What a weekend that was!
Our Slack channels were buzzing with sign up after sign up, following our first appearance on Product Hunt late last Friday. By Saturday, we were ranking #4 Product of the Day, and that’s when our phones got really buzzy.
What’s Product Hunt? Well, if you haven’t used it before, check it out. It’s a brilliant resource for discovering apps across a wealth of interests. Kind of like a directory or a search engine for new stuff. If you ever find yourself wondering ‘there must be an app for that!?’ then get on there and find out… there’s a high chance there might be one waiting for you.
Here’s a link to ours… (Calling all people who are wondering how they can create fast, shareable content formats for social media and their posts and pages…)
We also thought it might be handy if we made a collection of content marketing/making tools on Product Hunt – to help said ‘wondering’ folks to track down a bunch of other great new time-saving, cost-effective ways of generating original content.
You can get that list here…
Of course, Product Hunt is also a super resource for those who are launching new apps and solutions (ie, like Felix).
While I wouldn’t claim we had a textbook approach to doing it, there are ways of ensuring that you get more miles per gallon once your product is live on the site. Here are our top five tips.
1. Make sure your product page is full of the right kind of content
Just like the app stores, people will be browsing around looking for something interesting to play with. Use videos and animations in your product description. Make sure your blurbs are on point – practical is better than PR puff: state clearly what your new app does and encourage folks to click through to your web site and find out for themselves. (And make sure your landing page is excellent! Don’t send them to your homepage if your homepage doesn’t nail your product in one.) Add your social profiles and the best fitting product category tags, and you should be all set.
2. Don’t spam Product Hunt
It’s a community, built for people to share cool new stuff (and upvote the best). It’s not a great idea to invite all your mates to vote on your product, especially if they’re not contributing to the platform in any other ways. If you do, you’ll probably be rumbled, and that’ll be detrimental to your cause. Instead, invest the time and effort in engaging with other makers and products on the platform. Try out their stuff, drop them some useful comments. Help to promote them too. I’ll eat my hat if you don’t find something instantly useful on there. Become someone else’s customer! And on the subject of engagement, once your product is live, make sure you answer any questions that people leave you and thank them for any feedback. This can be great when it comes to product management and roadmaps. If you’re thinking of a new feature, a tweak or an optimisation, the Product Hunt community will probably tell you what they want or what’s missing. (Yup, we’ve got a clear steer on at least x3 of our next new features this way.)
3. Talk about it, in the right way
Rather than pleading for public votes, share the news of your listing on Twitter, etc, and in the process promote @producthaunt (pun intended in their handle there, I think) and any other people who have tried your product, offered feedback, etc. Creating a virtuous circle is good news for all involved. While you’re at it, follow all those folks on Twitter, see what they’re into and give them a boost by sharing their best stuff too.
4. Share your backstory
Alongside this, and in your product description, tell people how you’ve gotten to be on Product Hunt, and what you’d like to get out of it. By this, I mean sharing a few insights into the trials and tribulations of your product and your work. I’ll share some of ours below. Why? Well, for starters, it just makes your product more interesting and personable; to vote is to care, and a lot of the Product Hunt community will be in the same boat as you. Some of them may even be kind enough to help out with more sharing or tips. (I’ve included my two favourite ‘how-to’ posts below.)
5. Make Product Hunt a habit
It’s awesome. It’ll guide you to helpful tools and apps. It’s also a fantastic pool of ideas. Check-in each day and see what’s trending – there may be some pointers in there for your product development. It’s sure helping to change our outlook here at Felix. Do this, and you’ll become a contributor, and that’ll make the service even more valuable over time – for you and others.
A bit of Product Hunt backstory for Felix…
Like every startup, we have to work hard at balancing time, money and resources – and keeping our focus right. Ahead of launching (or re-launching), there’s always another excuse (budget willing) to go back to the product and tweak or add just one more feature. Dev time can feel like a cosy blanket when actually what you need to do is get your thing in front of people and learn about your market and appetites for handing over cold cash.
If you’re over that hump, bitten the bullet and are committed to throwing your baby into the public domain, then your next challenge will be acquisition. How do you get enough people to try and buy?
There’s PPC (and other forms of paid ads), social media, PR, and good old face to face selling. Much of this you’ll be wanting to experiment with to see what generates the best returns – but most often on a constrained budget.
A simple indicator is web traffic. Here’s our daily picture, over the past month.
We re-launched Felix right about in the middle of the line graph. Textbook style, we threw a bunch of different ad campaigns at it (without overspending) and monitored the conversion reports closely.
At the same time, we amped up our social engagement, mainly via Twitter, as that’s where most of our target customers like to hang out. We’re about one week into a pretty labour-intensive engagement campaign where we’re using our product to showcase our wares to people, brands and publishers who we think could use some Felix in their lives.
Here’s the breakdown on the top-level traffic returns…
While we’re pretty pleased with our Google Adwords performance – our targeting is on point, and we’re learning plenty about product/market fit and our keyword universe – it’s a relatively expensive way to scale. And we need scale.
Our return on social media is pretty good. Some of this is also driven via social ads, but being the type of app we are, we never expected much from there. Searchers with intent are a far better fit for us and our ad $$$’s.
Here are our current conversion stats…
- Direct traffic: 30%
- Product Hunt: 27%
- Most other things like Adwords, social ads, wotnot: an even mix of 5-10%
Product Hunt is right up there. It’s our most compelling referral source – and those numbers are changing by the hour.
What baffled me initially was the number of conversions we’ve enjoyed via direct traffic – ie, people plugging www.gofelix.ai straight into their browser. Then I remembered that – sensibly, and for just this effect – we’ve embedded Felix branding into our free trial-tier product. So, when people have been using Felix and sharing their videos and stories, other people have seen our brand and headed straight for our site. This makes us all here very happy indeed.
We’ve now turned off a lot of the paid ad formats we were testing. Instead, we’re putting our time, energy and money behind things like Product Hunt and other, smarter social media-ly aware tactics… ie, PR and engagement. Going back to the objective of re-launching, we want people to be using Felix – and we want that experience to be so good that they’ll share the content that they create, and talk about it more with their friends, family, co-workers, bosses, other teams and departments and such.
And we’ve resisted the temptation to tweak anything further at the code level, for now. It’s all hands to the pump on sales and marketing – so if you see either James or me online at strange times of the day (inc weekends), you’ll know what we’re up to. Send us a fist bump, too. We’re maxed on caffeine right now and could use some alternative sources of inspiration.
Oh, and if you’re a Product Hunter (or a Product Hunter ‘maker’), please do check us out and if you like what you see then give us an upvote.
Helpful links and posts…
Awesome blog post from Product Hunt on how to use the platform well.