What would you do to get on the front page of Product Hunt? What value would it even bring to your company? My team at Bunny Inc. just went through a rigorous 6 months of building and launching our latest product: ArticleBunny. As part of our launch efforts, I decided to make Product Hunt a big initiative. It paid off: in a span of 2 days, we drove over 5,000 highly targeted site visitors and over 100 projects posted. This post is about how we did it.
What you will learn in this post: this post is about ideation to launch. We conceptualized the idea of ArticleBunny in the Winter of 2014 and launched the product in June 2015. You will learn how we chose to build and launch ArticleBunny (out of the many options that we had) and how we hit the top 4 on Product Hunt on Wednesday, June 17th.
Who will benefit from this post: entrepreneurs, product managers and growth hackers.
Conception: why we built ArticleBunny
In the Fall of 2014, we decided to expand our product lines horizontally and go after new creative categories. VoiceBunny is a big success, but we’re confined to the relatively small voice over vertical. We therefore looked at several opportunities to expand our creative categories: article writing, design, animation, and translation.
To identify our best opportunity in a data driven manner, Lucho Molina developed prototypes to test the viability of the product and I drove traffic to these prototypes using a combination of ads and social.
- Scrowll: Get beautifully written articles. Fast. (later became ArticleBunny)
- Animatical: Get beautiful animations easily.
- Bannerific: Get beautifully designed banner ads. Fast.
- Brosurely: Professional creative brochures. Fast. Affordable. Awesome.
- Grafixie: Quit struggling with Photoshop. We can fix it fast.
- Logohopper: No more searching through boring logo designs, let us craft one you’ll love now
- Pencrowd: Get anything written by a professional wordsmith.
- Presopros: Get your presentations beautifully designed by pros. Fast.
- Translat.io: More accurate, less awkward. Affordable professional translations.
Lessons learned from the prototype initiative
1. Test viability through a “pay” button: No, we did not capture credit card information. We thought about it, but decided against it because we did not want to make users feel like they were getting phished for their credit cards. Instead, we tested the incentive to make a purchase with a “Pay” button at the bottom of the submit a project form.
I highly recommend this method to test viability. Collecting emails is not enough. Sure, many site visitors may give you their email to learn more about your product, but how many of them would actually pay for your product?
2. Utilize real time chat to learn more about your visitors: we utilized Olark for our real time chat. It was extremely useful in capturing as much useful information as possible from our potential clients.
3. Create an exit capture to survey your visitors: we built our own exit capture pop up when a site visitor makes the action of moving their mouse above the browser screen. We asked the question: “Hey! Why are you leaving so soon?”
4. Use screen capture to track what site visitors do on your site: we utilized Inspectlet to track what our site visitors were doing on our site. This taught us how to perfect our submit a project form and what elements on the home page incentivize a user to submit a project.
Out of all the prototypes, Scrowll performed the best in terms of ROI: highest value of submitted projects compared to ad cost to drive traffic. We made the decision to build ArticleBunny.
Launch plan: hit the front page of Product Hunt
Product Hunt is a terrific resource to find cool new products, but we did face a big challenge: the majority of hunted products are B2C, not B2B.
Take a look at the past top 5 hunted products (I highlight the B2B products):
As you can see, not many products that are a pure B2B play make the top 5 list.
Another challenge all startups face is that big product releases are hunted at random, so you never know when you’ll have to go up against Spotify or Facebook. In fact, on the day we launched, we were up against Kindle and Nest.
To optimize our efforts and maximize our chance of hitting the front page of Product Hunt, I spearheaded the following initiatives:
1. The Product Hunt exclusive deal
2. Social templates
Pretty simple and straight forward. We have over 60 people on the team. If every one of us asks our social following to check us out on Product Hunt, then we have a good chance of getting momentum started with a few solid votes.
Here are the templates we used:
Facebook and LinkedIn:
I’m super proud to announce that my company launched its new product, ArticleBunny, on Product Hunt today: http://bit.ly/abunnyph.
ArticleBunny is perfect for you if you’re creating content right now for your blog, to build thought leadership, or for content marketing. Thank you so much for your help.
I’m super proud to announce that my company launched its new product, ArticleBunny, on Product Hunt today: http://bit.ly/abunnyph
3. The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC)
I’ve long been a part of the YEC because my good friend Ryan Paugh is a founding member. I worked with Ryan and Jeff Gabel to heavily promote our launch in the YEC community and generate some influential votes. Ryan and Jeff’s help were absolutely instrumental in getting us to the top 4 on Product Hunt.
4. Emails to our closest influential friends
Social is all the craze, but a personalized, individual email sent to your most influential friends can make all the difference. I created an email template and worked with our entire management team to send these emails to the most influential people in our network.
Here is the template I created:
It’s a very important day for my company and I need your help. We officially launched ArticleBunny today and we’re utilizing Product Hunt to maximize our exposure.
How you can help me: please check us out on Product Hunt: https://www.producthunt.com/tech/articlebunny.
What is ArticleBunny: our goal is to help writers get booked for work and help companies delegate their article writing projects. Think of us as the Amazon for writing.
Take it one step further: if you love our mission, then you can really help me by sharing our Product Hunt page on your social channels. Here are some templates you can use:
Facebook: If you’re creating articles for content marketing or are thinking about writing articles for your blog, I recommend you check out ArticleBunny on Product Hunt right now: http://bit.ly/abunnyph. It’s the easiest way to scale your content marketing.
Twitter: Content marketers need to check out ArticleBunny on Product Hunt right now: http://bit.ly/abunnyph
LinkedIn: If you’re creating articles for content marketing or are thinking about writing articles for your blog, I recommend you check out ArticleBunny on Product Hunt right now: http://bit.ly/abunnyph. It’s the easiest way to scale your content marketing.
Thank you so much for your help. I truly appreciate it.
Please let me know how I can be of help to you.
I believe sending these emails was the difference between breaking the top 10, and breaking into the top 4.
5. Comments on top of comments
Tara Tyler and I were moderators for the day, which meant we had the ability to answer questions and comments. To maximize our popularity, I commented on top of Tara’s comments so that it seemed we had more comments than we really had. In this way, people on the front page have an extra incentive to check out what everyone is talking about.
Residual effect (benefits we didn’t plan for)
Though we didn’t get massive PR behind the product, we still got some great residual PR from our Product Hunt efforts. I was introduced to Judith Balea of Tech in Asia who wrote an article about us, which later got picked up by Mashable.
We’re also currently in 6th place in the Services Marketplace group in Product Hunt.
Last, and probably just as important as getting to the front page of Product Hunt, we were featured in the Product Hunt email newsletter.
What I would do differently next time
Although hitting the top 4 on Product Hunt is quite an achievement, there are many things that I could have done differently that could have massive positive results the next time we create a big Product Hunt launch.
1. Launch at 12:01am PST as opposed to 8:00am PST
At the advice of Bram, we launched our campaign at 8am PST. The product that placed #1 on that day already had 200 up votes by the time we placed our product. There was no chance that we were going to catch them, and the fact that they maintained #1 status on Product Hunt for such a long time greatly helped them.
2. Launch a Product Hunt exclusive
Next time we’ll launch a Product Hunt exclusive so that we can get a gold star next to our name. This alone is probably worth an extra 3 – 5% more votes.
3. Ask our friends to vote for us directly from the home page
We’ve received a lot of advice from friends that have launched Product Hunt campaigns telling us that in order to get the most out of each vote, people need to find you on the home page and vote for you from the home page. It makes sense really — Product Hunt doesn’t want this to be a popularity contest.
You can also see their voting system in practice because we are in 4th place with 468 votes, while Kindle Paperwhite is in 3rd place with 369 votes.
Show me the numbers
So what happens when you hit the top page of Product Hunt? Left find out:
We got a huge spike in traffic. Of course, this was expected. However, what was a bit unexpected was how relevant the traffic was: our average sessions duration was over 5 minutes and our page views/session was over 4. Not too bad at all.
In addition, we received well over 100 projects submitted during the first 2 days — a fantastic start for us.
Let me know what questions you have as I’m happy to help. Please also share your experience with Product Hunt so that we can improve the growth process for startups.