Product Launch Type 1: To validate an idea.

Sometimes it makes sense to launch the product on Twitter, LinkedIn, IndieHackers or even Product Hunt just to validate the idea, not to get a boost in sales. In this case your goals, expectations and success metrics would be different from the launch where you need more users for your product.
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Don’t expect instant sales and growth of your MRR to $5K or $10K. If you’re validating the idea doing the product launch, focus on more strategic goals and outcomes, like new followers on Twitter who would boost your future growth when you launch the product “for real”. Or on the fact that you will get a permanent backlink from Product Hunt or IndieHackers — a website that has a high ranking on Google. Meaning, it will have a very positive impact on your own website ranking and will be sending traffic your way for several months after the product launch.

Learn from other founders


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Learnd — a service that helps with building a better customer support with less effort. It is built by two French founders — Arnaud Belinga and Mateo le Floch. Both were working as hired employees for a lawyer firm that had a very hard time educating customers or just providing basic customer support. Keeping all important information, creating the knowledge base that would be accessible for customers, prompting website visitors to check the knowledge base before contacting the support center — all these tasks were overwhelming. At some point, founders figured out that this is something many companies struggle with — especially, startup SaaS — and went all in to build a product. The MVP was finished in 3 weeks (very basic with some very essential features), and they were ready to launch. They have chosen Product Hunt as the most obvious platform that will bring their product in front of the target customers eyes — SaaS founders. The fact that not Arnaud, nor Mateo had any substantial following on social media did not bother them — they were merely validating the idea that they already had some traction with in France but wanted to see if there’s a market for it globally. With only 50 followers on Twitter and with zero experience in Product Hunt launches Arnaud and Mateo got the following results: — #4 product of the day
— over 1500 visits on the website
— 100 free trials — 10 paying customers
— >500 new followers — idea validation

How did they do it? A product launch to-do list from Arnaud Belinga

  1. Pre-Launch Awesome if you have many followers on Twitter — you can build in public, they would know what you’re doing, they will support your launch. But what if you don’t have anyone? Or 20-50 followers max? What if you don’t even have a product yet? Just a bare-bone MVP that you want to validate. Don’t sweat it! — Start as early as you can. Not tweeting or writing about your launch — with no followers it’s like crying into the void. Start with finding the right people in the community. Though leaders, influencers, other makers that do something similar to your product, someone who live in the same location. You need them to amplify your message. But you also need something in common to establish the connection. — I started about a week before the launch, and I quickly identified influencers in Tech Twitter. I followed them, interacted for a day or two with their content. — Then I sent personal DMs. But first, not asking to support the launch. First, I asked their feedback on the product. I sent about 60 DMs, not everyone replied but the reply rate was pretty close to 80%.
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  1. Launch day
— On the Launch Day I reached out to people who replied me on Twitter and asked to support our launch. — I also tried to use Reddit but it did not work very well ‚ I got banned, and we did not get any traffic from there. — Also, when I DMed founders asking for the support, I received many suggestions where else I can post the link: Slack channels, Facebook groups, etc. — I way very responsive and engaged with everyone who upvoted or posted a comment on Product Hunt. If you go to the Product Hunt landing page, you’ll see that products are listed their in a peculiar order: not alphabetically and not exactly by the number of upvotes. I think there’s an algorithm behind it , and engagement plays an important role there. So keep answering upvoters. — Be creative. I was looking for any plausible reason to create a “viral tweet” about the launch. I I finally came up with an idea. For a while our product was listed right under the promotion of Microaquire.com. And I tweeted that our goal for the day is to beat Microaquire on Product Hunt. Obviously, I meant just being pushed over it on the landing page but it sounded provocative. I also tagged Microacquire and it’s founder Andrew Gazdecki. Andrew liked the vibe and retweeted it — that brought us 100 upvotes in an hour and new followers on Twitter. — Make sure you have a good kickstart. Begin early in the morning. If you don’t get 100 upvotes within several hours, you’ll be pushed down and the lower you get on Product Hunt landing page, the less chances for your product to be noticed and upvoted by random website visitors. People usually check out first 3, maybe 5 new products. And those who end up down the page get nothing.
The takeaways:
1) If you don’t have so many followers and you just validate your idea don’t start too much in advance.
2) Build connections with people and ask for their opinion instead of direct support.
3) Use Product Hunt launch as a way to get traffic and see how many of your visitors are converting. If you get 10K visitors and 5 conversions — you’ve built a wrong product for the wrong audience. Just quit and move further.
4) If you get at least some signups use them to build new features. Talk to these people: find out their use cases, what are they planning to use your service for, what do they need, what are they unhappy about with existing solutions.

How-to: A step by step guide for your product launch on Product Hunt with the bare minimum followers and no mailing list

  1. Use another platform as a starting point — choose which one feels more relevant to you (Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, IndieHackers).
  1. Find influencers in the niche you’re targeting. If you’re not using audience intelligence tools like SparkToro or BuzzSumo, just go on a platform, type in the keyword and see who is trending. Follow the mega-accounts to find out who interacts with their content. Drill down to influencers — they are your target. These accounts are the most likely to support you during the launch. Make it 30-40 accounts.
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  1. Follow people who you think might support you and who has the authority in the community of your target customers. Interact with their content (leave comments 3-5 times, share, like).
  1. Send a DM to every one of them. Be personal and DON’t ask for support! Ask for their opinion about your product or for their recommendations on how to do the product launch.
  1. Reply with a “Thank you” note if they send you their recommendations.
  1. On a launch day send them a link and ask to check you out on Product Hunt.
  1. Say “Thank you” to every share/retweet they make and reply to their comments on Product Hunt.

Further Reading

Like what you’ve read so far in your founder guides? We’ve got more to come

Upcoming guides...

  • Content marketing distribution machine: a full guide for founders
  • Founder guides: create an affiliate program
  • A founder guide to programmatic SEO
Co-founders & Hiring
  • Founder guides on hiring your first employee
  • Outsource effectively
  • How to split up equity
  • Finding a co-founder
  • How to find relevant beta users
  • Prioritize features effectively
  • How to price your product
  • Building a roadmap
Have an idea for the next Wizen Guide or interested in contributing in the next founder guides? Give us a shout at [email protected], we’d love to hear from you.


Meet the team 👋

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Ana Bibikova - @NotechAna
Ana is an Author, Marketing Strategist and a Mentor in the Founder Institute. Ana has 18y of experience in building businesses, growing them to $4M annual revenue.
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Anthony Castrio - @AnthonyCastrio
Anthony is a Software Engineer, Fractional CTO, and the founder of Indie Worldwide, a virtual incubator and social club for bootstrapped founders.