Well, that was fun.
If by some divine intervention you’ve not seen me banging on about Zero BS CRM then I’ll give a quick recap.
Woody and I, collaborated to develop and launch a FREE WordPress Plugin which transforms your WordPress install into a CRM (customer relationship management) tool.
We launched on the 5th July (officially, to the mailing list) and got featured on Product Hunt on the 7th July. I wanted to write (while it’s fresh in my memory).
What did I do to help get the product featured on Product Hunt and how did it impact the launch and the traffic to the Zero BS CRM website.
I also want to cover the learnings for any future products that I submit (with a hope to get featured). So first a bit of background
I’ve been a member of the product hunt website for easily a couple of years now with this account and was kindly invited to be a ‘hunter’ in the community again about a year ago.
I actually came across Product Hunt from someone asking me if they could use WPeddit Theme to create a Product Hunt style website (which birthed the plugin hunt theme)
This was back when Product Hunt had a single ‘feed’ of products (not split between ‘featured’ and ‘newest’) and any submissions would effectively be hidden, unless they were featured. It was also back before product hunt had podcasts, ebooks etc. It was pure products from the tech world.
If they were featured it generally meant the products were kick ass.
I can’t remember when exactly, but product hunt have since split their lists (excluding the ‘non-tech’) lists like podcasts and ‘live’. to Popular and Newest
So any new hunts (if you have hunting capability) go directly to the ‘Newest’ tab and may or may not be featured.
How did I get featured in 2016
When planning to submit Zero BS CRM I read a number of articles about how to get your product featured on Product Hunt and they all had things like
- Submit it as close after 00:00 PST as possible so it can get enough up votes to be noticed (you could still share your direct product link)
- Have a compelling launch page and a ?ref=producthunt offer
- Don’t ask for upvotes
I also read other advice that submitting when people were likely to view the products could also be advantageous (i.e. anytime between 10:00 and 16:00 in GMT time), so I took a punt and submitted at about 16:30 GMT time. Although the advice still covered the old way of doing things (where you didn’t have the ‘newest’) tab.
So, what happened next?
I submitted and the ZBS CRM goes directly onto the ‘Newest’ tab for the 6th July I wanted to keep this as close to the real launch as possible so we launched both to the world and also on Product Hunt on the 5th and 6th of July (we waited until after independence day, more by chance than planning).
I sent out a mailshot to my list, letting people know that the new launch was on product hunt (but not yet featured) and I also sent out some tweets to various people of interest.
“Hooked” I actually used Nir Eyal’s hooked model when working through the launch process and product design for ZBS CRM (through constant collaboration with Woody). Nir is actually one of the Angel investors for Product Hunt so I dropped him a follow and told him how good his book is) – read the replies to the status to see the ZBS CRM mention
— Nir Eyal (@nireyal) July 6, 2016
I wasn’t expecting too much from this (Nir is a busy man) but he actually popped over to the product hunt page and upvoted the product. Thanks Nir.
I also sent out some other tweets around the 6th July to various people letting them know the launch was on product hunt.
I only know a bit about the ‘featured’ algorithm but I know it gives weight to the more popular people in the community (so a newest product with a lot of votes from generally newer accounts may not get much chance of being featured if the product is still crap).
Taking a look at the Thursday 7th July (when we were featured) but on the ‘Newest’ url there’s 133 products hunted on that day, with 55 products being featured. So about 40% of products got featured, a 1 in 3 chance but still, 80 products didn’t make it to the featured list (OK, boring maths over).
So to give the product the best chance of being featured I submitted @woodyhayday as the maker and sent a few tweets out to the product hunt team members (this is all while the product was hunted by @epicplugins).
But it turns out that somewhere along the lines Product Hunt stopped allowing branded accounts to be hunters (or maybe they always did this and it slipped through the net) this meant my @epicplugins account there lost its posting capabilities and I needed to use a personal account (I don’t really tweet much personally) however I quickly created a personal twitter, and credit to the Product Hunt team they switched things over and then FEATURED US.
We also did a fair bit of tweeting out about the Product and participating in the conversation (when we got comments), with Woody getting comment ability in the process (after another raft of confusion around which twitter account)
— Mike Stott (@mikemayhem3030) July 8, 2016
Holy Crap. So what did it do to launch traffic?
What the Product Hunt Launch did for Traffic
Of course there’s reasons why you want to be featured on Product Hunt, it’s great for credit and assurance that your product doesn’t totally suck, but it also brings the benefit of traffic from the producthunt.com website. Now this is what scared me, lots of traffic.
There was a definite spike in traffic to the http://zerobscrm.com website, but not as much as I was expecting. This is due to ZBS being hidden a little (it didn’t make the top 10 on the day) however this I’m putting down to the timing of the launch.
We launched on Product Hunt only a day after the actual launch.
So this means we didn’t have a huge user base of advocates who would potentially up vote the product – with hindsight for any future launches the Product Hunt launch process might be slightly different and we launch there after a few months of users of the new product (so they can help the product trend on product hunt into the top 10).
But, that’s not to say it was a failure. It still brings with it the cool factor, but take a look at the traffic (per hour) of the launch.
The traffic peaked at around 121 page views in the hour (for a very new product, without much external SEO or other links in place yet).
The most I tracked online ‘Right Now’ was 20. Which is pretty good for the first few days of a launch (well, certainly by my standards)
Learnings from the Product Hunt Launch
I’ve taken away the following learnings from the Product Hunt Launch, both good and bad
- We launched early and could have gained more traction (possibly ranking us higher) if we had launched on Product Hunt later (although the top 10 products have hundreds and hundreds of up votes)
- Our landing page was good, but could have been better (making it clearer, with screenshots and contact us)
- We didn’t have a clear contact us area (we now have) and are getting some hello’s via there (mainly people trying to sell us ‘start up’ services though)
- We got quite a few tweets and mentions and likes, and being in the UK (PST + 8 hrs) made it harder to reply and manage these (as we were sleeping / sleepy)
So, hopefully this post will help you if you’re planning your own Product Hunt launch. If you have a product you want to launch on Product Hunt and have any questions let me know.