I’ve been super active on Product Hunt for years and discovered it very deeply. I want to share my experience and lessons learned after making and launching 20 products on Product Hunt and winning the 2nd place on Golden Kitty Awards.
Updated on the 4th of October, 2018 after the Unicorn Platform launch.
Updated on the 6th of February, 2019.
Updated on the 8th of May, 2019.
Updated on the 28th of November, 2019 after the Unicorn Platform v2.0 launch.
About Product Hunt in 3 mins
Product Hunt was founded a long time ago by Rayan Hoover. Initially, Product Hunt was nothing but a newsletter helping to discover cool tech products. Moments later, Product Hunt transformed into a Reddit style board, gained a lot of attention and love. Then it was sold to AngelList for $20M in 2016.
Three things ProductHunt is loved so much for:
Product Hunt is an open-minded community of tech entrepreneurs, developers, and designers. People here love talking about the latest trends, bring new ideas, create new connections and ask difficult questions. It’s an incredible place where founders have a chance to get valuable feedback for their product. One can talk to his audience directly.
Product Hunt is perfect. The developers pay so much attention to every single detail. The email newsletter is simply the best, the community managers are always helpful and friendly. An outstanding example of what a modern community should look like! 💖
Product Hunt literally has all the startups, tools, products, software, apps, SaaS ever created. Whenever you want to know more about a product or the team, find similar tools for your business or simply discuss tech stuff, you know where to go. Product Hunt today is a part of the startup culture. It’s a phenomenon you would better to care about.
Why should I care?
The main power of Product Hunt is its audience. There are thousands of active freelancers, startupers, developers, designers, entrepreneurs and marketers like you who are constantly looking for new opportunities, apps or ways to improve their processes. They love to share the world about nice apps they have found on Product Hunt.
Product Hunt aggregates all those people and gives everyone a chance to showcase his/her product. You will have a chance to:
- get hundreds of signups and purchases 🌟
- get real valuable feedback 🌟
- get early adopters
- find new workers, partners, and investors
- get press mentions
- become viral (Product Hunt is a perfect place to spark a huge fire)
All free of charge.
If you ever were on a summit like Web Summit or Slush, you know how important preparation is: business cards, merchandise, networking, the team ready, perfectly working stand, sharpened website, and the most important: a polished product you are totally proud of 👌
Publishing on Product Hunt is no less important than pitching on Slush. Here are the 19 lessons I’ve learned for the last years of being a very active Product Hunter (20 products made, 2nd place Golden Kitty Awards, #1 of the day, #5 of the month).
28 lessons for an aspiring Hunter 🔥
Here are the most valuable hints to launch a successful Product Hunt campaign 🚀 Read those below to get maximum out of your release.
- Ask someone to hunt you. There are some advantages of asking someone experienced to hunt your product: a good hunter will help you with promo materials and scheduling. Besides, the earliest adopters of PH have a magic ability to post a product directly to the main page. It’s a huge boost because your publications will go to the /newest where it will need to get ~20 upvotes before appearing on the front page. You may want to consider to ask some of these nice folks to hunt you. But before pitching to hunter do your homework: research his previous hunts and make sure his interests fit your product. FYI: a hunter’s followers count is much less valuable than in 2016 when every follower received a personal email with the notification of the new hunt.
- Be careful when planning a Product Hunt release on Monday and Tuesday. You will meet strong competitors on those busy days and have a risk of being unnoticed.
- Another great thing is that Hunters will tell you why your product sucks. Be grateful and thankful for the valuable feedback they give. Work with the audience: comment back to each reply and follow them all. Do not hesitate to send a nice personalized ‘thank you~’ message on Twitter too,
- Product Hunt can bring you true fans. Those ones who love your product the most should be treated in a special way: send them a private invitation to beta features or offer to become a part of the early testing team, ask them about what they want to see in the product etc.
- Be ready that you may be unexpectedly hunted by someone else. If that happened and you are not ready for the launch, ask the staff via Intercom to delist you.
- Make Product Hunters feel special. Add a welcoming kitty banner on your front page. Tweet ‘thank for the Upvote!” to each supporter, follow your fans. Offer an exclusive discount.
- Use Ship to aggregate Product Hunters long before the release day. Warmed up well, those folks will Upvote your product on the launch day.
The Product Hunt community managers are the sweetest creatures in the world!
- Use Intercom if in a trouble. The Product Hunt community managers are the sweetest creatures in the world!
- Attach a blog post to your PH page. If you are cool enough and have press mentions and/or interviews – add them all!
- Make a photo that shows you and/or team are happy to be on Product Hunt. It will increase engagement and love of the community (example).
- Product Hunt doesn’t like when you directly ask to upvote your product because it makes the ranking unfair. Respect the rules and ask ‘to support you’ – even in private channels like an email newsletter. If your audience truly loves the product, they will upvote it.
- You can post the product again and get another dose of attention (example). Please do not abuse this! Repost only if you made a significant update or pivoted once per 6 months.
- Prepare your intro comment. Make it honest, exciting and explaining.
- Pay attention to with the ones who upvoted your product. You can get a list of all who upvoted your product with this handy tool (get a dev token here).
There are also some tips for the ones who want glory. Follow this to become a Product Hunt superhero 😎
- Post new products of big companies and get a lot of attention to your person & gain new followers (example 1, example 2).
- Feel free to challenge other members of the community by asking difficult questions.
- We love emoji. Use it in a tagline, in comments, in titles.
- Directories. Product Hunt loves directories of useful tools. Create a product which is a list of startup, design, developer, marketing resources and the crowd will loudly applaud you. Read my article about marketing with directories.
- Create a fun and useful collection and promote it. You and your product will get attention.
New (October 2018):
- To do good business you need data. Don’t forget to set up Google Analytics goals.
- Setting a Facebook Pixel is important too. You will be able to reach guys from Product Hunt on Facebook in the future.
- Before the launch explicitly declare what exactly do you want to get from the launch: feedback, idea validation, signups, sales etc.
- Prepare a list of possible questions and write nice answers. It will save you time and energy on the day X.
- If you want to earn money, think about your selling strategy, work on the sales funnel (try to buy something in your competitors – they will teach you how to sell), set up a CRM.
- Before launching the project on Product Hunt, get some feedback in other places such as IndieHackers.
- Show off your Product Hunt badges! It’s an awesome social proof.
New (February 2019):
- As you may know, you can show off a product on Product Hunt for multiple times. The community would be excited to discover your big updates and new features.
- But be careful when posting a new product which is hosted on the same domain (e.g.: myapp.com/my-side-project). According to the information from Product Hunt staff, the algorithm may remove you from the main page for being a too frequent poster.
- Whether you want to publish an update or post a project on an already posted domain, wait for 5-6 months.
New (November 2019):
- Create a Live video stream of your Product Hunt launch. My stream was watched by only a couple of folks. To get more viewers you need to announce the live stream in advance and encourage users to join it on day X. Prepare some cool contests and intrigue your audience.
- Launch another product on the next day to drive even more attention to your main product. The idea is to mention your previous launch in the first comment to the second promo-product. I launched Startup Toolbox on the next day and failed with it – the second product was not featured on the front page. I think it is just bad luck, not the PH algorithm issue.
- Your loyal followers and friends are everything. My v2.0 launch was not so popular among the PH audience. But my loyal audience helped me to get the #1 product of the day badge. Make new friends every day, share kindness, help others. It works.
And of course: have fun! People like when you are in a party mood. Stay open and positive and you will engage more attention.
“Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone”.
Product Hunt launch is not a leap of hope. It’s just a first step in your journey and nothing bad will happen if you fail.
The last and the most important hint: be authentic 💫
Keep expressing your authentic, genuine passion for what you do: in comments, hunts, tweets and any other actions. Authentic players attract much more attention and supporters. It makes people want to listen to you and use things you say them use.