Launching on Product Hunt is a great way to introduce your product to a large, very engaged community of early adopters. It can be a valuable way to accelerate your growth and help you rally your existing audience to spread the word about your product. As with most marketing strategies, you get out what you put in when it comes to launching on Product Hunt.
Product Hunt launches have been written about extensively elsewhere, but this blog post is a short, high-level game plan based on our experience launching Remotion 2.0 in July 2021 (where we hit #1 Product of the Day). We focus on useful ideas and advice we received from other startup leaders but didn't find frequently reflected in posts elsewhere online.
Why is Product Hunt worth getting right?
A good Product Hunt launch can result in hundreds of new teams in a day or two, and then a trickle of interest as people find you through the platform over the next year. In addition to the eyeballs that come with making it to the top of the leaderboard and your supporters sharing on social, the top launches of the day and week are featured in Product Hunt's newsletter to their massive audience.
Our first launch, before we knew all this:
Our second, more well-informed launch:
Our highest-impact advice for a great Product Hunt launch
- Create a posting that resonates with the Product Hunt community.
- Rally your community in advance.
- Pre-write and pre-schedule your content.
- Engage your audience throughout the day.
- Decide if you want to work with a pro hunter.
Read on for the nitty-gritty.
1. Create a posting that resonates with the Product Hunt community.
This is mostly your existing product marketing at play. For Product Hunt, it can help to consider:
- The Product Hunt community prefers specific value props to high-level, lofty value props. Many members of the Product Hunt community are makers and developers who are constantly checking out new products. So be sure to cut to the chase of what's most unique about your product. For example, we chose to lead with "your virtual office in a macOS dock" vs. "connect like everyone's together" in our first visual and social assets for the day.
- Keep your posting concise, and then add extra content to your "maker comment," which is a good place to tell your founder story.
- Pre-schedule your post for 00:01 PST, because the clock resets at 00:00.
- Launch early in the month to give yourself a better shot at Product of Month, because the clock resets every month.
- Offer the Product Hunt community something exclusive and immediately actionable, like a free month or a shortcut off the waitlist.
- Nail your preview image. When it comes to designing the assets for your post, be sure to take into account that the first still image in your gallery will be the preview that's shown whenever your post is shared.
2. Rally your community in advance.
Although Product Hunt will generate some organic traffic, you need to rally your community for support in the form of votes and comments to have a chance at being above the fold. Here's what to consider:
- Encourage both votes and comments—without ever asking for them directly. The Product Hunt algorithm considers both absolute counts of votes and comments, so encourage both forms of activity. Be sure to never ask directly for upvotes, as that can get you disqualified. Ask for support, feedback, and shares instead.
- Votes from active accounts count more than votes from new or inactive accounts. Therefore, try to email your lists a week before and ask users to create accounts and upvote some things first. You should also be sure to reach out to your friends who are active on Product Hunt, such as other founders.
- Spread your votes out over the course of the day. Suspicious spikes in upvotes can get you penalized or disqualified. Also, the algorithm apparently rewards constant and increasing velocity. Therefore, work to spread votes throughout the day in order to avoid a noticeable decline in vote velocity. You can track your vote velocity vs. the competition with sites like Product Wars. If you have a large user base or mailing list, it can be a good idea to schedule sends throughout the day, as time zones wake up.
- Be above the fold when the west coast wakes up. It seems to be a good idea to be above the fold by 9a PST in order to benefit from organic traffic there. Aim to be at 100+ upvotes by then. If you have mostly PST users, you might need to get creative.
- Give your community a heads up. Let your audience, especially folks with followings like your investors, know about your launch in advance. Here's what we shared with our VIPs one week out:
We're launching Remotion 2.0 on Product Hunt this Tuesday July 7th!
Please be on the look out for an email from me on Tuesday asking for support on Product Hunt and signal-boosting on Twitter & LinkedIn. We'll have a doc for you with example copy and talking points to make it as easy as possible. Sneak peak: 1/ Scheduled Product Hunt post (don't share yet). 2/ Revamped landing page. 3/ New demo video (2m30s).
- Help your supporters help you. On the day of launch, help people signal-boost you by giving them a doc (here's ours) with helpful content like your latest messaging, demo, Product Hunt post and social posts. Here's what we shared:
Hey everyone, we're live on Product Hunt! Would love your help today:
1/ Please support at https://www.producthunt.com/posts/remotion-2-0.
Excluding a post that seems slightly suspicious for inorganic traffic, we're in second place and catching up as our US community activates!
2/ Please help us amplify with your reach.
We have a live doc with useful info, links, and sample posts here. Would be amazing if you could create your own posts on Twitter and LinkedIn! For convenience, here are the most important Remotion posts for liking & retweeting: Twitter - Remotion, Twitter - Alexander, LinkedIn - Remotion & LinkedIn - Alexander. Thank you all so much!
3. Pre-write and pre-schedule your content.
Your launch day will be spent on social media, replying to Product Hunt comments and reaching out to your community that is on un-schedule-able platforms like Messenger and text. So, we recommend you take advantage of every platform that allows pre-scheduling content. Especially email.
4. Engage your audience throughout the day.
- Create other reasons to talk about your Product Hunt launch on launch day. Our friends over at Butter had the brilliant idea of running celebratory launch day workshops with influential users over the course of the day. Leveraging their users' reach in this way drove impactful additional traffic to the service and then the Product Hunt post—without annoying their following with constant launch promotion.
- Create content that leverages the networks of your connections. Remotion is more of a team-only product, so we weren't able to take Butter's approach. Instead, we had influential members in our community record short videos with audience-appropriate tips, and helped make them look awesome. Then, we asked those influencers to share for us, linking to our Product Hunt. For example:
5. Decide if you want to work with a pro hunter.
In our observation, having a famous hunter hunt your product is of low to moderate impact. For example, hunts by the #1 hunter Chris Messina vary greatly in results, including some that barely reach 100 upvotes. So don't sweat it!
That said, working with a great hunter can be incredibly impactful if you lean on their learnings. For example, we worked with Chris Messina (after DM'ing him on Twitter). Over the course of a couple Zoom calls, he shared great advice on our product and launch content. We think it meaningfully improved our outcome and would recommend working with him to anyone taking Product Hunt seriously.
After all that...happy launching!
It might seem intimidating, but some intentional effort ahead of your Product Hunt launch can make it much more impactful (and fun!). We found a lot of joy in bringing the latest and greatest version of Remotion to such an engaged platform, and watching our users rally behind us was incredibly rewarding.
Keep the specific context of the platform in mind, activate your community, and get prepared in advance to make the most of the moment. For further reading, check out these resources we found helpful in preparing for our launch.
- How to Launch on Product Hunt, by Product Hunt
- The Nordic Web Ventures Guide to Launching on Product Hunt
- Tally's Product Hunt Launch Checklist
- Type Studio's Product Hunt Launch Guide
Questions on launch strategy or our experience? Feel free to reach out to alexander at remotion dot com or kayanne at remotion dot com. Good luck with your launch!
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