How We Ended Up as #4 Product of the Day on Product Hunt — Without a Hunter

  • I’ve made a research to filter out the outdated information and give you heads-up on it
  • Most articles recommend getting a hunter — our example proves it’s not necessary
  • Finally, it’s easier to succeed if you have a product that appeals to a wide audience (email templates, photo editing apps, productivity tools, etc.) — but what if your product isn’t ‘the right type’?
Our Product Hunt launch board right when the big day was over

What is your goal of getting featured on Product Hunt?

First off — a word of warning. Before finding out how to get featured on Product Hunt and building the perfect Product Hunt launch strategy, you need to ask yourself what you want to get out of launching your product on PH.

Bummer! Things I didn’t expect

Incorrect information in the PH official launch guide and other pitfalls I didn’t expect that could ruin our launch:

  • You found the right ‘Launch Tips’ articles with links to various support groups on Facebook and Slack and think you’re all set? Not so fast. Half of these groups are not active any longer, and you won’t get into the top Slack communities without an invite.
  • The famous Product Hunt launch guide tells you the image size should be 635x380 and GIFs under 3MB. But I found a PH official help article that recommends 1270x760 for images… The support team says 1270x760 is the correct one — Product Hunt simply hasn’t adjusted their old launch guide yet. Also, I was worried our GIF was heavier than 3MB. After talking to other Product Hunters I realized it’s best to go with the minimum GIF weight you can, but it doesn’t have to be exactly under 3MB.
  • When you submit your product to Product Hunt as a maker, you are required to add Maker’s comment for the product to go live. Mine wasn’t ready as I thought our CEO would post his comment first and I could take my time. I had to create this comment on the go, but fortunately I was able to edit it later.
  • The length of the description text is actually 260 characters, NOT 350 like on the Product Hunt preview website! I had to adjust the text on the fly. Make sure you play with the Submit New product fill-in-the-blanks way ahead of the launch date.
  • The time difference is trickier than you may think! I knew we should launch at 10am Moscow time which is midnight in San Francisco. But something was bothering me… I checked and yes — just a week before our launch the clocks in the US were set back one hour… I could have launched our product at 23:00 on Sunday San Francisco time instead of 0:00 on Monday — because in my country, we don’t observe Daylight Saving Time and we don’t change clocks.

Best time to launch on Product Hunt?

When to launch on Product Hunt is a great question. I chose mid November as I was afraid of the invasion of various Black-Friday-deal and Christmas-themed products. Also make sure your launch date doesn’t fall on American bank holidays.

Getting a top hunter: pros and cons

Originally we wanted to get hunted by one of the top Product Hunt hunters, and I wrote to two of them: Ben Lang and Hiten Shah. Both can boast very good launches and our product more or less matched their interests. Right, you can’t expect a hunter to hunt a product that is out of their range of interests.

  • Hunters’ followers don’t get email notifications any longer, they just receive a regular notification on PH (you can see dozens of those if you follow at least 100 people)
  • Hunters sometimes post your product late
  • You need to have all the visuals prepared weeks before the launch date
  • You don’t have control in terms of timing and getting everything right
  • If being hunted by a hunter doesn’t really give you more exposure, what’s the point in spending much time on a hunter?
  • Hunters can give you some good advice
  • Top hunters are said to have the superpower to place your product on the front page (but you will end up on the front page anyway if you have a good number of upvotes)
  • Some of the hunter’s followers will still notice that PH notification and will check out your product
  • Credibility — people see it’s a product hunted by a PH influencer

Why you need a Ship page

Ship page is a mini-landing page on Product Hunt which will be listed in the Upcoming Products. Creating one is free, but you can pay for the subscription and get additional bonuses — like getting to the top of this list or scheduling your launch.

Nitro’s Ship page stayed in the top-3 products for over a week
2nd version of our Ship page

Why not all Product Hunt upvotes are equal

Have you seen products on PH with lots of comments from users with the red balloon icon? That means they are new users who got a PH account less than a week ago. Votes from such new users have less weight.

How to inspire the Product Hunt community comment on your product

Naturally the more fun the product is, the more comments it will get. Even if your product is “boring”, try to give it something people can start discussing: an unusual feature? a catchy video? Anything that can spark a discussion. Look at what OneSoil did for their product which is a complex platform for agricultural decisions — doesn’t sound like a super exciting product, does it?

Watch out for the ‘voting ring’

The Product Hunt algorithm is tricky and no one knows exactly how it works. There is a thing called “voting ring”, and once the secret algorithm detects it, the product may get removed from Product Hunt.

Users finding out that the product was removed from Product Hunt

How to take part in the Product Hunt community and make useful connections

They say, “just upvote a few products here and there and start a few discussions”. Well, no one will follow you because you upvote products, and your newly-posted discussion will go to the very bottom of the list until it gets more upvotes.

Visuals: why you need a video and the Product Hunt cat

I noticed some makers don’t realize the power of visuals. For example, some post an app that makes videos — and they don’t include any video examples of what the app can do.

One of our Product Hunt page visuals

How to get some traction on Twitter

We made different images about announcing our launch and the “We’ve reached 100/200/300 upvotes” kind of images (I hoped we’d be able to get past 300 upvotes, and we did).

Tracking your results on the launch day

Have you already thought about tracking your launch day analytics? The PH launch board is pretty handy: it shows not only the number of upvotes and comments, but also what place your product is currently at and new comments you haven’t answered yet:

How to give your Product Hunt launch an extra boost

What can you do apart from posting about your launch in various support groups? Well, if you don’t spam, but try to give value instead (sharing insights, stats, tips), people on Reddit and other communities will be more enthusiastic about checking out your Product Hunt launch.

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Blog of Alconost Inc.

Blog of Alconost Inc.

We localize apps, games, websites, & software and provide video production, multilingual marketing, & instant translation services. Visit us at alconost.com