Victa: how we prepared for the launch on Product Hunt in a week and took “Product of the day”
Hi! Recently, I have told you about the process of creating Victa and why I came up with the idea of developing a running app with deep gamification. Today I would like to share our experience of launching on Product Hunt and tell you how we got “Product of the day”.
Victa: how I launched a running app for gamers and got in the top 16 in the App Store
You’ll love running, even if the longest distance for you is the way to your refrigerator and back.
Victa is the first running and walking app that combines game mechanics, lore and series with functional tracker and analytics. It helps keep you motivated on the path to your desired shape and turns monotonous workouts into a real adventure!
The idea of launching on Product Hunt appeared almost immediately, as we approached the stage of promotion, large-scale user acquisition and investment. We studied cases of launches and were inspired by stories about the growth of the audience by 15 times in a year due to publication on the platform.
Some context: we are currently at a stage where it is critical to attract as many users as possible, collect feedback and statistics to develop the product. In addition, it is important for us to reach the US audience, and Product Hunt can be a starting point for attracting organic traffic in the States.
It is worth noting that PH is not about one-day traffic, but a resource that can appeal new users for a long time. And of course, a successful launch on the platform and getting the “Product of the day” helps in communicating with investors, while we have just reached a new round of fundraising.
Despite the fact that some products take 1–2 months to prepare for a launch, we did not have such luxury, and decided to do it in a week!
What goals did we set for launching on Product Hunt:
- New audience, including from the USA
- “Product of the day” and “Product of the week”
- Feedback and data for product improvement
It is important to note that this was our second launch on PH. The first was January 1st. At that time we didn’t have much knowledge about American resources and the way the platform works. We posted on PH without any preparation together with publishing the first article on Medium.
Victa: Fitness Adventure. Make your health a game
The first gaming fitness tracker maintaining user journey to their own results
Later, we realized what had been missed. We began communicating with support, so that they allow us to make another launch. To do this, it was necessary to prove that we had a big update [and we had it]. In general, you can release on PH once a half-year. But it is considered a good practice to do this once a quarter, making a big update in a product and pushing it through the support.
This time, we decided to approach the process on a larger and more organized scale. We have identified two possible dates for ourselves: March 20 or 27. On one side the dates were limited by the consideration period at Skydeck Berkeley, and on another side by the preparation time and advice from our hunter, but more on that later.
Choosing the day
Task #1 is to choose the day of the week to launch [this affects the amount of traffic and the level of competition] and check that there are no great releases [ChatGPT, etc.] on this day. If you believe that your product will be out of competition, then Tuesday is a good choice. You can check upcoming releases in the “Coming soon” section. We opted for a balanced Monday, which also allowed us to use the entire week to compete in the “Product of the week” race.
We had to use all the capabilities of the team and think over the details of the launch in just a couple of days. The main workload fell on the designer and me. We distributed the preparation of visual materials and texts, and also consulted familiar founders who had experience in launching on the PH.
Since this was our second launch, it was a little easier: we already knew about the guides, the importance of high-quality content, the preparation makers, and the hunter, a person who “vouches” for the product, helps with many aspects in preparation and supports team on day X.
As far as we expected to get the most out of this opportunity, we decided to launch with a help of a hunter. In general, you can successfully launch on your own if you know all the details and also do it not for the first time. But since we were very limited in time, we chose a more stable path.
Our hunter was Chris Messina, the creator of the hashtag [you heard it right] and #1 hunter on Product Hunt. Chris provided useful advice and was in touch with us before and after the launch.
Preparation for voting
To break out into top, you need to call on all the help of the universe on day X. Therefore, we attracked our entire social capital on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and Slack, as well as on Product Hunt itself.
We divided our activities into three slots [morning, afternoon and evening] and made a mailing schedule taking into account time zones [USA, Russia, Europe]. This helped us reach the maximum number of awake audience and spread the load on the PH for 24 hours [it doesn’t like peaks].
The important point was the CTA. It is highly desirable to avoid a direct link to the launch page as well as upvotes from new accounts registered 5 minutes ago. They may not be counted and lead to the reset of part of the votes. Therefore, you should go to the product from the main page, leave comments. It is good to repeat the whole procedure for one or two competitors.
I won’t repeat the basics that can be easily found with the help of Google, but I will describe interesting points that the hunter or people with successful launch experience on Product Hunt suggested to us.
The PH community loves reading about makers and learn about their side activities [comments, discussions, stories, collections and products used]. This builds credibility and helps gain followers for future launches.
Everything is quite clear with the title and subtitle: they should make users open the launch page. However, we decided to experiment with the product description. We analyzed the descriptions and identified the main keys of the top 20 products in the running category, then tried to reuse them.
Visuals play an important role in design. To avoid experimenting on PH, we used a site where we could upload all materials and preview how the page would look on launch day. It’s important to create animated icons, videos, and GIFs showcasing the features of the product.
Creating a video for the page was a real challenge for us! It was necessary to prepare content quickly and efficiently with limited resources taking in mind that the whole team is located in different countries and time zones. I wrote the script in the evening and, together with the designer, made a storyboard for the video. The next day I went to record it.
After about 120 takes [🤤] I sent the materials to the designer. Post-production took approximately 20 hours, and we faced one more challenge during the editing. There was a visual artifact, which destroyed the whole picture at an important moment of the monologue. We had to kludge, taking a similar episode from another video with unfinished inserts and merging it with a sound from a new one.
The first comment for the launch is always the maker’s comment. As well as «Support is great. Feedback is even better” block, it contains the main description about the release and directs new comments that are no less important than upvotes. Products with more upvotes but fewer comments sometimes give way to more engaging ones.
In a post, the main functions of the product are usually listed using emojis instead of bullet points, gifts are offered, and the hunter is thanked. We decided to stick to the format that is customary for Product Hunt.
After setting the release on the desired date [be sure to put 00:01 PST / PDT to have all 24 hours to vote] you need to prepare a teaser. This is a special page that appears in the “Coming soon” section, where anyone can sign up for your launch in advance.
We tried to make the teaser as soon as possible, because it allows you to get a bright label “Coming soon” next to each maker’s comment. And then there is just one little thing left [not really]: you have to start commenting on the launches of all products that occur before your release in order to increase visibility and gain additional followers.
Posts and mailing
We have divided all messages into several categories:
- Email newsletters and push notifications to our users
- Posts and messages in thematic groups in Telegram, WhatsApp, Slack, Reddit and Facebook
- Post and personal mailing on LinkedIn to my contacts
- Personal mailing to founders and CEOs of companies from “Coming soon” on Product Hunt and authors of previous launches
- Friends, family and fools
The goal of all the messages was to convey to the audience that their support would help more people learn about the app and start looking at running and their health in a new way.
9:00 am — we check the readiness to launch mailings to our database, contacts on LinkedIn and Product Hunt, as well as the readiness of posts for thematic groups.
10:01 am — emails have been sent, and the first posts are up. Now it’s time to actively respond to all comments, consistently post new content, and add traffic 🚀
1:00 pm — we make it to first place 🏆
6:00 pm — we publish one of the last prepared posts. Just in case, a few extra posts are saved for the next morning. As seen by the second-place spike at 8:00 am, it could come in handy 🙂
2:00 am — at night, when I couldn’t respond anymore, the team takes over in the comments.
10:00 am — Victory! 🍾
During the day, the team controlled stability and rolled out hotfixes. And for the rest during the first 24 hours, we were as active as possible, responding to all comments, asking users what they think of Victa, and answering their questions.
On day X, it is useful to use the Product wars tool, that allows you to watch the race in real time and adjust your tactics. For example, vote cheating and their reset by Product Hunt are clearly visible there. It can happen due to direct clicks to the product page and/or upvotes from newly registered users.
Results and conclusions
In less than a week, we have received several hundred clients and they continue to come. How can more be done? Analysis with a hunter says the following:
- Product Hunt audience is web first. Web-oriented products get more clicks. Keep in mind.
- Lack of Android. The obvious fact is that this platform easily expands your target audience by 2–3 times. Make the product multiplatform.
- I hope this article will help you and your product to take the top of Product Hunt. Good luck and see you on the other side 🤙
If you found this article helpful, we’d love it if you could share a feedback about our app!
Victa: Running & Walking Game
I'm Victa, a creature living between worlds. I linked you with your Avatar via this app. It's the first free gaming…
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