Last night, Product Hunt had over 1,000 people show up at its first happy hour since its Andreesen Horowitz-led A Round.
Message: Product Hunt (PH) is big, and it’s only going to get bigger.
We felt about as good about the learnings from our first PH Exclusive as the Product Hunt kitty does about his glasses. (He loves his glasses.)
With an estimated 11.9M visits in December, it gets as much traffic as Hacker News and Recode.net combined.While not quite mainstream yet —Wired received 45M views in December, for comparison — its well on its way. Perhaps even more importantly, the Product Huntteam has fostered an engaged and prestigious community, full of rock starventure capitalists (not limited to Brad Feld and Dave McClure) and, more importantly, the product creators themselves.
Due to both its popularity and the helpfulness of communal discourse in early product development, Product Hunt is an important stepin the launch of a technical product. When I was charged with launching Unbabel Newsletters, ourMailChimp integration, Iwaslooking into the details of posting on Product Hunt as soon as the unit tests passed.
If there is one downside to Product Hunt, its how tough it isto land one of the topfive or ten spots at the top of thepage. While appearing farther down isn’t a complete failure, thecommunity’s comments and most referral traffic tend to skew towardthe top Hunts of the day. But evenlanding on the site at all is no small feat. As made clear in the sites FAQs, PH receives hundreds of posts per day and only 30 or so make it to the community, meaning the posted products are generally very strong. So Product Hunt is competitive in general, butespecially so when you’re trying to land in thetop 5.
The customized landing page for Product Hunt referral traffic, including the PH Exclusive of $5 off yourfirst translation.
When we were looking into launching Unbabel Newsletters, in order to maximize our chances of landing one of the coveted top spots, we decided to offer a Product Hunt Exclusive: $5 of free translations to all PHers that signed up for our MailChimp integration. According to Ryan Hoover (CEO of Product Hunt), this is one of the best ways to improve your ranking on the site. Exclusives are still fairly uncommonon PH so the little gold star next to your post indicating either early access or special discounts tend to draw attention. While an exclusive does not guarantee success, everylittle bit helps when competing for community attention.
Product Hunt CEO Ryan Hoover responds to support requests as if he were Chuck Norris.
Aside from the gold star, the biggest benefits of the exclusive are the direct line of contactwith Ryan Hoover and the PH team. After submitting a request to firstname.lastname@example.org, we received an email from Ryan himself walking us through the steps and detailing theadvance scheduling of the post. Ryan is extremely helpful, and answers all questions with impressive speed — its almost like the guy doesnt sleep. For instance, I work from Lisbon, Portugal, andafter posting, I realized a misspelling in our tagline and sent Ryan an email. It was probably in the middle of night in San Francisco, but within minutes, Ryan had it corrected. That’s some ninja sh*t. Also, thanks to our contact with Ryan and the team, knowing when the post would appear allowed us to properly promote it and earn the key early upvotes that allowed us to quickly make the top five.
As of this writing, our posting has 177upvotes, 8 comments (5 from the community), and sits at number five for January 7th, 2015. We received 1831 unique visitors, 36 of which signed up for our MailChimp integration. Our product landed on the Top Hunts email the next day, leading to a similar number of referral views (1732). We were also added to a community members Email Marketing collection. More than twoweeks later, we are still seeing between 1015 referral views per day.
A look at the PH Effect statistics on Unbounce
Admittedly, our Product Hunt launch didfall short of ourinitial expectations of 100+ signups. Butthose expectations were probably unrealisticgiven that Product Hunts community is a wide spectrum of people from the technology industry. To receive even a third of that for a business-oriented product with a specific use case (international email marketing) was still pretty exciting. Not to mention that the value of appearing on Product Hunt cannot be measured simply in signups, though those can be substantial in certain cases. Rather, the real benefit in a successfulPH post is in the exposure to an intelligent, thoughtful community of dedicated early product enthusiasts. Their quality of feedback is outstanding.
Weve already begun planning our next PH posting (for a separateproduct), and are excited to use everything weve learned, which we want to share with you. In order to keep things readable, weve organized ourideas into a checklist:
1. Launch as an exclusive— Provide a real, instantly usable benefit to the Product Hunt readers
2. Make a temporary landing page tailored to Product Hunt — Explain in detail what your product does, how to use it, and why it is cool (not everyone will use your product, but theyll upvote itif they think its interesting)
3. Have at least one or two people dedicate the majority of launch day to answering questions and responding to feedback—Trust me. Do it.
4. Share the launch with everyone in your network —The PH team usually tweets about exclusives, which is perfect for sharing/retweeting.
5. Triple check your tagline —This may be the only thing some readers see, so it should be descriptive enough to convey the value of your product and not contain any misspellings or grammatical errors
Of these, we got #1, #3, and #4 right the first time. The other two we screwed up, and had to scramble to correct while in the middle of the launch. Luckily, we were able to make the changes quickly but we still potentially lost some views due to these mistakes.
Product Hunt is poised to explode in 2015, and we plan to make it a regular part of product launches at Unbabel. The PH team is awesome, the community is helpful and engaged, and the publicity is free and growing. If you plan to launch anything this year, make sure PH is part of your strategy. When done right, it can have an enormous impact.
Curious about using our MailChimp integration to engage your international audience? Check it out here: Unbabel Newsletters.