What it's like to be listed on Product Hunt, twice.
I’ve built two products in the last few months that were both listed on Product Hunt. Sisu, picked up by Grégoire Gilbert (@gregoiregilbert) and I was responsible for posting Flipshop, after clearing it with the Product Hunt crew.
What’s Product Hunt?
Product Hunt is a community driven site. It provides a platform for a group of hand selected people to post products they find on the Internet and think are cool. The Product Hunt community up-vote the products they agree are cool and provide feedback to the founders along the way.
As an entrepreneur, seeing your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) listed on Product Hunt is a pretty big deal, right now. There are a lot of benefits, but there are some pitfalls too that you should be aware of.
A few things that have sprung to mind…
Wow!! We got listed on Product Hunt…
I’ll start with a few of the benefits we’ve experienced:
The exposure we’ve received has been great. In both cases, on the day of listing, thousands of people visited each website. This is by far, one of the quickest and cheapest ways to get your product and brand seen and talked about.
- Sisu’s Product Hunt Traffic Spike
- Flipshop’s Product Hunt Traffic Spike
The Product Hunt community are extremely supportive. We’ve received some great feedback from both technical, business people and new customers alike. Some of the feedback was inline with our own development plans, some of it was stuff we hadn’t even thought of. This was helpful and propelled us towards validating the assumptions surrounding our products.
We cross-referenced feedback from Product Hunt with our own assumptions to determine if we were on the right path.
- Are these users buying/downloading the product?
- Have we built what they want? Are they using it?
- What features do they want to see next?
- Why didn’t they complete their order?
Collecting a bunch of data on these points has helped us to get answers to our assumptions.
Users & Paying Customers
We’ve acquired lots of users and paying customers too. Sisu received in the region of 1k new users and has made about £1k in sales since being listed.
Flipshop, having seen a good deal of traffic to it’s desktop site, received 75 downloads from the App Store on it’s listing day.
- Flipshop’s App Store Downloads
Weeks after Sisu’s listing on Product Hunt, we stumbled across a link to the site again, in one of the daily emails sent out to the community. Linked in a curated list of “Geeky, Artsy Products For Your Home”, Sisu saw another peak in bonus traffic.
- Screenshot of the Product Hunt email
- The resulting traffic spike
If there is one thing that a spike (or multiple spikes) in traffic will help you to test, it’s the resilience of your systems. Silly mistakes and bugs in your signup or checkout process are highlighted and amplified. Fix them and get back to marketing. It’s better to find these problems now before you get picked up by Techcrunch and Mashable.
Pause, Question and Critique
Seeing your startup listed on Product Hunt, especially when it’s posted by someone else, is brilliant. However, that’s where the ego rubbing stops. There are a few points to bear in mind during your startup’s listing day and upon reflection of the experience…
Remember who your target audience is/was in the first place. Do the people who visit Product Hunt match the profile of your intended user? This has a huge bearing on how you should interpret comments. Which brings me onto Feedback again…
In the most part, those early adopters who took the time to feedback on our products matched our intended audience. However, quite often this won’t be the case. Before diving in with “that’s a great idea” and implementing said request, take another second to remeber who the feedback came from and what their use case for your product is. Do they just like hanging out on Product Hunt to try out new products and talk to founders or is your product genuinely solving a problem for them?
In our case Flipshop is a fashion app. It’s stereotypical and tediously clichéd for me to say, but early tech adopters aren’t the first group of people who spring to mind when talking about fashion. However, Flipshop isn’t aimed at high end fashion connoisseurs - we list high street brands, so perhaps the Product Hunt audience is actually fine, as a sample.
It would also be interesting to know what the male:female ratio is like for Product Hunt users because Flipshop is aimed (predominantly) at a female audience.
Anyway, the point being, critique the feedback you receive and understand the commenters stand point.
Don’t take them personally. They’re aimed at the product, not you. It’s easy to forget this and take offence so just remember.
We found, with Flipshop particularly, a number of comments simply pointed out other products similar to ours. If you’re new to the game this can be demoralising. However, there are lots of other variables that will dictate whether or not your business is going to succeed, competition is just one of them. Where possible, we’ve started to focus on the opportunity associated with competitors.
- Flipshop comments on Product Hunt
A handful of competitors usually indicates a decent sized market place to support them all. On the other hand, a long list of competitors might indicate a saturated market that is ripe for innovation. Competition gives us amazing insight into what works and what doesn’t work.
Sisu’s market fit is something we’re finding difficult. We’ve struggled to find similar products. As a result, it’s tricky to compare our offering so we’re heavily reliant on customer feedback.
Don’t be fooled by the overwhelming (for an MVP anyway) amount of traffic you’ll receive it doesn’t last. The spike you’ll witness will peak after approximately 36 hours, decline over the next few days, and then it’s gone. The traffic can provide some wonderful opportunities but some false hope with it. False hope that your marketing work is done and dusted. Wrong. There is a lot (A LOT) of work still to be done if your going to be a success. This is just the first rung of the ladder…
The experience of getting listed on Product Hunt has been excellent. We’re over the moon with the feedback we’ve collected, the users we’ve acquired, and the results we’ve seen. The community is rich with experience. They’ve provided us with some fantastic insight and knowledge. But it’s also important to remember your own experience and insight, as well as the data you’ve collected up until this point. Cross reference everything. Avoid the pitfalls. Make smart, informed decisions about the direction of your shiny new startup!