How We Became Product of the Day on Product Hunt
Your complete guide to launching on Product Hunt
The Collato team prepared for months before launching on Product Hunt, and our hard work paid off: We became #1 Product of the Day and #2 Product of the Week when we launched on March 15. Our high rankings on the platform resulted in the highest number of new users we’ve ever seen in one day, and got us featured in newsletters, mentioned across social media platforms, and overall gave us a huge momentum in growth.
What is Product Hunt, and why should I launch there?
Maybe you’re wondering, okay, that’s all well and good, but what the heck even is Product Hunt?
Product Hunt is a platform that surfaces new tech products every day. Basically, if you’re a SaaS tool, you want to be on Product Hunt. That’s the best way to start spreading the word about your product. Every day, a new product launches on the website, and receives upvotes from the community if the tool looks interesting or useful. The top products of the day, week, and month get featured across the website and receive huge visibility.
Because of the visibility Product Hunt provides, you should definitely consider launching there. While it does take a bit of preparation, with the right approach, you could give your product the boost it needs to start seeing real success.
Before you pick a launch date
There are a few things to consider before you decide to launch a product on Product Hunt.
Set your goals
You’ve likely decided to launch on Product Hunt because you know it’s a great growth hack. But what does a successful launch look like for you? Are you after visibility, new users, validation? Set tangible goals for your launch so you have something concrete to work towards. Here are some goals to set before launching:
☑️ Number of upvotes: Choose a number of upvotes as an ambitious (but achievable) goal. We chose 1200 as our lucky number (as of right now we have more than 1380).
☑️ Number of new users: If your goal is new registrations, then set yourself a goal for how many people you’d need to sign up for your product in order to call your launch a success.
☑️ Traffic: A successful launch on Product Hunt will likely bring more traffic to your website. What percentage increase do you want to see?
☑️ Active users after 7 days: New users aren’t valuable if they don’t stick around. How many active and engaged users come back to your product after 7 days would indicate success for your company?
Find a hunter
Getting “hunted” is crucial–it drastically increases your chances of getting noticed and becoming Product of the Day. A hunter can increase the trust and authority of your product and give you more visibility on the launch day. They can also be a great advisor before the launch to navigate your product positioning, and find a better way to match your product with the audience type on Product Hunt. Choose your hunter wisely: pick someone who’s hunted successful products in the past and products that align well with your own.
Pick which day of the week to launch
Which day of the week you launch on Product Hunt makes a difference. The middle of the week is usually the most active on the platform, making for great visibility but potentially tough competition for Product of the Day. And while there are no hard rules for what type of product launch on which days, it’s typical that Monday to Wednesday are mostly B2C products, while Thursday and Friday are more often B2B. Typically, traffic on the weekend is pretty low on Product Hunt, so launches might not see much activity. That might make it easier to become Product of the Day, but if your ultimate goal is to get new users, Saturday or Sunday might not be your best bet.
Give yourself plenty of time before your launch date to adequately prepare. At Collato, we already started planning out our launch around 3 months before our date. This leaves time for continuous iteration, improvement, and building up a community.
3 months out
Get the whole team on Product Hunt
At Collato, we turned it into a competition: Whoever could earn the most points and get the most followers on Product Hunt would win a prize (you’re looking at the winner 😉👑). Since we’re a competitive bunch here, this incentivized the whole team to be active on the platform. We started discussions every day to learn what kinds of posts went viral and which don’t.
It’s crucial to make sure your team joins Product Hunt with adequate time before your launch since it takes at least 2 weeks after creating an account to start building points. Plus, if everyone on your team is active in the community, people will start hearing about your brand even before your launch.
How to gain points on Product Hunt
Upvotes won’t count towards your launch if they’re given by new accounts. So whatever you do, don’t ask people to create an account just to upvote you. These upvotes will be deducted throughout the day. Only upvotes from active accounts on the platform will count.
Because of this, it’s important to make sure that you and your team have plenty of points before your launch. Here’s how to gain points on Product Hunt:
👥 Engage with the community - Start discussions, comment on other posts, upvote and comment on products you like, and be active on the platform.
🗣️ Start a discussion that goes viral - The fastest way to gain points is to create a discussion that goes viral. Polls generally work really well: people engage with them since they’re easy and interesting.
✍️ Respond to comments & reviews - Make sure you’re very responsive to comments on your discussions and any reviews left on your product.
Two months out
Prepare an explainer video
You can include a video alongside images on your Product Hunt launch page. Many people do actually watch the video in order to learn more about your product, so it’s a good idea to invest time and money into it. We used the agency Burnwe to help produce ours, and we found it well worth the investment. Make sure you prepare a script, have in mind what elements you want to showcase, and keep in mind your brand voice and target audience while you produce it. Here’s how ours turned out:
Start building your network
At least two months before you launch, you should already start building up a database of people in your network who you will reach out to on your launch day. Prepare a spreadsheet of names, social media profiles, and contact information so you can keep track of everyone (we made a template for you in our Product Hunt Launch Kit.) If you have more than one person on your team who will be doing outreach on the day of the launch (which is recommended), then be sure to indicate who the contact owner is so you don’t accidentally spam people with several messages at once.
One month out
About one month before your launch date is when you should really be picking up the pace. Make sure that you’re still staying active on the platform and keeping in touch with your contacts. Set a goal for you and your team to add a certain amount of people to your network every day, so that by launch day you have an extensive list of people to reach out to around the world.
Create a “Coming Soon” page
Create an “upcoming” page on Product Hunt for visibility even before you launch. You can also share this page with your network a week or so before the launch and ask them to click “Notify me” so they know as soon as you’re live.
Create brand awareness
If you haven’t already, now is the time to create banners and matching avatars for you and your team’s social media profiles. When you’re active in the communities, people will see that you’re part of the same company and it might stir some interest. Make sure that everyone’s profiles are up-to-date with links to your company and social media accounts.
Join social communities
You’ll want to promote your launch on as many channels as possible. Now is the time to join (and actively engage with!) communities on social media. This includes Twitter, LinkedIn groups, Slack communities, Discord groups, IndieHackers, and subreddits. Sometimes it takes several days (or weeks) for your request to join to be approved, so make sure you do this early enough.
The week of the launch
You should be feeling confident in your preparation so far. Now’s the time to kick things into gear and make sure everything is in tip-top shape for your launch.
Finalize your profile
Make sure you have everything ready for your profile on Product Hunt and all of the materials you will need for your launch page. This includes:
☑️ Short description of your product
☑️ Maker’s comment
☑️ Video & images
☑️ Brand logo
Make sure your copy is clear and searchable–and most importantly, interesting enough to click on!
Create an email flow
If you already have a pool of engaged users, make sure they’re aware of your upcoming launch. Send out an email asking if they wouldn’t mind setting up an account on Product Hunt (at least a week before launch, or their vote won’t count) to support you on your day.
Make a shift plan
Hopefully, you’ll be able to get everyone on your team involved in your launch. Because the Product Hunt community is international and your launch day lasts 24 hours, you’ll want people actively responding to comments and reaching out to their network across the different time zones.
Prepare your launch documents
To make sure your launch goes as smoothly as possible, have your documents organized and ready to go so your team has access to the information they need. Here’s a list of the documents we used for our launch:
- Database of contacts from our network
- Shift plan of our team for launch day
- FAQs with prepared answers
- LinkedIn post ideas
- Copy guidelines
- Product status on Jira
- Card to report bugs on
- Competitor analysis
We linked all of our documents on our knowledge map so our team could instantly find the information they’d need for the day of the launch. For example, if someone asked a question in the comments that they didn’t know the answer to, they could search it on the map:
Day of the launch
The big day is here! Don’t stress: If you’ve followed the plan up until now, you should be more than prepared to have a successful launch.
Launch on time
Don’t waste a second! On Product Hunt, launches start at 12:01 am PST. Make sure you launch then so you have the full 24 hours to gain as much traction as possible.
Post the maker’s comment
As the maker, you should be the first to comment on your launch post. Use the comment as an opportunity to explain more about your product, its use cases, the pain points it solves, and what’s coming up in the future. Make it engaging and fun!
Reach out to your network
You’ve spent the last couple of months expanding your network, and now is the time to activate it! Reach out to people and share your launch with them, and ask for their feedback and support. Do not ask for upvotes! And do not ask people to create new accounts to upvote you. Product Hunt is always on the watch for upvotes from spam accounts or new accounts from people not active on Product Hunt. Their vote will be disqualified after a while, which could result in you dropping down in the rankings. Only ask for support from people who are already active on Product Hunt.
Respond to comments & feedback
If people are taking the time to comment on your launch or leave you a review, make sure you’re responding quickly and thoughtfully. Encourage supporters to leave genuine feedback on your product!
Post updates on social media
Keep your followers up-to-date on your launch by posting milestones throughout the day. Plus, stay on top of your mentions. People will likely be talking about the top products of the day. You might get mentioned by someone big.
Post across different communities
You should be a (relatively) active member on Twitter, Discord groups, Slack communities, and subreddits now. Now’s the time to post about your launch! Just be careful not to self-promote on groups that specifically ban it. Try and phrase your launch post in a way that’s fun or interesting so people don’t get annoyed and will actually want to support you.
Stay on top of spammers
While Product Hunt does a good job of preventing people from cheating the system, sometimes they still get through. Keep an eye on this dashboard throughout the launch. If you notice a sudden spike in upvotes, it’s likely a sign of spammers creating new accounts. Check their comments; if most of the users have little red balloons next to their names, it means that their accounts are brand new. If they don’t get removed within a couple of hours, contact someone from the Product Hunt support team.
Save your upvotes
By now, hopefully you and your team are very active on Product Hunt Save your votes for closer to the end of the day, however. You want to keep your momentum going, and by pulling out your final card towards the end of the day, you can make sure that you stay on top even if community upvotes slow down.
Tl;dr: Do’s and don’ts of launching on Product Hunt
Product Hunt is very aware of makers trying to hack the system to become Product of the Day, so keep these do’s and don’ts in mind so you don’t get punished:
- Stay active on Product Hunt
- Encourage your team to gain points
- Create a shift plan for your team
- Choose a hunter
- Expand your network
- Be active on social media
- Create a wiki so your team can find launch-day information
- Ask people to create a PH profile just to upvote you
- Ask directly for upvotes
- Pay for upvotes
- Create fake accounts for upvotes
- Try to sabotage your competitor’s launches
- Spam communities or your network
Go get ‘em!
Whatever happens, you should be proud of yourself for the hard work you and your team put into the launch. Make sure you count your wins, and take off with the momentum you gained. And don’t forget to thank your supporters: You’ll want to keep your network strong for any future launches. So with that said, have fun, and good luck!