Tristan Pollock explains how startups can win on Product Hunt
Product Hunt (PH) has become the de facto source for new and upcoming technology products.
If you get featured on the homepage, the next 24 hours could be glorious:
- Thousands of site hits, a boost in customers
- MOAR revenue
- Massive brand awareness among target audience
Or, it could be an utter failure. You might get low conversion rates to your site, ghosted from the PH featured page and buried under your competitors.
How to WIN at Product Hunt
I’ve helped companies like Indemand and Arka gain over 1,000 upvotes in less than 24 hours, which — with high conversion from PH to landing page — led to hundreds of new customers and thousands of revenue dollars in just a few days.
Don’t worry, it’s a repeatable process. Here’s the step-by-step recipe for how to gain traffic and conversions from Product Hunt.
#1 Gather the important information
Ok, this sounds boring, but if you want someone to post you on PH, the person should be relevant to you and you should build that relationship before making the ask.
I post about things that get me excited, as well as for 500 Startups and AngelPad companies because I’m a part of those communities.
Here’s the info you should gather and customize to fit PH.
- The date to post
- Category (Tech/Games/Books/Podcasts)
- Product name
- Catchy tagline (40 characters or less)
- Blurb on why I think the product is awesome (I’ll write this as the hunter, but helpful thoughts are encouraged)
- Special offers for the cat-loving PH community (optional)
- Links to 1-2 recent articles (optional)
- Platforms and tags (ex: web, developer tool, transportation)
- Media (one for icon, one for header)
- I highly recommended you customize your images for PH. Here’s an example from Arka:
- Status (available now vs pre-launch)
- Twitter handles of founders (to be added as PH Makers and tweeted out — Twitter promotion is 🔑 )
The above fields are from the PH hunt form and the PH product page itself. The ‘Hunt a Product’ form does change from time to time, but here’s what it looks like today.
#2 Use the power of social network effects
Find a strong PH influencer to post you and follow that person (in this case, me).
Then have your team and friends follow the hunter as well. This amplifies your post reach because all followers are notified when a product is hunted, and if they upvote/share, their followers are notified with a PH alert. And on and on.
Extra points if you have a strong collection built around your business and can get the collection creator to add you. I like to post about 500 Startups, ViceTech (experiences), Frontier Tech, Digital Nomads, and Music (and creativity) in my collections.
Collections can be picked up and promoted by PH at any time. An example is my Comedy collection that was featured on the PH email newsletter. This can give your PH post longevity, in addition to the norm of using upvotes to rank highly for specific keywords.
#3 Post at midnight, because timing is everything
This is key.
Hunting a product at midnight gives you a full 24 hours on the front page.
You also get another 24 hours on the Yesterday page that sits right below the Today featured feed on the home page. 95% of upvotes occur in the first 24 hours.
To make sure I’m in sync with the Maker when hunting the product, I ask them to:
- Send me an calendar invite for 11:30pm-12:30am for the day we are hunting with all hunting information included
- Comment on the post immediately after it is live. Here you should mention that you are the founder and here to answer questions (the more PH community engagement the better)
- Share with your personal and business networks. Usually if you are the top post by 9AM PST (aim for 100-150 upvotes) then you are in good shape for the rest of the day. Here’s a sample message you can send out:
Hi Friend – help us squish it on Product Hunt this morning!
To upvote [MY PRODUCT] follow these instructions:
1/ Go to the producthunt.com homepage.
2/ Find [MY PRODUCT] and upvote (note: if you are in a shared office space with others upvoting, use a different IP address by using your mobile device with Wifi turned off and you’ll get a more powerful upvote).
3/ Add a comment about why you love us, or a question about the product (the more engagement we have the more visibility we get).
4/ Share to your own networks via Twitter/Facebook/text/email (get creative with email lists, friends, family, accelerators, etc).
#4 Focus on engagement and conversion will come
Arka saw a spike to their landing page that peaked 24 hours in, and lasted four days total with about 10% of traffic remaining over the next two weeks. Over 120 new customers paid for their product.
Indemand saw an even larger increase in traffic and customers, including:
- Users. An increase of 7,000 unique visitors with their user base growing by 25% just through Product Hunt. About 15% of the total uniques churned.
- Revenue. Over $150k worth of custom deals came through Product Hunt, plus an increase of MRR by $5k. This happened over the first 5 days after the hunt.
I attribute their success to these factors in order of importance:
- Product Hunt community. At the end of the day, the most successful products on PH fit the community, which is still majority tech oriented, and come from Hunters/Makers who participate in the community, write thoughtful comments, and have been engaging on the platform over a longer period of time. The Indemand founders fit this mold and so did their product.
- Hustle hard. The Arka and Indemand teams did everything possible to bring awareness to their hunt from alerting their accelerator batch network to downloading their LinkedIn contacts to handing out candy on the street. They were determined, creative and very, very persistent.
- Hunter-Maker collaboration. If it isn’t clear already, I spend too much time on PH. As their Hunter, I worked closely with Arka and Indemand to improve their content, share it to additional communities I have access to (e.g. accelerators, personal networks), and, of course, have competitive fun in the process.
- Timing. Post between 12am-2am. No excuses. Indemand pulled an all-nighter to monitor questions, comments, and fuel the hunt.
#5 A note on external factors
There are always things you can’t control.
For example, if a new product by Google is hunted the same day as your product it will draw attention away from you. Or the fact that less people are engaged on PH from Friday to Monday, so you probably want to avoid those days. Some of these factors you can plan for. Others you can’t, but if you follow the above steps, you should be able to gain healthy initial exposure, but always make sure to be respectful of the Product Hunt community rules by reading their FAQs.
Lastly, if you haven’t used PH often, it’s best to get involved, comment, ask questions, upvote products you like, and talk with other Hunters before hunting your own product. Give before you receive. It’s called cat power. 😻
This post was originally published by Tristan Pollock on 500 Startups.