How to use Product Hunt to boost your business

Product Hunt's Glasshole Kitty

By Kiki Schirr, {grow} Contributing Columnist

By now you might have heard about Product Hunt — a website and mobile app that ranks new products every day. There are seemingly posts every day about how Product Hunt made some startup thousands of dollars overnight, or brought in 12 new lucrative clients, or about how their servers nearly crashed under the sudden onslaught of traffic.

But it might be a little harder to tell if Product Hunt is the right platform for your own company. Is it only startups that benefit? Only silly products like “Ship Your Enemies Glitter?” What if you’ve already been in business for a while?

I’m a ‘top hunter’ on Product Hunt, and I’ve written a manual on how to post to Product Hunt, so I thought I’d take a moment to answer a few of these questions, and help you evaluate whether your company can benefit from the “Product Hunt Boost.”

Why does Product Hunt matter?

Product Hunt is a growing force in the tech, gaming, and publishing communities. Products that rank well can expect to see thousands of visitors to their site, if not tens of thousands on the day that they are featured, and about 80 percent of that traffic the following day if they make the “Top 10” email the next morning.

The Product Hunt community is large and passionate. Registered members already exceed a quarter of a million people, and even larger numbers lurk on the site without registering. Many members are influential people in their professions –investors, authors, entrepreneurs, or the press. A feature on Product Hunt will draw their attention.

My first Product Hunt experience

I was surprised when a friend who was an active member promoted my company Fittr as a featured start-up. Still, even without advance preparation, my company made it into the top five posts for the day. That drove tens of thousands of visitors to our landing page, and then a reporter from Yahoo Tech wrote and posted an article about us — which meant at one point we were getting 13 downloads of our app … every SECOND.

As a result, I tend to be a Product Hunt evangelist!

Can Product Hunt help YOUR company?

It depends. Product Hunt isn’t suitable for every product, but is great for the launch of three main product categories: tech products (including SaaS platforms for developers), games, and the most recent addition has been books.

product huntThe products that perform the best have just launched, are available to the public, and are noteworthy — either by their unique nature, an element of humor, or just general superiority over other products in their class.

You might think that Product Hunt is just for small startups, but some of the best-performing products of all-time were produced by Google, Amazon, and Lexus. Even the movie Kung Fury made the all-time leaderboard, which while admittedly odd, is proof that there is a touch of unpredictability about which products will flourish.

How do I get on Product Hunt?

Product Hunt is a closed community and only invited members may post new products. However, that shouldn’t be a reason to skip a Product Hunt launch. If you register on the site and devote a little time to mentioning it and interacting with invited members through Twitter, you will eventually be invited.

However, if your time frame is short, or you want to ensure a success, it is much better to be posted by an influential member of the Product Hunt community. Hunter Hunt is a site devoted to helping you determine who is an influential member.

Once you have a target in mind, approach via Twitter and ask politely if they think your product is something that they would consider “hunting.” Don’t be afraid of rejection — probably the coldest you’ll get is being ignored — the benefits of asking far outweigh any cost.

If you are thinking of offering a special discount to Product Hunters, reach out in advance to the Product Hunt team and let them know.

Okay, we’re on Product Hunt. Now what?

First, don’t solicit votes. Your first reaction will likely be to ask everyone and anyone you know to vote for you, but the makers of Product Hunt have designed their ranking system to penalize exactly that, because Product Hunt isn’t meant to be a popularity contest. So remember two things:

  1. Don’t ask for a vote; announce that you’re on Product Hunt!
  2. Don’t link directly to your product; say that you’re on Product Hunt, your product name, and that people should “check it out!”

Other big flub-ups: posting too late in the day, being posted by surprise and not noticing (use Mention to alert you!), or being posted by someone without enough influence to make it to the front page. If you don’t make it to the front page, and instead land on the upcoming page, be sure to hustle just like you were on the main page, because you still have a shot to make it to the front page through enough votes.

Those are the basics! If you’re interested in learning more I’d suggest visiting Maker Success, which is a repository of advice and glowing recommendations from people who have been featured in the past. Good luck, maker!

KikiSchirr

Kiki Schirr is a cofounder of the fitness app Fittr, and also does the company’s marketing. She is the author of the The Product Hunt Manual and Tech Doodles

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