March 4, 2016
How to launch on Product Hunt
I’m a Product Hunt moderator. I also work as a SaaS consultant, growth marketer, and customer success evangelist. Throughout my career, I’ve seen great ideas fail to gain traction and mediocre ideas lift off.
Sometimes, the stars align and a company has both – a great product and incredible growth. These are the products that sell themselves. Think Slack, Buffer, and Zendesk.
Assuming you have a killer product like these companies, Product Hunt is “Tech’s New Tastemaker” and a way to start your meteoric rise to the top.
How you can join the Hunt
Before we hop in, know that the Product Hunt community has a neighborhood watch program of sorts. Community members are often the ones who keep an eye on the boards. Trying to cheat the system won’t get you anywhere, but following these ten tips will…
1. Decide if your product is a good fit for Product Hunt
This may come as a surprise, but not every product benefits on the same level from being on Product Hunt. Study the types of products that get the most upvotes. Are there any similar to what you’ve made? Do you have a gut feeling that your product will appeal to the community?
2. Only post a product that’s officially on the market
Great ideas are nice, but they don’t get upvotes. The community wants to ensure products they support come to fruition. The only foolproof way to do this is backing products that have already launched.
3. Understand the four different types of Product Hunt users
- Users who can comment and post
- Users who can comment and submit products for review
This means only certain users can comment and post products, so…
4. Get to know the community when you don’t have posting and commenting access
Anyone who first registers for Product Hunt can upvote and collect products, but cannot comment or post. This can be frustrating. But use the time to identify the major players in the community – especially those who promote products similar to yours.
You can submit your product to the “upcoming” list once you get comment access, and eventually to the homepage if you become an active member. Until then, the only way your product gets on the homepage is if someone who has access posts it for you.
5. Find a sponsor that’d be interested in your product
Search Hunter List to make a short list of people to contact. Politely request their email addresses, and send a brief email about your product asking them to post it on your behalf. Make sure to include the URL and how your product is similar to others they’ve sponsored in the past.
Don’t spam tons of Hunters on Twitter. It’s lazy and rude. Direct, personal outreach is the only way to go.
6. Climb the rankings like the best tech marketers do
Once you’re on the list, you want to gain as many legitimate upvotes as possible to earn a coveted top 10 slot. Here are the most important steps to drive engagement at this stage:
- Make an introductory comment to provide more context. Savvy does a good job in its listing.
- Do an AMA on Product Hunt (i.e. answer any and all questions that community members have about your product, the day that it’s listed).
- Share your excitement but DO NOT request up-votes (it’s against guidelines).
- Join Maker Hunt, the Slack chat for product makers in Product Hunt.
- Do an AMA on Maker Hunt.
- Share your Product Hunt success story with others.
7. Add to the conversation of your industry
The most successful launches are where a founder, or a savvy marketer, takes the time the explain their product’s value and add to the conversation of their industry. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, and share hard won wisdom with Product Hunt’s engaged community of readers.
Lots of bloggers read the Product Hunt comments, so if you’re transparent, passionate, and have interesting things to say, your message will get out there. In a big way.
8. Don’t make it all about you
Engage with the Product Hunt community in authentic, meaningful ways. Hunters can smell sales BS a mile away. If you want in, form genuine relationships with a few key people to champion your product. Upvote other submissions. Write thoughtful comments. Share your favorite stuff on social media. Product Hunters believe in good karma and reward generosity.
9. Give ‘em something to talk about
When you acquire Hunters as customers, give them an amazing experience worth talking about. These are people who love great tech products and and can spread the word like wildfire. Embrace customer success best practices, like rewarding supporters with discounts or other gifts that show your appreciation.
10. Earn a spot on the Product Hunt podcast
Makers, investors, and other startup folks gather around the virtual campfire every week to geek out about products on the Product Hunt podcast. If you’ve got what it takes to get on the podcast – do it.
The real secret sauce: authenticity
There you have it. The best practices for hitting the Product Hunt top 10. But if you really want the secret sauce used by products growing the fastest, it’s this:
Always show your authentic, genuine passion for what you do – in all of your comments and interactions. Authenticity attracts supporters. It’s infectious (read: viral), it’s attractive (read: it sells a lot). And it works. Online. Offline. And especially in real life.
Want to learn more? Have strong product/market fit? Learn how to get big, fast with partnerships.