Product Hunt Launch: How to win #1 Product of the Week
Nov 6, 2023
On September 6, 2023 we launched our product Loops on Product Hunt for the world to see.
After nearly two years of building our product, growing our waitlist, onboarding users by hand, and iterating off of their feedback, it was time to open Loops up to the world. What better way to do that than with a Product Hunt launch?
Below we will outline our exact strategy that we used in order to win the #1 product of the day, #1 product of the week, and #2 product of the month (sigh… you can’t win ‘em all).
And yes, the exact strategy — emails and all.
Let’s dive in. As our founder and CEO said in his tweet (err X?) thread, it’s time to spill the juice.
But first… what is Product Hunt?
Product Hunt is the watercooler for all things new in tech. In their own words, “Product Hunt surfaces the best new products, every day.”
With nearly 5,000,000 monthly visitors browsing their homepage, it’s a no brainer why so many makers and builders decide to launch their products on their site.
But how does it work?
Product Hunt is essentially a daily leaderboard of the day’s top products. The leaderboard is ranked based on upvotes and comments from the community. As the day progresses, products compete for the top spot by engaging with the Product Hunt community as well as bringing their own communities into the mix (more on that later).
Hundreds of products toss their name into the ring each week. A top spot can generate thousands of page views and new customers.
Why you should launch on Product Hunt
Product Hunt is great for distribution and getting new eyeballs on your product. Even though it’s been around for ~10 years now, it’s still the place to go for early adopters willing to try new products.
If your Product Hunt launch is your first true launch out of beta it’ll also be a great avenue to gather much needed feedback from a passionate tech community.
It’s also great for SEO (Domain Rating: 91).
Oh, and it’s 100% free!
Loops launch strategy
We said we’d be spilling our exact strategy, so here goes. Exact emails and all.
Build an audience ahead of time
This is the cheat code (we never said this was going to be easy).
Unfortunately (or fortunately), coming into a Product Hunt launch with an existing audience is the single most beneficial thing you can do. All of the top products have this.
Our most recent launch allowed us to email our newsletter audience (12,000+) as well as our current customers & remaining waitlist (thousands).
Your audience is full of super fans waiting to support you in any way they can.
Find a hunter
While this isn’t as important as it was in the early days of Product Hunt, it definitely doesn’t hurt. We reached out to Chris Messina well ahead of our planned launch and thankfully he was on board to help us out. With 38,000 followers on the platform he provides a notification to all of them when he hunts a new product (as well as social proof that he’s behind your launch).
To find a top and well respected hunter, we recommend using Upvote Bell to find someone who would be interested.
Pick a day of the week
What day you launch on will have varying degrees of potential traffic (and success) and ultimately comes down to what your goals are.
Are you hoping for the most potential traffic? Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday would be your best bets.
Are you hoping for a top product of the day badge? Monday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday would be your best bets.
Choosing the less trafficked days may mean less initial eyeballs on your product but the social proof of a #1 product of the day may be beneficial.
As a B2b product, we decided that we wanted to maximize the potential traffic (while still hoping for #1 product of the day) so we went with a Wednesday launch.
Prepare unique launch assets
Plan on creating unique launch assets that people won’t see anywhere else, including your own homepage. Show the Product Hunt users that this launch is specifically for them. These videos and images will be shown in a carousel towards the top of your launch page.
A launch video and thoughtful screenshots that were created solely for this launch will go a long way.
Our launch video was actually so popular that we received multiple DMs throughout the day asking who created it. Was this expensive? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes.
The details matter.
Our launch screenshots:
Launch at 12:01 am pst
Product Hunt is essentially a game. The leaderboard resets every single day at 12:01 am pst. It’s absolutely crucial to ensure that your product is listed right away to give yourself the maximum amount of time and exposure on the leaderboard.
You are able to schedule your post ahead of time as well to ensure that it is posted without any delay.
Write a thoughtful first comment that tells your story and engages the Product Hunt audience. This is one of the first things a PH user will see. Once your launch page is scheduled, you are able to add your comment. No need to wait until launch day.
Here are our first comments that ended up being the most upvoted on the launch page.
Get early buy-in
We emailed our investors prior to the launch to let them know when it would be happening so that we could have their full support.
Leverage as many networks as you can.
Email your current audience
We already stated above just how important building an audience ahead of time is. It's absolutely crucial. Now is the time to use them to your advantage.
Here are some of the exact emails we sent to our existing audience to notify them of the launch (sent right at 12:01 am as well).
Don’t worry about waiting until regular “business hours” to send these emails. You never know when someone will be available to dive into their inbox… send these right at 12:01 am pst.
Link directly to your launch page in everything
You used to be penalized for linking directly to your launch page. Not anymore.
Make it as easy as possible for your audience to support you by giving them the direct link.
Reply to every comment
Comments count similarly to upvotes when it comes to the leaderboard rankings. Reply to as many comments as humanly possible in an authentic way.
This is also a great place to ask for feedback! Take advantage of this.
Everyone hates DM spam. Don't do it. It doesn't work and will only generate negative feelings towards your product.
Ask for support
Don't ask for upvotes. Ask for support. Same thing, different word.
Track your launch
Product Hunt currently randomizes the leaderboard for the first 4 hours of the day. But you don't need to wonder how things are going.
Use Product Wars to visualize how you are going in the early hours.
(You'll notice our big spike right at the start. This is because we emailed thousands of people that were interested in our products right at 12:01am pst. Do not wait to engage your audience. A hot start is important to being at the top after the 4 hour random leaderboard solidifies into the true standings. Casual Product Hunt users may not scroll past the first few products each day.)
Add the Product Hunt badge to your site
Product Hunt allows you to embed a launch badge on your site that displays your current upvotes. It’s great social proof and may pull in your casual viewers who didn’t know you were launching to check it out.
We added our badge in a very prominent place on our landing page.
Shoot for top 10
If nothing else, you should be shooting for a top 10 finish on the leaderboard.
Why? A top 10 finish guarantees you placement in the following day’s newsletter that goes out to hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
Product Hunt users are smart. They can see right through grifters, BS, or otherwise inauthentic people and their launches.
Be yourself in the comments.
Twitter loves a good Product Hunt launch and Product Hunt makes it easy to share updates. Keep your followers in the loop with how things are going with hard numbers, graphs, etc.
Half joking here. But if you were ever going to pull an all-nighter, this is the time.
Drink some water too while you're at it.
At the end of the day a PH launch will not make or break your product. Do not stress over the little things. This is just one marketing lever you should be pulling.
All of that planning sounds great but what were the actual results?!
#1 product of the day
#1 product of the week
#1 dev tool product of the month
#2 product of the month overall
Outside of the Product Hunt vanity results (which are great btw!):
421 new companies also signed up for Loops. As a B2B company, this was huge.
It also led to a massive spike in traffic that lasted multiple days.
While a successful Product Hunt launch doesn’t lead to sustained traffic or new customers, it can certainly help start your company off on the right foot.
Product Hunt launch checklist
Build an audience ahead of time.
Set an internal goal (signups, maximum traffic, etc) that helps decide your launch day.
Create unique launch assets (screenshots, video).
Find a top hunter.
Write a first comment that tells your story.
Launch at 12:01am pst.
Email your existing audience.
Ask for support (not upvotes).
Be active where your audience is (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc).