When you’re launching a new SaaS product to the market, Product Hunt can be extremely helpful for getting early users, brand awareness and SEO. It probably won’t make you successful overnight, but the platform is key for getting the word out. Now there are a dozen blog posts out there offering to-do lists for your launch. We want to give it another twist and share some of our key insights we generated from launching on the platform and working with one of the top hunters.
1. Preparation is key
On average, 30 – 40 products launch on Product Hunt every day. So the bad news is the space is very competitive, which means that you really need to do your homework to do great when the big day comes. Also, it’s super helpful to know a lot of people and especially influential people on the platform to get enough traction on launch day. Therefore, what we did is tell everyone at the company to start getting active on Product Hunt and familiarize themselves with the platform a couple of weeks ahead.
To make the most of your launch and get extra traction on the day, let your community or existing users know. We sent emails to all our users ten days before our launch to introduce them to Product Hunt and let them know that the platform is important to us. Then two days before the big day we sent out another email letting all our users know that we’ll be launching in two days.
Finally, a super useful source while preparing for your launch is Product Hunt’s very own checklist for launch day. In this post they also address common misconceptions about the platform. As soon as you tick most of the boxes mentioned in the post, you know you’re good to go. Note: We found the information on both the textual and visual content extremely useful.
2. Get a hunter
Of course, everyone on Product Hunt can submit their own listing so you do not necessarily need a hunter. According to Product Hunt, who hunts the product makes no difference in terms of ranking. However, from our experience we would strongly advise you to get a hunter for a couple of reasons. Firstly, successful hunters on the platform have a lot of followers meaning they can kick-start your campaign. Every follower will get an on-site or email notification letting them know that a new product was submitted. Obviously, having a couple of thousand people know that your product is now live on Product Hunt, can give you a great advantage to begin with.
Most of all though, experienced hunters also have a lot of advice to give. We worked with Chris Messina on our launch. Chris is one of the top hunters and casually invented the #Hashtag. Other than that, Chris is very inspirational and in our humble opinion one of the best product therapists, as he calls himself, you can get out there. He provided us with valuable insights and advice not only on our Product Hunt assets and content, but also on our website and gave us feedback on Gleap in general. In order to nail the final bits after having followed all the Product Hunt guidelines, we really recommend getting in touch with a hunter.
But how do you decide on a hunter? You want to make sure that you find someone with a good following of peers especially on Product Hunt itself and on Twitter. To judge the quality of these people and learn more about them, I would suggest looking at their previous hunts. It’s always best to go with a hunter who knows the space you’re in and has hunted similar products before. Once you’ve found someone, reach out to them via twitter and pitch your idea.
3. Choose the right day and the right time
Product Hunt refreshes its page at 12 PST every day. You want to make sure to post as early as possible to get as much exposure on the leaderboard as possible – 12:01 PST would be ideal. When it comes to choosing a day things get a bit more tricky. It all depends on the main goal for your launch. If your goal is to make #1 product of the day, you might not want to go for Monday or Tuesday because they are usually the most competitive. Wednesday or Thursday might be the day for you then. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to get as much exposure as possible and aim for a good ranking for product of the week, you might consider launching on Monday or Tuesday. This way you can give your user base time to come out and comment or vote on your listing.
4. Get your website ready
Remember how we said that traction is key on launch day? That’s why you literally want everyone to know that you’re featured on Product Hunt. To draw your website visitors’ attention to your product’s listing you can embed a so-called Product Hunt upvote badge to your website. There are various looks you can choose from and setting things up is super easy.
5. Decide on a promo code
Just like most of us, the people on Product Hunt love promo codes. Therefore, providing special deals for fast movers is always a good idea. You could for example offer them three months for free, a longer trial period or simply 10 % off.
6. Game time on launch day
If you’re working with a hunter, you’ll have previously figured out the timeline and you’ll have submitted all your assets to them. So the hunter will then launch your product for you. And then it’s showtime. Send out an email to all your users just like you’ve done previously but this time let them know that now’s the time for them to come out and comment on your listing. Update your social media profiles by adding your Product Hunt link and posting about your launch. Also, ask your team mates to post on their private accounts. Note: Do not ask people for upvotes but ask them to come and support you. Otherwise, Product Hunt might punish you for that. As soon as you are put down as maker on your product’s Product Hunt page, you can also add your maker comments to get the conversation with users started.
Leverage all contacts you have. Reach out to all your friends, Facebook communities or Slack channels to ask for their support. And make sure you follow up. Let them know half way through the day how you’re doing and keep them up to date. Keep yourself up to date with Product Hunt’s very own launch day dashboard to monitor all important stats. Most of all, however, do not panic! Some people panic half way through their launch and start buying upvotes from shady platforms. Seriously guys, that is the worst thing you can do because Product Hunt’s algorithm will find out and punish you. Here you can see what happens to products who’s makers buy upvotes.
Finally, prepare to answer a lot of questions and handle a lot of feedback from customers or potential clients. We hope you guys find our learnings useful. After all, it’s all about not making the same mistakes twice. So get yourself out there and generate your own learnings.