Acquisition Channel of the Week: Product Hunt

I've analyzed all 487 Indie Hackers interviews and identified 34 acquisition channels that work consistently for founders. See Zero to Users for more details. Today, I'll be reviewing Product Hunt, a website which helped 78 different Indie Hackers founders get new users.

Product Hunt was launched in September 2013, and founders have had success with it ever since. Take Doorbell ($3k/mo), a tool for collecting customer feedback:

In 2014, near the end of September, Doorbell was randomly submitted to ProductHunt. That alone is quite the rollercoaster of an experience, but since then things have really started growing!

Product Hunt can be also useful for smaller side projects to give them an initial boost. This was the case with jQuery Card ($200/mo), a simple directory of jQuery plugins:

I owe a lot of the success of the launch to Product Hunt. It was featured in January 2016, and was at the number one spot on the day of launch.

Stay informed about the latest acquisition channels:

Product Hunt is a "product launch" website. Many people associate "launching" something with promoting it after you've just built it, without having pre-existing audience. Surprisingly, I've found that some of the most successful Product Hunt launches were those where the founder already had a pre-existing audience and used it to promote their launch. Some even did "pre-launches" before their "official" launch.

One such product was 1k Projects ($600+/mo), a marketplace to buy and sell side projects. Othmane, the founder, first pre-launched on Reddit and Indie Hackers:

At first, there were no projects on sale. To attract the first sellers I decided to do a pre-launch on IH and Reddit's /r/sideproject...

In a just few hours, over 20 sellers signed up, more than half added their projects for sale, and about 100 people signed up for the newsletter to be notified of new projects. More sellers and buyers would sign up over the coming day, and the post ended up at the top of the weekly list on both IH and Reddit.

He then used that audience to successfully launch on Product Hunt:

The next day, I had enough feedback, newsletter subscribers, and projects on sale to launch on Product Hunt. I woke up at 7:00 am GMT so that I could submit early.

I emailed everyone on both my personal list and 1Kproject's list about the launch on Product Hunt and shared on Twitter, as well. 1Kprojects ended up getting the #1 product of the day with over 1000 upvotes, and ended up at #3 product of the week.

Don't dismiss Product Hunt if your target audience isn't there. The platform can be a great way of getting press. Hello Weather ($4k/mo) is a weather-forecasting mobile app, and they've seen this firsthand:

To our surprise, the app received some attention on Product Hunt, and then got positive reviews in AppAdvice and Macworld. That sent some nice traffic spikes our way. We quickly amassed a few thousand downloads, which gave us a bit of motivation to continue working on it.

Journalists monitor popular websites for ideas to write about. And one of those sites is Product Hunt.

Talk to you next week!

  1. 2

    Cool stuff, I was just doing a research on Product Hunt and it's the biggest website out there for launching new products. I'm curious where I can get more tips about this?

  2. 1

    Great review. Learnt quite a bit!👍

  3. 1

    Darko, great review as always. Question, were there founders who used PH but without a positive result? If so, were there any consistencies in why they couldn't leverage it?

  4. 1

    Great analysis @zerotousers - I am wondering if you ever conduct any research on makers who launched PH campaign consecutively. Keen to know the compound effect!

  5. 1

    I'm wondering, do you have any idea when is a good time of the year to launch something on PH? Or doesn't it matter at all?

    1. 3

      I personally think there are too many variables. Also the "law of shitty clickt-hroughts" applies here. For example, if summer was a good time, and everyone knew about it, then everyone would post on summer which would mskr summer the WORST time to post because of the competition involved. So the real answer depends on the supply/demand balance at the moment IMO.

  6. 1

    Insightful content! Is there any community around this, to hang out with other founders?

    1. 3

      You've just posted in it :))

  7. 1

    Interesting on how journalists monitor PH for new ideas.

    1. 1

      I've seen similar examples for Hacker News as well.

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