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Launching PH Launches On Product Hunt: My Experience

It was time. I was finally launching PH launches on Product Hunt.

I had been working on the project for the past month and had 180 case studies. I love curation, but I’d reached the point where I just wanted it out there. I needed to launch, otherwise I was likely to put pause on it and lose moment.

Preparing For The Launch

I launched PHLaunches on August 3rd. I spent a couple of hours preparing launch materials and released it shortly after midnight.

Click here to view the launch at Product Hunt. 

In retrospect, I wish I had spent more time on the preparations. I worked hard to create a compelling tagline and comprehensive first comment.

The graphics I created where shit and really let the launch page down. I used Phigma templates to help me create the images. Now, this is an amazing product that has a lot of potential. However, I hadn’t used Figma before. I had no idea what I was doing and was trying to whip up compelling graphics using an unfamiliar product. The images reflect that.

Action steps:

  • I will experiment more with creating graphics using Figma.
  • I’ll start a ‘swipe file’ of graphics I’d like to emulate with future launches

Launching The Product

I launched it at 5pm in my time (Melbourne, Australia). It took a while for it to show up on Product Hunt itself, but I’d observed this happening with other launches.

After 90 minutes, I was in 6th place with 10 votes. By 7pm, I had gone back to 8th position. This was a bit depressing. The leaders for the day were averaging 30 votes, with the top being at 85. I try not to tie emotions to product launches – especially when I put minimal effort into the actual launch – but I’d started to feel a bit depressed. I thought the meta nature would have led to a lot more attention.

After 6 hours, I had 100 uniques to the website – eight of those had visited the recommended page. At the 7 hour mark, I was in ninth place with 51 votes. At this point I was feeling defeated and went to bed.

By the time I woke up, there was just five hours left in the launch. It finished as one of the top 10 products of the day with 153 upvotes. Today, 4 weeks later, it has 245 upvotes.

I intentionally stepped away from social media during this time. I posted five times during the evening; largely because I was so fascinated by behaviour during the launch and wanted to share it. I quickly moved to taking notes in a Google doc to avoid overwhelm.

This was a strong reason for the average result. Not that many people would have been aware of it. I’d recently restructured my Twitter present and had set up a specific account for my indie/bootstrapping adventures. That account only had 28 people following it. I could have achieved a lot more if I had waited to build up my profile. I also avoided manual outreach. 

I stand by both decisions. They impacted on my results but allowed me to learn a lot more. 

Action steps:

  • Focus on building up my Twitter presence
  • Create an outreach plan for future launches

The Results

PH Launches finished as 9th or 10th Product of the Day. I had around 435 visitors on launch day and 600 visitors for launch week. These visits averaged 30 seconds. Of these visitors, just 19 visited the recommended page and 8 checked out the submission page. I made 39.79 from the launch: two copies of Jim Raptis’ Launch Checklist and one copy of his Phigma templates.

I was disappointed with the lack of affiliate income. I had been hoping to make at least $100. Most of the people who are active on Product Hunt however would have been aware of the recommended products. They would be a lot more useful to those who aren’t that active on Product Hunt, which means I need to look at promotional opportunities outside of the PH community. 

I was also disappointed with the amount of time people spent on the site. I worked my arse off to create those case studies and it felt like most visitors only gave them a cursory glance. However, I suspect that is a reflection of how I presented the information. I need to work on ways to make it more useful.

Action steps:

  • Look at promotional strategies outside of the Product Hunt ecosystem
  • Find a different way to present the information

Getting feedback

The launch was disappointing in many aspects but was definitely worth it for the feedback I got. I didn’t get as much as I would have liked, which was frustrating. I had previously posted on Indie Hackers seeking feedback and hadn’t gotten any responses. It felt like I was creating in a vacuum and I didn’t know what to do.

Steph Ness was incredibly helpful with his feedback. He recommended having a badge for the products that were #1 Product of the Day, and creating a button so that people could skip straight to the case studies.

Another person suggested creating a newsletter to make it easier to stay up to date with new launches. I had considered this, but didn’t want to make the commitment. I decided to do a quick test. I got 46 email signups by the end of launch day. In the following weeks, I got 10 more. 

I am very grateful for these data points. They really helped guide my decisions.

Was it worth it?

I am glad I launched the product. The feedback was helpful and temporary traffic helped me push through my resistance. However, it probably wasn’t the best timing for the product. 

I could have made a much larger impact had I waited an extra month. I could have improved the product and spent time creating better marketing materials. Product Hunt has rules about relaunching the same product, so I’m not sure I will be able to promote it on there in the future. 

I believe it was worth launching earlier for this specific website. I was able to earn some affiliate commissions, which helped go towards some bills. I have started an email list, which I can slowly build on to send more traffic to the site. I also have experience and data that I can use to influence future launches. I am planning to be more strategic with future launches

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