Hacking Product Hunt
it’s what every SaaS founder knows, getting featured in product hunt is a sure way of getting started. But how do you make it on that page? Kevin William David helps us unpack it.
Hello there. How has the first month of the year been? Interesting. That’s one way to describe what’s happening in the world. But let’s do something that makes this world slightly easier to handle. That’s a part of our mission in this newsletter.
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How do you make it on Product Hunt?
Every founder trying to build a product is nudged either by their peers or by their investors: to find early champions. These champions are customers who speak about the product, socialize it and create deeper levels of engagement that help in creating a better company.
Early-stage founders struggle to find these champions beyond their group of friends and advisors. Additionally, founders need a large enough sample size to make value judgments on feedback and make product improvements. Founders also need to stress test their product and it can only be done by finding a diverse user base, however, finding this base is difficult.
And that’s why Product Hunt has become a milestone in founder journeys. Its ability to expose products to a wide selection of users across the world has caused it to gain popularity.
But getting on Product Hunt isn’t as easy as it appears. Founders can just click and upload their product but the true power of the platform can be harnessed by finding a way to get the product seen by the largest group of users. Fortunately, there is a science to it. We spoke to Kevin William David to find out how it should be done. Kevin is a featured hunter at Product Hunt and has helped thousands of founders and companies across the world find their first set of users.
Here are the excerpts from that conversation. Let’s dive right in.
Why pick Product Hunt?
Sure, you can take the traditional PR route but what’s the ROI on something like that?
You work hard to somehow sneak a story in a publication and then what? You’re still a pixel on a page.
You’re not the only one in the news cycle that day, Kevin says.
You then have to depend on the reporter’s interpretation of your product and its use case and even then there is no link-back guarantee.
That’s why Product Hunt is different.
You get to pick the message and push it. No loss in translation.
With PR, you spend to get featured. Product Hunt is free.
There is a large and enthusiastic audience of over 4 million users.
You can get early feedback on your product or validate the idea for PMF.
How do you make your product pop?
Avoid launching something when companies such as Apple or Google are announcing products. Your product may get lost in the noise.
When do you launch?
Do you launch before or after you have PMF?
“That depends on the kind of founder you are and the kind of feedback you are looking for,” Kevin explains.
Let’s break it down a little here. Often founders feel launching an MVP on Product Hunt may lead to the community leaving way too many negative comments.
Even though Product Hunt has similar functionalities to Reddit, Kevin insists that pile-ons almost never happen. The community is very empathetic and patient with founders.
The actual tactical plans to lay in place before your launch.
Are you making B2B, enterprise, or work-related tools? Pick a day from Monday to Thursday for the launch then.
Funded companies usually launch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
“Avoid launching something when companies such as Apple or Google are announcing products. Your product may get lost in the noise,” he says.
Are you launching a solo productivity tool or an iPhone app mainly for entertainment? “The weekend is easily your best bet,” Kevin adds.
But that’s the day. What about the hour?
You get 24 hours on the homepage. If you are in the US, or in India targeting the US, you don’t have to wait for the waking hours.
Kevin recommends scheduling the announcement for 12:01 AM PST, exactly when the clock resets.
“People in these parts of the world will see your product on Product Hunt and upvote it. And by the time it is morning in the US East Coast or West Coast, you will have enough upvotes. Being in the first 5 or 10 of the day lets you make full use of the 24-hour cycle.”
Now, this is what everyone wants to know. How do you get on the featured list? Kevin says it’s not very difficult.
There are two ways your product can show up on the featured page.
Get hunted by people such as Kevin. Hunters are everywhere, they’re on WhatsApp groups, and they can be found on Twitter, Linkedin, and Reddit. Share your product on WhatsApp groups, it will be a good exercise anyway.
Can’t get the attention of a hunter? Just upload it. “It will first land in the newest section. The product hunt community is always looking for fresh and interesting products. If your product has a clever tagline, screenshots, and has something innovative, it will get hunted and taken to the featured page,” says Kevin.
ICYMI: We went much deeper into this with Kevin. You can check the entire conversation here.
All of these are ways of increasing your product exposure but that doesn’t preclude the fact that founders will have to work hard and build a product that can be used and loved by its customers. Nothing beats that.
What Together has been up to?
What is to come: We, at Together, are always looking at trends and signals and finding patterns so we can understand what lies in front of us. Manav wrote a piece on eight predictions for Indian SaaS companies in 2023. It’s a very interesting story. Check it out.
That’s it from us. Please stay tuned for more from us. We’ll be back next month with another interesting guest. If this was forwarded to you, why not consider subscribing and commenting? We would love to hear from you.