On Wednesday this week I launched helloremote.co on Product Hunt, reaching #8 and gaining 222 new email subscribers.
This is a deep dive analysis of what happened......
I finished building the MVP on 27 October 2019 and did about as much QA as I could. But eventually you can’t see the forest for the trees so had to open up to a handful of alpha testers.
I had well over 100 early subscribers on my invite list, so thinking the most recent to sign up would be the most eager, I invited 10 people. Then I got carried away and invited another 10.
That’s when I received multiple emails saying that users couldn’t log in. This is why we do alpha testing. It turned out that the mailchimp list I had used to invite early subscribers, was the same list I had used to integrate with my membership software, so although the users were on the list, they couldn’t confirm their account.
So top tip if you’re launching. Use a different mailchimp list for early subscribers, to the one integrated with your membership software.
I was reasonably confident that I’d resolved the on-boarding issue, so I sent an email to the remaining subscribers on my list, to access the site to help with beta testing.
Unfortunately I’m an idiot, and had not checked the on-boarding issue had been completely resolved, so I started getting more emails saying people couldn’t get in.
That’s pretty embarrassing. So I decided, rather than firefight dozens and dozens of individual emails, I sent an immediate “I screwed up” email with a solution. With everything running smoothly, it was ready to launch on Product Hunt.
Here is a breakdown of my launch day:
(The PH post was set up in advance, scheduled to go live at 9am UK time, which is 0100 PST)
0615 - Woke up and checked the website and the PH draft post. Reviewed the products that had ended at the top of the list the previous day.
0630 - Decided I needed to reword the tagline, to include the word "free" to catch peoples attention.
0645 - Made a few changes to the PH post wording, and checked the website again.
0700 - Normal morning routine (Breakfast, few errands, walk).
0825 - Started work and cleared inbox. Checked PH and saw a dozen posts that had already launched. I still had 35 mins until mine was scheduled. I saw the most popular item had 14 up votes so far, and I became worried that those posts would get an early advantage lead, so decided to push my post live immediately.
0826 - Pushed live, and posted a tweet from my personal account, which I then retweeted with the helloremote twitter account.
0827 - Took a screenshot of the original tweet and posted it to my ~800 followers on Instagram
0828 - Checked PH to see if I could see my post. Nothing yet.
0830 - And again. Still nothing.
0832 - It's live with one upvote (an automated upvote from me). Checked it again a few more times, to see if it appears in the main feed. Pretty much do this constantly for the next 20 mins.
0852 - Just realised I'm up against Facebook pay. They're on 22 votes already. I'm on 1 vote, which is mine.
0859 - Tried to upvote my post anonymously to get it off the 1 vote mark. Didn't work, you need an account. Just seen the top post is now for an app that counts calories just by taking a picture of the food.
0904 - Remind myself that this is going to last for another 23 hours, so I just need to settle into the day, and treat it like normal. Whatever happens, happens. Tomorrow is day 1 of the next phase.... growth.
0926 - Checked progress again. Still no upvotes.
1043 - Checked again and I've still had no upvotes. Starting to think about ways to promote this, so I at least get on the radar later in the day. I need to re-read the PH best practices around promotion.
1137 - I checked again and saw that I had 6 upvotes, so it's starting to kick in. I noticed that another image had been added to the post, of my homepage, which I most definitely did not add to the post. I think the helpful folks at PH reviewed my images and optimised them for me, which is really nice.
1146 - Got a twitter DM from somebody who didn't receive their double opt in confirmation email. FFS here we go again.
1149 - Got a follow up DM from the same person saying it just took a few minutes to come through, into the spam folder. I suspect this is the same issue I had before, and the autoresponder is the email the user is getting. But the person did say they were really excited to get started. Do I need to tweak my on boarding process, to help deliver value quicker?
1207 - PH give you a dashboard that gives you an overview of your launch which is really interesting. Currently 17th position with 8 votes with 19 hours and 51 mins to go.
1315 - Currently 16th position with 16 votes. USA is just waking up now.
1447 - Currently 13th position with 32 votes. 17 hours left to go.
1534 - Currently 10th position with 53 votes. 16 hours left to go. Apple have just announced the new macbook 16" laptop, which has gone straight to #3.
1730 - Currently 9th position with 90 votes. Basecamp has released a free service for freelancers and it's gone straight to #1. Github has released a mobile tool, and that's gone to #2.
1854 - Currently 8th position with 114 votes. Could I get in the top 5?
2118 - Currently 6th position with 170 votes. Start getting tweets and emails from people saying what a great idea it is.
2313 - Currently 7th position with 187 votes. Going to bed.
0700 - I ended up at 8th position for the day, with a total of 312 upvotes and an additional 222 users signed up for HelloRemote.
PH encourages you to post a tweet to your PH post on launch day. If you have a large, engaged following on twitter, this can have a massive impact on the number of upvotes you get. Getting near the top of the list early, creates a fly wheel effect, as more people see you.