COVID really hurt our business. We lost 40% in GMV since March 2020 (about $85,000 in monthly payments)
We recovered largely thanks to 2 Product Hunt launches, which resulted in significant spikes in traffic and sales.
In April, we launched a crisis-friendly initiative. We gave an up to 55% discount for the first 60 days of work for startups hit by the pandemic and got:
- 683 new website visitors
- 22 demos
- +4 clients
- +$17K monthly GMV
In June we launched our new brand.
- 1,286 new users
- 31 demos
- +6 clients
- +$21k monthly GMV
Both spikes in traffic on this graph are the weeks of the PH campaigns.
Our sales manager’s calendar before and the week after the second campaign.
Also, we got 2 calls about possible acquisitions (this is soooo early for us) and a 3 more about distribution partnerships and a ton of messages from investors.
We used a pretty standard playbook
Prepare basic materials (example)
- First comment from the maker
- For the first campaign, we did a home-made video that took hours to film but was incredibly fun.
Create an offer for the PH community.
The first time we offered a discounted rate, the second time - a donation under their name to the cause of their choice.
The general practice is to offer discounts or free software to PH users, as this is what they are “hunting” for. But I don’t think this is true for our customers and we’ve decided to go with something that is in the spirit of Lemon.io and the current events in the world.
- Find a hunter.
The first time I asked my friend who is somewhat active on PH to hunt us, the second time, I did it myself. Both times we were not featured on the first page from the very beginning. Nevertheless, during both launches, we made it to the top 8 of the featured list.
To appear on the first, you have to be submitted by a trusted hunter or get promoted by PH moderators.
To check whether PH trusts a user, check their last 10 submissions. If all of them were featured, you can reach out to them and ask to hunt you.
Those users get a lot of requests, and you might have to get in line. If you don’t want to wait, you can do the following.
- Post a product yourself
- Gain some upvotes and comments through your network
- Contact support chat and mention that you’ve shared your launch with your network and want the PH community to see it too.
On the day of the launch we:
- submitted the information at 00:01 PT
- asked all our friends to support
- sent a note to our clients, past leads and developers
- joined a bunch of communities, where makers support each other and posted there
- answered every single comment. It looks like the conversation might be even more effective then upvotes.
During the second campaign, we were mentioned in the newsletter, which gave an additional spike.
Is this cheating or not?
Both times we’ve been flooded with fake reviews and comments. It was easy to track the patron, as the same accounts were upvoting the competitor that launched a week before.
By the end of the day, we had over 100 negative reviews with a total score of 1.3. PH support deleted fake comments, but not the reviews.
We respect the community and play by the rules. From the other side, we couldn’t leave a 1.3 score driven by fake reviews at the top of Google Search.
Since we saw that there were no repercussions for the foul play for others, we’ve decided to purchase fake positive reviews to even out the score.
We don't encourage you to do the same, and we think it's an asshole move to buy upvotes or reviews on PH, but we also think it's okay to stand for yourself when you get bullied just because a bully is having a hard time catching up with you.
The cost of both campaigns is $1700
- Content team 50 hours of work
- Design 12 hours
- Me 20 hours
- 100 positive reviews
You can launch on PH only once every 6 months.
We finished our rebranding right at the beginning of the pandemic.
But instead of showing off a new brand on PH, we’ve created an initiative that helped developers keep their jobs and startups keep working despite budget cuts.
At that, we were almost sure that we wouldn’t be able to launch on PH for the second time with new Lemon.io branding. Nevertheless, I’ve reached out (I always do) to PH support and they allowed us to do the second campaign.
If you take a closer look at PH, you will see that startups are launching with:
- Side products
- Complementary features
- White papers, market reports, and other pieces of content.
Launching more campaigns on Product Hunt
During both campaigns, we saw spikes in traffic and conversion rates from other channels too. For example, our search traffic doubled. That is why we’ve decided to submit more side products to drive attention to Lemon.io.
Of course, it doesn't make sense to create a product specifically for launch, but it makes sense to look at things you're doing from a perspective of whether you can launch on PH.
The list of next 3 side products we are going to launch within the next 2 months:
- 127 places to post your cool design. There is a similar successful campaign.
- Research about how companies work with freelancers.
- The book about our rebranding experience.
As those are side products, we were told not to expect them to bring as many leads as the first ones. But let’s see, I hope we prove them wrong.
We are launching the first one today
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