Growth July 2, 2020

How I earned $16K in 48 hours with my SaaS launch (Detailed breakdown)

Danny Postma @DannyPostma

Hey Indiehackers,

The last few days have been absolutely insane for me. On Monday I launched, a headline-generating tool on Producthunt. Within 48 hours, I broke my last launch record by 15x.

48-hour stats:
💰 $15875 in revenue
📦 311 customers
👀 11.000 visitors
📈 2.8% conversion rate (4.5% on the first 24 hours)

In this detailed write-up, I'll explain exactly what I did on the launch and leading up to it. Hopefully, this will help you next time you'll launch.

(Quick note. English is my second language. The post will contain some mistakes, but it's about the learning, not proper formatting. Enjoy!)

Table of content: (1800 words, 9 min reading time)

  1. The Start
  2. Prelaunch
    2.1. Validation
    2.2. Landing Page
    2.3. Onboarding
  3. Launch
    3.1. Producthunt Setup
    3.2. Launching: The Flywheel Effect
    3.3. Facebook Life Time Deal Group
  4. What's Next

1. The start

Three years ago I and a friend wrote a book, Headline Formulas, which to this day sold over 600 copies. I've gotten a lot of requests if I could transform this book into a tool, to make it even more usable.

I decided to do this for two reasons:

  1. Books on average sell for $19. A tool can sell for way more
  2. It was way easier for me to launch this product, as I already had the base of the product ready. Also, I could reuse the copy I wrote for the emails and landing page.

So, a month ago I started building the product.

2. Prelaunch

This part of the story will include everything I did before launching on Monday.

2.1 Validation

I basically already knew the product would have a market fit, as the book it's based on already sold hundreds of copies. But, before launching, I wanted to make sure the product used the right headline (pretty important for a headline tool, right?)

The ad had a CTR of 28% and the simple landing page converted at 13.5%. Not bad at all, which motived me to keep on going with the product.

All traffic was sent to the page below, where they could input their email to be notified on launch.

While building the tool I kept on tweeting about it too, linking them to this page. This is how I build a waiting list of 335 email addresses.

2.2 Landing Page

A strong landing page is super important when launching. Most of your visitors will come in blank, not knowing much about the product. Your goal is to convince them to either buy or try to product out.

I follow two models when creating a landing page. AIDA and The Lift Model.


Attention + Clarity:
You've got one second to convince someone to stay on your page or leave. Your hero should be all about dragging your visitor on the page and communicating exactly what the product is.

Interest + Pain/Solution:
Once convinced you to need to make the customer interested in your product. Start with communication the pain a visitor has and tell how your product will solve this. After that, show the main benefits of your product.

Desire + Relevance:
You've got the interest of your visitor. Now it's time to make them love your product and convince them to buy or try it out. Show how easy your product is to use and what they can achieve with it. List your customer testimonials and tell them why they should buy your product.

Action + Urgency:
Your visitor wants the product. Now make them take action! BJ Foggs Behavior Model states that there are three variables that need to be present for a visitor to take action.

Action = Motivation X Ability X Trigger

Remove one of the variables, and the chance of someone taking action decreases.

This bar is not fake! It's based on life data pulled from my payment provider Chargebee. This is how I set it up in Node and VueJS.

2.3 Onboarding

Onboarding was absolutely critical for Headlime. Without proper onboarding, users would land on a meaningless screen full of empty headlines. I needed to make sure that the value was communicated as clearly as possible.

The first screen you see after clicking the "Start Generating Headlines" button immediately asks you to provide some information.

Based on these six inputs, I can generate 15 of the 200 headlines, providing an immediate value of the tool and showing the exact power Headlime has to offer. Also, now the visitor knows exactly how the tool works. It's basically a quick free trial.

There are a few extra optimizations on this screen for this launch which I think worked pretty well.

  1. Show that the first 15 headlines are a free "gift", making it feel like you're getting something instead of losing something.
  2. Clearly show that they are missing out on features.
  3. Make the upgrade buttons super clear
  4. Communicate how many more headlines there are
  5. Add the extra motivation by showing the limited supply bar again

Clicking the Unlock All button directly shows you the upgrade popup. No need for a detailed pricing page which takes them out of the process. Visitors simply upgrade and can immediately continue what they were doing.

2.4 Life Time Deals

I got many questions about why I would launch with a lifetime deal. Why not choose monthly and increase your MMR? I've got a few reasons for this:

  1. I myself are completely subscription fatigued. I'm already using loads of tools I pay monthly for and there is just so many a person can pay for until it starts to be a burden on your pipeline.
  2. People churn, especially when your product is new. Getting $89 per sale means 9 months of revenue. There is a super high chance someone would cancel way before that.
  3. I'd rather have the money up front so I can reinvest. This launch gave me a year of runway to work on this and other projects.
  4. Life Time Deals are HOT 🌶🌶🌶. Later more about this.

3. Launch

Now comes the most important step, the launch! A proper launch can make or break your initial exposure. Below I will explain the exact steps I went through for Headlimes launch. I accidentally stumbled on this strategy when I launch my previous SaaS, Inspireframe, 1 month ago, and used it again.

3.1 Producthunt Setup

I absolutely love to launch on Producthunt. It's such a great combination to get extra traction on your launch day. There are many blogs written about launching strategies. These are the extra ones I like to use:

  1. I like to launch on Mondays. There isn't much competition + it gives you a higher chance of being mentioned in the weekly summary and newsletter
  2. Use a GIF for your thumbnail. This gives it more attention
  3. Write a killer introduction post. Use your landing page content if you wrote it like the AIDA+Lift Model.

3.2 Launching: The Flywheel

A quick definitely of what a flywheel is: "A flywheel is a device specifically designed store rotational energy. To change a flywheel's stored energy its rotational speed must be increased".

Flywheels need incremental energy to build up its speed. You start with a little and eventually it speeds up more and more. I use the following steps to speed up the flywheel.

First of all a massive shoutout to my Hackagu friends. Hackagu started as a group of developers in Canggu, Bali who work together every Thursday. Over time it grew to a community of 100 people helping each other out in with building their products. This group helped me learn to program 8 months ago and I couldn't have done it without them.

Every time someone launches their product, everyone gets super excited and helps out. This got me the first few votes to get some traction on Producthunt.

After that, I send the launch email to my mailing lists. I've got a total of a shy 1000 email subscribers, which account for 48 sales! Most of the sales came from the launch waiting list as described in part 2.1 of this post. The email told them about the product with a small footnote that we were also on Producthunt today.

Twitter is where the flywheel really starts to take momentum. Twitter is the second biggest contributor to my sales, visitors, and Producthunt exposure.

I start the launch by tweeting a Twitter thread about the launch and the product. You can see this thread over here. This single tweet resulted in 1800 clicks to my Producthunt launch and 67.000 impressions.

You don't need many followers to do this. I had the same results when launching Inspireframe. At that time I had only 500 followers.

After that, I keep the flywheel going by sharing our winnings. I absolutely love to do this, as I got super inspired by other postings about this. This basically started my whole journey!

In total, the Twitter launch got me over 600 extra followers and more than 100.000 impressions. That's a lot!!

Indie Hackers
On launch day I posted that I would rewrite your landing page headlines here. This got way more reply than I ever hoped. Thanks for joining us. After many hours of writing, I am still busy finishing the last ones. Please don't add more to it haha.

I posted this because I love to do something back for this amazing community after being a long term lurker. Also, wanted to test to see if this could give the Producthunt launch a little extra boost, which it definitely did! 😍

Implementing all these steps gives me the most exposure on launch day over a combination of different channels. All collaborating on growing the other channels.

3.3 Facebook Life Time Deal Group

I stumbled onto this niche while launching my other product last month. Apparently there are dedicated groups for Life Time Deals! People either just love to get a good deal, or they buy the lifetime deals as an investment, to sell later when the product price goes up.

One of my customers posted Headlime on this Facebook group. This group bought a total of 135 copies of Headlime and is a huge contributor to the launch success 🤯. This made me realize there are so many more places to utilize when launching.

What's Next

I hope this detailed write up helps you out on your next launch. Don't see this as a blueprint to success, but more as a view in the kitchen on launch day. I'm still in absolute shock what happened the last few days and there are probably many things I could have done better.

Follow me on Twitter if you want to follow my product making journey. My 5-year plan is to create products to make every step of landing page creation easy!

Thanks for reading! <3

Useful Links:

  1. 9

    Awesome product @DannyPostma ! It's like nocode but for copywriting! So cool.

    One questions I have to ask (since I'm learning to code now too) - how did you learn to code only 8 months ago and managed to build Landingfolio and Headlime??? That's super impressive because Landingfolio doesn't look like a simple development project for someone who just started coding... please do share your journey and tips! ;)

    1. 8

      Hey Jason! I knew how to code HTML/CSS before, but nothing about any other languages. No backend or frontend experience for the rest.

      I started watching videos about the difference between Vue/React/Angular and settled on VueJS as that looked the most easy.

      After that I watched some introduction videos about Vue on Youtube to get the basic grasp of it and set out to build Landingfolio. I cannot learn from courses, so the process was a lot of trial and error.

      I kept building new functions are ran into many learning chalanges on the way.

      User Auth -> Learn Firebase
      Needed an API -> Learn NodeJS
      Needed a database -> Learn MongoDB

      Etc etc. This way I learned all the essential skills I needed.

      From when I was a child I could get sucked up badly into things I loved and I realized programming was one of them. I got a lot of help from friends along the way about how I should solve various coding chalanges.

      Landingfolio basically had all code I needed for future projects, so I could just copy paste most of them Inspireframe and Headlime.

      All three projects use the same, seperated backends too so I don’t have to spin up new backend servers.

      1. 1

        @DannyPostma thank you for taking the time to type out a detailed reply. It's really encouraging. I was checking out Vue myself to build a sort of static html generator. You mentioned that Hackergu helped you a you think you could have gotten to where you are right now by just figuring things out on your own (like googling stackoverflow, youtube)? I don't get much help so wondering if I should...

        1. 1

          I think solving high level questions is better with some help from others. For example, I had no clue how to properly join collections in Mongo. Having someone tell you a best practise can save you weeks of trying to solve. You can always post these questions on StackOverflow or join a developer community like WIP and get the same help 😌

          1. 2

            Great tips, thank you! That's very true. Often I just need someone to point me to some best practice key words and I can try figure out from there. WIP dev community is great for sure!

            Thanks for enlightening. Please keep writing. Great stuff.

    2. 3

      Also curious to know :)
      I also learned some web dev skills about 10 months ago and was able to build, market and sell a side-project - Now I'm writing a book on this.
      But it looks like Danny's dev skills are top notch.

  2. 2

    Congrats Danny. Loved the write-up, and a very cool product.

  3. 2

    Congratulations, @DannyPostma! 🔥

    Headlime is like a swipe file, but without the pain of manually changing each formula.

  4. 2

    Congrats man. Great write up

    1. 1

      Thanks, Harry! Means a lot 🙏🏻

  5. 2

    This is a wonderful detailed breakdown, thank you so much for sharing!

    1. 1

      Happy you like it! 😌

  6. 2

    Amazing execution and thank you very much for sharing this amount of details!

    1. 1

      Thanks you! Loved to write it down and help other and also have a blueprint for myself next time.

  7. 2

    Once you know it's market fit, you won. Good job, sir!

    1. 1

      Thank you! 😍

  8. 2

    Brilliant. ☆☆☆☆☆

    1. 1


  9. 2

    I'm super inspired! Such a great launch 🙌

    1. 1

      Thanks for all the help Marcel! 🙏🏻

  10. 2

    Saw yesterday on PH and liked it a lot. Congrats with the launch @DannyPostma

    It's great to read all your success journey, very useful and encouraging.

    Life Time Deals are HOT 🌶🌶🌶. Later more about this.

    Totally agree with you, especially to the kind-of-like products. (You got one more sold LTD ;)

    1. 1

      Wooooh, welcome! 🔥

  11. 2

    Brilliant Danny - very well deserved and thanks for the breakdown. Lots to learn from this tiered approach.

    I wanted to pick your brain about the demo video views on the PH post. It has 64 views on a 1284+ upvote product. What do you think is happening here?

    • YT isn't counting autoplay embeds?
    • People aren't watching the video?
    • People quickly skipped to the images within a few seconds so YT didn't count?
    • People don't care about video in PH launches?

    I'd love to get to the bottom of this and learn from it...

    1. 2

      Good question Rob!

      Honestly, from my own experience, I never ever check the videos or images and straight go to the products website or check the comments. Might be that PH audience acts the same as me haha

  12. 1

    Hi @DannyPostma
    How did you create the video on the homepage?

  13. 1

    @DannyPostma Very inspiring, Thanks.

    Few questions regarding the landing page design:

    1. I mostly see white backgrounds these days, at least for SaaS products, why did you use a dark one?

    2. Does the animation on the buttons increase conversion?

    3. Why did you use animation on the Hero main text (2 messages...)

    4. You didn't use any exit pops or welcome messages - Is it on purpose or you just didn't have time to do it?

    1. 2
      1. Wanted to design something different this time 😍
      2. No clue, thought it looked nice + it's more obvious
      3. To display that the headline is actually one of the templates of the product
      4. Absolutely hate those 😵
  14. 1

    Thank you so much for detailing your process. Bookmarked for later!

    Curious - did you do any A/B testing of your website prior to launch? The contrasting colors are very effective (and unusual).

    Congrats again & look forward to seeing your next project.

    1. 1

      Only A/B tested the headline, nothing more. Been analyzing and A/B testing loads of landing pages over the last 5 years, so mostly know what would work or won’t from those experiences :)

  15. 1

    inspiring post! congratulation

  16. 1


  17. 1

    Great work Danny, well done. Thanks for breaking everything down too. Really useful.

  18. 1

    Thanks for sharing this gold content!

  19. 1

    Awesome product Danny!

    One little little thing I felt is, in your headline, you could add "even" to "without writing". So that it would say "without even writing".

    This made more sense to me, but again this would come to what's working and what others are saying. Cool product!

  20. 1

    Congrats for this launch @DannyPostma ! This breakdown is very useful, thanks!
    Do you have an article or a blog that describes your experience in Bali? Would love to read about it

    1. 1

      Thanks, Steph! I actually don't write much, always thought I was bad at it haha. This post has been the longest one I've created in years 😅

  21. 1

    Incredible writeup! Congrats on the launch, and thanks for sharing your knowledge

  22. 1

    This is great! Thanks for the breakdown and good job! Very inspiring

  23. 1

    Thanks for sharing!👍 Also, great software you made there.

  24. 1

    Great thread Danny and many congratulations on such a dream launch. I would like clarity on one thing though - how did your tweet manage to get so much visibility?

    I ask because yesterday I posted an article here on IH and also wrote a very helpful (i thought so) tweet thread. I didn't expect too many clicks, but had hoped for more likes.

    Did you follow any template there? Like the time of the day or so?

    1. 2

      I follow a small template I tested on my Twitter.

      Basically follow the AIDA model in my tweets too. Start with a short attention-catching intro followed by the content and ending with a CTA.

      Twitter threads work really well too!

      I've noticed that any tweets send before 9AM CEST do way less well than tweets send after (Europe awake, gets engagement, than US wakes up and sees the high engaged tweet too)

      I'm also very lucky to have a few friends with big followers count who retweeted the tweet. Definitely added to the extra views!

  25. 1

    Wow 🤯 Congrats Danny! Would you like to share your full tech stack?

    1. 2

      Nuxt, MongoDB, NodeJS, Firebase Auth. Heroku for frontend, Digital Ocean backend :)

      1. 1

        Awesome, love that stack too. What Tier do you have on Heroku and Digital Ocean? :)

  26. 1

    Congratulation on the achievement and many thanks for detailed process.
    Already upvoted, but now more excited knowing what all went into the product.

  27. 1

    Really good breakdown with plenty of actionable advice. Thanks, Danny!

  28. 1

    Excellent tool and authentic post! Thanx!

  29. 1

    Super! and a lot of lessons

  30. 1

    Inspiring! Thanks for the write-up and all the best!

  31. 1

    Congratulations!. Thanks on sharing the process 🙏. Very inspiring...

  32. 1

    Excellent write-up and congratulations to a fantastic launch, I will bookmark this for my coming launch. There is a lot of good stuff in your article that can work as an inspiration.

    1. 1

      Hope it helps make the launch even better! 🔥

  33. 1

    Excellent tips @DannyPostma ! I’ve just tested the tool, very cool.

    1. 1

      Thank you, Nick!

  34. 1

    THIS IS FUCKING INSANE!!! Congratulations @DannyPostma - living the dream mate... living the dream ; )

    1. 1

      I know right??? I’m still in absolute shock about this 🤯

  35. 1

    Great success story @DannyPostma. Congratulations!

    1. 1

      Thanks man!

  36. 1

    Thanks for breaking down the flywheel for your product! Curious to understand your perspective on how different the flywheel looks for different products/companies

    1. 2

      I think the main purpose of it is to utilize different platforms to give bigger platforms a boost. If Reddit is important for you, you could send and email to your newsletter and tell them about the Reddit post you wrote for example. That way you get a nice little traction when you post it and than Reddit takes it to the next level.

  37. 1


    1. 1

      Thanks :)

  38. 1

    Amazing. Really, 95% of the work is in the preparation. Launching is just the result of that hard work of figuring every detail out.

    We had a brief exchange when I submitted my landing page to landingfolio. the design has changed a lot. great seeing you here!

    1. 1

      Yep! Preparing all content for just for the launch takes me about a day of 3. Thank you 🙏🏻

  39. 1

    Awesome, thanks for sharing in such detail. I'm working on launching on product hunt soon and this is great information!

    The lifetime deal is interesting, it for sure creates a sense of urgency for the person checking out your product if you create a limit on them. I've been thinking about offering something like this when launching on product hunt. It's not sustainable for a long-term Sass but to get your first customer advocates and get some cash for advertising, I see it as a big win for everyone!

    1. 1

      Exactly! And your early adopters will promote your product again which will grow your MMR.

  40. 1

    Super Congrats @DannyPostma, and thanks for the great writeup!
    I'm curios what the distribution between lifetime and monthly is?

    1. 1

      Thanks Chris! Around 20 people are on the monthly plan and 300 on the life time deals.

      1. 1

        Sweet! And never heard about hackagu, is it still on every thursday?

  41. 1

    Wow! Funny because I didn't know how knew this was but I love it, I have people using it at my job. Great work :)

    1. 1

      That’s super awesome to hear haha. Which company is that?

  42. 1

    Danny you absolutely killed with this one. Congratulations for the awesome launch and I still can't believe I get to read all these details for free. Thank you for creating such a well structured article of your amazing product launch journey and sharing it with us. I am also extremely grateful for the Indie Hackers community.

    1. 1

      Thanks man! Still in shock about it all.

  43. 1

    Awesome, thanks for sharing it all. Good luck with your next products.

    1. 1

      Thank you!

  44. 1

    Congrats Danny for the launch and thank you for sharing your experience! We will also prepare a PH launch for Pixel UI and your insight helps a lot. Bookmarked this post. 😄

    1. 2

      Looking forward to your next launch man!

  45. 1

    @DannyPostma Amazing post! I'm just getting ready to launch a new product and this helps alot. Thank you!

    1. 1

      Thank you and good luck with the upcoming launch. You got this!

  46. 1

    Thanks for taking the time to write this all out Danny!
    It's amazing seeing behind the curtain for this kind of launch, and inspiring for us all.
    Congrats on the big pay day :)

    1. 1

      Thanks man! Happy to share and help the community out 😍

  47. 1

    Excellent post, very inspiring @DannyPostma

    1. 1

      Thank you! 🙏🏻