How to launch on Product Hunt?

By 4th September 2017 No Comments

On 19th May 2017, we were lucky to get 600+ upvotes on Product Hunt. It made us a Top Hunted product (meaning we were a Top 5 global product launch). More importantly, it meant we were showcased to the entire PH community as a Top Hunt.

We had over 3K+ installs that week from Product Hunt. Here’s exactly how we did it.

Product Hunt is the best ?

Product Hunt is one of the best ways to launch your startup for three reasons.

  • It’s free. This is important when you’re a startup 🙂
  • It’s a perfect way to qualify your idea
  • PH has an awesome community. They support and positively critique your early-stage product. A great way to soft launch to great people. 

You have one shot to get it right. We spent 10x more time planning then executing it. Get it right and it will be raining sign ups for weeks to come (Drag got 3K installs from our launch).

BTW, here’s how we did:
Our Product Hunt launch was a success, here it is.
We made it onto their daily newsletter, here it is.

Here’s our step-by-step guide.

Understand the Product Hunt community

Before you start anything, understand how Product Hunt works. Analyze successful strategies and reverse engineer them. It’s a great way to find the best way to launch, fast. 

Google: ‘How to launch on Product Hunt

Look at the results. Read them all. Our article is just one of many ways to execute. Understand them, see what strategies universally work and which are best for you.

Create your PH plan

Have a clear plan before launch. There’s so much planning required to optimize your launch. Your plan should be simple. Here’s ours, it was ugly, it had typos, and it was made up of notes only, but it worked.

Looking back, I’d definitely make it a bit more robust. 🙂

Use this article as your reference (not our original notes above!). Here are the steps.

Find someone (high-profile) to Product Hunt you

Start with an unfair advantage. Find someone who’s active on Product Hunt and ask them to list your startup on your behalf. There are some big benefits, the biggest being you have an influencer on board, with an active following. 

How do you find a Product Hunt influencer? Here.

Here’s what we did.

1. Decide who best fits your product

  • How regularly do they list?
  • How well do their historical Hunts fit your product?
  • How much influence do they have (what’s their following/what type of following)?
  • How many successes do they have with Top Product Hunts?

2. Start speaking to Hunters
Once you’ve selected the best people to list your product, start talking to them. Here’s our example outreach email:

To be extra clear, we also created a pdf that provides all the information needed for Hunters to make a decision on Drag (here’s one of the pages).

Plan a time and date to launch

Awesome news, you’ve found someone to list your product. Have a clear date to launch your product. Agree the best time for your Hunter to launch your product and work super-hard to have everything ready.

Everything needs to be timed perfectly on the day. Your first step is to work out the official day.

The run up to launch

Work out the channels to promote your product. The most important thing is to focus on driving people to the PH website, not just focusing your activity inside the website. This is one of the biggest factors to succeed.

Here are some people to ask for help 🙂

1. Early access users
For us, we had a small and excited community who love Drag. We had built this over three months and had been regularly updating them on Drag’s progress. What this meant was that we had a willing audience to help Drag succeed.

2. Friends/families/other
Your own team can influence how PH activity on the day (call on everyone). Now is the time to ask for help from as many people as possible.

3. Technology influencers
Find technology influencers and reach out to them in advance of your launch day. If your product is exciting they may help and even be your biggest contributors. Create a daily quota and create an outreach process so you maximize how many tech folks you can contact. Hit your numbers every day in the run up to launch.

4. Your High-profile Product Hunter
Don’t forget him/her. Your Hunter can be a big help. They have an established following on Product Hunt and on other social channels. They can help your product explode. 

5. Talk everywhere, to everyone
There’s a lot of places you can talk. Find the best places. For us, it was Reddit channels, LinkedIn groups, Quora, and our own social networks. 

The most important thing is to have a clear advanced plan. Start talking early to each channel, co-worker, friend, family and other. Find out how they can help and work together on a plan to execute so that maximum upvotes can be leveraged on the big day.  

Create incentives to help

People will always help for free, but having incentives makes things reciprocal. Your timing is critical on your Product Hunt launch. Everyone that needs to help, needs to do it on the day of launch only, otherwise, it has little-to-no effect. Having a two-way thing helps ensure that it’s done the day you need it, with no delays. 

For us, we offered a ‘special surprise’, if they upvoted us on Product Hunt. Tangibly, what that meant is that everyone who helped us, we planned to offer them early access to Drag Pro.

On the day

The big day is all about timing. The main bit of advice I can offer on the day is be available. Be available to answer questions on Product Hunt, be available to contact everyone to ensure your plan is being executed clearly and be available for some unforeseen events. For example, on the day, we had some big publications contact us, because they saw us on PH that day. 

There’s a big impact if these things happen 24 hours too late. 

Here are our results on the day.

Thanks for listening 🙂

What you’ll learn inside Drag

Starting now, we’re aiming to share what our plans are, how we’re doing and what lessons we’re learning along the way.

You’ll get:

  • Just like this article, you’ll get real-time updates on what’s happening, what’s working and how it feels in a startup.
  • Quick videos explaining quick wins and how to grow your business
  • Live Instagram updates. Real-time stories of what’s happening

What now?

This is our attempt at sharing everything. It’s as simple as that You don’t have to be a customer to follow us.


Nick Timms

Author Nick Timms

Nick is the Co-Founder of Drag (a tool that transforms Gmail into organized lists) who loves building startups and learning as they grow.

More posts by Nick Timms