From “no man’s land” to the 1st step of our beta : the Product Hunt effect

by
Olivier Pailhès

I’m Olivier, co-founder and CEO of Aircall and I am in a boring business: telephony.

Worse: business telephony.

Don’t stop reading 🙂

We’re in an industry which is so boring that we’re incredibly excited to build a kick-ass product. We will make people as happy to use their business phone as they are using their Dropbox or Evernote apps.

At least, that’s what we thought when we launched our private beta.

The problem is: people DON’T get at all excited by telephony in any way. So at start our daily in-flow of registered to Beta was running between nil and 1, when I managed occasionally to convince a friend to sign up (it cost me a few beers and boring blog posts though).

Of course, we were not in a hurry as we were only launching our private beta but we needed to kick start real “user acquisition” and to get feedback from non-FF&F.

Yep, B2B products also work on Product Hunt

Then Product Hunt went live. Back then, only a few cherry-picked editors could submit products but we were lucky enough to know one of them (thanks Maxime 🙂

We didn’t even asked to be featured, but on March 10th, we appeared on Product Hunt.

PH.jpg

4 days, 2.000 visits and 400 signups later, Aircall started to exist for a few people beyond the team and that was the 1st step in our beta program.

Ok. This story is the same as many other PH stories. But we have a very specific learning from PH compared to other featured products.

Since the inception of Aircall, our mantra is TALK to people. We want to talk to our users. We want to talk to them because we provide the phone system for it and because we believe voice will still be one of the major ways to communicate in the future (despite the raise of SMS, chat or other channels).

Don’t hesitate to talk to PH users, they have a lot to say

So we talked to a majority of our users and I was surprised by the number of people coming through Product Hunt accepting a short talk over the phone or Skype. My guess is that among the “hunted” products we are one of the startups who spoke the most with PH members 🙂

Here are our results and learnings:

  • from 400+ PH users we could talk to 32 of them
  • PH users are very « tech-savvy » (obviously) and give way more feedback than the average user
  • the majority of them were US based
  • we had various profiles: from freelancers to small startup founders to people working in big startups / companies

In terms of “revenue” I cannot guess how many leads will turn into paying customers (we’re launching our paid product soon) but the most interesting inputs on the product and features, we got it from PH users.

If there’s only one piece of advice from this : once your product is ready and credible enough, try to get featured on Product Hunt rather early, so you have time to improve your features and UX based on the feedbacks you’ll receive. The PH community will help you get invaluable inputs to make choices on UX and your most important features early on.

And don’t forget: make calls, not war.

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