September 4, 2019

How to launch on Product Hunt

Kenny Grant @kennygrant

I did a launch on product hunt yesterday and thought other founders like might to hear what I learned from the process and what sort of traffic to expect from PH.

Results:

  • 500 visitors on the day - you'd probably 2x or 3x that for a successful launch getting to no. 1
  • 100 upvotes and 1 PH review - posts are visible on second day in the yesterday section
  • 32 customers signed up to use the product on the first day (freemium model so these were free signups)
  • 0 customers paying (this was expected with a new product and very little prior traction, and my pricing page is awful)
  • 1 enquiry about paying!
  • 8th place on product hunt for most of the day - not bad for no existing network and a small product in a crowded market (status page)

Things I'd recommend based on my experience

  • Engage with other founders on product hunt first for a while, try
    to find some influencers on the platform with a following who may be interested in posting 'hunting' your product
  • Try to line up some existing customers who are product hunt users to support you at first
  • Traffic is lower on weekends, so post midweek if you can
  • Post early in the day (2-6 AM PST)
  • Ensure your website can handle significant traffic (though the traffic probably won't be too significant, it should be able to at least handle a few thousand visitors in an hour).
  • Post on a few forums where you have a presence already (again, you need to be helpful first to others, before asking for their help) - this was super helpful for me as I used IH and Startup School, which helped get a few initial crucial votes.
  • Don't ask people who are not PH users to signup - apparently new accounts are seen as a spam signal (for obvious reasons)
  • Write at least one blog post you can link to on the product page - I chose to do a comparison post with the largest competitor
  • Set aside some time to respond to queries/problems, and make sure you can update the site easily
  • Test your signup flow, make sure it is rock solid, and leads to the outcomes you want (paid users or free, what sort of users?)
  • Make sure you know what you want out of the launch - trial users, or subscribers, or paid customers? Structure your pages
  • Consider what sort of users frequent PH, and if they are a good fit for your business
  • Link to your PH entry back from your main landing pages
  • Get some nice screenshots, and a video lined up prior to PH
  • Ignore scams about getting upvotes (I was approached by a spammer in PH IM about buying votes). I was also approached afterwards about a tv news show feature which on googling is just a pay-to-play ripoff site, so beware!

Things I'd change for next time:

  • Build a network first if you can, particularly if you only have one product
  • Build followers on twitter you can leverage for exposure - I haven't done this as yet for the business (my largest twitter account is on a niche topic and not relevant) but have some plans to do so
  • Build an email list you can tell about the product when it is on PH
  • Prepare exactly what you want signups for - I allowed signups for any email/domain, and a few backlinks, and in retrospect I think I'd try to focus on people checking their own business domain, and get my pricing/paid version in a better state first.
  • Paradoxically - launch earlier - in some ways it's better to launch early when you're not ready (which belies the above advice) as customers, and looking for customers is a forcing function which makes you improve. This is why I've chosen to launch status page now.

This was something of an experiment for me as I plan to have a few related products and this is one of the less important ones, so it was interesting that you can go from very little preparation and a site that has only been up a few days to being featured, with a little bit of hustle.

Here is the product hunt page for reference.

Does anyone else have any tips on launching on PH?

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