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May 24, 2021

How to launch on Product Hunt - what we learned?

Get our learnings on how to launch on Product Hunt and take a peek at our results to benchmark for your big day.

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Samuli Pehkonen

Marketing

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We launched Flowrite's beta on Product Hunt on April 9, 2021, and a month after the launch, we thought it would be a great time to look back at the results and learnings. Reading through countless identical blog posts about how to launch on Product Hunt ahead of our first launch, we know firsthand how hard it's to find good benchmarks and valuable insights from those who have done it before. We hope sharing our results and notes from the launch instead of listing the same growth hacks as everyone else can make the process at least a tiny bit easier for those gearing up for theirs.

Results

The numbers below represent the results only from referral traffic from Product Hunt. For example, the website traffic and signups on the launch day were more than double the numbers portrayed here, thanks to our referral program and increased social traffic.

Let's look at the launch day first.

Product Hunt stats on the launch day

  • #2 Product of the day
  • 494 upvotes
  • 111 comments
  • 100 new beta users (limited launch day offer)
  • 414 waitlist signups from Product Hunt
  • 938 website visitors and 1,047 website sessions

Taking a step back to look at the long tail is where things get more interesting...

Product Hunt stats a month after the launch day

  • #2 Product of the day
  • 818 upvotes
  • 145 comments
  • 100 new beta users (limited launch day offer)
  • 1074 waitlist signups from Product Hunt
  • 1,915 visitors and 2,309 website sessions

What to make of these results?

First of all, the launch day is only the beginning; our traffic and signups from Product Hunt more than doubled during weeks after the launch, and we still receive high-quality traffic from the platform every day. 

Secondly, when zooming out, we've achieved greater results in terms of signups with PR of our pre-seed funding round, roll out of our referral program, and hitting the front page of Hacker News. This begs the question: What should be the main goal of your Product Hunt launch – customers, social proof, validation, or something else?

Learnings 

Dozens and dozens of blog posts advise against Product Hunt's recommendations and promote practices that are explicitly against their rules that it's no wonder some find themselves in hot water with their launch. That's why the lessons we'll share below will not include any growth hacks but rather the fundamentals that we relied on with our launch.

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare

You learn more about launching on Product Hunt as you proceed with your plans and preparations. And the more you learn, the more there is to do. You will never be as prepared as you'd like to be when the day comes – at least if it's your first rodeo.

We created a Product Hunt launch checklist a couple of months in advance and were well in time with the execution, but eventually found ourselves in a hurry. On the other hand, has someone ever launched something without feeling that they'll run out of time? All's well that ends well, but next time will be much easier.

If you are wondering where to start your prep, read the next part carefully.

2. Tick all the boxes to give yourself the best chance to succeed

Product Hunt has done an excellent job of addressing misconceptions about launching a product on their platform.

They've provided essentially 99.9% of everything you need to find success with their community in a single blog post. If you follow their advice, you'll give yourself the maximum probability of doing well with your launch. We took the best practices quite literally, from the texts to visual assets and launch video, as we wanted to leave as little as possible up for a chance.

Looking back, the only box we didn't end up ticking was using an animated logo. It probably cost us the #1 spot. (sarcasm)

3. Talk to people who have failed with their launch

After internalizing what we should do with our launch, we wanted to grasp what we specifically shouldn't do when launching on Product Hunt. 

Like mentioned, there’s a plethora of misinformation floating around the internet about launching on Product Hunt. We too would have fallen into the same pitfalls of deceptive practices as so many products before us, if we didn't talk to people who had experienced hardships with their launch. There's a fine line between marketing your launch and being spammy, and many have paid the price for aggressive promotion during the launch day. 

We decided to do our best at playing by the rules and seeing how far it takes us.

4. Find a Hunter (but not for why you think you should do it)

Product Hunt advises you to hunt your own product instead of distracting yourself by spending time on having top hunters or influencers do it. However, it's a widespread practice. 

According to Product Hunt, it makes very little difference who hunts the product and how well it performs overall, but our case for finding a hunter has nothing to do with how well the product ranks during the launch day.

We worked with Kevin, one of the top hunters on the platform, on our launch. It's impossible to say whether we would have reached the same results if we would have hunted Flowrite ourselves. What's certain is that Kevin provided us with valuable insights, advice, and suggestions, from landing page copy to optimizing our post for the long tail.

Based on our experience, we highly recommend working with people who have years of experience with the community to nail that missing 0.1% after following all the guidelines that Product Hunt themselves have provided.

5. Remember that upvotes don't pay the bills

At first, the #2 spot felt like a disappointment after pouring tons of hard work into the launch. However, looking back at it, the color of the medal doesn't matter nearly as much. For us, the Product Hunt launch was one of the tools to get our beta out there, not the end goal in itself.

When you plan your launch, make it clear for yourself what you are trying to achieve, and keep in mind that upvotes don't pay the bills, or getting the most upvotes doesn't guarantee the #1 spot if you don't play nice. 

Yes, upvotes are required to get exposure on the platform. Yes, upvotes can serve as social proof. But no, upvotes don't necessarily mean that you have a good product. A product that people are willing to try, love to use, and ready to pay for. At the end of the day, launching on Product Hunt is a popularity contest that you can win just by having enough users of the platform in your network. However, that doesn't take away any of the tremendous value you can gain from it.

That's it! Hope this blog post brought up some new perspectives you hadn't yet considered for your Product Hunt launch. If you have any questions, just hit us up on Twitter and we are happy to answer them.

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