How We Got on Product Hunt Without ANY Preparation & the Gobs of Money We Made
Okay so gobs of money is a little bit of an overstatement, but Product Hunt gave us our first customers and helped us make a few thousand bucks (about $3,000 so far). Not bad!
We all know what Product Hunt is right?
This last weekend, VYPER was posted up on the site. We didn’t plan for it to happen, but someone named Charlie Irish submitted us.
Around 12pm I noticed we were getting traffic from Product Hunt after logging into Google Analytics. My first thought was, wtf? How?
I went on to the site, and sure enough we were the 4th startup.
My reaction was a mix of jubilation as well as horror. We had planned for a huge Product Hunt launch for a few weeks in the future, and now we lost several hours of planning time. We also had the timing of getting posted on Saturday, when the PH community was not super active. But it was time to make the best of it.
I contacted my co-founder Jack and it was time to get to work.
First we realized that we had some errors on our site that the PH community pointed out. We quickly fixed those (SSL certificate wasn’t present and our sign up page was sending users to a new tab… DOH). Then it was time to get started promoting.
First, I sent out emails to our email list, which contained approximately 2,000 people.
During our software development phase, I spent time content marketing and amassing a list of entrepreneurs. By the time our launch rolled around, we had around 2,000 emails on this list. I sent out an email to the entire list about our Product Hunt launch. About 16% opened this email. Here’s what I wrote:
If you’ve been following some of my last emails, you’ll remember that we’re launching a new product called VYPER, an email marketing tool that helps you create giveaways that collect email addresses.
So I had absolutely NO idea that VYPER was going to be hunted on Product Hunt today. We had a whole strategy ready and everything with a big pre-launch reach-out, but I guess the community was ready for us before we were ready for them =) That’s okay, we’re going to make the best of it and try to promote our Product Hunt launch as much as possible!
If anyone uses Product Hunt, your support is greatly appreciated. If you don’t use it, today’s a great day to sign up (hehe).
Check out VYPER on the Product Hunt homepage (probably will only stay there until tomorrow).
Your support is greatly appreciated.
According to our sources, upvotes from the homepage give you more weight, so we told people about our Product Hunt posting and linked them to the Product Hunt homepage. The reason for this is because Product Hunt has a ranking algorithm to prevent cheating.
Remember, Product Hunt doesn’t like it when you ask for upvotes, so avoid doing it!
Secondly, I talked to Slack groups.
Not sure how well this strategy did for us because Saturday was DEAD in the Slack channels.
My tip is to get well ingrained into each Slack group before your PH launch. Reach out to users in there who post interesting content and make friends. If someone else posts their Product Hunt launch, you should upvote and tell them that you did. This goes a HUGE way when you have your own launch. I had a couple buddies in the Slack groups that had done launches so I messaged them and they supported our launch as well.
If you want to build up your network, Slack groups are a great way to do it.
Third, I hit up people individually who were my tech-savvy friends.
Pretty self explanatory, but the key is to network with people in startups & tech who know Product Hunt. Getting a 20-30 person boost was very helpful here. This is something that I never practiced before, but I realize how important having a good network of people in the same industry really is. Over the years I’ve amassed a pretty large network, so it wasn’t hard to get people to check out our Product Hunt posting.
Fourth, I posted on Reddit.
This strategy requires much more careful planning. This wasn’t as successful as we wanted, but it still drove a few upvotes and I got about 2 emails from people saying they saw us on reddit.
Here’s what I posted in /r/entrepreneur
Getting a Hunter
So we were posted without having talked to our hunter at all. We got lucky.
But the reason I think we ended up getting “found” was because we were on Betalist, a site that helps you find interesting new startups. That was really the only marketing push we did thus far. Before that we had only been talking to users 1-on-1.
However, we actually had a planned strategy for finding our launch partner that we didn’t even need to execute on. Here’s how I would do it if we didn’t randomly get hunted.
- Find similar products in your niche that were hunted. In our case, we’d look at products under email marketing.
- Find successful launches and see who “hunted” the product.
- Add these hunters into a spreadsheet ranked by highest activity. You want hunters who have a reputation for getting their submissions to 100+ upvotes on Product Hunt.
- Start cold-emailing all the hunters saying we have an app in a similar niche and ask if they would hunt us.
- Get your list of hunters from here and cold email them.
- Go to in-person startup events in your local city and meet people. In the first event I went to about a year ago in LA, I easily met a guy who was a hunter. He was going to be our backup in case we couldn’t get anyone from a cold-email.
If you can’t find a hunter, you need to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if your product would be great for Product Hunt. Don’t try to submit a spammy, ugly looking site. Get a pro design, have a clear value prop, and make sure your site looks as “legit” as possible. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is they try to submit something that just looks butt ugly and hunters don’t want to submit products like that because it makes them look bad.
If you’re not sure whether your product would do well on Product Hunt, feel free to email me — firstname.lastname@example.org — for advice and suggestions.
How did we do?
Being that it was a Saturday and we had almost no preparation, our launch wasn’t as successful as some others like Dollar Beard Club (apparently they got thousands of paying subscribers from Product Hunt), but we still got ~9,000 views to our site, about ~200 signups and a handful of paying members.
We also got tweeted out by the Product Hunt team on Twitter and we retweeted their posts a couple times. Make sure you add yourself as the “maker” of the product in order to get tweeted out. I had to email and Tweet at the Product Hunt team to get them to add my co-founder and me as the maker.
We ended up #4 on the site for the day. Today we still get 40-60 views per day.
Need help getting on Product Hunt?
Email me, email@example.com, with your startup and I’ll give you some personal tips and advice. I promise, a second eye will do wonders for your next submission.