How To Launch on Product Hunt
Launching on Product Hunt can be a big win for your team. It can bring brand exposure, industry clout, a spike in website traffic, and – if you’re lucky – a batch of new leads and paying customers.
But it doesn’t always work out this way. The platform – and the people who use it – are always changing and might not always be the best fit for what you’re releasing into the world.
With the right planning, preparation, and execution, you can increase the odds of success and decent ROI from a Product Hunt launch. Heck, we experienced that at ProdPad years ago – and we still use the site from time to time.
So, we’ve taken all our learnings and best practices to bring you a quick guide on how to launch on Product Hunt. In this post, we’ll cover:
- What is Product Hunt?
- What is the value of launching on Product Hunt?
- What NOT to expect from Product Hunt
- How to launch on Product Hunt: Step by step
- Tips on how to stand out
- Example of who’s doing it well
- What to do next
What is Product Hunt?
Product Hunt is a platform where tech creators and enthusiasts share their favorite new products, websites, apps, and features with a community. Members publish listings, which appear in chronological order each day. Other members can upvote, comment, and share these listings. The most popular product listings get awards and extra visibility.
What is the value of launching on Product Hunt?
Launching on Product Hunt (PH) can bring different types of value to your product team and the business at large. We know this from experience. In the early days of ProdPad, we posted on Product Hunt. It took off! We got loads of trial signups and even hit the #1 product of the month.
Lots of attention on the platform can bring high amounts of traffic, new leads, and more sales and reviews. All of this is great, provided it’s coming from your target audience! (More on that in the next section.)
Product Hunt can also bring extra buzz and clout to your brand. If you have one of the highest-performing listings and earn a top title, you get a badge that you can add to your website. Such great reception or results could help if you’re looking for investment or trying to hire competitive talent.
What NOT to expect from Product Hunt
Product Hunt is not a guarantee of your product’s success, nor a diagnosis of its failure. It’s really just a practice run with a potential bonus – a chance to test out a product launch and hopefully see some uplift while you’re at it.
There are many reasons why “hunting your product” might not have much impact. One is that these sites and audiences are fickle. Timing and other platform activity can affect how much visibility your listing actually gets. Even the products with the most votes don’t necessarily make it to the top of the list.
Another reason is that folks on Product Hunt aren’t necessarily your target user. They’re on PH because they like tech, not because they’re looking for a solution to the same specific pain point you’re building for.
With expectations managed, you can set out to launch a fantastic product on the platform!
How to launch on Product Hunt: Step by step
Here are 7 steps to launch on Product Hunt, from planning to execution.
- Inform the team
- Create necessary Product Hunt accounts
- Make a plan for Product Hunt leads
- Choose the timing of the launch
- Prepare the actual post
- Spread the word
1. Inform the team
Of course, you’ll let the product team know. But you also want to inform other teams, in the same way, you do when there’s any other product launch or release planning.
Here’s a quick list of who and why:
- Sales – Some companies offer special deals and incentives for ProductHunt users. Talk with sales about developing a discount code to incentivize sign-ups, with the knowledge that these leads might not be highly qualified.
- Marketing – Not only can marketing help produce the best copy for your PH post, but they’ll also need to help afterward too. Marketing can promote the post on socials and should be ready to do whatever community management is necessary.
- Design – Design can help with thumbnail icons and other images for the PH post.
- Customer Success and Support – These teams need a heads-up in case you do get a surge of new signups. Questions and help tickets might see an uptick.
2. Create Product Hunt accounts
Hunting a product is only possible from a personal account. Decide who will be the “hunter” of the product and create an account for them. If you need to create a new account, be sure to complete PH onboarding before the launch day!
You can also add teammates to the PH listing as “makers.” Create the necessary profiles, and these profiles will be linked to the post once it’s live.
3. Make a plan for Product Hunt leads
Decide ahead of time how you want to attribute new traffic and leads that are related to the Product Hunt launch. Some companies design and build a separate login flow or landing page, then they track that cohort specifically to see how they perform.
4. Choose the timing of the launch
Timing is tricky on Product Hunt, and there’s no magical answer that’s always right. In fact, there are pros and cons to any time you choose. Here’s an example of posting early in the day.
- Pros: You have all day to gain votes and visibility, plus you have time to handle all the engagement. You could get the #1 product of the day badge! Posting on a Monday morning could get you the best of the week.
- Cons: There are several hours left in the day for a bigger, more popular company to post after you – stealing your thunder.
Observe what others in your market and niche have done on Product Hunt lately, then take a leap.
5. Prepare the actual post
Prepare all the necessary info and materials for the actual post. Several images and bits of copy need to be ready to go – and you’ll likely need to pull in marketing and design to keep it top-notch and on-brand.
What you need for the actual Product Hunt post:
- Thumbnail logo. This can be a square JPG or GIF. The recommended dimensions are 240×240, and the maximum size is 2MB.
- Product name. The title of the post could be your company name or the specific feature you’re launching. Keep it 40 characters or less.
- Tagline. A short catchy description of the product, but not a catchphrase or slogan! The goal is to quickly tell readers what it does. Keep it <60 characters (including spaces).
- Description. Provide a more in-depth explanation of what the product does. <260 characters (including spaces).
- Topics. Select three categories that best describe your product (e.g. Task Management, Bots, User Experience, Marketing). Folks that follow these topics on PH will get an alert about your product.
- Video. Must be uploaded on YouTube. Please use the full youtube. com/watch?v= URL format.
- Images. Add 3 or more to create a Gallery. Product Hunt recommends the size 1270x760px. Softr.io, an example we’ll highlight below, suggests using hi-res images that tell a story in sequence, such as a user workflow. Keep images under 3MB.
- Makers. Here you’ll link the PH accounts of anyone who helped make the product. You can also select the option to include yourself as a maker.
It’s launch time! Get the post live. Be ready for a surge in traffic on your company site or app. Be ready to reply to all questions and comments, whether on PH or elsewhere. If your product takes off after launch, this can be an all-day thing.
7. Spread the word!
Share a direct link to the post on social media to let others know about the product. Makers should share the link, too. Of course, you want to get in front of people who will give you positive reviews, add comments, and engage with the post. But don’t request upvotes or reviews! This is generally frowned upon and may have adverse effects on your post’s performance.
Tips on how to stand out
If you’re wondering how to launch on Product Hunt, you’re also wondering how to knock it out of the park! You want to make the best impression possible and see some ROI. For that, we’ve put together our advice from using PH over the years.
Here are 5 tips on how to stand out on Product Hunt:
- Research recent top-performing products
- Craft the copy carefully
- Add the first comment to kick things off
- Include a Call-To-Action
- Have a PH influencer “hunt” your product for you
Research recent top-performing posts
Best practices and trends are always changing. Sometimes they change so fast, you’ve completely missed a round or two. So, you should always research what the recent top-performing PH posts have done. How have they optimized their listing?
For example, there have been trends around using GIFs in the thumbnail logo section. The light animation can be eye-catching, but don’t overdo it.
Craft the copy carefully
It’s copywriting, folks! Great copy will catch people and entice them to try or buy. Pay close attention to the title and tagline. Make it clear and compelling. As for the description, write it so that people can scan the information easily. Dense, detailed text won’t work too well – break it up and simplify! But on that note, and the tip above, follow the style guide of the moment.
Add the first comment to kick things off
Take advantage of that top first comment and add some special context and personality to the product launch. This is valuable extra real estate for all your great marketing copy. Provide extra insight about why you did this, why you’re excited, how you’re proud of the team, and what value it brings to the world. Throw some emojis in there as well!
Include a Call to Action
Always include a CTA in a Product Hunt post. Sure, comment or upvote is great – but you really want people to get on your website and try your product. You could encourage them to book a demo, start a free trial, or even use a discount code.
Have an influencer “hunt” your product
Another somewhat common practice is to have someone else – someone with PH clout – “hunt” your product for you. When someone influential posts the product, all of their followers can see it and interact with it.
Example of who is using Product Hunt well
An example of who’s great at Product Hunt has to be Softr.io, a no-code app, and website-building software. Now granted, this is a tech product for tech-interested (but perhaps not tech-savvy) folks, so PH is exactly their prime audience – but check out the number of badges Softr has earned!
11 badges for 9 launches? They must be doing something right. If you take a look at the listing for the launch of Softr 2.0, you’ll see these best practices and many more:
- Multiple makers tagged
- Full gallery with photos and a video. They’re not using simple screenshots but polished product marketing collateral.
- The extensive first comment is personal AND lists the benefits and features of the launch.
- Replies to every other comment on the listing.
What to do next
Like any other product launch or sprint release, do a retrospective on it! Learn from this Product Hunt launch. Evaluate why it went well or perhaps why it flopped. If the launch didn’t go well, figure out if that was out of your control or due to a lack of preparation/responsiveness on your side.
Look into questions such as:
- Did another company just post right after you?
- Did you not coordinate with marketing?
- Did you not prepare for the incoming traffic?
At the end of the day, when you flop on Product Hunt, no one cares. Like most everything on social platforms, it’s wiped from memory in short order. Don’t take it too hard. Instead, move forward and focus on building a great product.