Blog Article

Ace Your First Product Hunt Launch

Nicolas Baranowski
Blog
12
min read
Enterprise
February 13, 2024

There are two ways of launching on Product Hunt. A “let’s launch & see” way, where you just want to gather some feedback and early users, and a “let’s aim for #1 of the day” way.

For the first way, my advice is just to prepare some basic materials and launch today. For the second way, you need thorough preparation. See your launch as a ‘project’ requiring 4–6 weeks of preparation.

Frame’s result

Frame (https://frame.so) managed to get #3 Product of the day and #5 Product of the week. Thanks to this position, Frame got featured in multiple design-focused & AI-focused newsletters (e.g., Designer Daily Report, SuperHuman), bringing 1000s of new customers.

It’s competitive

With 100s of companies launching every day, ranking #1 on Product Hunt is hard and competitive. It’s an intense but enjoyable experience that will bring your team together, increase your GTM readiness, and improve your product dramatically. If you want to rank #1, you have to go all in. For one day, you’ll be in a ‘live’ competition with the best startup teams in the world.

It’s not fair

You’ll be in competition with companies that have higher levels of funding than you, sometimes multiple launches behind, tens of thousands of customers (and therefore upvote potential), and a network of voters coming from a VC and/or startup studio to support them. But hey, what is fair at the end of the day? Launch, go 200%, and enjoy the process.

Be organized

Have a clear document where you centralize all of your links (assets, launch pages, PH dashboard, tools). We recommend getting started on Frame’s Wiki app and creating a PH Launch document.

Pre-Launch actions

  • Decide on your launch date: To optimize for #1, pick Mon, Fri or weekends and preferably during summer; For awareness, pick Tue, Wed, Thu (the most competitive days), and like us, September :)
  • Find a hunter (optional): We managed to be hunted by Chris Messina (#1 hunter on PH), who liked our concept. While finding a well-ranked hunter is not a must, it can help build awareness and social proof.
  • Prepare your copy assets: Be it a comment, description, social media post, or tagline. Thoroughly, think through how you will present your business. Just as a YC application, the exercise in itself is a great way to reflect on your business.
  • Prepare your graphic assets: Check well-ranked product launches: that’s where the bar is. Most will have world-class graphical assets (from the animated GIFs, and thumbnails to the 2d motion video). Depending on your budget, try to optimize there. People are visual creatures.
  • Map your internal network: Start by defining your sources of internal supporters (investors, advisors, team, team’s friends, users, etc) and literally create a DB with their email, name, and location. With tools like customer.io, you can build semi-automated campaigns with custom intro 1st liner.
  • Map social media pages: During Launch Day, you don’t have time to think: be organized, and map the URLs of all of your social media presence (Linkedin, FB, etc)
  • Map communities: There are 100s of indie maker communities and product Hunt lovers communities on multiple platforms (FB, Linkedin, Discord, Slack). Take the time to map the ones that will be relevant for you. Always try to ask for support in dedicated channels (e.g. #shameless-promotion, #ph-launches, etc.). Don’t DM members (by the way, never ask for votes, always for ‘support’) — shoutout, by the way, to Rohan Chaubey and the Invincible Product Hunter community!
  • Prepare your email automation campaigns: using tools like customer.io or Ortto you can prepare mailing campaigns that you’ll fire at the right time (i.e. depending on timezones) on D-Day.
  • Prepare your social media posts: If you decide to make 3 LinkedIn posts on D-Day, have them prepared in advance (the same goes for the other platforms).
  • Create a Banner & get people to click ‘get notified’: Once your launch is scheduled, you’ll have the possibility to create a Product Hunt Banner. Try to get your ‘mapped network’ by clicking ‘get notified’ there. Above all, it’s a forcing mechanism to have them create their account before the launch day (PH will discount votes done by newly created accounts)
  • Prepare your paid campaigns (optional): If you have the budget and decide to help your launch with a paid campaign (e.g. Linkedin, Google), have them prepared in advance. You can set them to start exactly on your launch day and close a few days after).
  • Write your Maker’s comment: On your launch page (edit page), you’ll be able to pre-write your Maker’s comment that will print when your product launches.
  • Book your team for overtime: Sounds obvious, but as your startup runs at 200%, you might forget to make sure everybody is available for a ’20 hrs of work’ run on that day. (when I say everybody, I talk obviously to startups of 6–8 ppl).
  • Announce your launch (2–3 weeks before): Announce your PH Launch on LinkedIn. Like a big party, announcing the date will lock you in the process of organizing and getting ready.
  • Warm up your network (1–2 days before): Remind your network you’ll be launching in a few days. Get them excited.
  • Make a GIF animated logo: I know I said it before, but hey, what’s a PH Launch without an animated GIF logo 🙌 — if well executed, it can set apart your team on the upvote page. It won’t save you from a poor product/launch execution, obviously, but it’s a small touch of professionalism that can separate the top-performing teams.
  • Make a 2D motion graphic video (1 min max): This can cost you $2.5-$4.5K, depending on the agency. Start this mini-stream well in advance (3–4 weeks).
  • Build your network & reputation on PH: Be active on PH, and try to connect with fellow entrepreneurs. It will help you with PH Algo’s on launch day but, most importantly, help you build allies for your launch. Entrepreneurship is a lot about helping each other between founders, at the end of the day.

Launch day actions

  • Take into account timezone (start with Asia, finish with Asia): Would you wake up in the night to upvote for a startup? No. So stay in sync with the sun and follow it East to West.
  • Ask friends & team to support: early hours matter most, so start with your close network and easy votes (e.g., team, colleagues, family, friends). PH Launch follows a Power Law — if you’re not in the top 5 after the first 3 hours of Launch, it will become very complicated to rank #1 (simply said: visitors will always tend to click on the top 3–5 for upvotes, creating a snowball effect).
  • Post a discussion: Leverage PH Discussions to either announce your Launch or start a relevant discussion on your space.
  • Post on Social Media Pages: Announce your launch on all your social media pages. Got that fancy 2D motion video, well time to leverage it!
  • Embed the Product Hunt launch badge on your homepage: You can get a lot of votes by adding (and leaving post-launch) that nice-looking badge at the top of your page (by the way, if you enjoy this article, why not support us too on our Launch Page or by leaving a Review)
  • Post on all Communities: You’ve mapped all of these niche Slack, Discord, and Linkedin Groups (startups, makers, product hunt lovers) — time to leverage them.
  • Answer every comment: Answer thoroughly every comment made by the PH community; you’ll be judged by them by the PH team.
  • Answer every review: Same goes for Reviews
  • Send reminders: People are busy. You can always send them a reminder email toward the middle of the day to make sure they show their support.
  • Order food: Your team is hungry and dehydrated. Order some food — a PH Launch is a great way to bring your team together and celebrate that milestone.

Post-Launch actions

  • Say thank you (via PM or social media post): take the time to thank people who supported you
  • Segment your newly acquired customers (ideally automated): make sure to review who are your new customers, where are they from, what are they saying, and how are they using your product (have analytics in place before the launch — we recommend June.so)
  • Talk to your customers: Obvious, but take the time to do it. Have your Calendly links ready to get on calls with your customers. More than anything else, a PH launch will bring you quality feedback.
  • Analyze takeaways on comments/reviews (ChatGPT can be helpful): Leverage ChatGPT to synthesize comments & reviews; feed them into your product roadmap.
  • Try to get featured in collections: You can network on PH Launch to have your product featured in Collections.
  • Create a PH Launch roundup post (this article is an example, don’t hesitate to share if it helped you).
  • Launch every day: Continue launching on other platforms, BetaList, BetaPage, and 100s of others out there.
  • Leverage Paid Campaigns on Product Hunt: Leaving your Product in the top 5 products (PH will set the #4 position for paid ads) can help build on the launch momentum.

Lessons Learned

  • Secure your team capacity early on (20–24 hours)
  • For a small team, the entire company becomes the Growth Team for 24 hours (incl. engineers)
  • Prepare paid campaigns in advance (e.g. Linkedin, Google AdWords) if you think about using them (don’t your precious time on launch day to build them)
  • Engage more on Linkedin PH Communities: we saw a high level of responsiveness from members from PH communities.

Most importantly…

Have fun. Celebrate the fact your product made it ‘live’, talk to your customers, take the launch as a great opportunity to learn from them, and accelerate your path to PMF (or acquire more (paid) users) depending on your stage.

Nicolas is the founder of Frame, an all-in-one collaboration OS for startups. Frame offers pre-built collaboration apps like Notes, Task, Wiki, Whiteboard, and more. If you want to find a free ‘startup idea template’ on our Wiki app, sign up today!


Nicolas Baranowski
About the Author
Founder & CEO at Frame