We recently used Product Hunt to drive awareness and growth for our two-year-old product, Lucidpress. By the end of the first day, we were ranked in the top 10 and had driven nearly 800 new visits to our website. To date, we've secured 78 registrations from Product Hunt visitors, along with unbeatable brand exposure.
Want to get similar results for your business? Here's everything you need to know to successfully launch on Product Hunt.
First: What you don't know about Product Hunt
On Product Hunt, users can share new products and vote for their favorites. Most people think of PH as a place to find cool new startups. But there's nothing stopping established companies from being featured on Product Hunt. In fact, it's a great place to improve brand awareness, find new users, and get rapid feedback on your product. Its many overnight success stories, like Startup Stash, Flatbook, and Emoji Mask, can attest to that.
Before you launch on Product Hunt, you should understand how rankings are calculated. Keep reading and we'll show you how they can work in your favor.
These factors affect daily rankings:
- The number of upvotes. Not all upvotes are created equal. Product Hunt gives more weight to votes coming from highly ranked users (those with more experience and activity on the site) and votes that come directly from the main page.
- How long it's been since the product was hunted. The longer the product has been on the website, the less valuable each upvote becomes.
- Super-secret factors. Product Hunt is pretty hush-hush about what these secret factors are, though many agree that the number of comments you have on your product page is probably one of them.
Got it? Good. Now it's time to crack the code. Here are our top 13 tactics for your PH launch, organized by pre-submission and post-submission activities.
Before you submit your product:
1. Determine your goal
Want to double your visitors, get tons of downloads for your app, or just prove out an MVP? Figure out what you want to maximize, then focus on that. For example, we decided our Product Hunt goal was to raise awareness of Lucidpress.
2. Understand how to post
Only the most active PH users are able to post new products or comment on product pages. But don't lose hope. There are still several ways to post your product:
- Reach out to Product Hunters you know and ask them to post for you. Do you already have friends or connections who are able to submit new products? Get on PH and take a look at which of your contacts have submitted products in the past, then reach out.
- Get in touch with a top hunter and ask them to post your product for you. Only the top 3,000 or so Product Hunters can submit a new product directly to the main "Featured" page. All other submissions are posted to the "Upcoming" page and only move to the Featured page with enough upvotes. If you can convince a top hunter to submit your product, you'll have a far better chance of gaining early upvotes and momentum. You can use the Product Hunt Leaderboard or HunterList.co to identify top hunters. Note: if you choose this route, you may come off as desperate or spammy. Proceed with caution.
- Submit your product yourself and add an "exclusive offer" via this form. Doing this actually adds a gold star to your listing, which can help you stand out among other products. Unfortunately, it can take a while for your product to be approved, and you won't know exactly when your product will be posted. You'll also miss out on the extra "juice" of having an active hunter post for you.
3. Post at the right time
According to Kartik Mandaville's statistical analysis of Product Hunt data, the best day of the week to post your product is Tuesday. The best time of day to post? 5 AM - 8 PM PST.
If you post too early, you could miss out on upvotes from PH users on the West Coast who are still in bed. But if you post too late, you'll be playing catch-up all day to compete with earlier listings. We chose to post Lucidpress at 5 AM PST.
4. Prep your marketing content
You want your business to look as polished as possible, and that means high-quality marketing content. Taking time to organize this content before your product submission can help you focus on more important things (like promotion) the morning of your launch. We recommend prepping:
- Tagline & media — Put together an engaging tagline and a few images/videos that show off your product. These resources are what will convince PH readers to give your product a shot. If you need help creating simple, engaging graphics for your launch, try Lucidpress.
- Introduction & story — It's common for product founders/owners, known as Makers, to introduce themselves in the comments section of their product page. Readers want to know who you are and how your product came to be, so answer them in the most engaging way possible. And yes, you can post your story before other comments have been posted. It's a good way to encourage discussion!
- Q&A — The PH community is great at asking hard questions. Be prepared with thoughtful answers. You may want to view questions on popular product pages and use them to prep similar answers.
- Welcome visitors — Consider creating a unique experience for PH visitors who click through to your website. You can welcome them with an Introbar or even a custom landing page.
5. Prep your network
We can't stress this enough—you must enlist the help of your personal contacts before you submit. A coordinated promotion effort will make or break your Product Hunt experience. Now, you can enlist people however you want, but we recommend giving them several reminders beforehand. We emailed our entire company a few times prior to launch and again on the day of. We also encouraged employees to spread the word of our Product Hunt submission.
Make sure everyone knows 1) when you will launch and 2) how each person can help (upvoting, commenting & sharing). Explain the importance of not asking for upvotes directly (which violates PH rules and may negatively affect your rankings), especially if your contacts plan to share with their individual networks.
6. Get active
Remember, one of the biggest factors in determining your product rank is how long it's been on the platform. For this reason, it's important to start with a bang. Here's how to do it:
7. Share your content
Remember all that content you prepped earlier? Share it. Add any photos or videos you didn't include during the product submission process. Post your introduction and story. Add other members of your team as Makers. Monitor questions the community asks and respond quickly with your prepared answers when possible.
8. Encourage discussion
One of our biggest struggles after submitting Lucidpress was the lack of questions from the community. After posting three well-crafted intros from different Makers on our team, we waited for questions to roll in. We got... nothing. The lack of discussion didn't just hurt our egos; it negatively affecting our ranking.
To avoid a goose egg in the comments, try getting a member of your network (with PH commenting permissions) to ask a thoughtful question. Be sure to respond quickly.
9. Tell your network
Right after your product has been posted, send a follow-up email to everyone you already contacted. Give them the green light to check out your PH page and start sharing it with their networks. Remember to move quickly—every second that goes by makes your upvotes less valuable.
Think: How can I make it easier for people to share the news? We provided some brief pre-written social media posts for our network to share:
Lucidpress just launched on @ProductHunt today. Check it out and let us know what you think! http://bit.ly/LPonPH @lucidpress
Facebook / LinkedIn:
The company I work for just launched its product, Lucidpress, on Product Hunt! It's a design tool that's actually easy to use. Search for it here and let us know what you think: http://bit.ly/LPonPH
10. Tell your users (but don't send out a direct link)
If you already have users, don't leave them out. They're likely to be your biggest advocates.
The morning Lucidpress was posted to PH, we emailed our current users and let them know about the launch. The email was pretty simple—we just encouraged readers to check it out and join the conversation. Make sure you don't link directly to your product page, which can hurt your rankings. Instead, link to the PH homepage and have your audience search for the product.
11. Tell your followers
Schedule at least 3 - 4 social posts throughout the day on your social channels—first announcing your PH launch, then providing regular updates on your progress.
Do keep a close eye on any related activity (including questions from followers, shares from your network, etc.) and favorite, retweet & respond accordingly. We suggest giving priority to activity on Twitter, since PH is closely tied to the Twitter platform.
It's common for product makers to follow everyone on Twitter who upvotes them, as well as send personal thank-you tweets to each person. If you want to try this, a Twitter management tool like ManageFlitter can help.
12. Reach out to other active users
Lucidpress is actually our company's second product (Lucidchart is the first). Since Lucidchart was hunted over a year ago, we decided to reach out to those who upvoted it to let them know about our latest launch.
To achieve similar results, take a look at all users who follow you on Product Hunt and chat with the most active ones about your launch. Or use a tool like WhoHunt.io to find influential Product Hunters who live near you or work in your industry.
13. Monitor progress
Finally, make sure you monitor your key metrics throughout the day so you can track progress toward your goal. Google Analytics is how we measured traffic and conversions from Product Hunt. Just go to Acquisition & Referrals, then search for "producthunt.com."
We hope these tips were helpful. If you have any questions, comment below and we'll be happy to help.