You’ve established your startup, you have a strategy that will make your company succeed, you’ve created a product that will change the world, now all you need is to launch your product and service to the world.
Product launches can already be stressful enough as it is even if you have already been in your market for some time. There are currently websites and platforms, like Product Hunt, on the market that have created effective ways to launch new products
In this guide, we will break down the important things about Product Hunt and product launches like:
- What is a product launch?
- What is Product Hunt?
- Examples of successful product launches
- Templates of Product Hunt launches
What is a product launch?
Just from the title, it is pretty self-explanatory that a product launch is when a business organizes a way to debut a new product into the market and makes it available for purchase. It helps organizations build anticipation for the product, gather valuable feedback from potential/early users, and create recognition for the company.
There should be a relative checklist when it comes to the product launch of an organization:
- Make sure the team has executed outlined in the product roadmap
- Test and Q&A the new product
- Draft and distribute sales and marketing collateral
- Train the sales team on the new product
- Train the customer support department on the new product
- Complete the product’s support and/or technical documentation
- Let your entire organization know about the approaching product launch
- Develop and review the customer journey to buy the product, make sure the process is smooth.
- Devise a plan for tracking user behavior and gather feedback
- Decide on metrics that you will use to judge success and failures of your company.
- Conduct a product launch pre-mortem
Some things to think about
To begin with, you need to establish your core audience and build their confidence in you and your brand. You need to build trust among your existing and potential customers. After you find your audience, it is important to get advice and listen to feedback that is being presented because it is an opportunity to strengthen your product and keep it ahead of the market.
It is also important to learn from others, examine your competition and figure out what worked and failed for them and also what they did that need improvement and put your spin on it. While you are doing that, you should also pay attention to your publicity and trying to condition your social media audience. There are many ways that you can create publicity regardless of your budget. You need to treat your existing and potential clients will respect and not just treat them like a number. Build relationships with them so that they can learn your ways and your rhythms.
Nowadays it is hard to stay obscure with social media, but when it comes to businesses you want to do everything in your power and the best of your ability to reach your target audience. The main questions that you need to ask yourself before you do any outreach is “how far will you go to get the results you need?” and “How frequently will you attempt to reach your audience?” When it comes to branding and promotion, try and use any type of multimedia; which can include traditional media like print, photography, and video but do not forget to use social media and hashtags to follow and engage with media outlets.
When someone were to ask you, “Who’s your target audience?” it is very important to have a complete and concise answer otherwise people may not believe in your product. Another important thing is that you need to get to know your stakeholders, create a relationship with everyone that comes into contact with your business.
When you have created your product, get to know your product’s value. Talk to the clients that have found success using your product and ask them why it was a success and if it was not as successful as you wanted it to be, ask them what needs to be changed as well.
With the right strategy, you can get the attention of the people on the internet and you can land a great media placement. You need to figure out what stories the producers that you are trying to pitch to will want. You should pitch yourself as an expert and try and hit high-profily news outlets. Make sure that the knowledge that you have is something that they are looking for and fills the gap of whatever they want. It should have a great hook with great advice.
Don’t even think about launching your product without building your “fan base” of followers and clientele first. Lay your foundation before you even do anything, it may take some time but it will definitely be worth it. Some ways that you can do that is by; having conferences, hunting for your target audience, and inviting them to your events. Once launched, figure out everything that is going in to it and understand the success and failures of your product from your customers.
A big part of promoting businesses these days is through social media and brand ambassadors. It is important that when you are looking for ambassadors, their interests line up with yours. You want someone that has the knowledge of the market that you are in so that they promote your business to the best of their ability.
One way to drive leads to your products and website is through using a pre-launch video campaign. It can launch your product sales and build brand awareness but make sure that the length of your video content ties in and correlates with your price point. Once you have created and launched your video, you need to have a landing page for potential clients to sign-up and for you to capture email addresses, from there you can create an email campaign that offers incentives to potential buyers who may refer friends or family. At this point, you can also use any influencers that you can recruited to give instant product credibility and endorse your product and service.
Finally, remember that technology is your friend. It is a way to spread your message in an attractive, engaging way. Doing things like webinars and podcasts are good ways to do that. Figure out which ones are easy to use and works with your company. Don’t forget to use any form of materials to talk about your launch.
Want to know how to write a press release for your product launch? Check out our guides HERE
What is Product Hunt?
Once you have created your product, it is important to find the appropriate space to launch it. Product Hunt is just one of the many community-based websites that makers and marketers can use to launch their product or service. It allows companies to push their product into the market through votes and honest reviews, which is very important in its early stages.
Since the formation of Product Hunt, there have been thousands of products that have been launched on the platform; from productivity apps and enterprise software tools to social networks and other various inventions. There have also been quite a few that have transformed themselves into sustainable companies and continue to grow and impact people’s lives.
The main idea behind it is to pair people working in product development with people that are interested in testing new products. It is a great app to use for startups because it is free. Most of the time, makers and influencers are happy to test products even if there are issues because they can provide valuable feedback regarding your product’s functionality. Not only is it for early supporters, but regular users can also find and test any new apps and tools and contribute to any final development of their favorite apps and tools through reviews and comments. They can also engage actively with the makers and learn the technical details of any app.
How Product Hunt works
Once you have launched your product, moderators will look at it and decide whether it should get featured the next day. If they have decided to launch it and add it to the “featured” group, you will only be able to access your launch from the URL that you provided and it will not show up on the home page until midnight the next day.
From that moment on, community members can basically do whatever they want with it including; upvoting, commenting, reviewing, and reading about your launch. They are then ranked by upvotes, comments, engagements, etc. It can be difficult to accomplish “Top Product of the Day”, but the great thing about Product Hunt is that it is a great free way to drive traffic and PR to your site regardless of how it performs.
Before, During and After the Launch
Before we dive into the what, when, where, how, and why, let us talk about the key things to look at to increase your chances of success in all stages of your launch.
BEFORE THE LAUNCH
What do you want to achieve with the Product Hunt launch? That is the question that you need to answer before you even think of putting it up on Product Hunt. It is very obvious that everyone that launches on any of these platforms want success, but you need to figure out your personal success and what is achievable for you.
Whatever your objective may be, you should establish what metrics you want to track in advance to see whether your launch will be a success. Some metrics to think about include:
- Comments and reviews received
- Number of upvotes
- Number of downloads/active installs
- Referral traffic from social media and Product Hunt
- Mentioned in the media and on social media platforms
Once you have figured out what you want and how you will go about measuring it, you can begin to prepare your product, site, and any supporting materials to achieve your goals.
1) Prepare your product/website for the launch
The great thing about Product Hunt is that it connects you with your first real community of users. But, before you get to that point remember that your friends and family are your best cheerleaders. You should get your close community of peers outside of Product Hunt to test your product before launching it.
Before you go public, there are some things that you need to check out first:
Your product is ready to be tested:
This means that you have done your alpha testing and your product has no major bugs for its main function. Your product does not need to be perfect, but you should also try to find out which features are worth polishing. Things to look at could be; basic onboarding, the design, and the intuitive interface.
You have supporting materials prepared:
Along with your product, you have prepared a list of important content and FAQs for your potential customers that covers every aspect of your product.
Your social media platforms are functional:
Not only should you have created your social media profiles by now, but they should be fully functional and easy to use because they can help with market research and spread the word about your product.
Some products are free:
First of all, you need people to find your product, test it, review it, and publish their thoughts on Product Hunt and other channels. No one is going to pay money upfront for something that they don’t already know about. Try and create free trials and “freemium” models, as well as special offers for users even if you plan on implementing paid plans for your users in the future.
You have a Product Hunt page on your site:
If you have a website for your company, you can add a Product Hunt page to it to welcome users on all your platforms and you can even deliver an offer solely for them. The page that you create is the “go-to” place for delivering more information about your company and your product specifically to new users. It should be easy to understand and give your visitors an uncomplicated idea of what your product is.
2) Prepare yourself for Product Hunt community
The first thing you need to do is create your Product Hunt account and become a maker. From there, you can browse the website to see what other pages look like, what people are about, and how other makers are responding to user comments and reviews. You should also identify the super-active users and connect with them because they are the ones that will give you an accurate picture of the community and how to approach it.
You should learn everything you can about the environment that you are trying to emerge into by:
- Discovering new tools that you may be interested in
- Upvoting the tools that you find useful
- Leaving comments and reviews on the things that interest you.
3) Get your team onboard
If you have a team established for your company, you should teach your team about it and inform them about the benefits of it and the things that you require from them post launch. They should create their accounts 1-2 weeks before the launch. You should also prepare a newsletter describing your plans to work with Product Hunt and encourage them to create accounts as well.
4) Explain your product in detail
Even though you have a highly visual website, it may not be enough to convey information. You will also need to prepare an article or press release that is available on your website if your users want more information regarding your launch. You should also prepare an FAQ page to answer your testers’ most common questions about your product. It should be able to teach people about your product, how it can help them, among other things.
After you have done that, you should do things that promote your product like;
- Preparing screenshots that show your product in action
- Creating an entertaining explainer video or GIF
- Preparing visuals for a social media campaign
- Preparing explainer text/short description about the product
It is the day of the launch, it is time to give it your full attention. Here are the steps:
1) Publish your product on Product Hunt
This is probably the most important step of this process, you get one chance for this launch to be successful so you need to make it count. You have obviously already created your account on Product Hunt, from there get onto the Submit page and post the link to your product.
Add your primary link first, whether it links to the actual product, your website, or your official blog. You can add any subsequent links after if necessary. After that, it is mainly about aesthetic. You will need to add a tagline, it should clearly state what makes your product different and focus on the value to your audience. You have got about 60 characters or less, so make it count!
Other things that you need to take care of are:
- A thumbnail picture
- A gallery of visuals
- Social Links
2) Respond with high-quality comments
You are going to get all kinds of comments; congratulatory, positive, queries, and of course negative one. The important thing is how you respond to those comments. Whatever the comment may be, try to be specific and give details. Answer questions as well as you can, but if you receive negative comments, try to avoid being defensive. Communication is dialogue is very important for a successful launch.
3) Shout out on social media
Let people know about your Product Hunt launch. Use your social media platforms to engage with your community to let them know what Product Hunt is, why you chose it for your launch, and how they can get involved.
4) Don’t ask for upvotes
Ask for feedback, not upvotes. Feedback is generally honest and constructive and can be received from every type of person. Upvotes are generally from consumers who like you product.
After the launch
Once you have done everything that is part of the product launch, you can’t just ignore it. Like all other social media marketing, you need to measure all aspects of it. If you get featured on Product Hunt plus earn lots of good reviews, you can add the badge received to your site and to social media accounts. Another way to get publicity is to announce your campaign’s success on your social media platforms.
2) No harm in saying thank you
It is always important to be appreciative of the community that is helping you. Once the product is launched and comments are starting to trickle in, it is important to thank your users and members of the community for their votes and comments. Let them know that there were helpful and are important to you through the whole process.
3) Analyze your launch
This refers to the beginning of this section where I said that your work is never really done. You need to analyze your stats and measure referral traffic and the metrics that you established before your product launch. Get an idea of the web traffic, social media mentions, feedback received, etc. From there you can figure out the things that were successful and the things that need improving when you move forward.
Now that we have looked at the things to do through every phase of the Product Hunt product launch, let us take a look at
- What to post
- How to post
- How to get featured
- How to get upvotes when featured
What to post
From the strategies that successful launches on Product Hunt have presented, it shows that Product Hunt members have a very picky and specific demographic. For example, any type of webapp or research that has to do with entrepreneurship and startups, it is most likely to succeed. While products that are for a specific niche group that is not part of the startup community don’t seem to be doing too great.
How to post
You should spend some time researching and browsing top products to get some ideas and an understanding your community’s tone. Because of your previous research, you will be able to get your materials together for your Product Hunt profile, which should include:
- A product name and square logo
- The URL
- Concise tagline
- Media to demonstrate product’s functionality and story
How to get featured
Everyone knows that nowadays, the best way to get featured on any platform is through influencers. Product Hunt is no different, so in order to get featured you should get an influential maker to hunt your product. You should look for people who are currently working at Product Hunt, used to work on the platform, or anyone who has hunted top products. Create a great relationship with them and from there, they can help you get featured.
Another important thing is to make sure that your launch materials are cool, beautiful, and eye-catching. You want to stand out and also provide the adequate information for people to understand your product or service. Make sure that it is also innovative and shareworthy because even if you don’t find a top hunter, they will feature it if it is good.
Finally, you can also introduce your product through press coverage and blog posts to make it seem more legit. You can write an article explaining everything that went into your product or service, once you have written it you can link the article to your launch. Not only can you use your organic and owned media, but you can also tie in your earned media as well.
How to get upvotes once featured
According to the advice of successful startups, it is important to pick the right day to launch your product. Some have claimed that they were more successful with getting traffic for their product or service during the middle of the week, so try and do your research beforehand.
Once your post has gone live, it is important to write a casual comment that introduces yourself and your company. The thing to remember is that Product Hunt can be very casual, so try not to use complicated jargon and try to add personal stories to your intro.
Another trick that successful startups have done is getting your audience to upvote your launch before it gets featured at midnight. If you can get upvotes beforehand, you are more likely to appear in the Top 5 featured products.
Like every other type of business out there, it is important to look out for the competition. You need to be aware of every product that is out there in the market. The importance of checking out the competition is seeing what there is, but do not get discouraged by big companies in your market because they have been around for quite some time and they have the ability to attract more attention.
Product Hunt is way more than just rankings, it is also about upvotes and how much discussion your product generates in the marketing. The more people review, comment, and engage with your launch, the higher your ranking among the Featured products. In order to get people to re-engage with you and your products, you can have “conversations” with the people that comment on your posts.
Finally, it is important to publicize your launch with the people that are close to you. They will be your first fans and they will be there for you no matter what, so tell them about your business and they will support you in any shape or form.
Examples of successful launches on Product Hunt
Product launches can be difficult to do, but there are some that have come out on top. Here are some companies that we hope can inspire you to build and launch your product.
1) Digit- SMS bot that monitors your bank account & saves you money
Seems to be one of the simplest money-saving tools. All you need to do is connect your bank account and the app will analyze your spending and income to help you save small amounts of money. Since launching on Digit, the app has raised $36.3 million and has succeeded in the market.
2) Houseparty- (originally Meerkat)
If FaceTime was a social network, it would be Houseparty. During this time, it is ideal to chat with people through here. It makes it easier and lightweight to talk to loved ones. Since launching on Product Hunt, they launched around $50 million.
3) Front – Shared team inboxes to manager Email, Twitter, SMS & more
The main goal of Front is to reinvent the email inbox especially for teams. They originally built an inbox where multiple people can deal with emails that come through a main email address. Their set continues to expand, allows you to asign messages to co-workers and chat with your team. Since launching on Product Hunt, they have raised $10 million through Social Capital and have succeeded in creating startup capital and getting investors to be a part of their company.
4) StartUp – a narrative podcasting company
It began with two people creating a company and documenting it, the aim was to help listeners better understand the world and each other. Since launching on Product Hunt, they have listeners in about 190 countries around the world and are downloaded more than seven million times every month.
To get more information about Product Hunt and other successful case studies and be a part of the community. CLICK HERE
Product Hunt is a great way for any company to launch a new product because it is user-friendly and it is a way to get actual reviews and feedback from people that want to use it. While there may be other ways to promote and launch a product, try and consider using Product Hunt for your next launch, track the metrics and see whether it is worthwhile.