In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about Product Hunt do’s and don’ts.

Product Hunt has become the ultimate place where founders go to launch their products to an audience that’s passionate about technology. While launching on Product Hunt can be great for your product, there are some do’s and dont’s you should be aware of if you decide to launch your product on Product Hunt

In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten how Product Hunt is a strong community to push something out, the importance of finding a way to engage with the community, how to launch your product properly and much more. 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:17 Why this topic was chosen.

01:53 How Product Hunt is a strong community to push something out.

02:25 The importance of finding a way to engage the Product Hunt community.

02:59 Various ways to engage the community.

03:03 How to present your product on Product Hunt.

03:24 The importance of timing on Product Hunt.

05:43 How to launch your product properly.

06:19 Why you should be prepared to promote your page.

06:40 How founders should think about promoting their product launch.

3 Key Points:

  • Most internet-related products are launched on Product Hunt today.
  • If you can find a way to engage the community, that would be really smart.
  • If you know there’s going to be a popular launch, you shouldn’t launch on that day.


Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah. Today on The Startup Chat we’re going to talk about Product Hunt do’s and don’ts. The reason for that is because I ended up getting contacted sometimes multiple times a day, sometimes it just comes in waves, to submit a company, post a company to Product Hunt. Or a feature, or a marketing tool, or something like that. I tend to have a response to people right away after I check out what they have. The biggest do is make sure you do your homework about what’s required when you need to submit to Product Hunt because there’s a bunch of stuff that’s required. There’s like a title, a sort of tagline, a description, a bunch of images or a video if you have it, ideally, the makers and the categories you want to be in. There’s just a number of things that are required. If you don’t pay attention, you’re not going to … Basically you’re going to come to me, or anyone else that might post for you, if you want someone to post for you, and they’re just going to come back to you and say, “Hey, I need these things.” So just be ready for those things. So that’s my first two. I’m sure you have some questions, Steli, or at least some idea of what we should be talking about here, because I could talk about this probably all day.


Steli: Yeah. Well first of all, I think that it’s important for to understand … I mean, would you say that most software products, most internet related products they’re launching on Product Hunt. It’s become a more and more popular platform to launch early access or to launch a new feature to launch a brand new product into the world. Right? It’s an exceptionally strong community to put something new out?


Hiten: Yeah, absolutely. I think, the community is great. I think there’s a lot to say about that. The biggest thing is like if you can find a way to engage the community, that would be really smart. That’s what I would highly recommend. But yeah, the community is great. I’m a big fan. I think it’s important, make sure that whatever you’re posting, you understand how it can be valuable for people in general. You understand who it could be valuable for, you understand kind of what it is that you’re providing, and it comes across in the things that you put out, whether it’s the images or even the first comment. So another do, is make sure that one of the makers has a really strong first comment. Spent some time on it, really think through it. Think through what the messages related to what you’re sharing. If it’s an actual product itself, you can even talk about some of the things that took to actually build it out, to technically, or whatever. That can be really helpful to you as well.


Steli: Cool. So on the do’s, make sure you understand all the assets that you need to have prepared for it the title, the images, the video, the description, all that. Then make sure that as the maker, you have a comment that you’re going to place that is basically your voice as the maker and your main message as a maker to the community, to the people that will be checking out the new product. What are some other kind of do’s and don’ts? How much does timing matter? For instance, is the weekend better than during the week? Is Monday a good day? Are there good days and bad days? Are there good times and bad times? Does timing matter at all?


Hiten: Yeah, some people say it does. I mean if you think about it, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday are probably the most busy days on Product Hunt. So what I would usually suggest to people is, if you feel like it can be a really popular launch because you have a lot of people or using it that you’re going to email and let them know you’re on Product Hunt now, or you just feel like it’s a big launch. Then doing it on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday might be a good idea. If you don’t think about the launch you’re doing, it’s more of a sort of a little bit of a smaller launch, then actually would I recommend doing it on what I would call an off day. So that’d be a Thursday or Friday, or even a Saturday and Sunday.


Steli: What about, what I’ve seen a number of times in the past is, great product, company put a lot of effort and a lot of time in the launch, and then quote unquote, they got unlucky and they launched the same day that, I don’t know like fucking Tesla, Apple, or some other company … Like a number of other big launches are happening in the same day as yours, and yours just has no chance because all the attention is flocks to some of these bigger launches, is that an excuse? Is that not a problem because you could still have a killer Product Hunt, product launch if you’re number three, number four, number five of the day? Or is that something that people should pay attention to? Don’t launch on the day that Apple is launching four new products or that whatever?


Hiten: Yeah, if you know there’s going to be a popular launch, you should not launch on that day. If you happen to be in a scenario where you launched it and it is that day, what I like to do is make sure that we have communications we can do, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, any of our channels. We kind of sequence that communication so that in case like we launch, usually right after midnight, or by 1:00 AM, or whatever, of the day, that we get the maximum amount of exposure. We also are able to use our own marketing, our own channels, our own ability to reach users, customers, whatever to them know that we’re on there. We might do that throughout the day. There might be like some final shots that we do towards the middle or end of the day, depending on where we’re at in the charts. Because the whole idea is like you want to be as close to number one as possible. I mean why wouldn’t you? Right. So make sure that you’re prepared to promote the page. Basically the key is not to just rely on Product Hunt to promote you, but also promote your own.


Steli: How should makers of founders think about the idea of them promoting their Product Hunt launch? should they do a ton of social media? Should they send out an email to the email list?


Hiten: I would do all of the above. I would make sure you’re ready to go after it. For me I wouldn’t, I would have one link in that communication and that link is straight to the Product Hunt page. I mean if you’re on Product Hunt, it’s your job to make sure that you are promoting yourself to everybody that needs to know that you launched it and you’re encouraging them to leave a comment. You’re not supposed to ask for upvotes according to the Product Hunt rules and guidelines. So don’t do that because they reserve the right to do whatever they want, if they see you doing stuff like that. But at the end of the day, you want engagement on your page, you want to think about that. Like you want to reply to every comment, you want to really be there that day. So the other mistake I see founders make is they’re not there that day. It can be someone from your team too. It doesn’t matter, bring along your team. It’s fine. But like you have to be there that day. Replying to comments, having a really great comment yourself, being really thoughtful with the audience because it’s a community. It’s a community first. It’s not just some kind of like advertising thing or free whatever. It’s a community first and so treat it as such.


Steli: Sweet. What are some other mistakes? I remember for a time people would cold email us quite frequently based on some Product Hunt launch we had made, so they were scraping Product Hunt, then they would put together these lists of people that were in the top five or top 10, and then asking for collaboration or asking them for whatever. Like just it seemed like people were trying to game the system, or use the information that’s on Product Hunt to further their ideas. Have people done some really stupid things like just spam too many people? Then there were at the top, but like all of a sudden Product Hunt decided to delete them? Or in the comments when somebody was critical, start arguing with people or being shitty? Or like what have you seen this kind of like, stories not to be repeated where people really like just messed it up, and they could have had a great Product Hunt launch day and they just-


Hiten: Well, most people mess it up when they try to ask for upvotes. It’s just not something that Product Hunt … It’s something they frown upon. Right? So don’t ask for upvotes. I mean, it’s just a rule they have, right? You’re on their platform. That’s their rule. So some people get really blatant with that. The spamming, like if Product Hunt finds out because people are complaining about you spamming, that can be a situation too. That could definitely be something that I’m sure they might not like. That being said, it’s their community, they’re the ones that sort of moderate it. So you know the stories, I don’t hear them as much as I just see different things happen with the voting and all that stuff. Plus like they’re monitoring the voting too. So if you have votes coming in from certain places and there’s a ton of those votes and things like that, they could demote you in the listing even if you have technically the most raw number of votes. So I just see, one, I see people spending too much time worrying about that, to be honest.They should just follow the basic guidelines, don’t ask for upvotes, ask for engagement, ask for it people to actually be thoughtful, leave a review on Product Hunt, et cetera. So I think that’s really important. Number two, I think it’s really critical to just think of it as like, this is a community and we’re going to engage with the community and whatever we’re going to do to get promoted, and all that will be … It’s kind of like a lot of the work is set up beforehand. Your email list is a certain size because of the signups you have or whatever. Well use it, and if it’s not big enough prelaunch, then like go deeper with the people who are using your product and let them know, “Hey, we’re going to be launching our product and we’d love your support. Let’s talk about how you’re using the product,” et cetera. So doing good hygiene around like just whether it’s customer development interviews or just like engaging your own customer base. Those are the things that matter. Not these things where you’re going to go spray and pray to like people like me or whoever to upvote your product. That happens a lot, like I get a lot of DMs on Twitter, “Oh, check out my product, check on my product, it’s some product.” I’m like, Cool, okay. I don’t have time to check out everyone’s product.” But like, “That’s cool. So you have to think about the people you’re hitting up to and like, do they really have time for that, right? Like would you think they’re going to do that? Or are they going to tell Product Hunt that you’re spamming people? I don’t know. I don’t tend to care. I don’t tell Product Hunt that you’re spamming or anything. It just like another like, “Okay, great, just because I can upvote you or share you, or I have a lot of followers on Product Hunt or whatever,” it doesn’t mean I’m going to upvote your product. It just doesn’t work like that.


Steli: Yeah. That points to just a general philosophy of how about you built relationships with people over a long period of time and you add value to their life before you ask for something, right? It’s like you have put together a list of quote unquote influencers, and then you selfishly have a launch date of your product. You’ve never engaged with any of them. You’ve never interacted with any of them, but you think it’s a good idea to cold email or cold DM a hundred people and be like, “Hey, you’re really important and you can help me. Here’s a link to my thing. Please. Upvote it,” and you assume people will be like, “Well yeah. I’ve never heard of you, I don’t know anything about you, but I’m going to stop anything else that I’m doing and I’m going to follow your instructions and click this right now and read through it and use it and then share the news with the world.” That’s a very unreasonable expectation. Right? Versus other people that might put in the work and through the six months of building their product are building relationships maybe with five or six influences that truly can help them that are relevant. Sharing early x’s, asking for advice, giving feedback, and then eventually it’s like, “Hey we’ve been interacting, communicating for six, seven months. You’ve been really helpful throughout the entire journey. You’ve given us all this feedback, all this advice, and now we’re launching on Product Hunt. If you have any feedback, any advice, anything to share, that’d be really appreciated.” That’s a different … And still maybe you just don’t have time that day or that week to help, but that’s a very different proposition, that’s somebody you know, that’s somebody you’ve helped, that’s somebody you’ve been in communication with for a long time, and now that they’re launching, there’s a big possibility that you’re going to be like, “You know what? I have a soft spot for these guys, right? I have a soft spot for this person, and if I think that they’ve built something great, I want to support it.” Right? A lot of times people don’t want to put in the work and the time to build relationships, they just think, “Let’s put together a list of people that selfishly could help us, and are influential, and surely if we email all of them, a bunch of them will do what we tell them to do,” and that never works.


Hiten: Nope, that’s right. Yep. It doesn’t work.


Steli: All right, so this is it for this episode of do’s and don’ts on Product Hunt launches. I want to highlight and give recommendations to our listeners that want to learn more about how to think strategically around their product launch. There’s a bunch of other episodes that we’ve made around this topic, but I’ll give you two recommendations. One, how to launch your product, episode number 254, so you type in 254 in Google, it’ll throw you right into that episode. The second episode that I would recommend people checking out is the episode on what to do post launch, that’s episode 329. So episode 254 and 329, two episodes that are relevant to anybody that is about to launch their product. This is it for us for this episode. We’ll hear you very soon.


Hiten: See you.