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Copy of LAUNCH GUIDEAh, Product Hunt. The name brings chills and excitement to even the most seasoned of founders. PH can be a great platform to attract a large user base and get valuable feedback. Or it can have you questioning whether your idea is worth anything at all. Regardless of your opinions on Product Hunt, it’s hard to deny that it’s a powerful stage for launching your product. We’ve been hunted twice, and have spent countless days researching every intricacy of the platform we could unravel. And while we weren’t the most upvoted product in PH’s history (the guy with that claim to fame now works for Product Hunt), we’ve learned a lot along the way – both do’s and don’ts – and we’re sharing that with you today.

Disclaimer: Product Hunt is young and ever-changing, so things will likely change after this guide is published. That said, the overarching principles of the platform likely won’t.

PRE-LAUNCH

Be active 

It doesn’t take much. Follow some users, upvote some posts, and make a few collections.

Just like other karma-based communities (e.g. Hacker News), Product Hunt’s most influential users are also the most active. This means that you (understandably) can’t just make an account and expect that your upvote will count as much as a PH veteran’s. Before you launch on Product Hunt, make sure you and your team are active on the site, upvoting hunts, following users, and making collections. PH is deeply integrated with Twitter, so being active also means following PH users on Twitter and retweeting, replying to, and favoriting tweets. All of the Attentiv team had active accounts prior to both launches, and some of us even had commenting and hunting privileges (because we were listed as ‘makers’ for Attentiv).

Pro Tip: These same recommendations also go for anybody else in your network who’d be likely to upvote your product when you launch, so make sure your family, friends, and super-users have accounts and are active on the site well in advance.

 

Time it right

Timing is key on Product Hunt. A miscalculation could cause you to flounder at the bottom of the page and get no visibility, but a well-timed post might just get you the traction you need. Looking at PH user data, you can see that Tuesdays are the most active in terms of comments and votes. West coast residents, set your alarm clocks for an early morning. You want to target the 4.5 hour window between 2:30 AM PST (5:30 AM EST) and 7 AM PST for your launch. This window gets you international users in addition to the early risers on both coasts. Keep in mind that, while this has been our experience with launches on PH, you can test things out before your launch by hunting products at different times and during different days of the week.

PH profile

Analysis done by Kartik Mandaville. Check out his full breakdown on Medium.

 

Look for influencers

Only 2,000 PH-selected users can actually post to Product Hunt’s “Featured” page directly. Posts by users outside of this special 2k are piled into the oft-neglected “Upcoming” section. Since your launch will be wildly more effective if you’re on the featured section, you need to find one of those privileged users. Do some research and find the most active people on Product Hunt to narrow down a list of influencers. Influencers can give you hunting and commenting privileges, but they can also be extremely useful for your own launch. Use PH and Twitter to interact with and get to know influencers. Follow them, retweet them, and talk to them! Maybe even invite them for an exclusive beta of your product. And when the time comes for your Product Hunt launch, you can reach out to them and ask if they’d be willing to hunt your product. An influencer’s post is also more likely to get noticed than a new user’s, giving you some instant credibility for your product. After you’ve launched, reach out to any other influencers you’ve spoken with and ask them to check out your post.

PH profile

We compiled a list of influencers using the leaderboard you see above, following them on PH and Twitter. After engaging with a few on Twitter, we offered an influencer an exclusive invite to beta test Attentiv 2.0. He liked what he saw, and was happy to list us on Product Hunt.

 

 

Offer an exclusive

PH profile

An “exclusive” is a unique way to get some visibility on PH. By offering PH users an exclusive discount, you get to schedule when your product will be posted to the featured page in advance and you get a star next to your listing, which could definitely earn you some more traffic and extra signups. For example, the first time our product was posted on PH, we gave exclusive discounts to PH users for our paid options which enabled us to schedule our post in advance for 2:30am and got us that gold star that you can see in the photo above. This also shows some loyalty to a tight-knit community, and the potential payoff is worth it.  You can only do this once, so make sure you maximize your use of that little star. Check out this page to get started on the exclusive offer process.

 

Build and keep track of an ‘upvote network

If you’ve accrued some followers on PH, make sure you tell them about your launch so they have a chance to upvote.

PH profile

Reach out to everybody in your network with a PH account, including all team members, friends, family, investors, and anybody else you’ve contacted that’s been active on the site. And if they haven’t been active, gently ask them to build some collections, make some hunts, and upvote some listings. Compile a list of all these users since you’ll want to involve these people so that you can get traction on the site. This is where those influencers will also really come in handy. Again, the deep Twitter integration with PH is your friend here. Use PH to see who’s following you on Twitter and don’t be afraid to ask them to check out your PH post via DM. They’re already following you on social media, which means they’re probably happy to help you out.

We built a spreadsheet with contact info for everybody in our network, giving them updates on our launch plan and instructions for what to do when we finally got listed. Keeping this process organized was key for us, since we could accurately estimate how well we would fare right after launch.

ONCE LIVE

Share your story

We immediately jumped on our PH listing and explained our story so we were at the top of the discussion.

PH profile

Why did you start your company or decide to create your product? If you have a relatable story to tell about your pain point, tell it in the discussion on your product page. This serves as a great introduction and gives some background to the people behind the product, a cool feature I’ve only seen on Product Hunt. We made sure to be the first ones to comment on our listing page, which made it more likely that our comment would be upvoted and stick at the top. A brief but relatable introduction sets the foundation for more comments while also expounding on the problem you’re looking to solve. We found that users are happy to chat with the founder, and this intro is what makes you approachable.

 

Make it an AMA

Turn your listing into an informational ask-me-anything by inviting questions in your introduction post and promptly responding to the comments. This will keep up engagement while clarifying what your product is trying to accomplish. You’ll need commenting privileges for this, so make sure you have that ahead of launch. We stayed on the lookout for questions and comments throughout the day, responding quickly and thoughtfully to each. Engagement makes your listing page look busy, which will attract more people to your site to see what the fuss is about.

PH profile

 

 

Do NOT send out a direct link

When you ask others to check out your listing, don’t copy/paste the direct link to your PH listing page and email (or IM, Tweet, Facebook message, etc.) to friends. PH is big on naturally letting the community vote for the best of products, so if they see a ton of traffic coming from someone who blasted out a direct link, they will adjust for that algorithmically and not count those votes as strongly. This is to ensure nobody’s manipulating the rankings.

Instead, ask users to search for you from the PH homepage.

 

Reach out to old voters

If you’ve listed something on PH before, look for all the users who previously upvoted you.  This is easy to do – simply open up your old listing and everyone who upvoted it will be listed there.  Then you can tweet at them, asking them to check out your new listing. This is a surprisingly effective tactic, as we’ve noticed people who upvoted us previously are happy to do so again.

PH profile

 

 

Thank your voters

Give every user who upvoted you a personalized thank you on Twitter, which is a surprisingly common act in this tight-knit community. Don’t be creepy though…some listers have gone to extremes like making personalized YouTube thank you videos. Cool in concept, but maybe just a little over the top?

PH profile

 

Ask your users

Through an email campaign, ask your existing users to checkout your post on Product Hunt and to let their networks know about it. Hopefully your current users are already big fans, and will be happy to do so. Relay the message on all your social media accounts and even send out a notification to your blog subscribers.

Pro-tip: If you’ve used PH for a launch before, you can track users who converted from PH previously and send out a targeted email campaign to them letting them know about the new listing. You know those users liked your previous version or product, and that they may have PH accounts. Use that to your advantage.

None of these are guaranteed to make your product the best thing to ever hit Product Hunt. Product Hunt is built to naturally let users discover, vote for, and share the best products. At the end of the day, regardless of your planning, a successful launch rides on whether or not the PH audience likes your idea and maybe a little bit of luck to boot.

Have any tips we didn’t mention? Share them with us in the comments below!

Categories: Attentiv

6 Comments

  1. Oleg Campbell

    07-31-2015 Reply

    One of the best article on launch I read so far. That it exactly what I was looking for.

    I even tried to reach to ProductHunt founder to point me in the right dirrection regarding the best practiced on launching on PH. After two follow-ups still didn’t hear back from him and thanks to this article seems I don’t need to bother anymore.

    Thank you!

    • Adib Choudhury

      08-03-2015

      Thanks for reading! The PH founders might not want to give anybody an advantage, but these are some observations we’ve made that can help you whenever you decide to launch.

  2. Doria Garms-Sotelo

    08-02-2015 Reply

    This was so helpful! Will be using these suggestions.

    • Adib Choudhury

      08-03-2015

      Glad you found it useful! Best of luck with your launch.

  3. Alexander Khanukov

    08-19-2015 Reply

    Thanks Adib! We’re gearing up to launch a couple of products in the next few months and this article came across my feed at just the right time. Very strategic and tactical and will surely be put to use. Congrats on your successes as well!

  4. Tobias Brockow

    08-26-2015 Reply

    Great article Adib! Thanks for sharing the knowledge. There was one point I didn’t get. What exactly do you mean by saying that your upvote doesn’t count as much as a PH veteran when you just signed in? I’m asking because I thought that every upvote counts as +1. Thank you! 🙂

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