March 5, 2024

What we learnt from launching on Product Hunt for the first time

Our First Launch on Product Hunt


As you may by now be aware, we launched Strabo on Product Hunt last week for the first time. We received 424 upvotes and 191 comments, putting us as one of the top products of the day. We were overwhelmed with support, both on and off the platform - the process really reminded us of the power of community and how many people there are rooting for us.

That being said, there were certainly some lessons we took from the process, and things that we will bear in mind for next time. A simple Google search will tell you that software companies have written ad nauseam about how to launch on PH so we’ll try and keep our learnings fairly specific and address some things which are now no longer true.

Pre Launch

  • We spent a solid amount of time looking for a suitable hunter with a large social presence and a background in products similar to ours. Our no1 target for this was Ben Lang, an early Notion hire and the head of community there. He liked the product and agreed to hunt it, but we discovered that having a great hunter no longer adds as much value as it used to.

    In days gone by, when a hunter hunted a product, all their followers would get a notification. This is no longer the case. Of course, it’s still useful to have a reputable hunter as a seal of approval, but it no longer carries the cachet it used to.
  • Send out at least two emails beforehand - one inviting your audience to sign up to PH, and one with a calendar invite to the big day a week before. PH punishes you for having too much activity from newly created accounts, so it’s important that those who want to support you create their accounts well in advance.
  • Make a checklist of people to reach out to on the day. One surprising group of people we had success with is vendors! If you’re spending money with companies, they’re often very keen to keep you happy and are very responsive with things like comments and votes
  • Details matter! Spend time carefully preparing your launch materials. We aimed for 2x videos (one Loom walkthrough, one presentation style), and 4 slides with features
  • Set up a pre-launch page early! We ended up doing this a few days before, and definitely could have had more success setting it up a few weeks in advance. Everyone who clicks here gets notified when you launch, so it’s a good way of engaging people
  • Start upvoting other people’s products and reaching out to them in advance of your launch. Build good karma with them and they’ll repay it - you could ask them to click notify on yours in return for a comment, this is a good trade to make. We had a load of messages from founders on launch day doing this, and it was something we didn’t have time to think about
  • Set up a promotion with a carefully chosen influencer beforehand - this is much better than a paid ad, which probably won’t do too well for one day as it won’t have time to optimise for the right audience, and PH launches are for quite a specific set of people. Make sure you have control over the time that this goes out, so you can use it for a boost if needed.

Launch Day

  • Reply 2x or 3x to each comment with different team members. The comments will come rolling in quickly, and you need to answer them straight away, often with multiple team members. This increases the engagement metrics, encourages a reply and allows different team members to chime in on their area of expertise. Visually, it also gives the impression that the page is bustling with activity.
  • Charge money for your product! We weren’t quite ready to start charging by the time the launch came round, but it’s a great chance to offer discounts and convert some users to paid. If you’re very early stage, you’ll likely have not had this much activity on your product before, and it’s important not to waste it
  • Save some gunpowder for later in the day. We heard so much about focusing on the first few hours, that we didn’t really save much for the rest of the day. This is particularly relevant for those in Europe - the platform opens at 8am GMT which means we were perfectly placed to have a good morning rush as people checked their messages when they woke up. As the US began to rise, American companies started to catch up. While it is certainly true that if you don’t start off near the top, you’re unlikely to do well, it is also important to hold something back. See influencer campaign point above - we could have done with an afternoon / evening boost when we went to sleep.
  • Schedule your posts! You should set up as many of your posts as you can beforehand. We had posts for 100, 200, 300 and 400 upvotes ready to go when we reached those milestones, as well as an influencer video ready to post.

Post Launch

  • It takes one launch to really get the hang of things, build up a profile and figure out your cadence. So we’d suggest launching as soon as possible, even if you don’t feel ready. You can only launch on PH every 6 months, so the sooner you get your first one done, the sooner you can do your second.
  • Everyone who upvotes your product in launch 1 automatically becomes a follower of the company on PH. So they’ll be notified of future launches. This means that each subsequent launch you do should go out to more people, giving you a bigger reach. You can communicate with your first launch that this is an introduction to PH, and list some of the features you’ll be building. As long as you’re honest about the stage you’re at, this shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Follow up with every user. We manually emailed every individual user who signed up from PH in the following days, thanking them for their support and asking for feedback. Engagement is much better when it’s a typed email than an automated one from Mailchimp (with an ugly unsubscribe button at the bottom) - people love a personal touch!
  • Set up Mixpanel or something similar beforehand so you can track some core KPIs from the users you gain at launch. These are all sophisticated users who are much more experienced with using software products than regular folk, and should hopefully provide some good insights to user behaviour. We also like Livesession, which allows you to monitor on page behaviour, button and page activity, and rage clicks / errors.


So in summary - PH launch was certainly a success, and we are very glad we decided to get it done and not hold off. That being said, the platform isn’t quite what it used to be. Companies are gaming the system, and many pay for spam users to upvote and comment - have a look through the comments on many of PH’s top products for an example of this. In fact, we knew this was happening as we had many such offers from salespeople during the day to boost us up (all of which we declined).

It used to be the case where the best products would naturally rise to the top, but that is no longer true. That being said, the platform is certainly useful and we gained some users who will stay using Strabo for a very long time from it! It’s also a very useful experience for a company to have deadlines to work towards

Here are our stats:

PH Page:
1500 page visits
210 new signups

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