A bit more than 1 month ago, we launched our public beta on Product Hunt and we’ve been pretty happy with the results:
- 900+ upvotes at the end of the launch day, now 1,600+
- #1 product of the day, #2 product of the week
- Most importantly, ~450 signups in 3 days, and an average of 13 signups per day over the rest of the month coming from Product Hunt or blog articles/listings that are consequences of the PH launch
Evolution of signups coming from Product Hunt:
While preparing for the launch, we got inspiration and best practices from many people and companies who launched before us and who explained what they were doing in a blog post.
We thought we’d pay that back by sharing our experience as well. We’ve done only one launch so we aren’t going to pretend like this is the magic recipe. Among the many things we’ve done, it’s tough to know exactly which ones moved the needle and how much.
Here’s what we’ve done.
1/ Get on Product Hunt upcoming
A few months before your launch, subscribe to Product Hunt upcoming, which will enable you to have a page like this:
It also lets you be featured on this page.
It costs around $60 per month. That got us 250+ subscribers over 2-3 months. Some of them can be beta testers and they will constitute a basis for your community.
2/ Find a good hunter
There are debates on how impactful the hunter is. I would say that when in doubt, it can’t hurt to get a hunter who’s an influencer in your industry! So how do you make that happen?
You have this great resource that lists the top 500 hunters. More important than the follower count, check who those people are and how relevant they are for you. There’s no point trying to get the #1 hunter if they’re vocal about things that are totally different from your product:
- They will probably not want to hunt you
- Even if they do, they might have a big audience, but most of them will not be interested in your product
We are a B2B SaaS tool. I had identified three people who would be ideal hunters for us:
- Ryan Hoover, because he’s been pretty vocal about no code tools
- Hiten Shah
- Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré
I sent them a short but highly customized email (no copy / paste!!) and the three of them responded. Example of my email to Hiten:
Ryan responded super fast and was super nice but refused to hunt us. Fair enough!
Both Hiten and Nichole accepted, which left us with the awkward situation of having to say no to one of them after asking them for a favor.
To sum up, choose a few relevant hunters, find their email, reach out, but be highly qualitative. I really wouldn’t recommend taking the 50 biggest hunters and sending them a standard email.
3/ Making a video
As I said before, it’s tough to know exactly which are the main factors of success, but my intuition leads me to think that having a short video introducing your product makes wonders.
Here’s ours. In case you’re wondering, here’s the website of the motion designer who made it.
There are plenty of freelancers / companies that can do that for you, and it’s not as expensive as you may think. Beyond the Product Hunt launch, I feel it was a very good investment. Our product can be a bit hard to understand at first, and showing this video usually makes things much clearer.
4/ Make a list of “influencers” who will talk about your launch
You probably have people in your network who have a decent following on social networks. Make a list of those people, reach out and ask nicely if they’d like to talk about your launch. A few ideas of who those people can be:
- Incubators/accelerators you are part of
- Fellow founders you know
- School/university you're from
Example: A tweet from Station F about our launch:
5/ Share the news with the communities you are part of
For us, launching on Product Hunt was also the time where we would stop being in private beta. So this was big news:
- We sent an email to all our customers and users. They had taken the risk to invest time building things with an early-stage product. Seeing this early product launching publicly is a big deal.
- You might be part of online communities (Slack workspaces, Facebook groups, etc). Share the news there as well. Ideally, pay it forward before. The more engaged you are with those communities, the more impact you’ll get on your launch day.
6/ Personal email to all the people you’ve talked to about your idea from the beginning
Based on the responses I’ve got, this one had a significant impact. As a founder, you always talk about your company to friends, leads, clients, angel investors, VCs, potential employees, fellow founders, potential cofounders or suppliers.
Make the list of all those people. If you use Gmail, you can get the list of emails of all the people you’ve ever written an email to or who sent you one. Go to your gmail account / Google Apps icon (top right) / Contacts / Other contacts.
I wanted to send this email only to people I actually interacted with and to whom I pitched Actiondesk. It took me ~2h to manually filter out all the people who didn’t match those criteria.
On D-day, send an email to all those people. Use a tool like Lemlist or Mailshake.
Beyond getting a few votes, your product hunt launch is a significant milestone in the life of your company. Getting everyone you’ve spoken to aware is great and can bring non-expected benefits. We’ve had:
- Angels / VCs we had talked to before offering to invest
- Great people we had interviewed asking if we’re still hiring
- Leads giving our product another try
7/ Make a list of people who will upvote you at the start of the day
When you launch on Product Hunt, you want to maximize the number of people who see your product. Then if you have a good value proposition and good funnel, this traffic will turn into users/customers.
So you want to be on top of the Product Hunt homepage as early as possible during the day. Make a list of a few friends and/or customers who you have a good relationship with to vote for you at midnight Pacific Time. At this time, just a few votes are enough to get you on top, then your product will do the rest.
As for your customers, get your most passionate customers to write a review.
8/ Do proper project management
If you’re serious about your PH launch, make a list of all that needs to be done somewhere (spreadsheet, project management tool) and have frequent check-ins to make sure things are on track.
9/ Follow known best practices
Launching on Product Hunt is now a well-documented process. Here are a few resources we used that we found particularly useful:
- How to launch on Product Hunt by Product Hunt
- What we learned about Product Hunt after 4 startup launches and more than 4000 upvotes, by efounders, SaaS Startups studio
- A checklist of things to do before your launch
- Another such checklist
10/ What we could have done better
We realized during our launch day that that day was a bank holiday in the US (Presidents’ Day). It’s hard to know to what extent it negatively impacted our launch, but it definitely did. Most US Product Hunt users are not necessarily online on a bank holiday.
Our conversion funnel was not great. On the one hand, nothing will ever be perfect, and you should not let that prevent you from launching. On the other hand, there were quick wins we could have implemented in 1 or 2 weeks if we had delayed our launch a little bit
You have any questions? There are other things we haven't done that are worth doing? Feel free to comment below!