product-hunt-success

Are you launching your app on Product Hunt?

Are you looking for best practices to make sure your one day on Product Hunt becomes a success?

Having been No. 1 on Product Hunt and generated more than $3,000 in sales through the website, I’ll share a things you should know before launching. These are also the same strategies that I’ve used to help multiple clients hit the top five on Product Hunt.

product-hunt-double-downloads

1. Have a personal Product Hunt account

Product Hunt is a community-driven website. While the content of the site is product focused, the website also wants to highlight the people behind the products. When launching your app or product on Product Hunt, it’s best to have a personal account on the site.

While everyone can upvote on Product Hunt, posting and commenting access is awarded by existing members of the community through an invite system. One of the quickest ways to get an invite is to have a moderator or friend (with posting priveleges) submit your product and tag you as the “maker.”

Maker badges are saved for personal profiles, not company ones, so unlike other social platforms, it’s important to build your personal brand on Product Hunt.

product-hunt-maker

Becoming a maker also gives you the right to invite three other friends, so they can have posting and commenting privileges, too.

Once your product goes live, be sure to tweet @producthunt on Twitter with a link to your Product Hunt page to let them know that you are the maker.

After Product Hunt tags you as the maker of the product, be sure to go into the comments and talk about the product’s backstory. Why did you build it? What was your unique solution to the problem, and so forth?

Go into the comments throughout the day to interact with others and to show the community that you really care about their feedback.

2. Never publicly ask for upvotes

This is straight from the Product Hunt website:

Feel free to share products you post (or find) but don’t ask for upvotes. Gaming may result in the product being removed from the site. People should upvote what they think is useful or interesting, not because they’re peer pressured.

A friend of mine asked for upvotes on Facebook just to his friends and received an email from Product Hunt telling him that you should never have asked for votes. I’m not sure how they found out but they seem to have eyes everywhere.

It is good practice to share your Product Hunt page throughout the day, but treat it as a way to update everyone on your success.

twitter-share-product-hunt

The more you share the more likely people will see your Product Hunt page and the more likely they will give you an upvote.

3. Upvotes does not equal higher rankings

Contrary to popular belief, having the most upvotes does NOT mean that you will hit the No. 1 spot. I’ve had many launches where we had twice as many votes as the No. 1 product.

The ranking algorithm takes into account numerous factors, including time since posting, shares, comments, and fraudulent voting ring activity.

product-hunt-more-votes

If you have a big network of friends who are ready to upvote your product, then it’s best to spread those votes throughout the day.

Don’t have everyone vote all at once, because that will signal to Product Hunt that there is fraudulent activity and hurt your rankings.

4. Followers do not equal successs

Another popular notion is that you need a lot of followers on your Product Hunt profile. While it certainly helps to have a good following on Product Hunt, your lack of followers will not hurt your chance of success.

It is more important for the person submitting the product on Product Hunt to have a big following.

Every time someone submits a product to Product Hunt, the website will email all of their followers soon after submission.

product-hunt-email

This starts a great network effect and gets people aware of the product and helps you reach a wider audience.

One of my favorite strategies is to pitch a moderator, since they generally have a big following and their products generally hit the homepage (something that doesn’t always happen when submitting products).

5. Good to post early

There are a couple of things you should know about posting on Product Hunt:

  1. Not everyone can submit a product. You need an invite or to become a maker of a product.
  2. Even if you have submission privileges, that doesn’t mean it will make it to the home page on Product Hunt. This only applies for the Tech category as its the most popular section of the site. The Games, Podcasts, and Books categories are less competitive and less trafficked so almost all submissions make the home page.

Let’s get back to why it’s important to post early. You see, Product Hunt refreshes its list every day at 12am PST, so the earlier you can get your product on the site:

  1. The longer your product will stay on the website before it refreshes again.
  2. You’ll reach an international audience for those countries still up at 1–4am PST.
  3. You’ll have more time to reach the top five before the EST timezone starts their day.

Remember, you have about two days to find success on Product Hunt: the day your app goes live on the site and the day after, so get ready to get busy for these crucial 48 hours.

6. Aim for top 5

Since it’s incarnation, Product Hunt has gone through a few major changes. Back in the day, the website only had the Tech category and the homepage looked much like Reddit where it was a list view of all of today’s products.

product-hunt-homepage

However, as the site has grown in traffic, so has the hierarchy. Today, the site has four categories:

  1. Tech (most popular category)
  2. Games
  3. Podcasts
  4. Books

In fact, when my Double Your Downloads e-book hit #1 on Product Hunt, it was under the Tech category (the only category they had at the time). I’m not sure I would have seen the $3,000+ in sales if I had been under the Books category.

Now, with the subcategories, there are two important reasons you want to be in the top five on launch day:

  1. You appear on the Product Hunt homepage
  2. You make the Product Hunt email newsletter.

Making the Product Hunt email newsletter lets you reach a greater audience, one that may not have visited the website, but receives the email digest of the hottest products from the day before.

My biggest sales day was the day my product was No. 1 on Product Hunt, and the second biggest sales day was the day after.

7. Success may not equal downloads, but it will help with PR

While I generated over $3,000 in book sales from Product Hunt (a success in my eye), I have heard from many others that they have NOT seen much traction come from the site even though they had hundreds of upvotes and even hit the top five. Here’s what they missed out on.

If you have success on Product Hunt, but you didn’t see many downloads, then leverage it as social proof for press.

One of my clients drove over 700 votes on Product Hunt and was the No. 1 product under Tech for the day. I leveraged his success on Product Hunt to get coverage on Mashable, iOS Today and many more publications.

In fact, Mashable decided to cover the app as its “App of the Day” on Snapchat, which lead to thousands of downloads.

mashable-snapchat

Being a success on Product Hunt holds a certain coolness factor, so you should use it as social proof when reaching out to reporters. I generally include a screenshot of the Product Hunt page in the email.

In fact, I’ve used this strategy many times to get coverage on Mashable, AppAdvice, Tech.co and more.

Conclusion

Product Hunt is a great platform for launching your app, book, e-book, web service and more. It can drive huge amounts of downloads (and sales) and finding success on the website can lead to even more press on tech blogs.

Once featured on Product Hunt, products cannot be reposted, with the exception of significant updates or product pivots. Therefore, before you launch your product on Product Hunt, make sure you follow the above seven tips to ensure your success.

Steve Young

Founder at AppMasters
I started building apps in 2011 and my first app hit #8 under educational games. I started making a few hundred dollars a month, but had no idea what I was doing. Then in 2013 I decided to start a podcast so I could pick the brains of app creators that I admired including the co-founder of Shazam, Tapbots, Crossy Road, etc and that changed everything.

Now I run an app marketing agency where we’ve helped 8 clients get featured by Apple, 5X downloads with ASO, and get coverage on Techcrunch, Mashable, Venture Beat and other major publications. I also write about apps on The Next Web, Entrepreneur.com, and on my blog AppMasters.co.

Latest posts by Steve Young (see all)