How to strategically launch and achieve top 4 in product hunt
Across multiple products that we've personally launched as well as help launch, we've seen some patterns that help a product end up in the top 4 vs some that don't.
We've had our fair share of wins, #1s, #2s and #4s as well as failures, #20s or #last.
Given that launching on Producthunt with major product upgrades or subsidiary products is going to be part of our strategy, we thought we'll dig into understanding what worked for some products and failed for others (NB I was a maker for 11 and for others I helped advice
After analysing our efforts for each of these launches there were definite patterns that we saw emerge and tried implementing it for our latest product's launch.
We ended up with #2 on product hunt for RemoteWorkly
So this formula or process is pretty repeatable and I'm sure anyone who implements it can get similar results, (conditions apply)
We'll break this blog down into two bits:
a) Common myths and rumours we've come across reading blogs across the internet
b) What we did to launch and what worked well for us (I'm pretty sure if you do this, it'll work really well for you too)
Common Myths You'll Hear
- You need a big hunter to launch your start up. No you don't, yes there may be some "minor" help, but you most certainly don't need a famous hunter to hunt you to be featured. Plenty people I personally know who launched with 0 following and ended up Product of the Month (checkout checklist.design)
- You will be penalised if you link people directly to your post to upvote (we haven't seen particular penalty for that)
- More upvotes mean guaranteed number 1 (Absolutely not, we kinda think ProductHunt have a fairly complex ranking engine, or they manually move the rankings themselves)
- Getting people to upvote and comment will guarantee number 1. PH has introduced the concept of points, so getting people with higher "credit" will help keep you in the top longer
What we did to launch that worked well for us
- Have a product hunty type product. I've seen too many incredible businesses (now $1M ARR businesses) that have ended #4 or #5, clearly top 5 on PH doesn't matter. Those businesses are often beaten by some wireframing toolkit that took a weekend to build, vs the startup took months to create and curate a list of loyal customers. Understand the audience of producthunt is usually makers and creaters
- Even if you don't have one, make a spin on it - we launched the ultimate startup checklist, 3 weeks before an actual product launch - got some emails through that ( ~300 emails). The goal is to build for the platform you're launching on. Reddit would be different, same applies to hackernews.
- First 45 minutes matter a lot, get your product out of the /newest and onto the main page. We've tested enough to know direct links or asking people to go to /newest - find you and upvote , doesn't matter
- Have friends and people you know create accounts 1 week before, so it doesn't look like a fresh new account. Also accounts with more "karma" hold more weight
- You don't need a famous hunter
- Do what you can to get the app to the top 4 before the US Wakes up, i.e that's 1AM in Aus. This will keep your product above the fold for people to view. Usually right after the third spot there is a sponsored post that pushes down the #4 product.
- Make sure people upvote AND comment, also comments from existing customers who're using the product are VERY valuable. It encourages others to try it out. This is vital as it also shows a sentiment of positivity and that the product isn't a scam or poor in quality.
- Make sure people click on the "smiley" on the top, this leaves good ratings and boosts up your SEO. Given ProductHunt has a very high ranking, it'll help you gain a strong backlink for a good website.
- Write a detailed comment about why you built the product, the goal, who its for and why you. The usually process would be like any other blog, you need to start off with the problem statement, why this is a pain point for many people, how often they (you) face it, why you started to work on it and then talk about the outcomes people will achieve from using your product
- Write a blog post to share some unique insights about your product. This blog post should be shared in respective communities without spamming them. The usual process I use to promoting content across the internet is to position the blog according to the platform and in the end, link the blog with a CTA labelled "Read the rest"
- Share it on dedicated slack groups in your niche, and at the end of it mention you've launched on PH (give and take) so it's not spam
- Rinse repeat across any newsletter that you own or have a connection with. Make sure the link directs them to your product listing url
- Reddit launch can be done on /SideProject, /Entrepreneur, /Startup, /SmallBusiness - remember you need to be insightful, a balance of give and take. Give with any unique insights and take is a link to your upvote
- , LinkedIn launch should be a breakdown of what this means professionally for you, who you're targetting with a brief story on why you started this project
- Growth hackers and Indiehackers should be strategic posts, i.e posts that are value driven. Perhaps talk about how you've prepared your business for a launch on producthunt and all the things you've done to curate an audience
- Hackernews is an interesting one, don't point it to your producthunt page, but rather to a value post.blog you wrote on your website detailing how you built your product - a technical breakdown as the audience is hackers and makers. Go into the architecture, the technical challenges as well as your solutions. Send them to your blog and in your blog embed the PH banner
- Make sure you have a giphy for your image and a YT video explaining your product. The point is to grab attention but also make sense. So try use bright colours and get a 2-3 second giphy made on upwork or fiverr.
- Offer a PH exclusive deal for higher conversions. This really helps with conversions, so when traffic is pushed towards to your site, make sure you nurture that customer base with an exclusive deal
- Respond to every comment that is posted in your page. The replies also increase the comment count, this has no effect on position, but it gives the illusion that there's a lot of conversation happening
- Share your journey throughout the day on twitter and social media to keep the engine going and get people excited! (Helps ALOT with keeping the community engaged and takes them along the process)
Also lastly to be honest, don't stress on it. To my first point, there are MANY MANY very successful companies who didn't even make it to the first page when they launched. Just use this as a good exercise to get some extra users, otherwise it should be business as usual.
Stats from our launch
- Users acquired up 80%
- Conversions at 5%
- Threads created up 140%
- Minutes of videos recorded up 260%
Go get it!