How Startups Can Have a Successful Product Hunt Launch

Aazar Ali Shad
5 min readAug 17, 2018

As a start-up, it can be hard to launch when you are still trying to create a space for yourself in the market. On top of that, as a new start-up, you are probably low on employee days and might even be lacking some skills. If you do not have a skilled marketer or content creator, then you need to either spend the time to acquire these skills or use finances to hire a freelancer or a skilled employee. All in all, if you plan it correctly and involve your whole team in it, you can pull it off without any big hitches. We were a group of 5 people and we made it to the top ten products of the day on Product Hunt!

Here’s what we learned out of the experience:

1 — Getting a popular hunter can help

We decided to go without a popular hunter which meant that we had to spend considerable effort on marketing material and activities. If you have a popular hunter launch your product, it gets traction more easily. Since the hunters usually have a huge following, every time they launch a product their followers get a notification.

2 — Engage with communities

Two weeks before the launch, you should look for all the groups on social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and even Slack Open channels. Join the channels and start engaging with the members there. You can either do this by posting relevant questions or content
in the group. Be genuinely interested in that groups’ owner, their purpose, their interests and their members. As a start-up, it’s also good to attend some meetups and engage with people. Divide the work according to fields and functionalities of your team members. For instance, our developers engaged with all the development groups while our sales team members talked to other
sales reps.

3 — Tease before Product Hunt

Make sure you build up a pre-launch hype! As a start-up, your product, of course, is not as well-known as those of established companies. Use this launch to create awareness around your product/service.

Product Hunt Teaser for our Facebook Cover

4 — Algorithms of Product Hunt — This is what we know with some certainty about the PH Algorithm:

Contributors and Makers upvote count more
Recommendations and comments count more
Only upvotes don’t count as much especially coming from new members

So, make sure you target your pre-launch hype and marketing efforts at existing Product Hunt contributors. Becoming a contributor also takes a while so if you are getting your friends, family, colleagues or acquaintances to upvote, make sure you start telling them a week
or two before launch so that they can at least become contributors. Have a plan to get at least 100 genuine upvotes from the contributors. Not someone who just signed up. This goal will help you guide your launch.

5 — Find a way to reward your customers and educate them about Product Hunt

Early adopter FOMO (fear of missing out) is a thing and you need to use it! Get all the techies excited about it especially your customers. No matter how many customers you have, make sure you inform them of your reward scheme if they support you in your launch. Make a good offer: discount or a good deal should always do the trick. Also, something like an ‘early bird’ discount or early access works.

6 — Get customer testimonial videos to post on maker story

If you already have some customers who are happy with your product, find a way to market their testimonials via a photo, video or some other way. You can either add this to your Maker Story or use it as part of your pre-launch marketing.

7 — Involve the whole team and GET YOUR MARKETING READY!

Your whole team should be aware of the launch! Make sure you have your whole company on board. As a start-up, you will need all hands on deck!

You need GIFS, thumbnails, a well-written maker story, Facebook cover photo and profile photos as well as Twitter and LinkedIn banner. The most important thing is that you have tested different channels beforehand and know which ones work for your target audience. Whether it’s social media or Google advertisement, you need to figure this out for your marketing efforts to be impactful. Give yourself 4–5 weeks to prepare in advance for the launch and keep all your messages simple and to the point. If you have a big customer, you should get them on board to support you. Ask them to launch your product on their website and to their users/customers as well.

8 — Don’t ask people to upvote

This cannot be reiterated enough! You have probably already come across this piece of advice through several different channels and that’s essential because it is extremely important that you only ask for feedback and assessments. Asking for upvotes will impact your ranking negatively. Don’t be sad if you don’t become Product Hunt’s product of the day. Sometimes one of the big companies launches a product on the same day catching you unaware.

9 — Product Hunt is not a one-time thing!

You can keep launching free or smaller products depending on what you are doing. New updates and features are always something that you can create a launch around. Make sure your Product Development and Sales teams are aligned on the launches. What you are launching and when! Your whole company should be a part of the launch’s preparation and execution. You can even schedule several launches with your product team.

10 — Set smart goals and measure them

Product Hunt is not just about launching a new product, it can have several goals. You can get feedback on your prototype through a launch, make your product better or simply gain customers, gain more traction for your website or simply get the word out there about your product. Set the goal before you start with your marketing and planning. Come up with relevant metrics in line with the goal so you can concretely measure your performance and what you can do better in the next launch.

Here you can check out our first launch on Product Hunt and we have another smaller one too!

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Originally published at on August 17, 2018.