Apps are an indispensable part of a company’s digital marketing landscape. Launching your app gives you credibility to your brand and bring your customers within a swipe and tap to your products and services. Mobile apps are also vital tools to keep your finger on the pulse of customer needs.
Every app or minimum viable product (MVP) has three success metrics:
- Highest visibility to your target audience
- Highest possible downloads
- Favorable and positive reviews from users
One part of this success is down to the design and user experience (UX) of your app, while the other and equally significant element is the platform used to launch your app. Let’s look at why your app should launch on Product Hunt and how you can ensure a successful launch.
Why Should You Launch Your App on Product Hunt?
Product Hunt is a website that features new tech products in a daily feed, with the top five products of the day listed on the home page. The Product Hunt community consists of “hunters” who are key influencers and their tech-enthusiastic followers.
The Product Hunt audience is made up of the innovators and early adopters of new technology who can help in creating awareness, buzz, and hype for your product. Based on the hunters’ recommendations, the early adopters can download, review, and upvote your product.
The top five products of the day get listed in the daily email sent to a subscriber base of over 500,000. How’s that for creating awareness, buzz, and hype?!
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Product Hunt helps in jumpstarting your app before you launch it on mass-market platforms like Google and Apple Play stores. It helps in bridging the chasm between the early adopter market and the main market. Without this initial traction, your new app is liable to get lost amongst the 1.8 million apps on each platform.
How Does the Product Hunt Algorithm Work When You Launch Your App?
Meritocracy is at the heart of the Product Hunt algorithm, and the users’ quality perception, based on upvotes and reviews, drives the ranking of your product.
There is a three-tier hierarchy among users. An upvote from the highest category user counts for more than those from users in the lower tiers. The algorithm uses the following hierarchy to classify users:
- Can hunt + review + vote
- Can review + vote
- Can only vote
A user can move to a higher group by either joining a waiting list or receiving an invitation from a user in the higher group.
Each company gets a dedicated product page with links to its website and product download. Each page has tabs for upvoting and text boxes for reviews and comments. The page also has a section for comments from hunters and the makers of the product.
The Product Hunt day begins at midnight PST and ends at 11:59 P.M. The basic idea is to get as many upvotes and favorable reviews as you can in this period.
A top 15 finish will get your product listed in the “Popular” section the following day, in addition to a mention on Product Hunts’s Twitter feed and its push notification. A top five finish gets you a homepage listing, listing in the daily email, and a mention on all social media platforms.
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While the actual algorithm is proprietary, some likes and dislikes of the algorithm are listed below.
- Positive reviews, votes, and hunts from the top hunters
- Upvotes that follow the organic discovery of the product
- Product Hunt staff who elevate your product to the featured page
- Upvotes in the first half of the day
- Lots of comments and an ongoing discussion on your product
- A large number of viewers who clicked on the link to your website
- Aggressive upvote generation from multiple platforms
- Lots of upvotes from new or lowest tier users
- Upvotes from users who don’t visit your website
- Upvoting from direct links
In some extreme cases, the algorithm can put your company and product on a blacklist, so pay close attention to the dislikes.
How Do You Find an Excellent Hunter for Your App Launch?
A hunter is a person who submits your product on Product Hunt. Finding the right hunter with a high ranking and interest in your product niche is half the battle won. Each hunter has thousands of followers, and once the hunter selects your product, all their followers are automatically updated. Straight off the bat, you’re starting with a few thousand potential users who now know about your product.
You can start your hunters search with the regularly updated top 500 hunters list. A good email ID finder would help you get the email addresses of top hunters and then you can reach out to them with personalized emails.
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This comprehensive list of influential hunters will allow you to shortlist candidates based on their experience in your space. As a general rule, make a shortlist of at least five hunters, and contact them via their Twitter and Facebook handles or through live events and Slack groups.
Keep the following guidelines in mind when you approach a hunter:
- Hunters like quality products. Products that will end up with a high rank add their credibility and influence quotient.
- Be concise in your communication and respect their time.
- Follow up without spamming them.
- Communicate the name of your product (max 60 characters), the URL of your website, and the link for the product download.
- Include a tagline of what your product does and the problem it solves.
- Mention all the platforms your product runs on, such as Android, Apple, Windows, etc.
- Include 5-6 screenshots of your product that highlight its UI and functionality.
- List all the benefits you are willing to give to the Product Hunt community.
Take feedback from the hunters on board because, at the end of the day, they have more experience than you on Product Hunt.
Pre-Launch Activities and Selecting Your App Launch Date and Time
Ideally, your pre-launch activities would start about three months before the day you want to launch on Product Hunt.
D-Day Minus Three Months: Register and Participate
The first thing you need to do before you launch on Product Hunt is to create your user account. As per the community guidelines, everyone has to start with an individual account, and no company logo or branding is allowed.
Sign up for the Product Hunt newsletter to get instant access to voting and writing reviews. After a week, you can request to change your status to a maker so that you can use company branding and include links to your product or app.
Get an additional 25-30 of your colleagues, friends, and company staff to sign on. They are your core army for upvoting and reviewing down the line. Become active participants in the Product Hunt community, which includes joining discussions, downloading products, and writing reviews.
D-Day Minus Two Months: Product, Website, and Online Followers
Focus on beta testing your app to get feedback and make the required tweaks. Upgrade your website to make sure that the UI is friendly and easy to navigate. You are preparing to delight the hundreds of viewers who will visit your site post-launch.
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Build your base of online followers on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, and build your mailing list if you don’t have one. Identify influential users on Product Hunt who have used and reviewed similar products, communicate with them, and regularly update them on the upcoming launch of your app.
D-Day Minus One Week
Start sharing clear and concise messaging with your audience. This includes your launch date, how to download the app, links to the page for upvoting, and writing reviews.
Create an Excel sheet with the following columns:
- Social Media Handle
- Contact Mode
The categories could include influencer, friend, acquaintance, and team member. Social media handles are what you will use to update your fan base. Contact mode could include email, DM, phone, and so on. The status column ensures that the contact is informed and allows you to follow up for seeking upvotes.
Set your launch date once you are comfortably on track with the pre-launch activities. You do not want to fix a launch date and spread the word only to discover that you are way behind in your schedule.
Mondays and Tuesdays are good days to launch on Product Hunt and the best time to launch is at the start of the day, midnight PST.
Build an Upcoming Page on Product Hunt
While driving traffic to your product page is important on launch day, it helps to start a couple of weeks earlier by building an upcoming page on Product Hunt.
Your pre-launch page will help in generating interest and buzz around your upcoming launch. Direct traffic from your website and internally from Product Hunt to this page.
Launch Day Activities
So you’ve reached the big day. Congratulations! Start by dividing your troops into two teams. The first team will focus on spreading the information that you have launched, while the second team will focus on engaging and interacting with the users on your product page.
The team starts with mass messaging activities, newsletters via email, and posting on social media. Advise your contacts that your app has launched on Product Hunt and enclose the links to your product page. Make sure you ask for comments and upvotes.
The team would then move on to contacting primary contacts, such as friends, with personalized messages. With very close friends, you can even call them for a one-on-one.
This team is in charge of monitoring user activity on your page and website, responding to feedback, and answering questions. Make sure your product page and website are linked to your analytics for more in-depth insight. Keep the following factors in mind:
- Responding to queries and comments helps in receiving valuable feedback
- The Product Hunt algorithm factors in response time when deciding which product will make it to the featured page
- Ensure all team members are listed as makers, and they need to take control of all conversations
- A good opening statement explains the core purpose of the product and the problem it solves.
Devote the second half of the day to monitoring your upvotes and following up with contacts who have not yet upvoted. Contact your network of influencers and hunters and request that they upvote your product.
4 Post Product Launch Activities
POP! The cork is out of the champagne bottle because you have successfully launched your app on Product Hunt and made it to the top five list. What comes next?
1. Gather Feedback, Update and Test
User feedback tells you what people liked and disliked about your product. This is the time to update your product and test it with your user base. Analytics is also a valuable source of information on user behavior that may not be included in the direct feedback.
2. Marketing and Advertising
A good idea needs high visibility and exposure. If your company has deep pockets and funding, then go the whole hog with print, TV, and paid social media advertising. However, in most cases, the new product is launched by a startup on a shoestring budget. That should not deter you.
Inbound marketing is what you should focus on. This includes posting on social media, creating and releasing blog posts, and running email campaigns to generate organic interest in your product.
3. Post-Launch Support
Nurturing your product or app is as important as developing it. A dedicated sysadmin team that engages with users to monitor, maintain, and support your product, helps in raising user satisfaction and building your brand image.
4. Fund Raising
As a startup, it always helps to keep your funding one step ahead of your expenses. Post-launch expenses like upgrading the app, marketing, and hiring a larger dedicated team are all expenses that need to be accounted for. The good news is that a successful implementation of the proof of concept will make sourcing funds a simpler process.
Planning + Strategy = Product Hunt Success!
No one said that it would be easy to launch Product Hunt, but now that you are armed with these tips and strategies, it will make your launch process a bit easier. Just remember to allow yourself plenty of time, plan thoroughly, and be strategic at every stage. Good Luck!