Entrepreneurs, especially those managing early-stage startups, are looking for ways to attract users to their product. Since there are only so many paid marketing campaigns one can afford, Product Hunt features as a great boon.

Launching your product on Product Hunt can give you everything you need to turn your product into a business – and this happens in a day!

However, your journey of preparation for this day must be well planned and thought of. 

Months of effort can go in vain if you miss out on critical factors for a successful Product Hunt launch.

We launched our products twice on Product Hunt and both the times were voted in the Top 5 Products of the day.

This article contains all our learnings from those launches and is meant as an extensive guide to help you improve your chances of success on Product Hunt.

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What is Product Hunt and who is it for?

Firstly, a quick introduction: Product Hunt is a community-driven website that allows product makers & marketers to place their products in front of a tech-loving audience.

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The community interacts with your product through votes and reviews, sharing praise and feedback alike – the necessary ingredients in the early stages of a product.

Overall, whether you are looking for inputs on your new product or trying to boost traffic to your website, Product Hunt is the place for you.

Getting started: Set your goal

Establish the numbers you want to reach in terms of specific measurable metrics. This could include:

  • Number of upvotes and comments on Product Hunt
  • Traffic to your website
  • Signups OR Number of downloads (if an app)
  • Follows or mentions on social media platforms

Once you have set the bar, and you know how to measure your performance, you can begin preparing for your product launch.

Pre-launch

Having set your goal, the toil now begins! Ideally, you should set aside 3-4 months, though the entire period wouldn’t be as involved.

Each day, the five best-performing products are listed at the top of the Product Hunt homepage. Irrespective of the motivation behind launching, it is important to understand that your efforts will only be fruitful if you feature in that list. This is because:

  • On average, 30-40 products are posted in a day of which only 15 products make it to the “Popular” section. If you do not manage to make it to even the top 15, your product will not even be searchable through the search bar, after launch day.
  • Once you make it to the top five products list, a virtuous cycle is set off: You get more visibility in front of the Product Hunt community, increasing the likelihood for further upvotes, thereby ensuring you stay at the top.
  • The top five most upvoted products are also marketed in a daily newsletter to 500k+ members the next day. Now that’s a one-way trip to a huge spike in traffic to your website!

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Let’s dig into the steps for preparation even before your launch:

1. Present your product well

Make sure you spend time and effort in building your website with a clean and simple UI.

A lot of times product makers tend to miss out on this, placing their faith entirely on their product being an “effective solution”.

In fact, don’t think of products only in the traditional sense. Any useful information with a great presentation can give you a worthy product!

Let me explain.

We built an internal resource containing a list of top tools for remote working companies or remote working people in a simple spreadsheet…

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…and we converted that into a website (remote.tools) when we decided to launch it on Product Hunt.

Just our Product Hunt launch saw 61 remote-first products posted, 500+ sign-ups, and 1000+ upvotes!

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2. Be active on the platform before launch

I would break the importance of this into two main reasons:

  • The first and foremost reason is to get a feel of how the platform works. This involves exploring the general features of the platform i.e. the process to post a product and the concept of upvotes & comments.
  • Quite intuitively, Product Hunt’s algorithm rewards users who take the effort to build their profile by participating in the community and supporting other products. Distribute this over a couple of months into your launch, to gather a good following and support base on the platform.

Doing this will give you a huge head start. For example, Tandem, won a comment from the Product Hunt founder, Ryan Hoover, himself!

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Use the Makers Community: There are other forums like chat groups, discussions, makers’ spaces for makers to discuss their ideas and share anything that they think might be useful to the community. This is a great platform to make conversation and engage with other product makers.

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3. Identify influential users

While it is not entirely established, an endorsement from influential Product Hunt users is said to give a boost to your launch.

So, reach out to an influential “hunter” to “hunt” your product. This could increase your chances of being noticed and also making it to the list of the top five products of the day.

Approaching these people is not as difficult as you’d think it might be.

For example, Chris Messina (2nd most influential user on PH) has a form that you can fill, wherein you can request him to hunt your product.

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Don’t stop here. Use the list of top influential users on Product Hunt and reach out to them via mail, Twitter, message on Product Hunt, etc.

Do not spam them! Rather share key points about your product, your vision, and request feedback on it. 

4. Prepare the right listing

These are the components of your listing that you should make sure to spend time and effort on:

  • Tagline: Craft your tagline in a way that it speaks to your audience. It should be creative but simple.
  • Thumbnail: This could be an image or an engaging gif that describes your product in the best way possible.
  • Video: You could add an interactive video that highlights the features of your product. This will significantly add to the visual appeal of your Product Hunt listing.
  • Maker’s comment: Talk about your journey, how you came up with the product idea, and describe your vision. The community loves products but appreciates the story behind it more. This helps form a connect with the users while also sparking conversations.
  • Time of posting: New products begin to list on the Product Hunt page from 12 AM PST. To ensure that you get the entire day with users, make sure you launch exactly at 12 AM!

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Pro Tip: Use Preview Hunt to preview and prepare your Product Hunt submissions.

5. Get your team to create Product Hunt accounts

Just as your activity on Product Hunt prior to your launch matters, it is also important that the people who support you on the day of launch have decently active accounts.

In fact, Product Hunt penalizes those products that get too many upvotes from newly created user accounts or generally “spammy” upvotes.

So get your team, family members, and friends to create accounts and explore the platform well in advance, and not on the day of launch.

The Launch Day

1. Be responsive

Be quick to respond to anyone who shows interest in your product.

Users are encouraged to engage and comment when they see a conversation building, thereby, also adding to your comment thread on the day of launch.

Further, you will also get genuine feedback, allowing you to understand your product better and maybe even prioritize your product roadmap.

2. Shout out on social media

Spend time crafting your post for social media, the right post at the right time will definitely go a long way.

Pace your updates on social media throughout the day.

This could probably be an update on the number of upvotes you have garnered every few hours or a special mention that you got from someone very popular.

Here are a few screenshots from Phantombuster’s twitter feed on the day of their launch on Product Hunt.

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Although we do not think it is true, It is generally said that a user’s upvote has a lot more weight if they spend a while exploring the Product Hunt page and then go on to upvote your product.

In this regard, it is recommended that you don’t share your direct product link on social media or elsewhere.

3. Add a widget on your site

This is mainly to get your regular traffic to visit Product Hunt and support you.

The widget also acts as a reminder for those who come to your website from Product Hunt, to go back and upvote your product.

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4. Add a subscribe box

Optimize your website to make the most of the traffic you get.

Adding a subscriber box will encourage users who visit your website to sign-up as well.

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The images above show how we executed the widget and subscriber box for our product.

Post-Launch

1. Celebrate and thank your community

If you get to be one of the top products of the day, share your joy! Express your excitement and shout out to all your existing users who were there to cheer you on for the big day.

Also, make sure to thank your hunter and the other users on Product Hunt for their love and support.

2. Analyze your launch

Once the launch is done, it is important that you go back and analyze your performance. Benchmark the actual numbers against the goals you set out in the beginning.

Do note down all the special social media mentions, as you can always reach out to them for feedback on future versions of your product.

Start preparing for your launch now!

Product Hunt can considerably add momentum to your product launch, put you in touch with new customers, and earn feedback from others interested in what you do.

Among the various avenues of marketing your products, Product Hunt is pretty highly rewarding.

Don’t miss out on this platform and get started on launching your product today!

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Karthik Sridharan is the Co-founder & CEO at Flexiple, an exclusive network of freelance developers & designers.

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