July 13, 2022

What no one tells you about Product Hunt!

What no one tells you about Product Hunt!
What no one tells you about Product Hunt!
Sudheer Bandaru

Like most founders, we were very excited to launch our product on Product Hunt and worked hard to be the #1 product of the day. Many people write about the process, so this article captures what no one talks about - the clear Why, KPIs of success, why #1 is a vanity metric, and if it's really worth the effort.

Having a clear WHY

Firstly, having a clear WHY we need to launch on Product Hunt is supercritical. The reasons could be:

  • Generate leads
  • Receive feedback
  • Launch Party!
  • Did I miss anything else?

Measuring success

If you have a clear Why, there's also an associated KPI to measure the campaign's success.

  • Generate leads - number of signups, inquiries, or newsletter subscriptions
  • Feedback - Learnt something you didn't know or got a new insight or product roadmap validation.
  • Launch party - Got an excellent shiny website, product out of stealth mode, robust application, and team motivation at the highest.

Why is being Product #1 of the day not a goal?

Now, one may ask, why is being Product #1 not part of the goal? But, firstly, why is ranking, like some may debate, a vanity metric more than anything else?

  • The ranking isn't a competition against similar products or companies - B2B vs. B2C vs. Web3 vs. hardware vs. XYZ.
  • The company stage could be different - someone with 200K customers who could come and upvote, vs. someone just starting where they wait for the community to come and upvote.
  • Getting a #1 rank doesn't give any tangible benefits - you don't get business based on this rank. One may argue that it's a great product, but the source of traffic that made it #1 matters a lot - friends and family vs. potential users in your target market.
  • Of course, being in the top 5 lets you stay on the home page before the fold. Top 12 lets you stay on the homepage without clicking on the 'view all products' link. Plus, you get to be part of their newsletter, which could generate good leads.

Fun fact: Unicorns and public companies that weren't #1 of the day - Zendesk was Product #4 & #2; Freshdesk #3; Ola - didn't make it to any top lists.

Does Product Hunt work?

  • I believe it works for anyone, and it mostly depends on the traffic (upvotes) you get to the page. You will not see any value if all the traffic is only from family and friends. As a B2B, we got a few dozen signups & inquiries, which was more than expected.
  • Within B2B, it depends on the type of audience you need (CxO vs. makers vs. managers) for your business, and you need to check if you have product/audience fit.
  • Easy to try products without any signup or other friction points could get more feedback, as folks can quickly test and share feedback. If it's not easy to try, the feedback would be limited based on the visuals and the text the company shares.

Is the effort worth it?

  • Yes, it's worth putting on Product Hunt, but people distracting their whole team for weeks (or months) may not justify the results. I have seen companies rallying all their teams for 2+ months, creating personal accounts, engaging with the community (for higher points), and distracting them from other initiatives only to see marginal benefits.
  • It's also a motivation for the team to get the complete product in a robust shape, build a fine-looking website and attractive landing pages, and achieve a lot of work overall.
  • Doing it the right way could provide great feedback from the community and target customers.
  • While we were Product #3 of the day, expecting under 10 free trial signups, we received over a few dozen registrations (these people started using the product) and over a dozen+ inquiries. It's much better than what a best-performing email campaign can give you in 2 weeks. Most importantly, it helped us reactivate our network and tell them about the launch.

If you have read until here, you're probably planning a Product Hunt launch soon, and we wish you all the best!

Written by
What no one tells you about Product Hunt!
Sudheer Bandaru
Founder, CEO

Sudheer started as a Software developer in Silicon Valley, worked at startups and large corporations like Merrill Lynch, AT&T, Hewlett Packard. Sudheer got into engineering leadership roles at startups that went IPO, led multiple M&As in the US, and managed remote global teams. During his career, there were many instances where he felt that a lack of data-driven culture for continuous improvement of processes led to poor gut-based decisions and costly mistakes. This problem led him to start Hivel Analytics which helps engineering teams continuously improve via access to critical metrics using interactive dashboards and actionable insights.

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