📅 Superpowered (YC W21)

How Superpowered used Product Hunt to get hundreds of paying customers?

🤔 A bit of an intro

Superpowered is an awesome product! It is a new twist on Calendars. With one shortcut (CMD+J) you can automatically join the next meeting on your calendar…and it gives you an elegant view of your calendar straight from your menu bar!

Its simple, its elegant, its fast, its genuis!

People love Superpowered, so I reached out to the founders (4 undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo in Canada) to hear more about their story and how they got their very first customers. The answer to those of you who are curious is Product Hunt

🚀 A Successful launch is worth hundreds of thousands of cold emails.

If you do the math:18% open range (avg of cold email), 2% click rate and 5% conversion. It would take you 10,000 cold (un-targeted) emails to just land 2 paying customers.

As many of you already know, I launched this newsletter on Sunday on Product Hunt (and landed in #1 thanks for the love <3). What you don’t know is that I followed the Product Hunt Teardown that the team at Superpowered shared with me when I conducted this interview a just a week before my launch.

So there goes the story of how Superpowered acquired their first 100s of paying users from a Product Hunt launch.

  • Launch before you are ready

When the team at Superpowered launched their product, they had the core functionality working but things like “free trial” and gatewalling people didn’t actually exist. The good news is, they offered a two-week trial, so they had two weeks to figure it out! Speed of execution is a lost art!

The faster you launch, the more feedback you get, the more iterations you can make on your product. If the feature you are working on is not a blocker, don’t ship it before your launch

  • Start working on your launch two weeks in advance

The team at Superpowered started working on their launch two weeks ahead of time. “Working on their launch” encompassed 4 things

  1. Finding a great hunter, a person that hunts your product.

  2. Creating a Shoutout backlog. Get your product in-front of people who have a relatively large following of your potential customers. For Superpowered that was founders, so they went after founders who are active on twitter. Show them their product, walked them through it, got them excited and then let them know of their launch date. This really resonates if you are a product-first startup, and especially so if you are a design-first startup. (this is much harder to pull-off if you are a sales driven startup)

  3. Get your assets in order! Your landing page, your images and videos that you would showcase. Use Canva, or get a designer friend to help you out. First impression really matter and throughout that process make sure your assets are communicating your value proposition (Superpowered nailed that ⬇️)

  • Leverage the first hours of Product Hunt

When you launch on Product Hunt, you are competing with a large swath of companies both big and small (and a lot of creators). The nice thing though is many of those more established organizations start their working day at 8,9,10 am (this is assuming a large portion of PH launches are from people located in North and South America). Launch at 12:01am PST and make sure you have supporters ready in those hours to give you a nice boast. It is much easier to climb the rankings at 1 am PST than it is at 9am and it is a reinforcing cycle -> The higher you are -> the more visibility you get -> the more organic upvotes you get -> the harder it is for someone to take your spot later on in the day.

People visit Product Hunt from all over the world and if you are building a software company chances are you would supporters/testers/users from all over the world. USE THAT.

  • Consistency is key (Scatter your tweets fanfare ahead of time)

    The team at Superpowered were very methodical in their fanfare. They had people scheduled for different times of the day to tweet above the product and Product Hunt algorithm place a heavy weight on consistency over spikes.

    To get fanfare, the team at Superpowered went all in. They made a list of everyone they knew from events, previous work experiences, YC, asked for intros, friends, family. It is so much easier to get people to tweet about your launch than it is to tweet about your product in general…so they leveraged that to their advantage and got the likes of Ryan Hoover (founder of Product Hunt) and Immad (founder of Mercury) and many more influential founders. This created its own mini-viral cycles.