We launched on Product Hunt on June 15, 2017 and did super well, currently having 1028 upvotes and 89 comments (January 24, 2018). Reading other blog posts about launching was very helpful for us so we wanted to return the favor and write a guide for successful PH launches.
Why We Did It
Though we initially developed Anyfi mesh network software for Enterprise use, we wanted to get feedback from the early adopter tech community and see viability for other uses at smaller scale (personal, home, etc.). We also wanted to get feedback comparing Anyfi with other similar solutions related to mesh networks, Wi-Fi, and Enterprise networks.
We decided Product Hunt was perfect for us. For those of you who aren’t yet sure about PH, we’ll break it down for you.
- Product Hunt is a website used as a platform for new product launches. Users discover and share the best new products.
- What we liked best was that Product Hunt is a massive community (311K followers on Twitter) of innovators and early adopters who are ok with early stage products. They’ll provide thoughtful, relevant feedback for and perhaps advocate your product even if it’s buggy and incomplete. PH is known to be one of the best sites to get visibility and sign ups.
- Through PH, your product can get exposed to the tech ecosystem, appearing in front of various journalists, tech people, fellow founders, potential users, and basically anyone who is involved. Many investors and employees from high profile tech companies are on PH. Getting them as a supporter is a big win.
- Even better, the top products of the day/week are featured in an email newsletter and other sites, providing great additional outreach.
While there were tons of Wi-Fi related products on the site, there was no Wi-Fi Mesh Network software. We wanted to see the reception and community ideas about this kind of product.
We began preparing a strategic launch with collective team effort to get a lot of likes and get on the homepage/ top 5 to get the benefits of:
Increase Inbound Sales- heavy traffic of interested people to our website, could lead to sales, and at the very least give us feedback from our target demographics.
Brand Credibility- Doing well could increase brand trust when reaching out to leads.
Brand Awareness- getting our product in front of relevant people that could be our supporters. The reach of PH could have a massive marketing effect for our product.
So overall, the goal was to get to the top 5 on the day of launch, or in other words, around 400 likes.
After many hours of scouring the web for help and tips for a successful launch, this is what we learned:
We found that the biggest original PH launches in terms of up votes are a mix of targeted campaigning and organic votes in a strategic launch. We need early votes from supporters to stay on homepage so that there can be more organic votes.
The voting algorithms in PH are very random and complicated. There are many rules to follow to gain the most value from the votes (although the veracity is debated).
- Can't ask people directly to vote; same IP/location can get you Blacklisted; better to link to PH homepage than product page; new accounts and connected accounts count for less.
The average PH user votes because:
- They understand the product and are interested in the tech.
- Have understanding of why the product is necessary.
- Want the product for themselves/ see the benefit in their own life.
- Are able to some degree, try the product themselves.
Our product and launch would have to fit these criteria.
Submission - Finding a Hunter
We found a lot of info on getting an influential hunter (ranked on #of submissions or average likes per submission) and getting them to post for you.
Blogs all said that a top hunter posting your product could be very beneficial because their followers get notified and the post goes directly to the homepage.
While this probably is true, we weren’t able to find a hunter we wanted in time, and decided to ask a friend already active on PH to post for us instead. This friend, somewhat of an expert on Product Hunt, advised us,
“It doesn’t really matter who posts it or when. If it’s a cool product that’s presented well, it will get a ton of upvotes.”
The Hunter Kit
The hunter kit is a collection of every detail the hunter needs to post for you (disregard if self-posting). Unless you’re posting yourself, it’s hard to change this information, so take the time and effort to perfect all the parts of the “kit”.
- Straightforward.. The name of your product
- Tagline (max. 60 characters)
- Should be descriptive --- not necessarily your marketing tagline. Make it clear what your product does/what it solves.
- URL to your product landing page
- Additional links to downloading the app, any press you have, and social media links
- Product Platforms
- Self explanatory..
- 5-10 images/video showing different parts of product
- Share screenshots, promo-videos, marketing images, etc. that show the capability of the product clearly.
- GIFs help the post stand out. It’s important to get people to click and check out your product!
- Makers ID/ Twitter
- Twitter accounts are the basis of your product hunt accounts so make sure you have one!
- Choosing the right categories helps users discover your product (i.e. tech, Wi-Fi, etc.)
- For more exposure in the long run, get your product added to a popular collection related to your product. This way, more people will find your product through their searches.
- For example, soon after launching, we were added to “Pretty Fly for a WiFi”, a collection make by Ben Tossell.
- Goodies for PH community
- Everyone loves special offers, so make your posting more attractive by offering one exclusively to the product hunt community.
- We weren’t able to (since our product was already free) but we’ve seen this work time and time again with other products.
Launch timing is very important for amount of web traffic/ views. This is what we learned from other blogs:
- Midweek (Tues- Thurs) first thing in the morning PST is best (early as 5am).
- But for more traffic, launch right after midnight PST (when PH date changes). This lets you stay longer on homepage and catch some of the European Hunters’ morning views
- Try not to be hunted on the same day as tech giants (Google, FB, Tesla, etc.) who will steal all the attention. To get on the email, you just need to be best on the day-- don’t necessarily need 1000 upvotes.
We were hoping for more traffic (and more feedback) so we launched on a Wednesday right after midnight PST!
As I wrote above, it’s important to get votes to get on and stay on the front page and create momentum to get even more attention. This can come in the form of special offers for PH users: discounted prices, extended free trials, etc.
But not all votes are equal - the purported ranking system is about quality of votes, not quantity. This means you can’t game the system and flood your page with votes of new (fake) users, or spam all your friends to get votes. Sending too many direct links can even get your product blacklisted.
This said, early votes count more (for more visibility), and you need some outside support to gain traction and build momentum.
It’s super helpful to prepare a statement about your product to put as the first comment, since you can't give a lot of information about your product/launch in the initial post. A good first comment is explanatory, giving more background info about yourself and your product to add credibility.
It’s also a good idea to preparing to put content on social media to get an even wider community converging feedback on your Product Hunt post.
- Join relevant groups (Facebook, Slack, email lists, Telegram, etc.)
- Build a community before launch
- Send personalized messages to relevant people in your space.
Finally, launch day! Oversee the page throughout the launch day (the full 24 hours if you can). Respond to comments immediately across platforms.
- This is super important to keep your page momentum up and stay on the homepage.
We were active on twitter and other pages, responding to any tweets about us and answering every question we could!
Anyfi was 1st-4th most of the day and ended 3rd with around 600 upvotes.
After Launch Day
Keeping up user engagement, qualifying leads and any other inbound traffic you may have. It’s also a good idea to send some thank you messages to people that advocated for your product.
Also, equally important, relax! If everything went well, you just had a great launch and will have a bunch of traffic/feedback. Pat yourself on the back and take a break :)
Three days after our launch we had:
- 851 upvotes on our post
- 82 comments
- 3 inbound press interviews
- 10+ inbound sales inquiries
We didn’t have much traffic before our PH launch as we didn’t really do any marketing or have any other consumer launch. Product Hunt helped out a lot with this.
- Spike in web traffic (visits)
- 296 in May
- 6,009 in June and this had a continuing effect.
- Page views
- 708 in May
- 9,824 in June
- Traffic not just from PH but from affiliate sites like:
- Organic Press around the world (see our press section)
We were compared to the HBO show “Silicon Valley”, turns out a company in the show was starting to develop a smartphone mesh network. Who knew! Hehe
We started seeing traffic from all around the world from Azerbaijan to Iran (surprisingly a lot from there) to Tanzania and everywhere in between.
All in all, a good Product Hunt launch takes a lot of effort and time in preparation, but it’s worth it in the end. Just make sure you have relevant goals and put in the work to make it happen.
Happy hunting :)
For more info or tips on launching on Product Hunt, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org