Hey Dev.to community,
I thought I'd share my experience launching my dev tool (divjoy.com) on Product Hunt last month. It ended up resulting in my best month ever at $16,265 in sales.
For context, I've included a chart below with my entire traffic/sales history, including product milestones. As you can see, the Product Hunt launch led to a large sales spike (~250% higher than the previous month) and this month is shaping up to be around 30% higher than normal.
In this post I'm going to talk about how I optimized my launch, what worked, what I would do differently next time, and what's next for Divjoy. Okay, let's get into it 🤘
Divjoy is a tool that allows you to generate a custom Node + React codebase with everything you need for your next project like authentication, database, subscription payments, marketing pages, forms, account settings, etc. Everything works out of the box.
Unlike most templates or boilerplates, Divjoy allows you to customize your technical options and template in a low-code editor before downloading your codebase. That means you get exactly what you need, nothing you don't, and you can get right to working on your actual product (you know, the fun part!).
The main feature in this launch was Material UI integration. That meant in addition to supporting the Bulma and Bootstrap CSS frameworks, you could now have your entire front-end built using Material UI.
Planning an effective Product Hunt launch involves getting together the copy/media you need to make your launch interesting and ensuring you're leveraging any existing audiences or connections to amplify your launch. I highly recommend starting a brainstorm doc at least a month in advance.
There are no shortage of launch checklists on the web, but it's a mistake to think you can just quickly go through a checklist the day before. The devil is in the details. Get a doc up and periodically jot down any ideas you have, ranging from practical to "I'll probably think this is dumb in the morning".
By starting early I was able to ...
- Find an awesome designer to do an animated logo for me.
- Figure out an unconventional plan for getting hundreds of readers on usehooks.com to support the launch.
- Realize I actually needed to increase the scope beyond Material UI if I wanted to call this "Divjoy 2.0". This became obvious as I was planning out my pitch. I ended up pushing back the launch 2 weeks, adding betters docs, a members-only Discord community, and an interactive data component.
- Figure out a good launch day pricing strategy. I decided to bump up my price from $99 to $149, but I kept the launch day price at $99 "for the next 24 hours". This ended up working well because.. well FOMO, but it also allowed to me get existing customers to support the launch without them feeling like they overpaid.
I submitted Divjoy 2.0 to Product Hunt right after midnight (PST) on January 14th. The earlier you submit the more time your product has to climb the rankings before the front page resets.
At this point I was exhausted and hadn't yet written my launch announcements for Twitter and my customer mailing list. I was planning on writing them earlier that day, but it was a push to get everything ready and it somehow slipped my mind. Whoops. About 2 minutes after launching I could see other products climbing up the rankings and Divjoy was dead last. I finally managed to muster enough brain energy to get a tweet out. It wasn't a great tweet, but it did the job. I could see people I knew from Twitter dropping upvotes/comments and I could see Divjoy slowly moving upwards. Okay, time to get some sleep 😴
I woke up the next morning with Divjoy at #5. Wow, much better than expected. The rest of the day was about leveraging my existing audience and connections to keep the momentum going. Here's everything I did:
- Emailed all Divjoy customers, letting them know about the new features and asking for their support on the Product Hunt launch.
- Emailed a couple hundred Divjoy customers that were on an old yearly plan, letting them know I was upgrading them to a lifetime account for free. Since I had moved entirely to lifetime pricing I was planning on doing this anyway, but waiting until launch day allowed me to channel this good will towards the launch.
- Emailed my 7,454 usehooks.com subscribers with a tutorial on how to build a useKonamiCode React hook. In order to see an example of it in action they had to head over to divjoy.com and enter the famous Konami code. A lot of those visitors went on to click the Product Hunt launch announcement at the top of the website.
- Made sure to reply to everyone to PH and Twitter. A fun side-effect of the Konami code easter egg was people started tweeting about it, I could retweet those, driving more interest in checking it out, and so on. Lesson: Try something fun/different that helps your launch stand out.
In the end, I managed to make it to the #3 product of the day and I'm really happy with how it turned out. It's hard to say exactly how much all my outreach efforts above helped. I'd guess around a 30% boost? Your success on Product Hunt is mostly going to come down to whether the community finds it interesting. That said, if you have any audience at all, it's worth thinking about how you can engage with them on launch day to give yourself the best chance possible.
I was surprised to see the Product Hunt page continue to drive traffic/sales over the next few weeks, ending the month at $16,265 total, with $10,452 directly attributable to the launch.
My biggest mistake was not preparing my tweet and email content ahead of time. If you're going to launch right after midnight (which I recommend) then you're going to be tired and winging all this isn't the best idea. My outreach spanned most of launch day, when ideally it could have all gone out right after midnight.
So far my strategy has been to spend 90% of my time coding and 10% being active on Twitter, Indie Hackers, etc.. with a big launch announcement every 3-4 months. Basically, spend as much time possible building while doing the minimum to keep sales up. That's what I'm most comfortable with. But my goal for 2021 is to do $100k in sales and that means finding more scalable marketing channels. That means getting my SEO game together, trying out paid advertising, and spending more time looking for affiliate partners. I still have a lot of product improvements planned for 2021, but maybe it will need to be more like 50% coding and 50% marketing. It's time to get comfortable with that.
I hope you found this write-up interesting and that it helps inform your next launch. Feel free to ask me anything in the comments below.