Product Hunt, the curation of all things awesome, featured what sounds like a pretty boring thing; a screen recording software.
But I didn’t take long for people to realize how unique ilos really is. In fact, from the time ilos was hunted by Tom Maiser at 9:00 AM, to the end of the day, ilos was already featured on the Product Front Homepage with over 500 up-votes and +20 comments. In true Product Hunt fashion, this was not your average screen recorder.
It was, as the original poster, Tom Maisero, said, a way to “Record, share, and store videos on the cloud .. I dig it!”
First off, does Product Hunt even help?
Yes, yes, yes! Let’s look at the numbers by day:
How we got hunted
Unlike companies that plan a release around Product Hunt, we were hunted completely by surprise. Someone informed us on Slack around 9 AM, and then… Bang! We were fielding support questions from new users, getting plugged into the PH community via comments, and spinning up promos for our new PH users. Talk about a whirlwind!
What did we do?/Advice
Once it hit us that we had been hunted, our minds raced faster and faster as we tried figuring out how to make the most of it. What do we do? How do we best handle this? How do we capitalize on this opportunity? Should we take to Twitter or let things sit? So, we took a step back, called up the people we trust most in the startup community, and asked what the hell you’re supposed to do when you’re hunted. They were immeasurably helpful, and we would have been lost without their advice. Here’s some of what we learned:
- Post to your social accounts — but don’t link right to your Product Hunt page or ask for up-votes. This is frowned upon by the community and can even get you penalized by the Product Hunt admins. Instead, just let people know you’re on there, and let them decide whether you deserve their up-vote. We linked to producthunt.com/tech and let people browse themselves. We also scheduled posts every 30 minutes for a couple of hours on Buffer and created a quick image on pablo.
- All hands on deck — founders, marketers, developers, and your kid brother included. You’re going to get a lot of questions and higher traffic than you’ve seen before. Your servers may not handle the heavy influx of traffic, so be ready to help in creative ways. Our signup page, for instance, went down for some users when traffic hit its peaks, so we took the time to create accounts for those users manually through our on-page chat tool; thanks, Intercom, and thanks, patient users :).
- Get in the conversation — Be active on your PH thread. It’s a community of passionate and avid tech fans. They’ll ask questions, and you need to be there to answer everything from “What’s your target market?” to “Why are you different from competition? I think it would be sweet if your product did X. Is that in the plans?” This can be a great driver of feedback and can shorten a sales cycle by acting as a stand-in salesperson. Even if just a small portion of your target market is on Product Hunt, DON’T IGNORE THIS.
- Respond to negative Comments — You will most likely receive a fair share of negative comments as well. Things like, “Why is it so expensive?” and “I already use a better tool” will come up but don’t freak out. It’s totally normal and the best thing to do is respond and take it with ease.
- Prefer to be hunted — You can launch on Product Hunt, but there are numerous posts and stories from weathered veteran entrepreneurs and tech marketers telling you to just be a part of the community for a while. Hunt, comment, ask questions, follow users you like, and you’ll start to find what makes the community tick. You can then a) wait until you’re hunted organically (as we did), or b) ask someone you’ve built a relationship with to assist in your launch. Organic is better than promotional in communities like this. For more on this, check out this great post:https://www.reddit.com/r/startups/comments/3sg9zg/we_got_featured_on_product_hunt_all_we_got_were/cwx30wx
- The step we didn’t take — Have a plan for when you’re hunted. You should have a plan for any media storm that might happen, but there are specifics to each type. Take the advice we’ve given above, and have it ready for when things happen. PH worked out great for us, but it took us an hour or so to get a plan in action. When you only have the day you’re featured to take advantage of front page exposure, you don’t want to waste any time.
Product Hunt is an exclusive place to be featured, and it didn’t become like that by chance. The terms of Product Hunt are very clear and fairly strict for good reason. Their rules and conditions play a huge role in the process of selecting the very best products to serve up every day, and for this, we are very grateful.
After the hype of being featured on Product Hunt, all the members of the ilos team have subscribed and are actively following the “tech” section every day. It really is a great way to stay up with new tech, and I highly recommend you do it too. Good luck!
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