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How to launch on Product Hunt, a detailed Guide

Product Hunt is probably the most knowledgeable and visited website in the startup ecosystem. All founders, entrepreneurs, VC keep an eye on it to see what are the new trends.

So, having a product that hits the top #5 of the day will bring you thousands of visits, some attention from all over the world, and even some PR.

Product Hunt is THE place to get your early traction.

Here is a guide of how to get more out of your launch. It is an extract of UserBooster, a Notion Dashboard that helps you get your first users and build your launch strategy.

When to launch on PH

The bad news about Product hunt is: you only have one shot. You can’t post the same product twice, except if you made some major upgrade. So you better get a good launch!

That’s why I don’t advise you to launch fast on PH. My advice here is to wait until you get your first feedback and a small audience.

Build Followers

First, build an audience (use the other acquisition channel on this dashboard to do it). You will need a couple of hundreds of upvotes to hit the front page, so grow a mailing list of at least 500+ followers (or any other sort of audience, like Twitter).

If you start from scratch, I highly recommend using the “Ship” feature of ProductHunt. Creating a following base directly on PH is much more actionable when you launch!

In the meantime, start some conversation in the Discussion section of PH. As always, try to bring value to your topic. It should give you some followers as well.

Connect all your social media to PH. That way, all your Twitter, FB friends will see your PH profile and will follow you!

Build a good product

That sounds obvious, but if you want to get all these upvotes, you better have a good product!

  • Iterate on your product as much as you can. Use the feedback you got from your early users to build the “perfect” product.
  • Work on the UI/UX. You’ll be spawned in a list with plenty of other projects. You better stand out!
  • Create some growth/retention strategy. You will have tons of visits during the launch day. Be sure to have a way to transform all this traffic into conversion.
  • You’ll receive a massive spike of traffic on launch day, so be prepared!
  • Get some testimonials/social proof before launch. That will help for conversion!

How to post

Timing

1.1 Hours

Product Hunt launches are all about timing! The homepage is reset every day at 12 am PST.

So schedule your post just after 12 am PST, that way, you’ll have 24hrs of exposure. It’s also a good way to get some traction before the big guys from Silicon Valley!

When scheduling your post, set the time zone to PST. Product Hunt does not adjust for different time zones.

1.2 Days

If you want maximum exposure and traffic, you should launch on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday. They also are the most competitive days - launch there only if you’re fully prepared!

Tip: use weekends for your small projects, you’ll get less traffic, but your chance to be ranked are better

Catchy listing

1.1 Title

This one is easy. Just use the name of your product, no emojis

1.2 Logo & tagline

The logo is a 240x240 image, and that’s what attracts visitors! Use a high-contrast logo to stand out easily. Don’t overthink it. Use Canva and make a simple one.

The GIF is not really a thing nowadays, as they don’t auto-play.

The tagline is also essential. Create several versions. Pick the more impactful

1.3 Slides or Video

Two mission here:

  • Tell the world your product’s purpose
  • Show your product and convince visitors that they want to know more (and upvote/comment)

You should really spend some time on the slide, not really on the design (again, use Canva), but on the content. Explain what problem you’re solving and how it will help your customers be faster/cheaper/…

If you’re comfortable with video, do it, I really think it is worth it. Loom is probably the best way to go here. Create a short screencast to show your solution

1.4 Maker’s comment

Your first comment as a maker is super important. It should contain

  • What’s the problem you’re solving
  • How you’re solving it
  • Who can benefit from it

Here are two very good examples:

Try to add something that leads to engagement on your comment, like a question. The more comment you’ll get, the more product hunt will promote you.

1.5 Discount (optional)

It’s not mandatory, but the ProductHunt community appreciates it when you create a special discount for the launch.

I personally created a 20% discount during 48hrs after the launch.

Be hunted

It was super important in the first days of PH to be “hunted” by a super famous member of PH. It’s not really the case anymore. But having a “Hunter” will help you increase your reach. All his followers will receive an email about your product! (And he also can share your work on his social media)

You’ll have some extra exposure!

Check the Hunters leaderboard below and try to be hunted by the most followed one!
Launch Day

The first hours are crucial. The US is still sleeping. That’s when you need to stand out quickly!

GOAL: hit the homepage asap

To do that, you’ll need as many upvotes/comments as you can in the first 3-4 hours!

  • Contact all your UE/Asian-based contacts and share your launch!
  • Post on FB groups, Slack channels, etc
  • Post here as well!

Interact as much as you can!

Answer to EVERY comment on product hunt and on every platform you posted on, every DM you have as fast as you can. Start discussions! I got 80+ comments on UserBooster launch, which clearly helped me to rank faster.

Don’t be spammy!

People will support you when you launch, don’t spam people asking for upvotes. Don’t ask people to create new accounts, or your product can be banned! Try to get some real engagement instead, answer questions, start conversations.

If you’re not on the homepage after an hour (despite having more upvotes/comments than your competitors), contact the PH team on Twitter!

It happened to me, UserBooster was stuck in the “New” section. I messaged ProductHunt and they fixed the issue within 10 minutes!
After the Launch

A launch on product Hunt will bring you some traffic for at least a week after the D-Day! You’ll receive some comments on your page, some questions on social media, a lot of new connections as well - and maybe some PR requests.

Don’t forget to answer them!

And use this launch to grow your audience and reputation online!

  • Share your experience/insights/results with your audience
  • Look for PH collections website, ask for an update
  • Put a nice PH badge on your website

Bonus point: the PH newsletters

If you’re ranked enough, your product will be in the Daily and weekly newsletter. Each newsletter brought me 1000+ visitors!

Conclusion

Now you know everything about launching on Product Hunt. I used these techniques to launch my products, that’s I managed to be ranked in the top products on the day!

I hope you the best for your launches! 🚀🚀

If you have any questions or suggestions, I’d be happy to talk to you about Product Hunt, your launch, or anything else.

Contact me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/angezanetti

  1. 4

    "First, build an audience".

    That should be the central point of advice for every Indie Hacker. Without an audience you are dead in the water. I wasted years thinking I was doing the right thing by focusing on building software only to realise marketing is pretty much the only thing that matters.

    Crap product + great marketing = success.
    Great product + crap marketing = nobody cares.

    Believe me you don't want to be in a position where you've sweated years over this journey and devoted thousands of hours to dev and still have 100 followers. It is incredibly demoralising.

    Build an audience!

    1. 2

      Can't agree more about marketing! That's precisely why I created a community 100% marketing-focused for makers!
      Good marketing is 80% of your success…

      It's more about marketing than really "buiding an audience" tho.
      If you're building a B2B SaaS you probably better double down on Cold emails than spending time building a Twitter presence!

    2. 1

      I find myself in a similar position already!

      I'm afraid to say I'm a year into part time development and only in the past month have I began marketing.

      Any tips on how to stay on top of multiple marketing channels (e.g. social accounts and mailing list) without getting overwhelmed?

  2. 3

    "First, build an audience" is probably the worst advice ever.

    It takes an enormous amount of time and dedication to build an audience. Plus PH doesn't guarantee success.

    Having said that, I launched my product on PH without any audience and no shoutouts or requests. Made it to the front page on a busy Tuesday. Got more than 80 votes.

    If your product is good, you will get votes from others.

    Also, only a certain kind of product tend to perform well on PH.

    The second worst advice is "Find a hunter".

    PH team has repeatedly stated that this is not necessary. I hunted my product and it still made it to the front page.

    1. 4

      You talk as some kind of gure, when your all experience is one launch with 80 upvotes...

      My first PH launch I made 500+ upvotes and 2nd best product for the day with no promotion.

      My second PH launch I followed the same steps and got 7 upvotes. I didn't even make it to the frontpage.

      Acting as if you have figured out PH after one mediocre launch is ridicolous.

      1. -4

        This comment has been voted down. Click to show.

    2. 2

      Building an audience is super necessary. Especially, at the very start point of your PH launch day.

      I wrote a post how our product got to top 3 a year ago on PH, check it out if interested - https://www.indiehackers.com/post/how-we-got-3-product-of-the-day-on-our-first-product-hunt-launch-0edd58e391

    3. 1
      1. Having an audience (or any kinds of "true fans") is super important.
        I'm not saying you need 10k followers before launching on PH.
        I'm saying: build a mailing list, a user base or a twitter presence before launching. A few hundreds of people is doable in a couple of months and helps tremendously.

      It will help you get more upvotes, but more importantly, it gives you the time to talk to people to iterate BEFORE launching.

      1. Of course you can made it without a hunter, but having 10k people receiving an email telling them you're shipping something does help. It can't see a way where it doesn't...

      2. Lastly, the way to argue like: "I did it without all these things so what you're saying is useless" is pointless.
        I know you can do it without all these tactics, but the odds to be in the top 3 of the day really increased with them.

      1. 1

        Just to clear something up, Hunter followers do not receive an email. Maker followers receive an email IF the product makes the homepage.

        Finding a hunter shouldn't be a seen as a roadblock to makers who want to launch on Product Hunt! Take today for example...9/10 of the top products were added by Makers.

  3. 2

    Agree with most all of this. One thing I'd add - something we found especially useful with our PH launch (we went #1 for the day / #2 for the week) - study other PH launches, see what makes them stand out amongst competitors. Then, for those who you thought did amazing launches, reach out to their team, asking for feedback and suggestions. The PH community is generally very helpful and supportive, and we got a lot of great suggestions that helped us with our PH launch.

    1. 1

      Agree! The PH community is WAY too much underrated!

    1. 1

      Thanks, i appreciate it 🙏🙏

  4. 2

    Nicely written suggestions although I disagree with some point like Building audience first.

    The whole point of launching on Product Hunt to show your newly made product and get some early phase customers.

    1. 3

      I should probably have written it differently.

      By "build an audience" i didn't want to say to get 1000 true fans.
      It was more about getting your first users, the first feedback to iterate on the product and also to have some support on launch day.

      Product hunt was built for new product but nowadays it's way more than that IMHO.
      There are plenty of ways to get your very early adopters.

      My point is: get your first users elsewhere, build a small user base before launching on PH. It will help you to have a better product, a better marketing and more support on launch day.

      Of course, don't spend 3 years trying to get 10k followers, that makes no sense

  5. 2

    Great stuff Xavier, thanks. Do you think a database of excellent recipes would be a candidate for a weekend launch?

    1. 1

      You mean cooking recipes?

      I honestly don't know, try to search if anyone did it.

      Well, that being said, you have nothing to loose 😊

  6. 2

    Fellow french IH here, thank you very much Xavier for this guide.

    Do you have any experience shipping on PH a product that does not exist yet ? I mean a fake MVP, with a real landing page etc, or is it outdated and you cannot even validate an idea this way ?

    1. 2

      Hey there!

      Why do you want to do it this way? To bring traffic?

      If it's not ready yet you should go to BetaList instead!

      1. 1

        Didn't know BetaList, thanks @xavier !

        Indeed it was to bring traffic and sign-ups. I had dropbox fake MVP in mind from the old days. Nowadays with after effects, I believe it's possible to recreate even better fake MVPs before starting a single line of code to validate an hypothesis.

        1. 3

          Some may not agree with it, but I would absolutely encourage you to do this. I've wasted too many years building stuff that either never saw the light of day or nobody cared about.

          Going forward I'm not sure I would consider putting any time into anything without a large group (500-1000+) interested in it.

          1. 2

            Thank you Damien for your feedback. I will try one in the following weeks, I'll keep you posted!

            1. 2

              Good luck with it!

              Next measuring pole would be paying customers. I've also wasted a tremendous amount of time building stuff on the back of great initial interest only to watch that amount to $0 in revenue. Ask for money early and often and deal with the objections. We are after all trying to build sustainable businesses.

  7. 2

    Nice guide Xavier, I took some of your advices. This time we are about to try PH Ship. Really looking forward to it, I def will share how it contributed our PH launch here later

    1. 1

      I'm still wondering what's the impact of it!

      I will launch a new product in a few weeks, i have a landing page, not sure if i should build a ship page in addition

  8. 1

    Great guide, thank you!

  9. 1

    Thanks for the tips. But I feel many makers wanted a Product of the day/ week badge instead of good customers from PH.

  10. 1

    This information is so valuable.
    My first product hunt launch was not good.
    With my next project which is underway, I will surely use this advice. Thanks a lot.

  11. 1

    Perfect advice. I will soon launch a campaign

  12. 1

    This post helps me a lot to understand even better about launching a product with PH. We are thinking to launch our product in PH very soon.

  13. 1

    Thanks for this awesome post. I hope to be posting my start up on Product Hunt within the next couple months. Now I can add this info into my strategy.

    1. 2

      Feel free to contact me on twitter if you need any help (twitter.com/angezanetti)

      And keep us posted when you launch!

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