November 29, 2019

#1 on Product Hunt: 3 Reasons Why

Louis-Xavier Lavallee @louisxavierl

This week @danbe and I launched our Case Studies on Product Hunt and ended in the #1 spot.

Here’s the actual graph of the day:

Now as IndieHackers the stories of “how to launch on PH” are always exciting (our fellow indie hacker Harry from MarketingExamples wrote a great playbook for PH Launches), but today we want to take a step back...

And highlight the 3 underlying strategies that REALLY helped us reach that #1 spot — waaaaaay before launch week.

It should work for you too if you adapt them to your business.

So here they are... the REAL drivers of our growth:

🏛PILLAR #1: The Power of Stories

Humans love stories. We’re more prone to be captivated by a story than by any other form of content. For us, stories were the best way to engage viewers in learning new valuable product & design strategies without having the feeling of plowing through dozens of boring Medium blog posts.

📝TAKEAWAY #1: Find Your Unique Voice

You don't need to create "comic book content" as we do to leverage the power of stories. Think about YOUR journey as an IndieHacker. What are the unique elements and traits you can use to help spread the word about your offer? (Scott Mccloud has an amazing book on the topic and the psychology behind it).

🏛PILLAR #2: When Everybody Zigs, Zag

Our product/design content is technically competing with THOUSANDS of other Medium blog posts by some pretty well-established folks.

We could have played the "let's make it better" game, but we chose to go in a completely different direction — we created "interactive comic book slides content".

That alone sets us apart from 99.99% of the alternatives. It makes word of mouth and referral growth much easier for us.

📝TAKEAWAY #2: Double Down On Your Unfair Advantage

What's the one thing that's done by everyone else in your niche that you could do differently—while still delivering a maximum amount of value to your customers? Think about every facet of your business: the format, the design, the experience, the niche, the market. With the right combination, you'll be in your own category and it will be easier for people to remember you and your brand.

PS: There’s an actual book written on the subject called The Brand Gap.

🏛 PILLAR #3: Empathy Is Key

It may sound silly, but one of our main differentiators is the use of bitmojis. We didn't do this just for fun—it was planned. We wanted people to relate to the characters in our stories so that they can truly FEEL the experience with them. That’s why we try to be as explicit as possible with what the user feels during the experience, just like in the gif below, where an unsolicited “sales” pop-up breaks the whole onboarding flow.

This also directly relates to one of the tactics that got us to 9k+ subscribers: Feedback as a Growth Driver..

We used to get very critical feedback on our content (« too long », « too short », not enough references, weird typography, etc etc). The Reddit and DesignerNews forum were a harsh but very useful place to get honest feedback to iterate.

In other words, we did a LOT of user research to iterate on our product MONTHS before our PH launch. That’s why we were confident that it would go fairly well based on the feedback of the previous cohorts of users (we didn’t think it’d go that well though to be honest).

See ProductHunt as the Fuel that helps a « validated » Fire. Not as the initial Spark (unless you’re very lucky).


Don't fall into the trap of becoming "too businessy". Write like you talk. Keep things friendly and human. Spend time understanding your users better than they know themselves. You're likely competing against large established products. Your proximity and friendliness can be a strong competitive advantage in a world of infinite alternatives.

So there you have it.

The 3 pillars that got us a #1 Product of the day on PH!

What about you...

Which of those pillars are part of your business? How do they help you?

I’d also be super curious to hear if you have other fundamental pillars that drive growth for your business.

Let me know by leaving a comment below!

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