How to successfully launch app on Product Hunt: Balance by Alexander Sandberg

The story behind winning #1 Product of the Day and #3 Product of the Week.

Published: Jan. 12, 2023
App Store

I first heard about Balance when Alexander Sandberg tweeted how ImpressKit made it easy for him to prepare Press Kit and first Press Release. It turned it wouldn’t be the last time I heard about his app for time tracking with better work-life balance in mind.

Alexander managed to have super eventful and successful launch from the press standpoint. Getting articles in TechCrunch, BGR and many more, along with topping the charts on Product Hunt. I was curious about the launch preparation and asked Alex if he were interested in answering a few questions. So let’s hear from his experience.

Since Balance had a very successful launch I was curious whether this was Alex’s first launch.

I’ve launched some other, smaller indie projects before, but Balance is by far the most successful one of them so far. Balance’s launch is also the one I spent the most time preparing for, but it seems like it paid off!

I would say the time was well spent and the whole thing planned pretty well, it wasn’t a launch thrown together in last days before release. As Alex says:

I started planning and preparing around a month and a half before the launch date. This might seem excessive for an indie app, but there’s a lot you can do to prepare, and time flies!

I first invested quite a bit of time in creating interesting images and screenshots of Balance that I could use for tweets, social banners, and other marketing efforts.

And while asking Apple for featuring did not work out yet, Alex plans to continue submitting the form:

Apple asks you to submit the App Store feature form at least 3 weeks ahead of time. Don’t forget this! I submitted this around 1 month before the launch. I haven’t heard back from them yet though, but I plan on resubmitting this form once in a while when I ship new updates.

It also looks like doing pre-orders might be worth while. You can launch with your first users already lined-up:

I also wanted to make the app available for pre-order on the App Store as soon as possible. I had not tried this with my other apps and thought it would be interesting to learn about it. This meant I had to prepare the App Store listing, but it was quickly done as I already had some nice screenshots and text prepared.

Once it was available for pre-order on the App Store, I announced the launch date on social media. I gathered around 100 pre-orders before the launch date, with around 40% coming from organic App Store traffic.

Another nice tip that I had no idea about is that you can actually post your app on Product Hunt prior to launch in the “Coming Soon” section and start generating buzz about it.

Product Hunt now allows you to create a teaser for your launch in their “Coming soon”. People can follow your launch there and get notified about it on launch day. I created a teaser for Balance 30 days ahead of the launch date (the maximum) which gathered more than 100 followers. This was certainly a nice boost for the Product Hunt launch.

I was also interested whether Alex did something “unconventional” for the launch. Meaning something he did no try before or perhaps didn’t plan to do for Balance.

But probably the most unconventional thing I did was cold-emailing people who might be interested in the app.

And of course I am super happy to hear that ImpressKit helped with the launch 🙂

A few weeks before the launch, I quickly set up a press kit for the app using ImpressKit which was a breeze—thanks, Filip! I wrote a short message introducing the app, included a link to the press kit, and asked if they were interested in early access to test Balance (as the app was already in public beta, I could send them a TestFlight invitation link)—without expectations of anything in return. I sent this as an email or Twitter DM to journalists that I found on ImpressKit, YouTubers who review productivity apps, and other people who I knew about who might be curious.

And while not everyone responded, a couple of important media outlet did. Alex again:

The response rate was initially not great, but it eventually did land me the TechCrunch article that was published on launch day, as well as some other publications. I’ve also now heard back from some bigger YouTubers who are interested in reviewing Balance, so I’m excited to see where that goes

To close the interview, I wanted to know if he’d do anything differently with all the gained experience. One recommendation? Start even sooner to not feel rushed.

Good question. As I’m blown away with the success of the launch, I would likely approach it the same way—but start even sooner.
I would spend the extra time on reaching out to more people who might be interested in testing and (hopefully) sharing the app with others—i.e. more marketing.
It would give me some more time to relax during the holidays too. 😅

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Filip Němeček

iOS blogger and developer with interest in Python/Django. Want to see most recent projects? 👀

iOS blogger and developer with interest in Python/Django. Want to see most recent projects? 👀