Content by Lidia Vijga and Adam Casole-Buchanan
Last month we launched DeckLinks on Product Hunt, and we were the #2 product of the day. I decided to write about our experience and share everything we did to prepare for the launch. Launching on Product Hunt is a 24-hour battle – 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM – so, before I share our tips and best practices, I want to highlight the Belarusian band whose music helped keep me awake all night during the launch.
What is Product Hunt and why should you launch there?
Product Hunt is the place for tech-loving enthusiasts to discover and share new products. Every month, over 4 million visitors go to Product Hunt to find the latest software, mobile apps, websites, hardware projects, and tech creations. If launched successfully, you will be able to drive awareness for your product, get early adopters, and receive feedback from a highly engaged community.
Preparing for the Product Hunt Launch
If you or your teammates are not on Product Hunt, a good start would be to sign up for an account and get active. Find friends and Makers (people who create products to launch on Product Hunt) to follow, upvote products every day, try your favourite ones, share your feedback, and participate in discussions.
Imagine your ideal supporter on Product Hunt and become that for everyone else.
Engage with Product Hunt community to build your following
The community discussions are a great place to connect with experienced makers who have launched many times before or meet new members who are planning to launch the same week as you. That’s how we met some of our initial supporters and we received tons of great advice.
Explore the most upvoted products
To learn from the best and most successful launches, enter * into the search bar and explore the most upvoted products in the Product Hunt history.
Start a mailing list via Ship
About 3 weeks before our launch, we created a landing page on our own website to start building a list of emails from our supporters. Then we let everyone know on social media, in slack communities, and in our newsletter that we were launching soon, and we drove everyone to that landing page to capture emails. That was a mistake on our part – most of the emails we collected were from people that were not active members of Product Hunt, and some subscribers had never heard of Product Hunt before. The best way to start collecting emails from active Product Hunt members while also creating buzz around your launch is to create an upcoming page through Product Hunt Ship. If your landing page ends up on the list of popular upcoming products, you will drive awareness organically from the community.
Make friends from the other side of the planet
The Product Hunt homepage runs on Pacific Time, and it resets at midnight daily. The best practice for launching your product is to do so at 12:01 AM PST and get as many votes as possible within the first hour to get your product featured in the popular feed. If you’re in North America on Eastern Time like we are, that’s 3:00 AM, and it’s incredibly challenging to outperform those Makers who launch in Europe and Asia during their morning and daytime, especially if the votes come from their colleagues and or large teams during their workday.
We focused on building relationships with startups from the other side of the world, and Makers from Europe, India, and Pakistan supported us in the early morning hours of our launch day. The best way to start these conversations is by supporting them and connecting with them via DMs on Twitter.
Create a video with text or subtitles
A short 30-second video is a great way to engage the community and explain your product. A lot of users watch product videos with the sound off since Product Hunt auto-plays your product video on mute when someone lands on your product page, so it’s best to add subtitles or make a video with text that can be viewed without the audio.
Find a Hunter or Hunt Yourself
If you are new to Product Hunt, a Hunter is someone who submits your product to Product Hunt and schedules the product page for the launch day. The Hunter will add you as a Maker so you can edit, update and add other Makers to the page before it goes live. When Hunters hunt products, their followers receive in browser notifications that your product has launched.
Upvote Bell created a leaderboard of the top 100 hunters on Product Hunt so you can find the best Hunter for your upcoming launch, based on the topics and previously hunted projects. If you plan to launch with a Hunter, make sure to connect and confirm the launch with them at least a few weeks in advance.
You can totally hunt your own product and submit it to Product Hunt yourself. We’d suggest adding your entire team and the contributors as Makers. If your product makes the homepage, everyone who follows Makers will receive a notification and an email.
Get lots of sleep before the launch
We knew that the Product Hunt launch was a 24-hour battle, so we decided to split the hours. In theory, this was a great idea; one of us could cover the night shift, and the other could take over from the morning onward. However, when launch day came, we both stayed up all night, all morning, and the entire next day. And that was after working the entire previous day!
When sharing on social media, ask for feedback, not votes
When sharing your launch announcement on social media, be sure to ask for feedback on your product, or ask if anyone is willing to take a look at what you have created and if they’d be willing to show their support. The Product Hunt community does not like it when you ask for upvotes, as it may even affect the results of your launch entirely. In the words of Product Hunt’s own Head of Support, Jake Crump, he advises Makers to not ask for upvotes, expressing a core idea behind Product Hunt “People should upvote things they genuinely like or find interesting, not because they were peer pressured to do so”. So, when generating buzz for your product, ask people if they’d be willing to show support for your launch in any way that they can – sometimes that upvotes, or resharing your launch, or even providing feedback on your launch page.
Commenting on your launch page is an opportunity for conversation
When you get feedback in the comments section of your launch post, make sure to answer the questions, but also take the opportunity to start a conversation with people; it’s a “Yes, and…” opportunity to maximize engagement on your post. You’ll meet other Makers, and learn about when they’re launching, or you’ll learn cool facts about other launches that you’ve seen. We learned the hard way that “Thank you for the support” is easy, but “Thank you. What are you working on?” is tougher, but more rewarding for everyone.
Get Product Hunt Launch Checklist
A tool that we found very useful when getting ready for our Product Hunt launch was the Product Hunt Launch Checklist, which we conveniently found on Product Hunt. The checklist by Falak Sher and his team is only $40, and was vital for our team when getting organized in the week before our launch. Our only wish is that we had found it sooner, so we could have utilized more of the resources a month before our launch.
Nurture Your Product Hunt Leads
The Product Hunt community is composed of tech enthusiasts from every background, from every stage of their career, to every stage of a product – MVP to IPO – so it’s highly likely that you’ll make some great connections, and have a few great leads come out of your launch. The best thing you can do after your launch is keep engaging with the Product Hunt community, and nurture the leads you’ve earned. Those leads may be your next customers, your next product champion, your next power user, or your next investor. And by continuing to contribute to the Product Hunt community, you’ll become that ideal supporter for the next Maker in your shoes.
If you can take any one tip, best practice, or piece of feedback away from this guide, it should be this: start earlier than you think.
That was our biggest mistake, and one that you can learn from, since we thought starting three weeks ahead of our launch day was enough. It wasn’t. We thought ramping up activity a week before launch was enough. It wasn’t. If we were to do anything differently, it would be to start sooner. Maybe even a month sooner. Become a member of Product Hunt sooner. Engage with members sooner. Plan your launch sooner. And ultimately, become a helpful member of the community sooner. Because it’s great, and you’ll get so much more out of it than you put in.