A lot of startups “launch” on Product Hunt these days, but what they don’t do is their homework. I mean, yeah, maybe you’ll be lucky and people will love your idea, regardless of your blunders, but…
…there are some best practices you should consider.
Before the Launch
First of all, you need a hunter. And if you think you’ll just pick someone at random, find their email, and send them an annoyingly long cold email, you’ve got the wrong crowd. Actually, no crowd tolerates that.
Ideally, you would search for similar products to yours on Product Hunt and see who hunted them. If you go to their profile and they’ve hunted a lot of products with many upvotes (like Chris Messina or Ria Blagburn), then you’re in luck. All you have to do now is reach out. But first read this article by Bram Kanstein on how not to pitch your product.
Ideally, you’ll ask nicely and be brief. Every hunter has their own preference, but I’d say that tweeting or DM’ing someone would be sufficient. Only disclaimer: be human and respectful.
P.S. I’ve seen a lot of people ask to be “invited”, but invitations are only given so you can comment on PH, and yes, you can hunt, but it won’t go to homepage. So better find one of those hunters who have special posting rights.
Do you have all the details in the hands of your hunter? (Those are: name, link, a funny/memorable tagline, and the twitter handles of the makers.)
Do you have some kind of thoughtful greeting to Product Hunters on your product page? (Not a must-have, but nice.)
Does the top of your page look good enough to be attached to a tweet?
Have you warned your team not to ask for upvotes?
If you answered yes to all, you’re ready.
On the Day
Do not ask for upvotes. Anywhere.
Introduce your product. Don’t advertise. Ask the community for feedback.
Answer everyone’s comments. This is vital.
Monitor social media and press mentions. Use TweetDeck & Google Alerts.
Just be engaging and human. And have fun. 😀
Something Went Wrong?
So your product is in the cemetery. Sorry, I mean the “upcoming” tab. Nobody’s really coming to your site, and when you are ready to launch, you can’t hunt the same thing twice. What do you do?
Ideally, you talk to your hunter, ask nicely if they can nudge a moderator, because mods have super powers: like pushing something to homepage.
Approaching a mod directly is not ideal because they get too many requests on a daily basis. But they’re really nice, and if you can make friends with one, you’ll be happy you did. Because, let’s face it, they are the product gate-keepers.
If anyone influential liked your product, wouldn’t you want to know? Then use Product Friends to find out. (Is that an investor?!)
Ideally, you would have followed up with everyone who mentioned your product on the day of being featured, so tweets, shares, press, etc., all need some kind of acknowledgement and gratitude.
And make sure to thank the hunter who put you on Product Hunt. It’s a little thing, but it makes all the difference. 🙂
P.S. Kiki Schirr’s Product Hunt Manual could also help direct your efforts.