What is this post about?

Okey, in this post I want to share witht the community all my learnings and my approach I took to release on product hunt, and with no big community and no resources end up as the forth best product of the day.

Doing that cause I want to give back the community the support and I also want to note down the strategy so I remember it for next release and similar things. I am not an expert, there must be people who know more about that than me, but I want to share what I think it worked to me and how I understodd it.

So if you are planning to do a Product Hunt release on the future, or you are interested in building digital products and startups keep reading

1. Why you want to do a Product Hunt Release?

Firstable, if you dont know, Product Hunt is a website were each day there is a competition of digital products, from VC backed startups to solopreneurs with notion templates.

The thing here is that Product Hunt manages tons of traffic a day, and it is perfect if you have a new product that you want to through to the market and validate, adquire new customers or get some feedback.

Product Hunt audience is quite mainstream, although it is mainly techy. And by techy I mean that people work on digital products: programers, marketers, designers, product people, entrepeneurs, VCs guys. I.E Tons of people and quite mainstream.

Overall I think PH is a good place to launch if the product you are building has something related with digital world, and it is not too niche.

If you are selling a haidresser software, (like my last startup) i dont think that you will have a good result in product hunt, and if you manage to do it, it would be difficult to convert the traffic to customers so it would be useless.

2. What you want to achieve?

Okey, as with any release, I believe it has two main goals, to attract new customers, for obvious reasons, or, if the product is not there yet (most likely), validate it and capture enough information to know on what direction you need to move the product so you can get new customers

I want to clarify this because all the actions and possibilities that I planned were geared towards achieving these goals. If someone believes that the goals of a release are different, then the actions they take will also be different. I will explain this further in terms of marketing later on.

3. How to release?

Okay, let’s get into it. As with any release, the preparation steps are just as important as the actual steps of the release itself.

It meanst that it is not enought to choose a day, hit submit, and wait.

You have to be prepared and accomplish certain minimum requirements before the release in order to ensure a successful launch and not waste any time or opportunities.

4. Previous steps

What it is needed to have before launching to have a good release.

Value proposition

With your product you might need to solve a problem or release some pain. While your product may not be Amazon.com, if you’re generating some level of expectation by solving a problem, it needs to be done properly.

This means ensuring that there are no bugs in the main flow of your product. Everything should work as expected to ensure a positive user experience.

Data, Data, Data

Our goals are either to acquire new customers or to capture enough information to know on what direction you need to move the product so you can get new customers.

To achieve this, there are some tools that you can easily and freely add to your website, product, or any other platform to gather all of this data and information to properly drive the product afterwards:

GTM GA:

Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics are the basics and are free to use. They do exactly what they are meant to do. If you have the time and resources, you can delve deeper and tag everything to understand the user flow and create complex charts and statistics. However, with the basic configuration, you can understand how many users you have, where they come from, which channels you’re using to acquire them, the time per session, and whether or not they are returning.

If you don’t know how to set up GA and GTM, simply ask ChatGpt. I learned how to do it, and in just 20 minutes, it was ready.

Live Chat

This has turned out to be a fundamental step. It’s so important in the early stages to have the closest possible relationship with customers. Therefore, let’s add a chat widget so that potential clients can contact you at any moment.

There are two useful reasons for this:

  1. Some people might not understand how to use the platform, and you can explain it to them. This is great because it can convert potential customers.
  2. It’s a great tool to get instant feedback. Some users are very open to discussing and sharing relevant information about what they need and the problems they face. This is very valuable information.

The only inconvenience (which isn’t really an inconvenience) is that you have to be on the other side of the chat, ready to chat with your customers, during all the release.

There are tons of tools that can do that, but I chose Hubspot Free because it’s free, well-known, and provides what you need – a chat that you can easily embed on your website.

Recordings

There are tools that allow you to record what users do on your website. Of course, they don’t show confidential information, but they do show the user flow through the product/service/web, any bugs that arise, and whether or not users properly understand the UX. This is important information to improve your product, optimize the funnel, and increase client satisfaction.

I have to say that I forgot to add this for these releases as I had very little time to prepare. However, it’s quite fundamental.

I would use Hotjar, which in its free version, allows up to 100 recordings. Considering the traffic you will get, it will fill up pretty soon. However, you can delete the less interesting recordings and just capture the interesting ones.

Another tool that I was recommended but haven’t used yet is Clarity from Microsoft. It seems cool and it seems like it can also replace GTM and GA. I don’t know much about it, but I can provide you with the information if you want to take a look at it.

Commnunications Approval

Another important aspect is to gather the email addresses, and consent, of your clients so that you can retarget them, ask for feedback, or announce new releases.

If it turns out that you’re not getting conversions, you can leverage the fact that you’ve had some traffic and by enabling users the option to receive email communications, you can retarget them when you add more value.

You can allow this during the sign-up process, or if you don’t have a sign-up process, you can create a separate sign-up option specifically for communications. If you can provide some value with that, like a “freebie”, do it.

Branding

This might be a controversial opinion, but I think having a clear, modern UI/UX with easy navigation is important. It doesn’t need to be a perfect AAA UI/UX/Branding since you’re most likely doing an MVP and don’t have the resources for that. I believe that it’s not as important to get things perfect as it is to avoid getting things wrong. It’s better to avoid mistakes.

While it’s true that many products can still work well with bad UI/UX, I think it becomes more and more difficult to do so over time. As the market becomes more competitive, a good UI/UX can become a key differentiator for your product.

Consumers are becoming accustomed to certain standards, so if the problem you’re solving isn’t extremely painful, it’s important to have a clear, good appearance that instills trust in the visitor.

However, I’m not an expert, and I’m not entirely sure about this. I’m putting it here so that you can reflect on it.

On what day should I release?

That’s a good question. In my case, it was one of the main things that allowed me to generate so much traffic and achieve the 4th product of the day.

To answer this question, you need to understand who you are. Are you a company with resources? Are you a solopreneur with a big audience? Are you a solopreneur with no audience? Is your product something new and shiny, useful, with a value proposition that is directly perceived by the audience?

On weekdays, there will be tons of traffic, and there are tons of things to gain. However, Product Hunt is a competition, where people vote if the product is good, and the products are ordered by the number of votes. If you’re competing with really cool products, they will get more votes, and you will end up at the bottom of the page, which means no one will notice you, and you won’t get any more votes, traffic, and so on.

Basically, it’s a win-lose situation where you need to win and get to the top of the leaderboard to generate the traffic you want (we’ll discuss later how to manage to get to the top).

For this reason, it’s important to know who you are and who you can compete with and win against.

In that sense, weekends can be a good option if you don’t have great resources, as a community, or aren’t bringing a groundbreaking innovation.

In my case, I’m a solopreneur with a small audience, and I have a product with AI, which is trendy right now but has a lot of competition. So, I chose to launch on a Sunday. Since I achieved good traffic for my goals and ended up in the top 4, I think it was a good choice.

Moreover, you can schedule your launch day up to 2 months in advance, which means you can choose a future day and create some momentum for the release, which is beneficial.

Create some Momentum

Before the release, it’s a good idea to create some momentum and hype.

For example, I created a Twitter post where I indirectly communicated that I was going to do a Product Hunt release and that I needed some honest feedback on my website. This was true because my website was quite off a few days before the release, and I wanted to improve it.

I documented the steps on how the product was improving, which created some kind of movement toward the event. This served to put the release at the top of mind of the audience and let them know that something was happening.

You can create momentum in many ways, but try not to be too direct, such as saying ‘I’m doing a release, and I want you to vote for me!’

This approach should be done 100% when you have an audience of potencial customers, but even if not I would recommend you to do that.

As I explained we need to get on the top of the leaderboard to get the sweet traffic of potencial customer we want. However to get on the top of the leaderboard we can help us of non potencial customers.

So if you have a lovely audience, as buildinpublic on twitter, it will be very usefull to give you an initial boost to reach the point where we want to be.(More on that below)

However, I think it is important to not fool yourself by convincing non potencial customer to vote you, what you want is to get an slight boost and then let the organic PH traffic to decide.

Why?

Cause if the PH audience is your target market and they are using it, and they are not finding it usefull, you need to know it ASAP.

If you put your product at the top of the leaderboard with your friendly non-potential customers, you’ll create a false feeling of interest. So, it’s better to have a high conversion rate because if not, you’ll have high traffic but no conversion. You might start to question whether the product isn’t good, or if all the people who entered were your friendly non-potential customers. Do you need to improve the product, or do you have to solve a bigger/different problem?

The submit

Before the release, Product Hunt needs some important information about you and your product, such as the name, a phrase describing the product, a product description, some images and media, and the first comment, where you need to explain.

Here, I feel that being very empathetic and understanding that people have limited time is the most important thing. Make it easy for the client to understand what they will gain if they pay attention to your product instead of others. To do this, you need to be very clear about what your product is useful for.

I think the two most important pieces of information here are the phrase description and the first comment.

In the examples, you can see that the message is dead simple, communicating very easily what the potential user gains from your product, service, or whatever.

For the first comment, be very friendly, explain who you are, and why your product is cool and useful. Be open, transparent, and willing to learn from your users. Here are some links that inspired me when submitting my own product:

https://www.producthunt.com/posts/gems

https://www.producthunt.com/posts/altermind

https://www.producthunt.com/posts/ply-beta-2

https://www.producthunt.com/posts/chatdox-ai

Basically, be clear about what you provide and be open, friendly, and ego-free.

Another importat thing to know is that the Product Hunt competition starts at 12:01 AM PST. So it is essential to indicate that you want your release on Day X to start at this hour. And obviously, hit the submit button before this time so you get the full 24 hours to play the game.

5. The release

Okay, what do you do for the release once everything is ready and it’s the big day? Here, I see it like a game with three phases: Early Game, Mid Game, Late Game.

Early Game

The first 4 hours on Product Hunt are crucial for your success.

The most important aspect to understand is that products are ordered by the number of votes they receive, from top to bottom. This means that products at the top will receive more traffic, and those at the bottom will receive less. That is like this after the first 4 hours. The first 4 hours are time to shine for you.

During these first 4 hours, you need to focus on getting yourself into the top 7, at a minimum. This is critical for your success.

For that you will use your lovely audience. Let them know that you have launched on Product Hunt and ask for their feedback and upvotes if they like your product.

If you don’t have an audience yet, don’t worry. Look at the section below for more sources on how to get the slight boost you need to reach the top.

A very useful tool to use during this stage is https://hunted.space/. Here, you can track the rhythm of upvotes and interest that other products are receiving. Your goal is to track where you are in relation to the top 10 products and go for the higher you can get, but softly xD

It’s important to avoid being spammy not only during this stage, but throughout all three stages. Product Hunt can detect when there is too much spam, which is why some products have a higher votes but end up below other products with less votes. You dont want that.

When promoting your product to your audience, try to be as organic as possible. Instead of asking for upvotes, ask for usage, feedback, and if they like it, an upvote. Aim to stay in the top 7, get a slight boost, but avoid being spammy.

Through the entire process, it’s better to avoid sudden speed reductions. Having a steady growth rate is more effective than having a big push in the first few hours and then slowing down.

At this stage, it’s crucial to be in the top 7, and the higher the better, but without pushing too much. There’s still a long race to run.

Mid game

The 6 next hours after the early game.

After the first four hours it is like a race now. If you go on the top 7, people will enter on your site. The idea is to scale up to the higher position you can aspire

Now more people will enter on your site, so you should get votes faster

However, you need to know what kind of race you’re in. There are different products that compete in different races. For instance, on my day, there were two products that were far ahead of everyone else.

Other days, I saw products that had a big audience behind and basically there is no posible competition.

Basically I would say that if you are on the top 3 try to go for for 1, If you are below try to be top 4. I say that cause sometimes there will be great differences after the first 4 hours between the top 2 top 3 and the rest.

In my case I was in 6th position, the goal was the 4th.

However each day is a different race, basically you have know with whoom you can compete and reach and go for that.

With that you can set your goals and know when to push.

Basically you want to try to have a steady growth, so Produc Hunt Algorithm is okey with you, while trying to pass the next on top of you.

If you are closer to pass another product, I would suggest pushing your funnel from other sources to try to pass it. The sooner you pass a product, the more visitors you will receive and the more difficult it will be for that product to surpass you.

So as you see I see it is important to get traffic from other sources to interact with your PH release. What sources can you look into?

Twitter: If you have some followers, you can tweet about it and be open. Using hashtags like #buildinpublic and #indiehackers, you can find curious people who may want to try your product. For example, I went very open with my release, announcing how the product was going, and meanwhile, put links so people would take a look.

Linkedin: If you have LinkedIn and your product is suitable to be shared on a professional social media platform, you can use it. Just don’t spam people at the beginning of the day. I did it after releasing on Product Hunt because nobody likes spammy fellows on LinkedIn. And you need time for the Linkedin algorithm to show the post to the audience

Discord: Nowadays, there are tons of Discord communities for everything. Prior to the launch, I knew a few that had people interested in AI and ChatGPT tools. Get to know them and let them know that you are releasing your product on Product Hunt. It would be fantastic if someone could give it a try, provide feedback, and if they like it, an upvote would be much appreciated

Instagram: Again, on Instagram, you will likely have friendly people who might help you get some votes to boost your visibility on Product Hunt, so then, the random people of product hunt put your product where it belongs.

Active Users: Another option is to send email to those active users you already have that love the service/product you are offering.

Reddit: Although I didn’t do it myself, I think Reddit might have some similar communities as Discord where potential customers could be interested in giving your product a try and, if they like it, upvoting it.

With these sources, I think it’s important to push these buttons on a pipeline, so you have an external steady pace, not all at once, and taking into consideration what the “race” pace you need at the moment is. Determine if you need to hold or pass someone who is near you or not get passed.

Once you identify whom you cannot compete with, such as products that are far ahead of you, you can comment on their release pages with useful feedback and inform them that you also have a Product Hunt release [Insert the link] and comment on something about your product and theirs.

For example, on my day, the first product was an illustration package. I commented, gave my opinion, informed them that I had created a web [Link to the release], which was also on release that day, and that it would be cool to use the icons they provided to make it better.

The second product was a Notion hub where they were selling a bunch of articles, books, notes, and newsletters to read. I gave some feedback and introduced my tool [Link to the release page] because I thought using their product with my tool and being able to organize, search, and process all the information in Notion would be awesome. So it was also like talking with a potential customer.

Basically, be honest here. Don’t try to leave an empty comment just to bring traffic from top releases to yours. Give feedback, and if there is a way you can connect the two products or add value to them, go for it.

The important aspect here is to get to your goal position before the late game.

Late Game

USA is awake, and this is where you’ll be at the mercy of the Product Hunt community. This is where you’ll receive the most traffic and interactions, and where you’ll find out if you truly have a good Product Hunt product or not.

In the end, the traffic you could generate from previous steps will pale in comparison to the traffic you’ll receive now if you’re at the top of the leaderboard.

At this stage, you’ll see if your product is something that people are really enjoying.

To be honest, at this point, I stopped doing other things and focused on looking at the votes, answering comments as quickly as possible, and interacting with customers who preferred Twitter to talk to me.

I was on alert, waiting for something to happen, but at this point, I was in fourth place and I remained there without any major changes. The car was on autopilot. As more people entered the platform, the gap between those below and those above me started to increase.

The important thing at this stage is to be available for your visitors and to answer any questions they may have as quickly as possible. Be friendly and clearly explain how your product or service can help them.

If you have succeeded in the previous stages, you should be in good shape. If you have a truly outstanding product, it may explode in popularity at this stage. For example, a few days ago, I saw a product that at the beguinning of the late game it was on third place with 100 fewer votes than the top two, but it ended up in first place because people loved the product and upvoted it. Ez.

By following all of these steps, I was able to secure fourth place and drive a lot of traffic to my product. This experience also provided me with valuable insights and information that will help me improve my product and future launches.

What to Expect: Numbers

So as I mentioned earlier, I launched on a Sunday and ended up in 4th place.

I will be sharing the exact numbers on Twitter or in another one of these articles. The launch helped me gain 600 new unique visitors and up to 100 sign-ups, which was beyond my initial expectations and needs.

Unfortunately, I did not acquire any new customers from this launch. However, the information I gathered from all of these sources has given me a clear understanding of where my product stands and what may be preventing potential customers from making a purchase. As I mentioned before, the goal of this launch was either to acquire customers or to gain the insights necessary to help potential customers make a purchase decision.

By the way, the majority of the traffic came from the United States and India, which may be relevant for you and your product.

To end up

That would be all I did. If you find this article usefull let me know. This is my twitter if you want comment with me anything. I would love to know if you apply this to your future release and what is the result.

Now, some more things that might be “nutritive” to comment on.

A good information source that I found very usefull was the book written by Pieter Levels https://readmake.com/ . I would take it a read if you are in the initial stage of your products/service/startup.

I was quite surprised by the Product Hunt monetization system. I though PH was like a quite indie friendly place, but ufter submit I got an email asking if I wanted to pay 1000$ or 5000$ to promote the product. That’s a lot mate. It is not bad per se, but it impressed me. However what I found more concerning is that apparently you can start a PH campaing a day before the launch, so this might cause a pay to win system that would be really disapointing. The idea Is PH is to get the best products on top, not the products with more marketing budget xD. I dont know if it would work.

I got also tons of emails from people who claim to be product hunt killers that will put you on top if you pay them xD. I ignored them all. Same with the PH hunters. These are people with big audiences on PH that charge for releasing the products for you.

One disadvante of releasing on weekends, is that while on weekdays the top 5 products get promoted on a linkedin post on the PH linkedin account, on weekends, only the top 5 products of the weekend are promoted. I was not aware of this beforehand and it was difficult to find out afterwards.

Other tactics I saw other products used and worked quite well, was to introduce some kind of Product Hunt Discount or deal some visitors get rewarded to visiting the page and converting

Another tactic that many people talk about is creating an account on Product Hunt well before your release date and interacting with the community. By giving feedback, upvoting, and following people in the community, you can increase your visibility and potentially gain more followers who will take notice of your release.

Besides, if you plan your release in advance, you can get a provisional launch page with a “notify me” button that will announce the release to people who click it.

However, I didn’t have time to implement these tactics. I preferred to keep it quick and simple.

Thats all 🙂

Thank you for your attention, if you want to discuss your marketing tactics for PH or any other releases I will be very interested in hear them.

I invite you to take a look at my product https://www.altermind.xyz/ and to follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/Eduullv . Good luck !


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