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August 20, 2018  ·  5 min read

Lessons I’ve learned from releasing on Product Hunt

The day of releasing on Product Hunt is unlike anything else. The incoming feedback you will get to validate what you’ve been putting all your effort into is scary. Your analytics dashboard is more exciting than the Super Bowl. The feeling of getting your first conversion is unlike anything else you’ve experienced. But most of all, handling all of this combined is an experience that you can’t get anywhere else.

Handling feedback

Getting positive reviews is a great feeling, but a lot of the time that’s not what will happen. After pouring your life into your product all you expect is people to love it as much as you do. The thing you have to keep in mind though is that your product has been incubated internally for so long that there is more than likely something you’ve totally overlooked. Don’t get frustrated when someone points this out, but rather take this feedback with a grain of salt and find the best way to address it.

I’ve always been iffy on taking feedback from others. In my mind I knew the correct answer to the problem I was solving and unless there was an obvious problem, I could usually find a way to still validate that I was correct.

Don’t do this.

When releasing something to the world you are at the mercy of the consumer. If they aren’t satisfied then you won’t get business. This also doesn’t mean that the “customer is always right” because sometimes they’re not. But I would recommend going through your feedback with someone else to vet out what is useful feedback and what is not. We’ve learned a lot from feedback, and satisfying a customer early on increases the chance for organic growth through word of mouth. Always reply to feedback gracefully and if you have questions, ask them.

You will get a ton of traffic

There is nothing more exciting then seeing people use something you’ve built. This takes it to the next level, there are a ton of people using what you built. So first off, make sure your servers are ready. There is nothing worse that could happen then to launch something and your servers go down because the traffic is too much for them. Even if you beef up your servers just for launch day and then wind them down once traffic stabilizes, it is definitely worth the effort.

The biggest thing to keep in mind about the traffic from Product Hunt is that most of these users aren’t your target audience. Don’t set your expectations that every user that visits on launch day could be a potential user, cause frankly they’re not. Personally I had this problem and was really bummed when we didn’t get the amount of conversions I had set in my mind.

Make sure you capitalize on users that are in your target audience though. The community on Product Hunt is known to be early adopters, so if someone fits your criteria they will likely be the perfect user. Offer a coupon code to get these people in there to test out your product. Getting as many eyes on it can help to find bugs, make your conversion flow more efficient, and make the experience for users you will be paying for later better. So don’t be afraid to take a slight cut in revenue the first month, it will pay off way more later.

Getting your first paying customer

This was weird for me, I’ve never built a service that someone paid for. The imposter syndrome I felt that day was real, but that is totally okay. Even though I felt that way it was still an unreal feeling. It was so awesome that someone else found something I built so valuable that they paid me for it. It also made me feel so much better after hounding the analytics dashboard and seeing people navigate to the subscription page with no conversion. I was second guessing our pricing, wondering if the user flow was too hard, and so many other thoughts. But once this successful conversion happened, all of those were laid to rest. Even if this conversion doesn’t happen on launch day (it was the following day for us) don’t get discouraged. As mentioned before, Product Hunt may not contain your target audience so make sure you are posting elsewhere too.

In conclusion

Launch day was a roller coaster of emotions, it was indescribable to anything else I’ve ever done. I loved every minute of it even though it was sometimes hard to keep my cool when someone ripped on the product I built. But with all that being said I wouldn’t change anything. The biggest takeaway you can get from this article is to not set expectations for what your product could be, but rather take what you get from launch and build on it for the future. At the end of the day, a launch will not make or break your product, what happens after is far more important.

The product I talked about releasing in this article is IronMic. It is a website host for podcasters that aims to simplify the process podcasters have in making a website. If you would like to know more visit the site or hit us up on Twitter.

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