone and don’t all live in California (PST), you should use the The Hunt Checklist a tool we developed to help people plan their app launches. It will tell you exactly when to submit depending on your time zone.

In our case Midnight + 1 meant waking up at 2AM or not going to sleep, Raf and I chose the first option, Tristan and Etienne chose the latter.

Seconds after we pressed the hunt button, we sent this tweet, notice the @ProductHunt mention. Ben Tossell is a community Manager at Product Hunt (he wrote about how he landed his job at PH), he replied with the good news that we were on the homepage.

I’m not saying that you should tweet a picture of your team pressing a button in the middle of the night… but you might want to find little tricks to get PH’s staff attention just after you hunted your app.

Reaching out to fans

Minutes after we hunted Missive, we sent a newsletter to our users containing our latest app updates plus a small message telling them about our launch on Product Hunt. This helped get some upvotes and comments from users loving the app.

We also did try to cold tweet people who had upvoted us the first time. Shady, it was 4AM our morality was probably still sleeping… Luckily for us, Ben Tossell warned us after just a few tweets before the damage was done and we deleted the tweets.

So don’t do that.

😱 The thumbnail 😱

Product Hunt is a contest where people will judge your app in a couple of seconds at most. Designing a catchy thumbnail for the home page is crucial. But, trust me, it’s not so easy to get right!

You don’t upload a thumbnail per se, you upload an image and Product Hunt will automatically crop that image to the homepage’s format.

Here is the one designed by @_Tristan, our awesome designer, for Missive:

To me it was perfect, colorful and impactful. The quick change of colors would attract users attention. The problem, is that once it was cropped and resized the logo became really tiny.

I still think it was a great thumbnail, but the logo was too small, it could have been better. To help you avoid this we have created a small tool that will let you upload any image and evaluate it in the context of the Product Hunt homepage. So you can be sure that even after it’s uploaded your thumbnail still stands out. Check it out on The Hunt Checklist.

The first comment

One thing we did and I would recommend to everyone is to prepare as much content as possible before the hunt. Because as soon as you hit the home page things will get crazy. To me, the most important one, is the first comment under your product page. This comment will let you present yourself, your team and your product in details.

Here is the one I prepared for Missive:

Hi, I’m Philippe, co-founder at Missive.

We’re really happy to launch Missive’s latest version on Product Hunt! What started out as an email client with partial chat capabilities has become a full fledged email and team chat solution for businesses.

Our innovation lies in the way we merge email and chat in a common interface. It will become second nature for people to archive and snooze chats as they are processing their inbox. As foreign as chat is to email, mixing them unleashes unforeseen possibilities. It leads to a truly asynchronous workflow and avoids the fear of missing out people get in other chat apps.

Better at email; Better at chat; Better at work! Try it out.

Your feedback is welcome.

If you want to look at a really good one, check out @dens’s comment on the Foursquare on Apple Watch launch page.

Post launch

We are pretty happy with the relaunch: we received more than 350 upvotes, finished in the daily top 5 just below juggernauts like Instagram and Github Electron, and more importantly got 1000 new users trying out Missive for the first time.

To welcome those new users and give them an idea of who’s behind the app we decided to send them a Thank you email.

The email included a link to a blog post describing cool Missive use cases, plus a link to a YouTube video were I personally thank them and present the team. The goal was to nurture a relation between the hunters and us. Scrolling through tens of faceless startups everyday on Product Hunt can become repetitive, I thought putting faces on our product might help. I have no way to assess if it worked, you tell me.

Takeaways

To have a successful launch on Product Hunt you need to be well prepared. Make sure to check out the tool we developed to help you with your hunt. It will let you:

  • Find the best time to submit your app
  • Create thumbnails to help you stand out
  • Craft your submission’s first comment

If you like this post click the ♡ below and make sure to follow me on Twitter.

Missive App

The one app for team email and chat

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