The folks at Product Hunt have created an immensely valuable platform for hosting various creations by developers, artists, and more. When we initially heard about the platform, we knew that it was the perfect place to launch Gro X, our Free Idea Assessment Tool for Entrepreneurs. After about a month of planning, we were able to launch and place as the #1 Product of the day.
For those of you launching a new product or tool, we strongly recommend that you become familiar with the pool of terrific resources and community of early adopters available at Product Hunt. In a relatively small amount of time, Product Hunt has become a must read within the Tech Startup community, and one would only expect this trend to expand into other industries as time goes on. This article is the result of what we learned from the process of our launch.
✅ Determine Your Goals – Why are you launching?
It’s important to determine what you want to get out of your launch. At Gro, our main goals were to get people to use our tool, get feedback, and be featured as a top three product on the day of our launch. Luckily, we not only placed as the #1 Product of the Day, but we also trended as the #4 Product of the week. Our team agrees that this likely wouldn’t have been possible had we not set clear and high goals for ourselves in the weeks preceding the launch.
✅ Get involved on Product Hunt, & Stay Involved
Make sure to observe the lanches of others, both past and present. The more notes you take on how people launch, the better suited you will be to do so yourself. Once you start to comment and upvote on relevant posts, you’ll gain a better understanding of how Product Hunt functions as a platform, all while building a following for yourself. Your followers on Product Hunt can view your activity so curating a list of followers prior to your launch can only help your chances of succeeding.
✅ Determine How You’ll Promote Your Launch Once it’s Live
Start by asking yourself where you stand in regards to your network both on and off of Product Hunt. Do you have a following? If you have a following within your industry on social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, or AngelList, you can create a Product Hunt account by logging in with your profile and automatically onboard any of your followers that also have Product Hunt accounts. If you don’t have a following, don’t worry. You can still leverage your overall network to help promote your launch. Later, we’ll discuss some best practices for outreach and driving traction to your post.
✅ Determine Your Title & Tagline
Both the title and tagline are displayed in the thumbnail on Product Hunt, so make sure to choose them wisely.
- Title: This is pretty straightforward; use a name that you’d like your product to be associated with moving forward. Our title was “Gro” (our brand name).
- Tagline: Make sure your tagline communicates what your product is in the simplest form. Keep in mind Product Hunt limits you to 260 characters. We went with: “A free & simple online tool to validate your business idea.” This let the users know what the tool did and that it was free for them to test out for themselves.
✅ Picking Relevant Topics
It’s important to know how your product fits into the landscape of those on the platform. Topics are essentially Product Hunt’s method of categorizing products. We found it helpful to research the available topics on Product Hunt, and then make a list of 3-5 topics that best represent your product. Check out your competitor or favorite products within your industry and search through their tags to determine which categories may apply to your post. Our recommendation is to select tags that span the top 3-5 different areas of interest that your product touches to maximize your reach amongst users.
For example, Gro used the following tags to hone in on its value to Product Hunters:
- Startup Lessons
✅ Assets, Assets, and more Assets
You’ll need some precise images of your product, as well as an engaging thumbnail (240×240 is the size we’d recommend). We recommend using GIFs since they are an easy attention grabber for users. You’ll also need 4-6 visuals to illustrate your product or service. These can be high-resolution screenshots or GIFs to animate your product, but they should show the essential use of your product. You also have the option to upload a short video. If you have the means to create one you should keep it concise, and it helps to provide text in the video as well in case people are browsing with the sound off.
✅ Description in a Nutshell
In essence, this is the most high-level overview that you can give of what your product is and what it does. This should take no more than two to three brief sentences, just for those who want to skim rather than read a lengthy summary of your product. You can dive into more detail in the first comment, which we’ll reflect on later in this article.
✅ Assigning a Hunter
Next, you’ll have to decide whether you will hunt your product, or if you’ll outsource that duty to another Hunter. This really depends on the following you’ve built on the platform, and what resources and connections you have to find a strong hunter. Any launch that is hosted by an influential Hunter has the potential to experience some really substantial benefits. Ideally, this person will be relevant inside your particular industry. In our case, we decide to launch ourselves to give ourselves a more organic aesthetic within the Product Hunt community. To be clear, we went this route because we were confident in the effect of our network, and had prepared to drive traction with that channel.
✅ Add Makers
Once you’ve figured out who your Hunter will be, you should add other key players on your team as makers. The more makers that you have, the more credible and well-balanced your team will be perceived. It’s important to not overdo it. You don’t want to list everyone who’s ever been involved in your business if they’re not going to be present and active on your post. Instead, utilize those players who’ll be engaged and can offer valuable insight.
✅ Crafting the Hunter or Maker Comment
This is the portion of your journey where you have to resist the urge to list every single trial and tribulation that went into building this product. You will need to comment a description of your product, so that users who are interested in learning more than the initial description can do so. Keep this comment to as few words as you need to effectively touch on all your main points. Also, be sure to upvote this comment so that it is the first one users see. Below, we outline the three main areas we recommend focusing on.
Who? Let people know who you are at a high-level to build your credibility on the subject matter.
What? The underlying value of your product is what will help you retain users. Provide a precise description of what the main features and benefits of your product are. This is the main “sell” so to speak of why the user should use your solution.
Why? This is the mission or purpose of your product. For Gro, our mission is to increase the rate of startup success. Yours might be to build helpful communities online, or simply to increase productivity or efficiency. Each business weighs their mission differently, but every business has one and it’s important to communicate it to your community.Finishing Touches: You should also strongly consider adding an incentive for your users. A simple discount for a paid service, or additional exclusive content or services for a free product will suffice. The best way to execute this is to keep the incentive inline with your brand and value proposition, so you continue to grow your brand’s equity with your end user.
Lastly, it helps to add some emojis to liven up and direct attention to certain parts of your posting. You can check out our post here to see how we incorporated them.
✅ Promotional Content
Take the time to generate some basic social assets and images to promote your post ahead of launch. This will help you work much more efficiently when your post is live, allowing you to allocate your time to focus on managing engagement with your users. For example, we prepared posts to be published each time we reached a milestone of another hundred upvotes.
✅ Getting Your Website in Shape
This is one of the most crucial tasks in your launch. You’ll want to make sure that your website has a simple call to action that motivates your users to engage with your page in a way that supports your launch objective that we discussed earlier. Along with this, you should implement some type of analytics tool with your website to help track these goals. Tools like Google Analytics or Hotjar are great options for learning more about how people interact with your site/product.
✅ Scheduling the Launch
Now it’s time to schedule your launch! The earliest you can launch is 12:00 AM PST, so make sure that you check your time zone and have a plan for how you’ll be monitoring engagement for the day. Keep in mind that you can schedule the post up to two weeks in advance to launch the minute that the day begins. Keep in mind, the post has 24 hours to place in one of the top spots before it wins a Product of the Day mention, so be ready to engage with your hunters as much as possible.
You should have your Hunter and team of Makers in place at this point to engage with your users. Your main goal at this point is to prepare to answer comments thoughtfully, while still leaving some allure for your product. This means that your answers should satisfy the question, but not so much that you don’t leave any details for the users to go out and discover it themselves. It helps to brainstorm some of the questions that people might ask and to take down some notes beforehand, but try to leave the exact answers for the day of launch so that they are organic responses.
✅ Follow Up & Outreach
Congratulations! You’ve launched your product, and hopefully you’re reaping the rewards of your hard work so far. Remember to follow up with any emails or contact information that you may have collected during the launch. A standard newsletter is a great way to connect with leads and it also keeps them up to date with any updates. Depending on the traction that you drive, you may want to send out some press releases about your product in the hopes that media might pick up your story.
Lessons Learned From the Hunt
- Don’t Underestimate Your Network: We recommend first creating a list of everyone in your network, and then taking the time to instruct them how to help boost your traffic. You’d be surprised how powerful your network is when you have time to think about everyone in it.
- Have Your Developer On Call: Whoever is building your product should be readily available, since people will be reaching out to let you know of potential issues or bugs. If you have the developer present, they can answer questions and even fix small product flaws.
- Aim to Drive Comments: The main reason to communicate your essential value without delving too deep into detail is so that you make sure people are asking questions. The more questions people ask, the higher your product will place.
- A/B Test Your Website & Product: For those launching their product for the first time, this will likely be the most traffic you’ve had so far. Setting up A/B testing helps you assign a few potential options in your site’s layout or Call to Action, and split test to see which is more effective.
- Test Your Analytics Before Launching: There’s a ton of valuable information to be observed from an analytics perspective, so be sure to test that everything is up and running properly so that you get an accurate report on traffic.
Product Hunt is a terrific place to introduce your product to the world, receive some valuable feedback, and begin to build a community around your business. We hope this checklist is a good starting point, and please comment below with any additional tips or best practices that you find helpful in your way to the top of the userboards!