Last Thursday I launched Newsletter OS on Product Hunt.
Thought I'd share some of my lessons.
I had wanted to get into the Top 5 Products of the day, but I picked a day when the Avengers were out to play. So that didn't happen. But guess what... # product of the day wasn't the key metric I was focused on. More on that in a bit.
An unexpected side outcome was that Newsletter OS was the most commented on product of the week. There is no award or special mention for that but I am so proud of that, and so grateful for everyone's support.
How do I define success?
- Sales. There is no point getting Product of the Week but making 0 sales. Actual sales validate a product. I aimed to achieve 50 sales in a single day (a pretty modest target) and was successful.
- Conversations & Engagement. I wanted to get people talking about the product and sharing what they liked about it!
- Upvotes. I wanted to get enough upvotes to place in the front page & subsequent newsletter so that more budding newsletter writers, or people who want to improve their newsletters would learn about my product.
Remember that my vision for Newsletter OS is "Growing the passion economy & newsletter space by helping newsletter creators launch, grow and monetize their newsletters") so these goals bring me closer to achieving that.
I wanted to get my product launched on a heavy traffic day. I could have gotten a Top 3 placing easily on Saturday or Sunday, but people aren't really looking. I wanted more eyeballs on my product than anything. As a competitive person, I like to say, bring it on. Be the small fish in the big pond.
However, I didn't expect my product to place so low due to the big players! Next time, I might try for a Friday launch as it has carry-over effects to the weekend, and to the next week, and there is focused attention on the product (appears on Top 3 lists etc.)
24 hours after launch
Product Hunt Stats
- 519 upvotes
- 157 comments
- 7th product of the day
- Appeared in Product Hunt's newsletter
- 60 sales
- $2535 revenue (crossed $10k in revenue!)
- +147 Twitter followers
- 1023 + 773 Site visits
4 days after launch
Product Hunt Stats
- +251 Twitter followers in total (before launch I had 2,815)
- +133 newsletter subscribers
- 48 extra sales
- Got a mention on Means of Creation by @csallen. Thanks Courtland!
Ok, here for the juicy part. The tips.
This launch was part careful & meticulous planning, and part winging it. Newsletter OS' Product Hunt launch was taking up a lot of space in my head so I decided to just go with speed, and learn from it rather than optimize down to every detail. (Which I can do if I want to since I'm actually a recovering perfectionist ha ha)
That being said, check out some of the work I did prior to launch.
- Build a product people love. The best fuel for a fiery launch is a product that people are raving about. I didn't incentivize my audience or customers to comment but they did. In droves.
- Talk to people who have been successful with launches. Thanks to @dru_riley, @Michael, @falakdigital, @trulykp, @genemachine for sharing your guides. Also learned from @maxrand17's write-up.
- Share your flaws & roadblocks. People will help you out. I had a tough time with logos / design, and @OskarMendez helped me to put together a beautiful logo. I think I almost teared up when I saw it for the first time, it's so beautiful. Check out the story behind it here. Thanks to everyone else like Ash & Brian Ball for reaching out with tips!
- Build a landing page & set up analytics. I used Carrd by @ajlkn to set up a simple landing page. (Ok, maybe it's not that simple but I've been building landing pages in Carrd so much that it's almost second nature now. Experience compounds.) I had used Gumroad initially but I wanted to level up the game.
- Collaborate with people. As a solo maker, you can't do everything yourself. No matter how talented you are, there is always opportunity cost. Why spend hours fussing over design if it's not your forte? Maybe others can do it in half the time. And you can help them out sometime in the future. Play to your strengths.
Other than Oskar, I had three other wonderful contributors (also IndieHackers) help me out, and I gave them shoutouts in my product. Thank you @Michael_Andreuzza @xyz123 @jakesing!
- Bring other people into the conversation. I challenged the copy.ai team to create taglines for my Product Hunt launch. It was fun! I also got people to vote on image colors. Even though more people voted for a gradient color, I chose the dark blue option due to improve its accessibility. People love to feel like they're a part of building something. That's why I like Building In Public. You get to inspire others, and learn from them at the same time.
- Create great launch images. Professional images go a long way. I used a nice box design to make my thumbnail eye-catching. There are a lot of free resources out there, but mine was from Mockups-design.com
- Preview your copy & images on PreviewHunt and share this with your hunter
- Get a second set of eyes on your stuff. Got a circle of close friends (thanks LaunchMBA community thank you @lesleypizza especially! to look at my Product Hunt copy, and @robhope @genemachine @falaksher @grmmph for giving me some quick pointers on how to improve my landing page). The folks at GrowthMentor also provided some detailed copy teardowns. (Note that it's an aff link - happy to chat if you want to find out more)
Launch Day Activities
- KP helped me to schedule the launch for 12:01AM. I kicked the day off by asking a few friends to join the conversation early on via the DMs (This is when the Europeans and Asians are awake, so I recommend reaching out to them first)
- I started this Twitter thread. Remember that asking for votes is a no-no. Ask people to "join the conversation" or ask them for "their support"
- I shared it in communities that I was in. Thanks everyone for helping to amplify my voice, especially @anthilemoon @laceykesler @falaksher @kieranball for even including it in your emails ♥️ Plus @rosiesherry for helping me out on Twitter!
- I shared it in the mailing list I have for customers of Newsletter OS.
- I replied to every single comment on Product Hunt. This helps the algorithm.
You can read my lessons 12 hours into the launch for more details. Here's my build in public thread too
One thing I didn't do...
I didn't email all of my subscribers from my curated newsletter to get them to support me. Earlier in the week I got carried away and talked a little bit too much about Newsletter OS.
I received 20 unsubscribes on Tuesday. I didn't want to share about this initially because it's embarrassing. Getting so many unsubs when I'm selling a newsletter product? That's not a good look.
Due to these mass unsubs, I felt bad and planned not to bug my subscribers, since I promised to, well, not spam them in my landing page and I thought I could pull off a top 5 finish without relying on their support. I was wrong.
More than 12 hours into the launch, I scrambled to put something together and tested it with a very small segment of 180 subscribers. Got 2 additional unsubscribes. Decided to ditch the entire plan at that moment since I don't like to feel like a pest.
But my friend @swyx says "be shameless when launching ur own thing. its fine. those weren't real fans."
What would you have done if you were me? I am curious.
I gave my launch my all. Threw myself at it. Didn't sleep much for the whole week as I was busy preparing for it.
So often people forget that launching on Product Hunt means that you're up against some pretty big players (in my case, it was truly a David vs Goliath story as I was against Gumroad (94k followers), Listory ($4m seed money) and large team, and my bud @harrydry (75k followers). And being a one-person team means you need to hustle and be everywhere yourself. I only slept 3.5 hours between 2:55AM and 6:25AM I think
So naturally, on Friday I crashed. It was so nice to receive this little note from @agustarson in my inbox. See, Johannes and I haven't talked much before but he sent a coffee and it totally made me smile. Thanks!
I took a break this weekend which was nice. I now have a renewed focus in building out this product & getting it in front of more people!
At the end of the day, Product Hunt is just a distribution channel. Don't spend months trying to prep for your launch.
Spend time being active & helpful in communities like Indie Hackers, and you will get more traction for your products & services. I promise.
P.S. There is a trickle effect from Product Hunt that doesn't end on launch day, so if you would love to show your support, check Newsletter OS out on Product Hunt, and subscribe to my newsletter
P.P.S. Thanks @Nicwondering @philipptemmel @genemachine @dru_riley @yarobagriy @trulykp @5harath @curtiscummmings @andreboso @lesleypizza for being such super supporters and hearing me out when I have silly imposter syndrome (yes folks, it happens to me too) Tons more to thank and that will come soon!