Hello Dev.to community, I'm Sam, a proud part of a dedicated trio that built Azimutt.app.
Alongside Loïc and Nicolas, we have been working tirelessly to provide an open-source, user-friendly, collaborative Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD) tool for database schematics. This tool, designed to aid in database design and schema exploration, is intended to streamline SQL diagram creation, which I believe is music to many developers' ears.
In this post, I'd like to share with you our journey of launching Azimutt on Product Hunt, covering everything from the preparation, the successes, the surprises, and the things we could have done better. Hopefully, our experience will provide some insights for fellow developers and anyone considering launching their own product on Product Hunt.
Our preparations began a month ahead, as most diligent teams do. We browsed through Product Hunt's checklist, imagining hours spent crafting videos, drafting content, contacting people, and preparing for the influx of traffic. We wanted this launch to be perfect, to get as many sign-ups as possible and garner considerable attention.
As part of our preparations, we decided to organize a working weekend at our friend Antoine's place in Normandy. Antoine, a DevOps whizz, generously offered his home as a haven for our focused work. We packed up our laptops, took time off from our day jobs, and drove to Normandy, ready to eat, sleep, and breathe Azimutt.
Some of us were tasked with preparing the website for the expected traffic surge, others were responsible for drafting and scheduling emails, and a few were focused on polishing the product features. We had a well-planned schedule and a clear distribution of tasks. However, we soon realized that we were racing against time to get everything done. If we could turn back time, we'd probably start preparing for the launch even earlier.
In between home-cooked meals and intense brainstorming sessions, we worked like a well-oiled machine, divvying up tasks to ensure a seamless workflow. However, we quickly realized that our initial plan of preparing for the launch a week in advance with a well-established schedule was overly optimistic.
Two days before our launch, we were still neck-deep in production. In hindsight, it's almost laughable how we overlooked the Product Hunt 'Upcoming Products' section. We should have submitted our product to this section a week in advance, but we kept postponing it, thinking we could finish up the visual elements and final features first. Lesson learned!
Another challenge was deciding on offering discounts for our product. We were split between gaining exposure and user registration versus generating revenue. After much deliberation, we settled on a bold marketing move: a hefty 50% discount for an annual subscription during the launch.
As the evening drew close, we took a break and treated ourselves to a seaside dinner, speculating about what lay ahead and sharing laughs. It was a moment of camaraderie and a much-needed breather before the big day.
Launch day, finally! We gathered at Loïc’s place at 9 AM. It was a bright morning filled with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and an air of anticipation. Our small but enthusiastic team was buzzing with energy, ready to start the day on a high note.
Even before the first rays of sunshine had fully made their way through the window, we were huddled around our laptops, closely watching the activity on our Product Hunt page. Our eyes were glued to the screen, hearts pounding in unison as we eagerly awaited the first signs of engagement.
Much to our delight, Azimutt started strong. Within the first few hours, we found ourselves in the top three on Product Hunt. This was a moment of pure joy and validation. We had put our heart and soul into this project, and seeing our product recognized was truly rewarding.
But as much as we enjoyed the initial success, we also found ourselves facing an unexpected trend. Despite the votes piling up on Product Hunt, the traffic to our website was not as high as we had anticipated. The real puzzler, however, was that the sign-ups on our platform were even less.
By noon, we were deeply engrossed in the whirlwind of Product Hunt. Our day had transformed into a continuous cycle of refreshing our stats page, watching the votes increase, checking website traffic, and monitoring sign-ups. Every ten minutes, we would see our numbers change, triggering a rollercoaster of emotions each time.
We took a quick break for lunch, trying to unwind a bit, but the buzz of the launch was too infectious to fully let go. Conversations drifted back to the Product Hunt page, speculating the reasons for the disparity between votes and sign-ups, and what we could do to improve our conversion rate.
Returning from lunch, we buckled down to continue tracking our progress. However, the dynamics started to shift. Despite our strong start, we noticed a slowdown in the pace of votes. Although we had hoped that the afternoon would bring a second wave of users, the reality was a bit more sobering.
However, we remained hopeful and persevered, reminding ourselves that this was just one day in our journey. We took the unfolding events in our stride, deciding to focus on the positives, learn from the challenges, and draw inspiration for our post-launch strategy.
What really stung was that no one used the promo code. We then began to question whether people were ready to pay for our product and started reevaluating our pricing strategy.
The launch forced us to ask ourselves some tough questions:
- Do we offer too many features for free?
- Are the paid features compelling enough to warrant a subscription?
- Did we effectively highlight the value of our product?
The week following the launch was when we started realizing the mistakes we had made. We were contacted by an incredible number of other people preparing their launches on Product Hunt. Reaching out to former product launchers is a fantastic strategy as there's a sense of solidarity—we wanted to help, and on launch day, it was easier to check out the product.
We also received numerous messages from bots offering to list us on other platforms. Given the ratio of sign-ups to visitors on Product Hunt, we weren’t inclined to make that effort. We preferred quality over quantity.
Surprisingly, the number of visitors and sign-ups remained high after the launch. There was a slight dip compared to the previous week, but the traffic was still impressive. Many people we had contacted on launch day responded several days later as they were either on vacation or too busy to check out the product immediately. This underscored the importance of anticipating the launch.
By the second week, the number of sign-ups and visitors had started to decrease, but it was still higher than before the launch. Finally, we had our first paying user, who did not seem to have come from Product Hunt, but it was motivating nonetheless. We resumed the development of some features, such as simplifying real-time collaborative work and adding database groups.
At three weeks, the traffic had nearly returned to the pre-launch levels, but we started getting contacted by several VCs. Out of curiosity, we took a few calls, even though we weren't actively seeking investment. The conversations were insightful, and we learned a lot about what potential investors are looking for and how we could shape our business model moving forward.
One month following our spirited launch, we found ourselves reflecting on our Product Hunt experience. It felt like we had navigated an intense yet enriching rite of passage. The path had been riddled with surprises, both delightful and humbling. While we didn't quite hit the lofty numbers we'd initially envisioned, we found ourselves enriched with invaluable lessons and a significantly wider audience.
The launch was a call to arms for our networks. It provided us with an excuse to rally our connections around a shared goal, garnering support for Azimutt. Our entire ecosystem – friends, family, colleagues, and professional connections – rallied to support us. In retrospect, we appreciate how this forced mobilization created a sense of communal achievement, helping us connect with our network on a deeper level.
As the launch day came to an end, we were pleasantly surprised to find that interest in our product was not waning as quickly as expected. Responses continued to trickle in well after we expected them to, and the influx of new users outlasted our initial estimates. We were reminded that while the internet works at lightning speed, meaningful engagement often takes time to build and sustain.
Despite the increase in traffic to our platform, we observed a peculiar trend: the ratio of paying users did not increase proportionately. The influx of new users did not translate into an equally significant rise in paid plans. This taught us that while visibility and user acquisition are important, the conversion of these users into paying customers is a separate challenge requiring a unique strategy.
In retrospect, we questioned whether aiming for the Product Hunt badge for social proof might have been a more beneficial goal. While our ranking boosted our visibility, it didn't necessarily attract the most relevant users. Perhaps, focusing on securing the badge could have added more credibility to our platform in the long term, attracting more quality traffic.
Despite the nuances, we wholeheartedly believe that the Product Hunt experience was worth it. The visibility we gained was invaluable. It created a buzz around Azimutt, sparked conversations, and brought us to the attention of many potential users. Moreover, the feedback we received from this new user base was instrumental in understanding our strengths and areas for improvement.
In conclusion, while the Product Hunt launch was a rollercoaster ride, it was also an indispensable learning curve. The lessons we learned, the feedback we received, and the visibility we achieved have only fueled our motivation. We look forward to applying these insights as we continue to refine Azimutt and foster an engaged community of users.