How Not to Launch on Product Hunt: our learnings

When it comes to early adoptors' sites, Product Hunt is the most popular. It's of the most frequented "watering holes" for tech product people. This is the place to share and discover the latest mobile apps, websites, and technology products.

From SMBs to bigger enterprises like Google or Instagram, new product releases are published on this platform every day.

Startups can leverage Product Hunt to promote their new products. At Intellyo we launched the Creator Engine on PH last month, and despite the fact that we didn't manage to become the "Product of the day", it drove nice results.

Some benefits you can expect from launching on Product Hunt are:

  • Getting feedback. It works whether you are beta testing your product or whether you want to gather ideas for future integrations. Product Hunt's community gives valuable and insightful user input.
  • Increasing your website's traffic. PH also works as a social platform (with a more techie audience), hence it will drive extra traffic once your product page goes live. Product Hunt's converstion rate is significantly higher compared then Facebook's or Twitter's. For instance, in less than twenty hours we got 332 new users on our site and 69 subcribers (20% of conversion rate).
  • Join a cool community. Preparing for the launch takes time, and in that time you have a chance to explore the platform, and join conversations in product pages or the Ask section.

We experienced all of these benefits after we launched, but we also learned some things not to do, that we want to share.

Most articles out there talk about how to launch on Product Hunt, we won't. We will expose the don'ts, so you can adjust your launch strategy in the best possible way.

Don't trust every article you read

As Product Hunt says:

While the intentions of the authors are good and most of the recommendations accurate, each article unwittingly contains misinformation. 

We suggest reading the Product Hunt Guidelines so you can be 100% sure that you aren't accidentally breaking any rules.

It is good to get extra ideas by reading other articles but make sure that they don't clash with the official guidelines. If you have a doubt we suggest contacting Product Hunt's team. You can reach them through the chat on their website, and they are helpful and answer rapidly.

Don't reach out to all 500 hunters

If you read the top 500 hunters list you will probably think to reach out to them to get your product hunted. But some of them explicitly say that they are not hunting.

We recommend to do some quick research about them to find out whether they are accepting hunting requests or not. Twitter is a useful source to understand their position and their websites sometimes they have an application form.

Ben

But you can also find others who can hunt your product. Of course, it needs to be interesting for them!

Product Hunt

Also, according to Product Hunt it is not necessary to have a hunter, so feel free to hunt your own product.

 You don’t need to reach out to “top hunters” or influencers to get your product hunted. Ultimately the community upvotes products they like and find useful, so it’s far more important to build something awesome and clearly communicate its value to the world.

Don't be spammy

During our launch day we decided to contact people who could be interested in our product. We found this recommendation in many articles. And even though most responses were positive (they subscribed), some weren't happy with our outreach.

We suggest communicating the Product Hunt launch in your own marketing channels and social media pages. An additional tip is to pay for Product Hunt Ship so that your product will be visible before its official launch. Potential users will subscribe in advance and you can contact them on the launch day.

Also Product Hunt Ship helps to avoid having lots of upvotes from new accounts. If you tell your friends to upvote on launch day, Product Hunt can penalize your ranking position or even leave you off of its first page.

Don't leave last-minute tasks for launch day

Prepare a checklist of all the visuals and text needed for the big day. But also prepare extra copies in case the community has more questions or a user has a negative comment. You can draft a set of voice and tone guidelines so that your Product, Marketing and Sales team is aligned.

Don't ask for upvotes

As part of our launch strategy we used Product Hunt's kitty for our product communication, and it was critized since we added a text bubble saying "upvote".

Product Hunt's community found this approach too transactional :(

Product Hunt

Thus, we recommend not being so direct and focusing on the benefits of your product, thereby leaving the decision to upvote up to your audience.

Final words

If you are planning to launch a new tech product, including Product Hunt as part of the campaign is a good idea. It will help your product get exposure with a pretty targeted audience. 

Remember to leverage your own media such as Twitter, Facebook page, Slack, newsletter, etc. to communicate the launch. Also, you can use Product Hunt Ship to get in touch with the community at Product Hunt.

We wish you great success for your launch!