We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.
Product Hunt is the most popular resource in the world, where people usually announce startups in the early stages. Anyone can post their project, gather first traffic, feedback, and attract the attention of partners and investors by being an active user. The resource’s best projects end up in the regular daily and weekly mailouts, which investors from the Valley and tech-media examine with great pleasure and interest. But how can one become that very best startup and get the maximum publications on the platform, receive the most upvotes and pop up?
We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.
In the framework of Founders Club, we’ve conducted an online webinar with representatives from two startups, which managed to capture the hearts of the Product Hunt audience. Hereunder, we highlight the core ideas of the webinar.
Yauhen Rozhko, CEO and co-founder of Ease Bloggers. He is a certified specialist in ICAgile, he’s also a winner of such international hackathons as Garage48, LMA (MSQRD, Scope; InfluDB), and he’s an active participant of various conferences (Mobile Optimized 2014). In May 2202, Easy Bloggers project became a №1 product of the month on Product Hunt.
Before launching on Product Hunt, it is important to consider two vital things — product and pre-launch preparation:
Maximum openness is of the most importance to the product, so people could try it. If you post something closed on a subscription, then there are pretty low chances of getting feedback. We got the traffic from Product Hunt(PH) and it was pretty effective: people found and tried us at one place.
You must remember about Ship by Product Hunt. It is a separate program. There are different tariffs, not a very expensive thing, but it can help to get a few thousand applications, if you choose the right approach. You can make the product pre-release with the help of this program. In other words, you post the product, add a description on the inner page and Ship helps to gather first pre-orders.
We create a product for advertisers and marketers (you can read more about the Easy Bloggers startup in the interview for Startup Jedi), and we have specific lists of advertising agencies.
Here’s a good example. You bought a list of a million email marketers. This million mails can potentially convert 1000+ upvotes for you. Next, you upload a list of these people and find their Facebook accounts, start communicating, share a link to your pre-release on PH. You can write something like: “We will release this and then and then, maybe you will be interested.” In such a way you warm up interest in advance, and at the time of launch, you already have a certain number of people who signed up for your release.
Considering other mechanics of preparation — find a hunter (The hunter “hunts” cool projects and posts them on PH; a good hunter has many subscribers on PH and on social networks, all of them receive a notification, when the hunter posts another product — Startup Jedi), and don’t try to post your product on PH on your own. There are lists of hunters, they are easy to find (for example, here’s one https://yvoschaap.com/producthunt/#hunt), so just ask someone to feature you.
In general, I can call the experience of publishing Easy Bloggers on Product Hunt rather positive:
We acquired additional traffic and a few thousands website visits.
A few users bought our ready-made media-plans.
We’ve gathered a waitlist of large PR agencies; there are about 50 of them, who want to use the pro-version of our product.
All these, as well as “Product Hunt #1” bar, open doors to possibilities of communication with new partners and potential clients. For instance, after getting the “Product of the Month” status, it is easier to receive $100 000 loans on Google and Amazon.
Veronika Lindorenko, startups’ marketing consultant and Digital marketing expert. She’s especially involved in developing non-standard approaches for traffic attraction, which can give positive results with tight budgets. In October 2018, she successfully launched OneSoil Map(a platform for farmers/an interactive agricultural map) on Product Hunt, which got a Golden Kitty award from Product Hunt as the best product in the “AI and machine learning” category.
We didn’t have a separate team, so we did everything ourselves, and I had additional tasks on the marketing part of the project. The first two weeks during preparation, we spent from 2 to 4 hours on PH, but two weeks before the launch we’ve spent almost all day working there. In general, we’ve spent about a month on the preparation process.
The preparation included:
Content preparation (videos, screenshots, naming and tagline, message to the hunter, maker text — a message under the launch-post).
“Pimping”our PH account. We gathered lists of opinion shapers of the Belarusian startup community, wrote them in advance and reminded ourselves on the day of launch, so we prepared a separate text.
We created a FAQ for our startup — quick questions and answers on our topics.
We got a good result but not in the desirable volume. The major results:
We got into several media outlets, however, in parallel with the launch on PH, we were actively implementing our own PR campaign, so PH became a catalyst.
We received comments and feedback on downsides and upsides of our product from developers and data scientists.
We received more than 300 emails from partner-companies, which gave us data based on agricultural activities.
Choose the proper publishing time, I would recommend 10–11 AM at our time zone, so it will be midnight in California.
Have one specific person, who will constantly monitor new comments and answer them.
You should start the preparations in a month and a half, and it is better to launch at the beginning of the month if you strive to get the “Product of the month” award.
Use the hunter services, so you can get to the top of the page.
At the moment of launch, working with communities, large startup communities and field-oriented Telegram chats may be of great help, in our case, that was Rocket DAO.
We’ve analysed the algorithm of getting to the top of the platform and we concluded that votes from PH mastodonts are more valuable, than votes from newbies, who just registered. In Belarus, there is a pretty solid community and you have to ask those with advanced accounts to vote for you..
Everyone says that it’s better not to ask to vote directly: it’s not OK to ask personally, like “Leave your vote, please”, it’s better to say “Please, support us.” In the perfect case scenario, you should ask people to leave comments or reviews, this is what our hunter advised us. Comments and their quantity are pretty damn valuable.
I would proceed from this motive: you need to give the hunter value for his audience — people are subscribed to him, and they will see everything he hunts. During preparations and publications, we had two big hunters, and they are constantly competing — Chris and Kevin. I think I’ve contacted about 15 people and Chris was the only one to answer.
My advice is to find a non-standard approach to the hunter. If you simply write to Chris, then quite possibly, that he won’t answer back as he has thousands of such emails.
OneSoil is a part of Bulba Ventures portfolio, so fund’s portfolio startups support each other. Besides OneSoil, they had other ML-startups. I asked guys from the startup community to create an intro for Chris. That was the only way to reach Chris.
OneSoil became the 5th product of the day on the day of its launch but with this we got 500 more votes than those who were in the first place. It was unfair because we were supported by a lot of people. At the moment of launch at Product Hunt, we didn’t break any rules, so we began to think, and I came up with the launch rules (they are all specified in this article).
Considering the makers’-community:
Communicate with those, who belong to this community;
Tell about your project;
Search for PH leaders, who are interested in your topic.
A pretty well used approach of entering PH with the same version of the product. Bu you need to consider a few moments:
The app should be tested beforehand, so you won’t enter with a “raw” product; otherwise, you’ll fail to get feedback.
Releasing the project in the stores and parallelly launching it on PH creates a WOW-effect. PH can help gather beta testers and early adopters.
“You see an inspiring example and you want the same!”
The success of Belarusian startups is based on favorable conditions for creating startups, a powerful start-up community, and a good IT industry.
If you have an awesome startup and you are well prepared — you will most certainly succeed!