We here on FullStory’s marketing team love a good product launch success story, especially if it‘s chock-full of details about how said success was achieved. That’s why we’re writing this tell-all post about how FullStory Free got to #1 on Product Hunt, generated thousands of pageviews, and received a ton of signups when we launched it two weeks ago. In essence, this post is the Product Hunt launch version of VH1’s Behind The Music (minus the drugs and groupies, alas).

But first, let us set the scene…

This wasn’t our first Product Hunt rodeo.

We were hunted for the first time in 2014, when both FullStory and Product Hunt were relatively new products. We received about 125 upvotes (~150 as of 2/8/17) and finished somewhere in the middle of the pack for the day.

In late 2016, we launched OmniSearch. We had some room in our launch plan for experiments, so we decided to try Product Hunt as a channel to drive OmniSearch awareness. Beyond a small time investment, we knew there was little downside to trying it out.

We started by creating a video to be displayed on our Product Hunt post. This allowed us additional space to talk about OmniSearch (this was important because the only text allowed on Product Hunt is a 60-character tagline). Additionally, we created product screenshots and GIFs that emphasized the most important interactions in OmniSearch.

Because much of our time was wrapped up in other launch activities for OmniSearch, we opted to send Product Hunt traffic directly to our homepage with the URL www.fullstory.com/omnisearch rather than create a unique landing page. We had specifically revamped the homepage to showcase OmniSearch and were launching it at the same time, so it was a natural fit.

With that, we were ready for primetime. (Or so we thought.)

So, how did we do?

OmniSearch was posted to Product Hunt on November 17, 2016. We finished the day with around 140 upvotes (162 as of 2/8/17), placing us somewhere in the top 30 launches that day. These results weren’t exceptionally good, but they were a start.

It’s fair to argue that Product Hunt upvotes and rankings are vanity metrics that are only meaningful if they drive leads, signups, trials, etc. So, how did we fare on the metric we cared about most — trials? Not as well as we hoped.

In the 2 weeks after launch, we had a grand total of 420 visitors and 10 trial signups from Product Hunt, a 2.4% trial conversion. The video that we created received around 70 views, so it didn’t get the amount of engagement that we initially hoped for either.

The OmniSearch launch itself was actually very successful, but we didn’t consider the Product Hunt component to contribute much to that success. The modest results tempered our expectations for future Product Hunt launches, but we also learned enough to want to give it another shot.

Launching FullStory Free.

We started planning FullStory Free’s launch about a month before the big day. This gave us time to really focus on our goals:

  1. Rank #1 on Product Hunt.
  2. Drive 300 FullStory Free signups on Day 1.
  3. Drive 1000 FullStory Free signups during Week 1.

Knocking out the content (video, screenshots, GIFs, etc.) of our OmniSearch hunt was smooth sailing—so we used the same tactics for FullStory Free. But launching on Product Hunt is about much more than making your post look pretty. We knew we’d need to drive more awareness and have a better landing page experience in order to hit our goals.

While our target signup numbers themselves were somewhat arbitrary, creating them caused us to focus on activities that would drive awareness and adoption of FullStory Free. This also made it easier to determine what to do in order to get better results this go-round:

  • Get hunted early
  • Engage with the audience
  • Go to town on social media
  • Direct traffic to a dedicated landing page

Get hunted early.

We didn’t take this as seriously when we launched OmniSearch, and thus languished in the middle of the pack all day. Arriving “casually late” to the Product Hunt party can be detrimental to a launch; conversely, being hunted right after the clock strikes midnight (PST) means that fewer products are competing for upvotes.

While we’d love to take all the credit here, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the late-night work of our hunter Rick Klau. Bravo, Rick! ?

From a traffic standpoint, being in the top 3 early in the day was actually better than being #1 later in the day.

In our FullStory Free launch postmortem, we all agreed that launching immediately after Product Hunt’s midnight page reset was a game-changer. When we looked for answers in FullStory (yes, we use our own product a lot), we found that the vast majority of Product Hunt visitors that came to our landing page arrived before 3PM EST. This was significant because we didn’t actually reach the #1 spot until a little after that. From a traffic standpoint, being in the top 3 early in the day was actually better than being #1 later in the day. Getting an early start on the competition paid serious dividends:

Engage with the audience.

A lot of people on Product Hunt had comments and questions about FullStory Free once we launched. We didn’t want to miss any opportunity to encourage people to try it, so we monitored our post all day and responded to as many comments as possible.

Though we don’t know to what extent this helped us obtain the #1 spot, a large number of comments can signal to others that the product is interesting enough for people to discuss it, which is a good thing in our book. For the days that followed launch, we set up a Slack channel where Notify alerted us when people on the web talked about FullStory Free’s launch.

Go to town on social media.

We used Buffer to schedule several tweets that went out during the day, many of which directed people to our Product Hunt post as opposed to our FullStory Free landing page. As soon as we were hunted, we made sure everyone knew it; once we hit the #1 spot, we made sure everyone knew it; when we hit 1000 upvotes, we made sure everyone knew it. OK, you probably get the point…

Direct traffic to a dedicated landing page.

The low traffic to our OmniSearch “landing page” could be explained by our lack of visibility on Product Hunt; however, the 2.4% trial signup rate — though not terrible — was almost assuredly due to the lack of a dedicated landing page.

For FullStory Free, we built a simple landing page that had a clear call to action. And remember the video we created for the Product Hunt listing? We were able to repurpose it for the landing page, killing two birds with one stone—any content marketer’s dream (depending on whether they like birds).

The results of our improved landing page (as measured in FullStory) were astounding compared to those of our previous launch:

The difference in traffic is likely explained by being #1 on Product Hunt as well as offering a free product, but we were still surprised by the impressive 15% visit-to-signup rate. We also found that the video that once seemed a wasted effort received a lot of engagement as a repurposed FullStory Free video on our landing page:

Drumroll, please…

It’s been a little over two weeks since our FullStory Free Product Hunt launch, and we’ve been really pleased with the results:

  • 7,500 visits
  • 1,133 signups
  • 1,250 upvotes
  • 60+ comments
  • And a veritable flood of tweets

YEAH!

Actual video of the FullStory marketing squad.

We credit a lot of FullStory Free’s Product Hunt success to the lessons that we learned from our not-so-totally-awesome experience with OmniSearch. Because you know what they say: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

(But I prefer this highly motivational Mary-Kate Olsen quote, myself: “I love getting amazing jackets, because you can wear your pajamas underneath and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, fabulous jacket,’ and I’m like, ‘You should see what’s underneath!’”)