How to (successfully) launch on Product Hunt

Corey Haines is a Product Hunt pro, having gotten multiple products on the leaderboard, and even inclusion in the newsletter!

Publish Date
Jun 16, 2022
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What does Corey do?

Corey Haines is a SaaS growth marketer, and the Co-founder of Swipe Files. We did a past Heads of Growth interview with him where he mentioned some of his Product Hunt techniques. He has launched many product on Product Hunt (quite successfully as you’ll see), and compiled his findings into this guide. We’ve pulled the main takeaways from his guide here, but highly recommend reading the whole thing if you plan to launch on Product Hunt.
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When should you launch?

  • DON’T launch the day after your main product announcement.
  • Avoid Mondays and weekends.
  • Try to launch on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
  • Launch right after midnight PST (more on this below).

Preparing for launch day

Have an existing audience

You might be thinking that Product Hunt will be what gets you your audience. But as Corey explains, you want an existing audience that will help support your launch. Things like an email list or large social media following are great.

Be ready to convert

Don’t use Product Hunt to get your first customers. Your funnel will be clunky and won’t convert well. Wait until your website is polished and tested, you have email captures up to take advantage of the traffic, and a proven way of converting them.

Finding a “hunter”

The hunter is someone who “hunts” your product and posts it on your behalf. Having an A-list hunter is less important than it used to be, but it’s still valuable to find someone in your industry who will bring credibility. Still, you don’t need a hunter, you can definitely do it yourself. Having a solid hunter is just a bonus.

Preparing your post

Focus on the thumbnail, name and tagline – this is what people will see when scrolling and will pull people into the site. You’ll want to next choose 5 categories that will help Product Hunt categorize your post. When it comes to graphics, it’s smart to include a video walkthrough, as well as polished screenshots.
The video should be under 2 minutes and highlight both the founder and differentiating aspects of the product. Remember that the first image will be used as the preview on social media as well. Make sure it’s great! You can also add a short tagline under each image, but keep it simple.

Write out the first comment

After you launch you’ll want to post a first comment as the founder or creator. It should be personal, detailed and easy to read. Explain why you have built this thing, the problems it solves and who it solves them for.
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Pre-announcing your launch

You’ll want to tease your launch beforehand. This is no longer a risk, if someone else hunts the product before you, Product Hunt will delist it. Send out emails, Tweets or other social posts telling people you are launching something on Product Hunt and you’d appreciate their support. Ask for a thumbs up to indicate they’ll support you, then reach out to those people on your actual launch day.

On Launch Day

In summary, you want to launch as quickly as you can (12:01am PST), get to the #1 spot in the first hour and defend that position the rest of the day.

Getting to #1 early

You’ll want to drive as much traffic as possible to your post right after it’s gone live. Your goal is to get 30-100 upvotes in the first hour of posting. That’s why you want to send your first emails and social posts right at the beginning. Product Hunt has a global audience, so it’s not like everyone is asleep at 12:01am PST.
Remember, the top 5 positions are won and lost between 12:01am - 1:00am PST. Once you are in the #1 spot, everyone will look at you first and you’ll stay there if you have a solid product and post. The top 3 positions take the vast majority of attention on Product Hunt.

DM the Product Hunt team

Small but effective, consider DMing the Product Hunt team on Twitter the day you launch. Their internal team does a lot of curation, so bringing attention to it may cause them to feature it. They may Tweet about it or even include in their newsletter 🤞

Defending your position

If you did your job in the first hour, you’re now sitting in the top results. Now your job is to defend your position for the rest of the day.
Here are some things you and your team can do:
  • Add a link to your Twitter bios (both personal and professional)
  • Continuously post on your social media accounts
  • Send 1-2 additional emails to appropriate audiences
  • Host a Twitter space
  • Livestream a product demo
  • Write a thread about what you’ve learned, the timeline, how you’ve build it or how to use the product.

Product Hunt badges

You can add upvote, review and (if it performs well), feature badges to your site. Use them appropriately!
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Ask for upvotes, reviews and comments

Go hard on asking friends and networks who you know are active on product hunt to leave you an upvote, review and comment. All of these things help the algorithm (probably), but mostly the last 2. Just remember, you don’t want to be asking people to create accounts to give you an upvote.
You can also ask in:
  • Facebook groups
  • Slack groups
  • Circle groups
  • Discord communities
  • Indie Hackers
  • Other Entrepreneur, maker or startup communities

Don’t lose steam!

You can be in the #1 spot the whole day and have someone beat you in the last hour (this happened to Corey). Don’t lose your energy, keep it up for the ENTIRE day until the very end. Make a holiday out of it!
If you manage to succeed, you might even get included in the newsletter which can send 3x more traffic to your product than the actual Product Hunt listing.

After launch day

Make sure you thank your supporters for helping you!
If it went well, add the Product Hunt badges to your site to feature upvotes, position and rating. You can also link to your Product Hunt listing in sales things like email campaigns to help your conversions.
Remember that people can keep rating your product after launch day, so make sure to monitor and respond to reviews and rating to keep your page looking excellent.

Some things NOT to do

❌ Buy upvotes
❌ Ask for upvotes on social media
❌ Criticize other launches on your day
❌ Spam / cold outreach
❌ Have people create accounts to upvote you day of
❌ Get people to create second accounts
❌ Attempt to game the system/algorithm
❌ Launch on Product Hunt the day after you announce something
❌ Launch on a Saturday, Sunday, or Monday

Other tips and tricks to try

  1. Product Hunt has new product hub pages that allow you to launch a new product version and link it to the first to show progress. This doesn’t change anything about the strategy, but it will help not to cannibalize the SEO of your own listing and compete against yourself.
  1. Import your email list into Product Hunt using their “ship” feature to produce an upcoming page. In the next section you can upload list, Product Hunt will find everyone that are users, and you can re-upload to your own email list to reach out.
  1. If you are using the Product Hunt launch to announce your product to the world, use your whole email list.

Check out Corey’s full Product Hunt guide here!