Our Product Hunt launch should have failed, but we succeed.
Here is the story how

If you open almost any article about launching an IT product, you will find Product Hunt in a checklist. Product Hunt Launch is a must-have step nowadays, especially, for SaaS products.

  1. Product Hunt Launch allows you to get initial boost and brand awareness
  2. You can attract early adopters who are willing to share feedback and buy a new product
  3. Ad spend is 0. You get a high-quality traffic that usually costs thousands of dollars just for free.

There is only one issue. A winner takes it all. You need to be one of TOP3 products of the day to get the most value from the launch. And it’s an extremely complicated task because of a tough competition.
You can never be sure in an outcome, but there is a couple of factors that determine potential winners at the very beginning:

🦄 Noticeable tech product
Product hunt audience consists of innovators who are hungry for a new cool stuff. If your product looks cool and geeky, hunters may like you. Otherwise, there will not be a match.

🤔 B2C is better than B2B
For sure, B2C products have better chances to get to TOP3 because more people tend to use them. For example, new fancy to-do list app based on blockchain and AI has bigger potential than a software for accountants.

🌍 Community
Your no-name startup can compete with Tesla’s launch or new Slack update (as we did). Brands and no names are treated on equal footing, however, Slack or Tesla has a fan community so it’s much easier for them to get more upvotes. Be aware of it and try to prepare your community of supporters for this battle in advance.

Based on the list above, Captain Growth launch should have failed.

⛔ We are B2B product and the first version was designed especially for Facebook marketers. The majority of Product Hunt users have no clue about Facebook ads.
⛔ We were completely new product with no community at all. Only a few friends knew what we were doing.
✅ The only thing that we had was a tech product with noticeable branding. AI and a funny mascot looked promising and it attracted customers.

So only 1 out of 3. 2 weeks before the launch we understood that chances to succeed are pretty low. And we had only 14 days to hack it.
Going forward, we reached the goal and became TOP 3 product of the day along with Slack and a launch made by Product Hunt team.
We got 990+ upvotes, 600+ signups and 4000+ traffic to the website. Check it.

Below you can find some tricks that helped our no-name product to get support from a global audience, and become TOP3 product of the day.

Avoid cliche in your headline and descriptions


It is simply boring. A headline and a short description are the most important things because they are the only things to draw initial attention to your product. As the community looks for something new and outstanding, the worst thing that you can do is to use cliche in your naming. For example, when we were launching, it was a hype for all kind of ‘bots’ and ‘personal assistants’. Captain Growth could be explained as a bot or assistant, but we banned these words because they presented the product as ‘another bot in an endless row of personal assistants’. Got it?
So even if cliche explains your product in the clearest way, reformulate it.
We name our product as an ‘AI to find growthpoints and bottlenecks in your marketing’. And it worked.

Invite friends to support you


On Product Hunt initial upvotes in a few hours after a launch are extremely important. It helps you to reach TOP of a list on the main page and become visible. So you should ask friends to check your product, try it and leave some feedback if they want. ‘If they want’ is underlined because I ask you not to be very persistent. A launch is an event which shows how your even inner circle and friends react on a product. Measure the level of their excitement, willingness to support and prepare a list of people to delete from your friend list.

Prepare a strategy


To win the game, you should know its rules. The main limit that you have is time. Products collect upvotes and attention during 24 hours. A new circle starts at 12.01AM Pacific Time. It’s night at the East coast, but it’s a morning in Europe and afternoon in Asia so you may collect some support from your Eurasian community before the majority of hunters wake up.
We did it.

If you don’t have a community, just build it


We all know that community building is time-consuming and takes months to work on. But what should you do if you have only 14 days? Check our step-by-step plan.

Step 1. Define your target group.
This target group shouldn’t be necessary your ideal customers. They just need to be ready to engage with you, like you and do it fast. Figure out what kind of people are willing to pay attention to you.
Local community. You are competing with global players so guys from your country, state or city would like to support your company.
Your industry. In some cases, people from your industry may be the first supporters
Professional communities. Quite often people who have the same skills have the same pains. They understand you and can become your supporters. For example, if you are a developer, it makes sense to appeal to other developers.
Product hunters! Sure, don’t forget about other makers. If somebody has an experience launching a product, this person understands how important this day is for you and probably will pay some attention to your launch.

Step 2. Prepare a message to your target group.
For Captain Growth, we chose a group on an intersection between different segments.
It’s European IT entrepreneurs. Why did we come up with this idea?
As Captain Growth is a marketing tech product, the most obvious choice would be to focus on marketers. However, marketers are so overwhelmed with new products that one more launch would be just a noise in their Facebook feed. We started to seek for different people that may support us. Entrepreneurs from Europe seemed interesting. Europeans want to approach the big American market that is why all of us have the same issues to cope with and topics to discuss. This similarity became a basis for our message and content strategy.

Our main message was:
We are the same. Follow us during this launch and learn from us.

Step 3. Produce content
Theoretically, there a lot of possible approaches to seize the attention of an online audience, but I don’t know anything better than sharing useful content.
Based on our key message, we decided to make a reality show from our launch. We made a series of posts that described in details the whole process of our product hunt preparation. A lot of IT entrepreneurs from Europe did it before or want to do it in future so this topic resonates with them.

Each post consisted of:

  1. Video to show the real person behind this project.
  2. Useful content to give something that can be applied to their business.
  3. Story to deliver the big idea of the product.

Check couple of examples:

It was 14 quite exhausting days, but they gave us necessary media coverage.

By the way, we make a new launch this week, but use less time-consuming approach. We are going to rely on our existing fan base and let’s see how 1700+ companies which tried Captain Growth will support us. Stay tuned and follow our updates. We are about to make a huge step forward.
Let’s do this step with us. Сheck it now ! http://captaingrowth.ai/producthunt/ 😎😎😎

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