In communication with product managers, marketers, I see that AppSumo and ProductHunt are leading among the sites on which startups and indie hackers want to launch.
I’ve already written about the experience with AppSumo. Now I will share my experience of the campaign on the second site.
If you are working on a digital product, you probably read many guides on how to launch on ProductHunt.
I also read them before launching our SaaS product. I will attach all tutorials at the end of my article.
On July 22, 2020, I launched Sitechecker on ProductHunt. We became the best product of the day and attracted 2,500 visitors within 7 days of launch.
The guides I read have many useful tips, but there is no formula with variables that help to assess your capabilities to become the #1 product of the day.
Because the truth is sad. There are variables on which you have very little influence. Some products have no chance to become winners on ProductHunt.
The product may be the leader in its market, but different rules apply to the ProductHunt.
Briefly about Sitechecker’s ProductHunt launch
Our hunter is Kevin William David. I wrote to ten hunters and he was the only one who answered.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, agree on a launch date, fill out the form with details and create an account for Kevin to try your product.
Sources of traffic
In addition to users who found us on ProductHunt naturally, I used:
- our Russian-speaking Telegram channel;
- Telegram channels SaaS Nation, Product & Growth;
- email distribution to the Sitechecker user base;
- the Sitechecker home page, where the ProductHunt badge was posted (we have 10.000 website visitors daily, so it makes sense);
- banner on our other products (Kparser, Copywritely);
- a long list of Facebook groups about SEO, both English-speaking and groups in German, Italian, French, Czech, Portuguese, Swedish.
From the very beginning of the launch, we understood who our main competitor would be – cats. We launched at 11.00 am GMT+2, and only after 5 hours, we were able to get close to the top three.
When we had already become the leaders, I was worried, since we constantly had fewer votes than KittySpring. The exact formula of the ranking algorithm is unknown and it is not clear which combination of votes, comments, reviews is the strongest.
In the end, we still became the best product of the day. This is what the traffic graph looks like from ProductHunt in our case.
But in order to become a product of the week, month, year, completely different numbers of votes are needed. You can browse the top products of the month here. The first places are taken by those who gain 3000–5000 votes.
The formula for success on ProductHunt
All instructions on how to properly conduct a campaign on ProductHunt boil down to one key thought.
Shout out to all possible channels for your launch. Ask for help from colleagues, partners, users.
This is the correct thesis, but the amount of traffic that you bring to your page is not the only thing that determines the success of the campaign. The result depends on the sum of the following factors:
- The size of your market.
- The number of audiences you can attract to vote.
- The value and uniqueness of the product.
- The quality of your landing page on ProductHunt.
Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
1. The size of your market
The wider your market is, the more likely you are to be the best. Check out the best products of all time. These are the products that almost everyone who works online needs: free stock photos, a tool for removing backgrounds from images, a selection of useful links, and tools for startups.
The volume of the market must be estimated in advance in order to understand what you can count on in general. To do this, look at the results of your competitors’ launches: either by searching for a specific brand or by examining the best products in your category.
2. The number of audiences you can attract
Just before launch, I finished reading Derek Thompson’s book “The Hitmakers: The Science of Popularity in the Entertainment Age”. A quote from one of his interviews conveys the key idea of the book.
“There are music testing sites that survey many many people to discover the catchiness of new songs before they hit the radio. These sites are pretty good at identifying melodies that people like. But for every 100 songs that pass their “hit” threshold for catchiness, fewer than 10 will get anywhere close to the Billboard Hot 100. There is simply too little space in the pantheon of cultural superstardom for every “good-enough” product to succeed. What’s the difference between the ~ 5 that makes it and the ~ 95 that don’t? In almost every case, it’s exposure: marketing, distribution, and timing.”
You need to trumpet your launch on all available channels. But your success is influenced not only by the number of audiences you attract but also by the speed with which you do it.
The sooner you become one of the top three or five products of the day, the more likely you are to be voted for by those users who came to the ProductHunt home page on their own.
Your product is the first to come into view. And for those products that are lower, a large share of users will no longer have enough attention and interest resources.
Therefore, make a list of all available channels in advance and invite users to give feedback on your product starting with the largest channels available to you in terms of audience size.
3. The quality of your landing page on ProductHunt
A GIF is better than a picture, a short subtitle is better than a long one, product videos and screenshots are better than just screenshots.
There is nothing complicated here, but if you do not have the described positioning, video of the product, gifs, then the preparation of such materials can take 1–2 days.
4. Value and uniqueness of the product
ProductHunt’s positioning is that it is the best place to learn about new technology products. You should have a prepared answer to the question of why you are better than the existing solutions.
But I believe that the value of this item is minimal. Since in markets with a large number of players, a very small percentage of users are aware of all the available products and their strengths.
We became the best product of the day with 500+ votes. And on other days, the products could not become the first with 2000+ votes.
Luck is which competitors you launch with on the same day.
In total, in order to become the first on ProductHunt, it is not enough for you to perfectly fulfill the technology that all instructions describe. You cannot influence the size of the market and competitors that will be launched with you.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t need a campaign. With the cost that it is worth it, you definitely need to launch it.
Frequently asked questions
What is the value of launching on ProductHunt?
The campaign will help:
- Get new clients. Don’t expect a sharp jump in sales. The main contribution to the product’s income will be deferred by pumping marketing and SEO.
- Upgrade SEO and marketing. You get traffic, links, Twitter mentions, maybe someone will include your product in a press release or blog review. You can further use the comments under your product as reviews, and the winner’s badge as an element of increasing authority and trust in you.
- Get product feedback. This will be especially valuable if you’ve just launched the product and haven’t done user interviews yet.
The value of a launch largely depends on its success. Therefore, after the campaign, I came to the following conclusion.
On AppSumo you need to launch as early as possible, and on ProductHunt as late as possible after the product launch.
ProductHunt launches 20–30 products per day, AppSumo launches several products per week.
On AppSumo, your success depends in large part on the number of reviews and the average rating. The higher the rating, the more AppSumo invests in promoting your product. The value and uniqueness of the product are much more important, and the AppSumo team ensures the quality of the page design independently.
When AppSumo adds your product to the site, it immediately starts attracting traffic to your offer, while ProductHunt rewards only the winners.
The later you launch a product on ProductHunt, the more likely you already have an audience to turn to for help.
What are the costs of running a campaign?
- negotiations with a hunter - 1–2 hours;
- preparation of landing page - from 1–2 hours to 1–2 days;
- attracting traffic and replies to comments - 1–2 days.
One person will spend 2 to 5 days per campaign. But I did not follow all the steps that I saw in the instructions. After the product is published, you can launch advertising campaigns, attract a few more people to do media outreach, attract traffic from blogs, forums, and several social networks.
How can you get even more traffic after launch?
Continue doing what I described in the previous question for another week, month. To cover more social networks, more groups in social networks, media, blogs, forums, opinion leaders, leave a badge on the site (we have had it for two weeks), try buying advertising.
How often can a single product be launched on ProductHunt?
You can run the product more than once. But I have not seen anywhere a specific amount of time that must elapse between the first and next launch. In this article, well-disclosed subject how to run product of the second and following times.
- The archive of ProductHunt daily and weekly emails. They will help you research which products have been winning recently.
- Preview your product page. Will help you test the design of the product page on ProductHunt.
- The list of the best hunters and products. Help you find a hunter for your product if Kevin doesn’t answer you.
- The launch instructions from ProductHunt itself. It debunks the myth that you cannot send users directly to your product landing page on ProductHunt, but you need to lead to the ProductHunt main page.
- The launch instructions from Gleam. Probably one of the most detailed instructions in general.
- The restart instruction from Appcues. If you want to launch the same product again.
Some of these instructions contain links to other articles. Well, Google is still full of materials on this topic. Do not be lazy to read several articles, as each of them has interesting nuances or experiences that are not found in other articles.