How We Made It to Product Hunt's Top Products of the Day and Week After Launching on the Most Competitive Day of the Month!

With Product Hunt launches, much like everything else in the startup world, there is always an element of luck. You never know what you're going to get until you do, or (in the case of Product Hunt launches) who you'll be up against. You'd think that the worst that can happen is that major companies like Open.AI or Google will launch something on the same day as you, but as it turns out, there are far bigger threats. From what I've noticed, the hardest launches to battle are well-funded or backed startups and in our case we were a David fighting numerous Goliaths. 

Let's start with some context!

We launched Fieldmobi Smart Notes on Product Hunt on 3rd October 2023. You can check out our launch page here.

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We were a team of 3 out of which two of us we fully involved in the launch so we knew we had to work pretty hard to get things going.

It was our first Product Hunt launch. We started checking out Product Hunt and trying to understand things only a few months before so we had very few followers. I had the most followers with 50 on the 20th of August when we started thinking about launching on the platform. 

Even though we got offers from hunters, we chose to hunt it ourselves.

We got our Coming Soon page up a full month before our launch date and we had a bit more than 400 people hit the notify me page before launch day. 

We launched on a Tuesday so we expected quite a bit of competition but it ended up being the most competitive day of the month. To put it in context, we had a Y Combinator-backed startup that was hunted by Garry Tan (the YC CEO) and a startup funded by The Chainsmokers with over 50 million USD in funding launching on the same day as us. Some of the others were pretty well-funded too.

We haven't raised yet, so we're pretty happy that we made it to #5 Product of the Day. And even more so about being in the Top 10 of the Week. But I think the best part was that even though we were pretty far from the top in upvotes we were very close in terms of comments. We ended the day with almost 600 upvotes and above 300 comments. (Big thanks to everyone who supported us!)

Here's how we did it:

A Couple of Months Before Launch Day

We started getting active on Product Hunt a couple of months before deciding to launch.

Just like any new platform it takes a while to start seeing some traction. Getting followers is pretty hard if you haven't launched anything and followers help because they get notified when a maker launches.

These are some of the things we did:

  • Posted regularly in the discussions
  • Commented on posts (Especially the ones that let us mention what we're building)
  • Changed our profile picture to an animated GIF (I think this helps get you noticed a bit)
  • Started following other members
  • Logged in every day to build our streak (This sounds silly but a lot of users try looking for people based on how active they are, being high up on the streak helps. Quick tip: Download the app. It sends you reminders if you're about to lose your streak)
  • Supported other makers
  • Joined groups and communities on Social Media, Whatsapp, etc.
  • Started talking to other makers and reading up on what they did when they launched

 

One Month Before Launch Day

We tried to get as much as we could ready before launching our Coming Soon page, mainly because we knew that we wouldn't have time to waste (small team problems!) and we launched our Coming Soon page on the 4th of September.

From the moment the page was up, we got to work:

  • We started reaching out to 100 people a day (including Sundays) on Linkedin and Twitter asking for support. We did everything by the rules and offered to help out people in any way we can. (This wasn't a trade and we made it a point to make sure no one thought it was. We would have helped even if they didn't support us.)
  • We created a Google Sheet within the team which lit up if we repeated a lead because we didn't want to waste Linkedin invites (Linkedin has a bad habit of blocking people if you overuse it)
  • We also made it a point to send invites with notes instead of Inmails because the Product Hunt community is really quite amazing and ends up supporting you a lot even on a day to day level with posts and stuff like that
  • We started posting daily on our company page on all our social media platforms with #buildinpublic (Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) even though the only place we really have a following is Linkedin
  • I started posting personally a lot on Linkedin and Twitter and sharing the company posts regularly
  • We posted in every group that we could find (and would allow it)
  • Put up our launch on hunted.space 
  • Put the Product Hunt embed on our website

This worked pretty well because we got over 400 people to hit Notify Me on our coming soon page before we launched.

 

On Launch Day

We got ready for a 24-hour long session. We had our lists and messages ready. Our posts for the day were planned. Here's how it went:

  • We timed our launch announcement posts so that followers in any time zone would be likely to see at least one of them. We had a countdown running starting at 5 days to go and multiple posts on the day. 
  • We posted a few of them in different groups as well.
  • The second we were live we posted again... everywhere!
  • The first 4 hours of the launch are very critical. The ranks are hidden until then and if you make it to the top few when it is shown, you get a lot more visibility. We made it a point to not stop until we messaged and reminded every single person who replied to us over the month. This took a while because it was just the two of us doing it but it worked and we were at 3rd place at the 4 hour mark!

    ph-launch-dashboard-image (2)
  • We kept posting our progress and got some incredible comments but we couldn't hold on to our position. After the initial burst, the pace slowed quite a bit. 
  • My teammate got locked out of LinkedIn and I got temporarily blocked from sending messages on Twitter for a bit. We did our best to keep reaching out to as many people as possible and kept up with the comments, replying to every single one. 


500

We ended the day with nearly 600 upvotes and over 300 comments in 5th place and made it to the daily and weekly newsletters. Not too bad for a first launch.

It was only after the first 4 hours that we got a chance to really look into the competition and the kind of traction they were getting. It was really great for us because this was the first of many launches that we're planning. But here are some things I picked up from them:

  • It's not the funding that made them do well, it's the community. Backed startups just had a big pool of supporters to reach out to. That's something that's built and a completely fair advantage. We just started building that pool. Our Hub page is just about to hit a thousand followers. My twitter is growing.  Our LinkedIn is too. It'll take a little time but we'll get there.
  • PR is important. One of them was featured in the daily newsletter on the day of the launch and another was featured on the Product Hunt Twitter page. That got them a lot of traction. Although I have absolutely no idea how that works (please let me know if you do), it's definitely something I'm going to look into for the next launch.

 

A Few Additional Tips and Resources:

  • Friday to Monday is usually less competitive but you also get less visibility so you should pick your day based on what your goal is
  • Don't try trading upvotes. The community is full of makers that are genuinely helpful and unsurprisingly, they like helpful people as well. Ask for support. Not upvotes.
  • Don't spam people. Coordinate with your teammates so you don't send messages to the same people. Dividing by groups is not the best way to do this. Lots of people are on multiple groups. We used a Google Sheets.


Here are some helpful resources and groups that we're a part of:

 

Feel free to get in touch with me on Linkedin! We'll be launching again soon so follow our page! It's going to be excited for businesses who are starting to digitize operations.

Happy hunting!

 

 

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