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The Day We Became #2 Product of the Day on Product Hunt and Doubled Our User Base

November 10, 2021

April 7th, 2021 marks a date our team won’t forget so quickly: After weeks of preparation, we launched Angle Audio on Product Hunt — and everything changed.

Many people helped us along the way with advice and by sharing their own Product Hunt experience in blog posts. So we want to do the same and through that, give back to the tech-community that supported us so much, as well as help other projects preparing their own launch on Product Hunt.

Please note: In this article we are sharing our experience and learnings. At the end of it you can also find some links to step-by-step resources.

Results

Long story short: We doubled our users. In our app, as well as on social media. In preparation for our Product Hunt launch, we had officially launched Angle Audio the previous week and announced it to the media. By “officially launch”, we mean that we removed the waitlist and ended the beta-testing phase. The launch media release got us some media attention, which led to an increase in sign ups and activity, but that was only a taste of what the Product Hunt launch would bring.

Here’s a few graphs to illustrate the growth we saw:

Both, the media attention as well as the PH launch resulted in a spike in new users, who downloaded Angle Audio and signed up for an account.

The same pattern can be seen for weekly active users, which spiked and then leveled out on a significantly higher level than before. Of course, much of our focus now goes into retention.

And when talking about results, we also have to show you the impact on our social media. Before the launch we had on Twitter and Instagram less than 100 followers (accounts opened 2 months before PH launch) and on LinkedIn around 700 followers. (Yes, we refuse to buy followers just for better looks.) Thanks to Product Hunt, impressions and unique impressions massively increased and we gained 150–200 followers on each platform, which is a big deal for a small startup. 😄

How we prepared our Product Hunt launch

In February 2021, we reached an important milestone as a consumer tech startup:

In our product market fit survey with our beta users, 41% of survey respondents answered “very disappointed” to the question “How would you feel if you could no longer use this product?”

Rumour has it, you achieved product market fit when >40% of users answer that question with “very disappointed”. So, that was of course an exciting moment for our team, and we decided it was time to launch officially and to shift our mindset into growth mode. And that’s when we decided to launch on Product Hunt.

Step 1: Research and getting active on Product Hunt

As the Head of Marketing, I (Sarah), dug into existing materials, learnings and articles about Product Hunt. I did hours and hours of late night reading about other founder’s and startup’s experiences and collected all of my findings in a document. The first three important things I learned:

  1. If you want to launch on Product Hunt, you need to get active with your account now. The more active you are, the more “points” you earn, the more follower you get and the more attention your product gets when you’re added as a maker. The more people already on PH see your project, the better.
  2. That goes for the whole team. Everyone in the team should have a Product Hunt account and start getting involved in the community — ideally by taking part in discussions, starting discussions and checking out other launches and interacting with content on PH almost every day up until the launch.
  3. We need a game plan for the launch. Just posting it and hoping the community will find it and like it, won’t be enough. A strategic Product Hunt launch requires proper time commitment and planning.

Luckily, I had a Product Hunt account since 2018 and already some followers. So I got involved immediately, started interacting with other users and through that collecting points and followers. The coolest part about it: With every interaction, I actually learned something, discovered cool new products and met new people — which goes to show the power of Product Hunt’s great community! Over the course of about 3 weeks, I got around 120 points and 100 followers through upvotes and other interactions.

Step 2: Finding a hunter

We decided to find an experienced hunter to post (“hunt”) Angle Audio on Product Hunt. Having a top hunter is not a requirement for a successful launch — especially if you already have a community and the makers of your project have some followers on PH. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to be hunted by one of the top hunters and also get some exposure in their network.

Through one of our angel investors, we had the chance to get introduced to Chris Messina. Chris is a Product Designer and the #1 hunter on PH — best known as the inventor of the social media hashtag. Yes. The hashtag. To get hunted by him, you don’t actually need a personal intro, you can also just fill out the form on his website and he will be happy to check out your project and hunt you.

Besides having him hunting us, we also booked a personal coaching session with him, which we paid $250 for. He also offers premium collabs for $1500, where you get even more coaching and support from Chris ahead of your launch. If we had more time, we would have gone for this one. But since it was a bit late in the game, we just managed to squeeze in one coaching call with Chris. But man, that was helpful. In our 30min call, he walked us through the whole process and requirements of a successful PH launch, provided incredibly valuable feedback to the first draft of our visuals and shared some advice and insights on what to focus on.

Believe me when I say: This is money well spent. If you decide to go with a top hunter, invest the time and budget to get personal coaching and advice from him or her. After our experience we can highly recommend working with Chris — he has been absolutely fantastic to work with. He is currently working also on a Product Hunt course, which you can check out here.

Step 3: Game Plan

Take the time, and by time, I mean at least 3 weeks, to properly set up your game plan. Our game plan was a “Product Hunt Master Launch Doc” on Google Sheets with several tabs.

  1. Launch Day: A detailed timeline of the 24h launch day, which included every single step from posting on PH to sharing social media content, sending out newsletter, reaching out to network etc. We had activities spread out over around 16 hours.
  2. Text Copy: A sheet including several blurbs and texts you and your team can use to post on social media or when reaching out to friends. Your team will do more and better outreach when provided with text snippets already including all of the information. Then all they have to do is personalise it a bit depending on who they’re talking to.
  3. Personal Outreach: One column per team member. Ahead of the launch, each team member should write down the names of people they want to directly reach out to on the day of the launch. Having this list ready can be a big time saver as in the heat of the moment, you most likely won’t remember all the people you could reach out to!
  4. Influential Product Hunt Peeps: In this tab, we had a list of Product Hunt users with a big following and a link to their Twitter account. On launch day, our founders DMd all of them with a quick note about our launch and a friendly (non pushy!) request to check it out if they like. Reason being: When a user upvotes a product or comments on it, their followers on PH are being notified, which increases your reach.
  5. Groups: Here we listed Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, Slack groups, Reddits, startup directories and other listing platforms our team members are part of (or could become part of). It’s important to work on this list a few weeks ahead of the launch as you need time to put it together, time to request and receive access and ideally also some time to start interacting with other users in these places. Most groups don’t allow obvious self-promotion, so you have to find creative ways to post about your launch in there without annoying everyone. 😅

Step 4: Communication

To save yourself some time and nerves on your launch day, it is useful to prepare all of the comms parts ahead of time. This will allow you to only execute by your game plan on launch day. What we prepared:

  • 2 maker’s comments for the PH launch page of Angle Audio
  • Newsletter to our community
  • 2 LinkedIn posts, 3 tweets, 1 post and 3 stories for Instagram
  • Text blurbs for the team to share with friends
  • Text for the team to share on their personal social media
  • FAQ on the website for users
  • “Nasty questions” list for the team to use when answering questions on social media or Product Hunt

We also put a lot of thought and preparation time in the creatives we used to showcase the product in the launch listing on PH:

With feedback from our hunter, Chris Messina, we adapted our usual creatives for the tech audience on Product Hunt. We knew that people would compare our social audio platform to Clubhouse, which had recently gained global attention. So we decided to own and embrace that from the beginning and put our differentiators in the spotlight → we are available for Android as well, we have a text-chat and some more feature that people have been waiting for on Clubhouse. Another great piece of advice from Chris:

“Use clear and descriptive language when talking about your product and don’t use your ‘human social audio’ or ‘intentional and focused conversations’ PR slogans. Say what you do: Social audio group conversations for iPhone, Android and web.”

Welcoming new users in the product

We knew that, if we were lucky, we would start seeing new users coming in quite fast. So our whole team was also monitoring the app for around 72 hours after the initial launch on Product Hunt. The first impression really matters and we wanted to ensure our users had a great first experience when opening the app. So we kept live conversations open almost all day long, which new users could join to explore our features and get a feeling of the app. An added bonus was that they could talk directly to Angle team members and we could get first-hand feedback of their first impressions. Win-win! 🤗

In addition to hosting conversations on Angle, talking directly to new users and participating in our outreach campaign, our engineers Valerius (CTO), Raphael and Ulugbek were on call all day long, monitoring potential bugs and reacting incredibly fast when something unexpected happened in the product. After all, it was the first time we saw that kind of growth happening in our product.

Leveraging our existing community

Throughout our beta testing phase, we had the chance to already start building a small, but strong community of users and supporters. On the day of the launch, we were blown away by the outpour of support from our existing community as well as friends and personal network on social media.

And of we can’t deny that Chris Messina’s tweets also helped spreading the word on Twitter! 😉 Learning: When a renowned hunter tells his or her community to check our a product — they will check it out. And each time someone with lots of followers (or the official Product Hunt account) tweeted about us, we saw more users coming into the product.

Getting into the top 5 products of the day

Throughout the day, we monitored our progress on the Product Hunt launch pad as well as on Product Wars 2. Monitoring helped us identify and react to “slower” times, when our upvotes were slowing down. That insight help us to push harder on our outreach whenever we felt like we might be losing momentum.

Source: Product Wars 2
Source: Product Wars 2

We were determined to get into the top 5 products of the day, as this means Product Hunt will include your product in their daily newsletter, which goes out to several hundred thousand readers. We finished the day as #2 product of the day — which is awesome and more than we dared hoping for. For a short while we were even #1 product of the day, but then the Canva Team decided to rain on our parade and launch a new feature. 😄 On the above graph, you can see how they (yellow line) overtook us (light blue line) shortly after 11am.

With Clubhouse as one of our main competitors in many people’s eyes, we most likely did benefit from the current momentum in the social audio space, which is probably what led the Product Hunt team to include us prominently in the newsletter and on social media (even in the headline!) vs. “only” listing us as one of the top 5 products of the day. You can read the newsletter here.

Last pieces of advice

  • Take time to prepare this. Really. I can’t stress it enough. Take the time to familiarise yourself with PH, talk to other makers, find a hunter and prepare a game plan.
  • Get enough sleep the day before the launch. You need to be on your A-game when you launch! We launched at 1 minute past midnight (California time), which was 9am in Zurich, Switzerland, which meant we had the full 24h to make it count.
  • Have water, coffee and food ready in your office. You won’t have the nerves or time to organise it in the madness of your launch day.
  • Act as one team. Everyone is part of the launch and it is exciting for all team members to get involved. Don’t plan any other meetings or activities that day — PH is your team activity! :)
  • Think of worst case scenarios and how you would handle them (and how they could be prevented) before the launch. Even if there’s something you can’t prevent, it helps if you’re not confronted with it the first time on the day the world’s most important tech community is checking out your product. 😄
  • The week before our planned launch, we did some PR outreach with a media release announcing the launch of our app. The media attention we received gave us a “test run” of what it feels like to have more users signing up and created some momentum for Angle in our region → we could then use this and all the new users we got to increase our reach for the PH launch.
  • If you’re building a consumer tech product that is globally available: Product Hunt is the way to go to validate your idea and concept and to take your product to the next level.
  • Timing matters: If there is some momentum or a hype in the space you’re operating in, people will be more interested in what you do. With Angle Audio, we launched in a great period, when social audio was a hot topic in the media and within the tech community.
  • Celebrate the feeling of “OMG, real users think our product is cool and they enjoy using it and talk about it on social media!” BEST. FEELING. 🤗 (Even though it’s quickly followed by “Ok now we have to keep that up and keep building a great product!”)

Fun Fact 👀

Ps. this was our second launch on Product Hunt. The first time, we launched completely unprepared and just put Angle up there to see what happens. We think the results speak for themselves:

Personally, this was one of the coolest and most fun experiences I ever had in my startup journey so far. We learned a lot about leveraging a global tech community, got tons of feedback that helped us improve our product, met some amazing people along the way and the whole thing served as a great team building experience.

Resources

Following, a few articles and blog posts that helped our team prepare our launch:

Pioneering social audio in the news industry with «20 Minuten»

Read more

Experiencing Angle Audio rooms in our partners’ websites

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5 reasons your company needs social audio

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