Growth hacking with Product Hunt

product-hunt-posterProduct Hunt (PH) is a unique social network where users come together to find and share latest apps, technology products and websites. Product hunters or submitter generally post a new product that they personally like and believe that it has good potential. Then other users upvote it and start discussing about that product. The curated list of products generally come with a new approach and latest technology to solve real life problems. Apart from that it has also become a hub to give and receive feedback on products, share insights, connect with prospective users to answer various queries and get a direct line to interested investors.

A fast growing picture messaging app called TapTalk closed a seed round investment from SV Angels after getting listed on Product Hunt. UltraText, a simple GIF making app got substantial amount of download after getting featured on Product Hunt and bagged media coverage from TechCrunch and The Verge. Here is what Andrew Farmer, founder of UltraText has to say about PH listing:

UltraText Product Hunt Promo

That said its’s not easy to get featured on the home page, leave alone gaining feedback, traction or investor interest from Product Hunt. Here is the statement straight from the horse’s mouth (Erik Torenberg, founding team of PH).

Product Hunt submission

Gaining considerable growth from PH requires extensive planning and sharp execution. You can either gain tons of traffic or be happy with 9 upvotes and 3 sign ups from the listing. In this post we’ll discuss some of the best practices to follow to make the best out of Product Hunt. I’ve divided this post into three parts:

  • Preparation for listing

  • Getting listed

  • Final onslaught

Now, let’s get into the preparation mode. This is the crucial part of the planning.

Engagement

The very first thing that you should do in a any kind of community is engage with the community (no rocket science here). I would say that you should approach the community with a sense to bond with users over common interests and contribute to the community. So, how do we do that?

Up-voting

When you land the product hunt home page you see the list of products. Check out the ones that look interesting and start up-voting. Besides this you can also search for products based on your interest and up-vote them. This is a simple yet effective way to get started and explore the platform.

According to data released by PH, by the end of 2014 following is the number of up-votes and comments:

Product hunt data

Social Sharing

Share the products that you really like on your social media pages. This way you would get noticed by the product makers.

Creating collections

product hunt meme

There is a feature to create collections in Product hunt. These are basically a list of products that you truly love and believe that the product can have impact on others. According to PH’s 2014 data, there were 3652 collections.

It would be really nice to build collection surrounding the product offered by you. For example if I’m building an app related to images, I could create an collection for photography products, vector graphics. A CRM app builder could create a collection of cloud based phone system apps, proposal apps.

Identifying influencers

On Product Hunt you’ll find following type of users:

  • Users who can comment
    • Submit products for review
    • Submit products for listing
  • Moderators
  • Administrators

Hunter list

For you important users are those who are the top hunters. Visit Hunter List and All Time Leaderboard to identify them and short list top hunters who have submitted products related your product. Then you need to start engaging with them by posting useful comments on their blog, re-tweeting them. Who doesn’t like to know that the content shared by them is getting shared and making positive impact! Just remember that you should do this from your personal account, not from the product’s account. Also keep in mind that you must not go blazing on twitter or their blog almost behaving like a spammer. These influencers can be approached later on when you are ready to launch on Product Hunt. We’ll discuss about this later on.

You can also use twitter to search for product hunters who have submitted similar products. Here is the search query:

via “on @producthunt” from:producthunt

Meetups

You should take part in one of the PH meetups or organize one in your city. While that later one can be time and resource consuming, you surely benefit from the bigwigs of PH. Also meetups are great for building network and interact with variety of people (from designing to marketing). Here is the link to find out upcoming events and host a PH meetup.

List building

betalist

Use Betalist in your pre-launch stage to build email contact list of prospective product users. Create a landing page and make sure that signup process is friction less (read gather only email id). Also you could feature on StartupList to aggregate more number of email contacts.

Leveraging social groups

Join the most popular and active Facebook and LinkedIn groups pertaining to your product and start posting some useful content. The idea behind this is to gain trust of the group members and make yourself credible. You could also approach the group admin for an interview and post it on own blog or as a guest blog-post on other blog. This way you are doing something nice for someone without asking for anything (yet) and building a good rapport. In return they would be happy to help you in the future.

Preparing friends and peers

Let your peers, friends and relatives know what you are trying to achieve. Prepare them for the D-Day and let them know that you would need their help soon.

Avoiding Getting hunted

If your product is good, it is very much likely that somebody will hunt you. So keep your eyes and ears open, more importantly set up alert using notify.ly . Here is what the smart founder of Kilometer.io  did, when they got hunted before they were ready.

Within 5 minutes they were hidden and pushed to the upcoming section. This way you’ll always be in control of your PH launch. You can also get a “Please Don’t Hunt Me Yet” badge for your site.

Now, we’ll go through the stuffs related to getting listed.

Develop a landing page

Developing a landing a page customized for the PH community with exclusive deal or offer can significantly increase conversion and uplift the interest of the members. Here is how Packet Zoom did it for their campaign.

Product Hunt Promotion

By providing PH exclusive offer you can claim a gold star to be placed on your listing. Make the request here. This is a boost to the visibility of your listing.

You can use a free tool called introbar to place a banner on your site and show the deal to visitors coming only from PH. In the end don’t forget to add Google Analytics tracking or any other tracking code used by you.

Set time and day

Can you guess what is the prime time and day to get listed on PH? Here is the data to help you out:
Time of Day for Product Hunt

Important Day Product Hunt
As you can see, it is best to get listed on a Tuesday at 7 AM (PST).

Ask for listing

Remember the influencers or top hunters you found out earlier to get your product listed. If you have done some kind of engagement, you can politely ask them for their email id. Once you have it, send a brief email giving them access to your product. Once they are on-board, simply request them to submit your website to PH.

This brings us to the last phase. Now we’ll discuss how to get cosmic traffic and initiate the chain reaction after getting listed.

Introduce Yourself

The very first thing after getting listed is to make sure that you ask the submitter to mark you as the Maker and thank the good soul.  Once you are able to comment, introduce yourself with a realistic story. Add your team members who helped you build that amazing product. Here is how Sandeep from DevMag.io wrote about the story behind their product and asked for feedback:

DevMag.io Sandeep

Setup notification

Use Mention.com to track the conversations happening around your product. As discussed earlier you can also use Notify.ly to receive slack notification for each mention. As a safety net, I’d also recommend using ProductHuntAlert to get message in case your domain gets mentioned elsewhere in PH.

Release the Madness

Inform all the contacts you have created in the preparation phase that your product got listed on PH. Post on your personal as well as company’s social media accounts about the listing. It is a nice idea to schedule a series of tweets and writing  a quick blog post. Keep in mind that you must not ask them to upvote, as that’s against policy and also it won’t actually help you in getting market validation. Just ask them to participate and post useful comments if they can. Remember the LinkedIn group admin whom you had interviewed? Yeah, now is the time to reap benefit. Inform them before hand that on this particular date you would need their help to promote your Product Hunt listing in the group.

This is sparta meme

Depending on how quick the number of upvotes the listing is able to generate, the ranking will improve.  Make sure that you follow each member who up-votes you both on twitter and product hunt.  Also, don’t forget to thank them.

Stay up late and wake up early

This is important considering the fact that you are doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on PH. Community members love to interact and give feedback. They truly love it when makers answer their queries as soon as possible.

Generate PR buzz

If your are really trending on Product Hunt, gracefully inform some of the important media companies via tweets about your success. They might tweet about you and if you are lucky they would even write a post about your product. This is what happened when Business Insider mentioned Startup Stash in a tweet:

Startup Stash

Blog

Write a post mortem blog post of the once in a lifetime limelight of Product Hunt. Share an honest review of your experience along with all the valid data points using your analytics data. You can publish the post on medium.com/company blog/inbound.org. Finally you could link the post to your very first comment on PH page. The community is a sucker for nice review posts and final outcome of the listing.

Conclusion

Although Product Hunt can give significant boost to your product, it is not really for all the products. So think before embarking on this path. Will this product really gain something out of the listing? Will the PH community really benefit from the product? If answer is yes, then go ahead and finish up the FAQs. It would save you some time and lots of headache in the future. If you have anything else in mind or just want to share your experience with PH, please post in the comments section.

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