If you’re a creator of SaaS, or a maker of any kind, it’s nearly unthinkable to forgo a launch of your product on Product Hunt. With over 4 million monthly visitors and an active community of over 40,000 registered users, it’s a community and an opportunity that shouldn’t be overlooked. What started as an email list for cool new product recommendations among techies and Silicon Valley types, became a multi-million dollar acquisition by AngelList a few years back.
Recently, new leadership and fresh funding have pumped even more life into Product Hunt, and smart SaaS makers and marketers are making sure to stay ingrained in the community. It’s a powerful marketing channel for SaaS startups, and one you should look into if you want attention from just the right kind of niche crowd.
Rules of the Road: Launching Your Product on Product Hunt
Similar to Reddit, Product Hunt’s featured posts are driven by community upvoting, and a successful product launch to this community can result in thousands of new paid subscribers in many cases. In order to reach the top of the featured listings (only 3 spots before the scroll on most screens), a new SaaS product must be launched properly with lots of preparation before launching. The ultimate aim, according to Product Hunt, is to “build something awesome and clearly communicate its value to the world.” Ideally, if you do that, the rest will fall into place, without having to figure out a way to game the system.
As open and supportive as the Product Hunt community is, there are also rules to follow when posting your product. Being aware of these important guidelines can help you to find more success with Product Hunt
- Only post new, or relatively unknown technology or ideas.
- Each product can only be featured once (unless there is a huge update, or product pivot that would warrant another post).
- Products that are ready for immediate users are prioritized. Launch with your MUP (minimum usable product).
- Never request or pay for upvotes. Your post will probably be removed. But you certainly can ask for feedback!
- No discrimination, violence or bad behavior is tolerated, so be a good human.
How to Get to the Top of Product Hunt
The Product Hunt community values authenticity and great products. There is no secret marketing trick to getting featured on the home page or in PH social media channels, but there are some best practices that can help you make the most of sharing your SaaS with the community. One of the most important ideas here is that you must prepare ahead of time, including not only testing and vetting the best iteration of your product, but also testing your marketing, and getting ready for lots of attention if your efforts are successful.
How to Prepare Ahead of Time for a Successful Product Hunt Launch
One of the most common mistakes on Product Hunt is treating it like any other community post. This is not the platform to casually shoot out a link to your beta sign-up. On the contrary, PH should be seen as a unique opportunity to share your SaaS with a community that is really into staying on top of the latest cool product releases - and often buys into the products it loves, quite literally. So, prepare ahead of your Product Hunt launch by keeping a strategic eye on the following planning and infrastructure efforts:
- Test your product and make sure it works
- Have a customer support process and team in place
- Have a knowledge base to help people get started and get common questions answered
- Set up and test your CRM (and all your internal integrations)
- Triple-check your taglines, imagery, and messaging before actually using it on Product Hunt
- Be physically prepared for launch by testing your server capacity
- Be prepared for follow-up. If your launch is successful, you may be fielding a lot of questions, requests for press, and investor inquiries.
Best Practices for Product Posts That Actually Resonate
When you’re preparing to share on Product Hunt, make sure to spend some time and effort to create the most impactful content you can for your product post. Best practices include:
- Use your company or product home page as the main link, and app store links as secondary options.
- Write an unforgettable tagline in 60 characters or less. Product Hunt advises this product description does not contain the words “the world’s best…” and leaves out any fluff. Hoodmaps, for example, provides “crowdsourced city maps you can draw on.”
- Capture a visual description of your SaaS with a clear thumbnail image, or simple gif. Use that as the featured image with a 240x240 size recommended.
- Expand your visual description with the media gallery, “the best real estate to show off your product.”
- Use a short, simple sentence or two to describe your product under the gallery. Think of it as an expansion of the tagline.
- Carefully select 3-4 relevant topics (categories) for the product.
- Make your best possible offer, and make it exclusive to the Product Hunt community.
- Boost your reach by adding your teammates as makers, making sure everyone links their Product Hunt account to both Twitter and Facebook, and encouraging them to engage on Product Hunt with comments and details about building or working on the product.
- Use the first comment on your post to explain who you are, what you built, and why people should care. Try to be real and relatable, and the community will respond.
- Add value to the community by participating! Comment on other peoples’ products, ask questions and even politely challenge your peers.
One of the most notable examples of a company using Product Hunt to both raise money and get their name out there is Robinhood (the investment app). But it's worth spending some time checking out what the companies who have made it to the top 5 on Product Hunt have to say about their journey. For example, check out this post from Miro or this one from NinjaOutreach.
Product Hunt is a Valuable Source Feedback, and Even New Customers, But You Have to Be Authentic
Product Hunt can provide a huge boost for a new SaaS product launch if you prepare well and play your cards right. There are several ways to prepare and present the best possible launch of your product on Product Hunt, as you’ve learned in this article. However, the most important element, which can’t be taught or bullet-pointed in a blog article, is authenticity. Your genuine passion for your product, and your real relationship-building before any Product Hunt engagement are both essential. You must have an authentic reason for being, and relate that authentically to your community. If you do that, success on Product Hunt is sure to follow, no matter what shape it ends up taking as it continues to streamline and evolve.
This post was originally published April 2021 and was updated November 2021.