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Spyros caught up with Gajus, one of Contra’s founders, to learn more about what it takes to run an effective Product Hunt campaign.
A platform for freelancers who want to scale their business, Contra enables users to manage payments, invoices, and taxes all on one platform. The platform also has a social network element so you can network with potential clients. Hiring companies can also use Contra to find eligible candidates.
When defining the reasons to launch on Product Hunt, Gajus mentioned that the primary business goal for Contra was brand awareness. They wanted people to know that “Contra is THE place that every freelancer will go to create their identity and develop their future business.”
If done right, launching your brand to create awareness via Product Hunt can be very effective.
Gajus said that now, even if people don’t know Contra’s exact features, they know it’s the place you can find talent.
Storytelling and knowing who you’re speaking to are also a big part of a successful launch.
You should understand why someone would sign up for your product, why they would use it, and what time in their life they would sign up.
If you tell the story right, even if now is not the time for someone to sign up, they’ll think about the brand in the future.
In the case of Contra, the brand’s presentation may speak to someone who isn’t currently a freelancer but is thinking of launching their freelance career in the near future. Someone browsing Product Hunt may think, “I’ll use that platform when I start freelancing; it’s the best place for freelancers.”
When building a high-growth company, brand presentation is of utmost importance. Contra completed different Product Hunt launches at various stages of the business.
Although previous launches were a little more scrappy than the most recent, the fundamentals are always the same. With every launch, a lot of work went into the visuals and brand presentation.
This is what important decision-makers will look at. Even if they don’t look at the product itself, the media and the brand are essential as they show the team’s capabilities.
The biggest differentiator between our previous launches and what we’ve done now is how much we invested in video.
When Product Hunt users are checking new products, the promo video is what stands out, so spend time developing a high-quality video.
The Contra team put months of effort into the storyboard, audio, animations etc. Every detail is important when it comes to your video, even down to the sound quality. Contra is lucky to have a talented audio engineer as the other co-founder, so the quality of the video got a lot of attention.
Gajus told us, “the video is the thing that we will get the most messages about, the most social media engagement, video is the secret sauce behind the campaigns we’ve done”
When it comes to your launch day, Gajus emphasizes that you should enjoy it! Make it a team event and get everyone involved. Launch day will run much smoother if you’ve done enough advanced preparation and are methodical in your approach.
Launch day is the most exciting day, it’s a celebration but a lot of preparation.
In the lead-up to launch, the team created a lengthy checklist of to-dos.
Contra has a large Slack community, which they used a lot in the pre-launch phase. They spoke about why they were launching, which new iteration was launching, and how the community could support them.
Other non-negotiables on the pre-launch checklist included:
- Pre preparing all the messaging for social posts
- Creating an extensive Notion list of assets to share
- Talking to influencers about their involvement in the campaign
- Talking with the team internally about the message they want to communicate via the launch
It’s a pretty lengthy process that you never assume will be smooth; you just have to start doing it months in advance if you want a successful launch.
On the day, it’s the team’s job to engage the community on all the platforms – Twitter, TikTok and Product Hunt. Everyone is encouraged to talk to people, answer questions, and collect feedback.
When asked whether there were any hiccups on the most recent Product Hunt launch day, Gajus said they learned the hard way that you can’t launch on Product Hunt more than every 6 months!
They sent all the communications, newsletters and info out about the launch for everything to get shut down by Product Hunt on the day. It was very frustrating as they had posts directing people to broken links and people supporters unsure about what happened.
Fortunately, in their case, Product Hunt was very accommodating and got everything back up and running. However, you shouldn’t risk being shut down because you’ve launched too often.
Planning your assets is essential, but so is the timing of your launch!!
Don’t rush the launch, as you need to warm up the relationships. Have the right conversations with your community, investors and team.
Ask people for feedback to get them involved in the process of your product development.
With previous personal projects, Gajus dedicated weeks to looking at Twitter to see who may be interested in offering feedback. When you’re asking for feedback, it is genuine and has nothing to do with Product Hunt. If you decide to launch there in the future, you can share and mention it may be something they’re interested in helping out with.
Lots and lots and lots of preparation.
People’s biggest mistake is not investing enough time in visuals, especially when there are easy ways to build eye-catching visuals.
Gajus said dozens of great products launch without eyecatching thumbnails or screenshots. You need your brand to stand out to people when looking at the day’s new launches.
I think it can be a big mistake to neglect to invest time into the visuals for the launch.
If you want success on Product Hunt, you should invest in your visuals, storytelling, and brand presentation. Know the story you are telling and who it’s for. Then do plenty of prep work in reaching out to people who can support you on launch day.
Thanks for the great insights, Gajus; hopefully, people will start to up their design game on Product Hunt from now on!