How to successfully launch on Product Hunt

We launched Editr on Product Hunt and learnt a lot. We're sharing our experience so that you can learn from our mistakes, and build on our successes.

What is Product Hunt?

Before discussing our launch, I thought it would be helpful to provide some information on Product Hunt for those who aren’t familiar with it yet.

Product Hunt is an American website, it’s a platform used to share and discover new products. It was founded by Ryan Hoover in November 2013 and it’s backed by Y Combinator.

When you visit Product Hunt, you’ll see the best products of the day presented in a list-type format. Select a product to learn more about it, see how many upvotes it has and get your questions answered by posting a comment. Everyday, the products are refreshed and we start again with the best products of the day. Products with the most upvotes will be the ‘Top Products of the Day’. At the end of each day, the top three get a cool badge awarded to them.

Why does Product Hunt matter?

Gaining traction as a start up is difficult. You could have a world class product but if nobody knows about it, you won’t be successful. Product hunt is respected, well established, and has a massive following.

In the last 6 months, Product Hunt has had 4.35 million visits (taken from similar web). This means you have a chance to show off your product to millions of people and get their thoughts/feedback - all for free!

If you manage to finish the day with the highest number of upvotes, Product Hunt sends an email mentioning you and even tweets about your product. This means thousands of people will find out about your product, and they might even visit your website to try it out!

How we got hunted

We launched Editr on betalist Our lovely hunter (shout out to Adithya Shreshti) found us on betalist and contacted us about a Product Hunt launch.

When is the best time to post?

As Product Hunt is an American website, it's run on the San Francisco time zone. Generally speaking, the earlier you post your product in this timezone, the more initial upvotes you’ll have when people in San Francisco wake up and see your product on the top of the page. This will hopefully produce more upvotes and help you finish the day high on Product Hunt’s list.

Be careful if you are not based in San Francisco - make sure you get your timings right or risk posting before you are ready!

*Disclosure* This happened to us. We somehow miscalculated the timing and accidentally launched on Product Hunt 24 hour hours before we thought we were going to. As a result we missed all our preparation. If this happens to you - don't worry! You can send a message to the Product Hunt team via their chat explaining the situation and ask them to delay your launch. We had to do this, the team were very helpful and fast to respond. This is probably one of the biggest learning points from our experience!

How to successfully launch on Product Hunt

If you fail to prepare you are preparing to fail

Everyone has heard this quote, and although it's cheesy, it's true for the majority of things. Product Hunt is no different.

Preparing to launch

Start by creating a Product Hunt account. Most people advise you to do this weeks in ahead of your launch. Once you're on Product Hunt, get familiar with the community, check out the highest ranked posts - what do they do well? Use the successful posts to inspire you.

A maker is the person(s) who create and own the product. You should list your makers when you post your product. To become a maker you need to have a Product Hunt account - make sure all your makers create an account with plenty of time to avoid a last minute rush.

Set up your profile:

  • Fill the form in. Product Hunt is full of people who want to hear about what your product can do. Product Hunt advises you to talk like a human, focus on the value of your product and avoid using buzz words or marketing jargon.
  • Upload your media. Show the Product Hunt community your baby! Upload videos, photos or GIFs - whatever it takes to make your product eye-catching.
  • Post your first comment. Get the conversation going by telling the Product Hunt community a bit about your journey and product. Be honest here - this isn't a sales pitch!
  • Consider offering the Product Hunt community a limited time discount code. This is likely to increase your engagement and subsequently increase comments, upvotes and feedback! Make sure it’s good enough for people to consider, 10% off isn’t going to attract many people.

Launch day

On launch day, we immediately activated the Product Hunt badge on our landing page.

We then asked people to check our post out on the following platforms:

  • All of our socials (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram)
  • Sent an email to all of our subscribers
  • Posted on relevant Facebook groups, Subreddits, Quora and replied to tweets

We scheduled our posts and assigned different platforms to people amongst our team, this meant that every post was up within 30 minutes of our launch.

It's important to do this correctly. You are absolutely not allowed to ask people for upvotes. If you get caught out doing this, Product Hunt may penalise you and this may be detrimental for gaining traction.

We simply asked people to check our post out and to give feedback on our products.

It’s important to be responsive to comments and feedback, both on PH and on socials. The more engagement and upvotes you get, the more likely you are to stay at the top. Our highest rank was number 9 - not a bad effort for a first launch!

A week later we are ranked number 16 and we have gained lots of valuable feedback to help us continue to get better. We also gained lots of users which is always good!

I hope you found this blog helpful. As always, we would love to hear from you and find out how your Product Hunt launch went!