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How to launch on Product Hunt multiple times

There are thousands of Product Hunt Launch guides on the internet. "How to Launch on Product Hunt", "When to Launch on Product Hunt", "The Ultimate Product Hunt Launch Guide", "10 Steps To a Successful Product Hunt Launch".
Not a day goes by without someone mentioning their PH launch here on Indie Hackers. Everybody does it! It sure seems like launching on Product Hunt is the highlight of a product release.

Should you do it too?

Is it worth the effort?

Judging by the sheer volume of threads and comments on the topic people expect great results. So is it worth a try? Let's have a look at a couple of popular writeups.

  • This guy made $74.55 over four days from 1000 visitors. Doesn't seem too bad, until you compare that with a professional's daily rate and notice he also launched in six other places.

  • These guys got 450 upvotes from 100 sign-ups and 2000 visitors, and no mention of paying customers. It seems the number of upvotes bears no relation to the value of your product. Most upvoters will only read the description.

  • And these guys spent a lot of effort preparing their launch and contacting everyone they could about it. They got nearly 2000 visitors, 138 signups, and again, no mention of profits.

  • An Indie Hacker sent an email to 3830 users and got 1023 visits, 102 accounts and 2 paying customers at $5 a month.

  • I asked my friends on a private Slack channel. One said he got two paid customers.

  • I myself got over 1000 visitors. Tens of curious Hunters decided to sign up.
    I spent hours talking with them, it felt so good to receive their compliments.
    None of them paid.

It appears that blogging about your Product Hunt launch will drive more traffic to your page than the launch itself. And still, why would you care about the traffic? Traffic is a vanity metric. All that matters are your profits.

Is it useless?

Product Hunt is a Twitter or Facebook of sorts - a place you mindlessly check to get a quick dopamine boost before getting back to work. The products that thrive are the ones that draw attention and entertain, not solve problems. It's unlikely launching your product on PH will make it magically start growing. That's not to say it's completely useless.

Side project

Frank from Early User Growth in lesson #5 writes:

Side projects can be vital to your user growth:

  • You can hit the #1 spot on ProductHunt
  • The press can pick up your side project
  • It can drive 100s or 1,000s of new users

A side project from Uber was launched in just 4 countries and got over 300 press mentions locally - even though they only just launched in those countries a few weeks before.

Or, in the case of Early User Growth, it drove over 30,000 people to the website (and 1,200+ new sign-ups).

Frank uses his free email course to sell a video course. He boasts 2200 signups in total, and 1200 came from Product Hunt.

A humorous distraction

Here is a side project made by an Indie Hacker:

Here is the project itself, just a few gifs:

And the result:

Top 4 product of the day.

And Ahrefs tells me that URL acquired 328 backlinks, 84% dofollow.

Fancy blog post

Dan Siepen recently got 3000 page visits and 400 newsletter signups from his campaign that included a Product Hunt launch. The product? A list of fourty articles. Read more about how he executed his campaign.

Dan is an expert growth marketer and made several Product Hunt launches before. Most for the same product:

Free guides and newsletters get the most upvotes. Products? Not so much.

New Version

Chris Messina, the #1 Product Hunter, recently launched a new version of Slack:

They already had the copy and the screenshots. This launch looks like it took 15 minutes.

It didn't get much attention, but I dare you to find an easier way to get in front of a few hundered eyeballs.

How to get started?

Give Product Hunt users what they want: a freebie that fills up time, but isn't too demanding.

Make a side project. Make it free and entertaining. Insert CTAs for your money-making product in it. And then launch. Here are some examples:

  • Calculator
  • Email course
  • Newsletter
  • Non-obvious looking blog post
  • A free subset of your main product

And after you launch make sure to stay around (or configure a monitoring tool like syften) and reply to comments.

What next?

I help founders and marketers with their social marketing efforts. Learn how to drive traffic from social platforms from my free fourteen day email course.

  1. 3

    Really great insights and perspective about launching in Product Hunt.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. 2

    For me it seems that PH is good for products that are relevant for a mass audience, no matter if there are existing tools. Example - XYZ is a product for taking a screenshots on a whole new level, it has a, b and c. and it looks way better. Result - Wow, upvotes everywhere. We need new screenshots tool.

    On the other hand, products that solve some particular problem in some niche will be limited to the PH users knowing about problems in that niche..

    My personal observations

    1. 2

      Yeah PH is not the place to look for niche too. Niche products are very strong. Some of the best performing Indie Hackers are not even on most people's radar.

      This is a good read: The Software Economy is Bigger Than You Think

  3. 2

    I love this critical voice, thank you for putting this together!

    Two thoughts I had:

    1. This is just a fantasy, but anyway: What, if PH would add a secondary vote button, which people would only be able to press if they used (e.g. signed up/purchased) the respective product?
    2. I think a lot of people (including me) use PH mainly as a source for inspiration, more than as a source to actually find a cool product that they could use on a regular base. Some of the people will even go a step further and just launch copycat projects or do other stuff to benefit themselves. Therefore, it could be actually worth considering to actively avoid landing on PH. (Disclaimer: This is not a fact. I am just thinking out loudly, and I could be mistaken. What I am sure about though is, that different projects will have a different effect on PH)
  4. 2

    I’ve written on here many times that product hunt shouldn’t be your North Star / headline act etc.

    It’s merely one of many places to list your product.

    Success or failure on there mean ABSOLUTELY ZERO in the real world. Cannot stress that enough.

    Success or failure on product hunt means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to the real world validity of your product.

    As I’ve said before - yes you get amazing success stories from product hunt; but someone also wins the national lottery every week.

  5. 2

    Great writeup!

    I've been debating whether a PH launch is worthwhile, this gives some great food for thought. I really like the idea of doing a slimmed down version of the product to feature, so people get a taste and can decide to continue or drop off - will give that a shot as I've been moving towards that anyway.

    1. 2

      And then you can re-launch with each new feature.

  6. 1

    Great content, thanks

  7. 1

    it felt so good to receive their compliments. None of them paid.

    lol, brutal, love it!

    1. 1

      A lesson in vanity metrics!

      1. 1

        Ha ha yes. I think it's useful to have a skeptical attitude to your own ideas and expectations, like you are doing here. Great stuff!

        The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.

        -- Richard Feynman

  8. 1

    Well written. I am planning to launch my app Pipfeed as well on PH. Probably by the end of this month.

    Thanks a lot for sharing these insights.

    1. 2

      I'm glad it helped, good luck with Pipfeed

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