How to generate leads on Product Hunt

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On the surface, closing quotas and generating leads seem achievable for most SaaS companies. Yet 41% of the best-in-class B2B marketers consider lead generation as their biggest marketing challenge.

This is more so the case with new businesses which are often lead deprived, left with the coldest of cold leads.

Product Hunt Lead Generation

New businesses have to prove their product’s value first, making it more difficult for them to tap into their audience, let alone move them further into the sales funnel.

Without quick thinking and out-of-the-box marketing strategies, it’s hard to meet your goals. For new businesses, a good launch means getting a kickstart in the right direction.

Why is a good launch important?

A:  Your early adopters are your best customers. A good launch will give you a good base of customers.

B:  A good start accelerates your revenue goals.

So, how do you generate leads for a new product that is yet-to-be-launched?

One proven marketing strategy that has worked for many, is showcasing your product on trusted, community-driven platforms.

And, for technology businesses, that platform is Product Hunt. We’ll tell you how and why.

Product Hunt surfaces the best new products, every day. It’s a place for product-loving enthusiasts to share and geek out about the latest mobile apps, websites, hardware projects, and tech creations.

Product Hunt Logo

Product Hunt’s reach and popularity remain unmatched. There aren’t many platforms that have the power to get sign-ups, create a spike in traffic and grab the attention of leading media publications all at once.

Even if your product is a simple “Emoji Mask!” (Yeah, they are a thing.)

Emoji Masks Product Hunt
Source: Emoji Masks

In this article, we’re going to share a workable (and legit) framework for identifying potential leads from Product Hunt.

This framework contains tips, tricks, and steps we’ve learned, come across, and even figured out for ourselves — hacks we believe in and those we’d like you to stay clear of.

Let’s get cracking, shall we?

Navigate this post

  1. Lead Generation using the ‘Upcoming’ section on Product Hunt
    1. Amplifying Social Proof to attract more leads
    2. Get top ‘Hunters’/’Makers’ with massive followers to subscribe
    3. Add a Landing Page
    4. Include a ‘Sweet Deal’ to encourage opt-in
  2. Lead Generation using Product Hunt Ship Pro
    1. Play with widgets
    2. Use Product Hunt Messages
  3. Lead Generation using Product Hunt Listing
    1. Get talking on “Ask Product Hunt”
    2. Choose your ‘Hunter’ wisely
    3. Launch tips from Top ‘Hunters’
    4. Increase visibility by hunting at the right time
    5. Offer your best deal to attract more leads
    6. Prepare your landing page for Product Hunt traffic
    7. Supercharge your promotion
  4. Respect the Community

Lead Generation using the ‘Upcoming’ section on Product Hunt

A product that’s yet to resonate with its audience has a limited chance of getting a sign-up.

Product Hunt ‘Upcoming’ eases this hurdle by providing Makers (that is, you) a showcase of sorts.

In the words of Product Hunt, this platform was built to “give the community a preview of tomorrow’s next 🔥 products, and ‘Makers’ an opportunity to build an audience and collect feedback before their public debut. 🚀”

Product Hunt’s ‘Upcoming’ platform helps new products get the initial traction by assisting them in generating leads.

Each time a user subscribes to your product’s ‘Upcoming,’ Product Hunt shares their email credentials with you.

Product Hunt Upcoming Discord
Source: Product Hunt

That’s not all.

There are additional ways to amplify the number of leads that come your way.

Here’s how:

#1 Amplifying social proof to attract more leads

Our purchase decisions are driven by ‘social proof,’ and this works as a great tactic to attract potential leads.

Here again, here are two ways to achieve it with Product Hunt Upcoming.

By showing a higher number of subscribers on your Upcoming landing page

You can achieve this by importing your existing email list. Product Hunt’s Upcoming sign-up allows and encourages Makers to use this tactic for two purposes; to instantly increase the number of subscribers (they appear at the bottom of your product’s Upcoming page), and to attract a whole bunch of new subscribers.

Product Hunt Upcoming Viral Loops
Source: Product Hunt

Viral Loops leveraged social proof to attain more subscribers for their upcoming playbook.

Adding social proof to your landing page copy

Another creative way to influence users to subscribe to your product is by adding ‘authority’ to your copy.

If you are an ex-Googler, say it. If you had a stint at Y Combinator, talk about it. It adds volume to the credibility of your product and encourages potential users to subscribe.

#2 Get top ‘Hunters’/’Makers’ with massive followers to subscribe

If your product gets an endorsement from top Hunters and Makers (think Ryan Hoover, Hiten Shah, and the like), it echoes sentiments of credibility, and adds trustworthiness to your yet-to-be-launched product.

Followers Notification

Unfortunately, there isn’t a hack to achieve this. And there shouldn’t be one too.

Product Hunt is a vibrant community and only your relationship-building chops can get you massive followers and traction. Review other products, give feedback, share tips and tricks. Be present.

#3 Add a Landing Page

Preferably one that provides all the information — the name of the product, value propositions, and benefits — required for a visitor to understand your product.

If you are using Product Hunt Ship, you can create one that’s specific to the platform.

Here’s an example:

Product Hunt Upcoming SuperHuman
Source: Product Hunt

With Ship, you can create fully customized landing pages in minutes. When built with Ship, Makers can also A/B test landing pages for conversions.

The best part about the Upcoming landing page is that every subscriber helps spread the word by sending a notification to their followers within the community.

How can you further intensify the leads coming from the ‘Upcoming’ landing page?

The straightforward approach is by driving traffic to the product’s website. The website link can be entered while setting up the Upcoming page and it looks like a hyperlink👇 when live.

Product Hunt Upcoming ProductVoice
Source: Product Hunt

An Upcoming page is an excellent platform for visibility. Unfortunately, you can only share limited information about your product (60 characters to be precise) using this platform.

Given that most visitors need a whole lot of information before they even subscribe to your product, a website link can create a better opportunity for Makers to educate them.

Think of this as a means to not only attract new traffic to your website but also to showcase your product offering to the visitor to get them to sign up for your list! All you need is a smart copy and CTA.

Remember, any website traffic at this stage is an opportunity to generate new leads for your business.

#4 Include  a ‘sweet deal’ to encourage opt-in

Several ‘Makers’ have leveraged ‘Upcoming’ as an opportunity to attract more sign-ups by offering a sweet deal to subscribers, like the one below:

Product Hunt Upcoming GrowthScore
Source: Product Hunt

Offer a discount, a freebie or access to an exclusive Slack community/ FB group.  Get creative with your offering to encourage opt-in.

More importantly, don’t miss adding an element of urgency to your copy. An offer that’s exclusive is bound to attract more leads than one that’s open for all.

#5 Share your offer

Now, this is a no-brainer.

We’re going to add it to the list nonetheless.

Almost 80% of your visibility will depend on how much effort you put into sharing your offer with your network. Sharing your Upcoming pages on social media (FB groups, Twitter) or in communities like Slack can increase your subscriber numbers significantly.

You can even write a story on Medium and link it to your Upcoming page.

We all know that subscribers = leads. 🔥🔥🔥

Lead Generation using Product Hunt Ship

Ship is a new toolkit launched by Product Hunt. It offers a range of features for Makers, to engage and learn from their subscribers.

Here’s how Makers can use Ship to generate more leads.

#1 Play with widgets

The Ship Widget (available as a feature with Pro and SuperPro plans) can be embedded on your site, blog or web app and can be used to attract further interest and leads.

The Makers own all the leads that are generated via the widget.

Here’s the widget in action:

Product Hunt Chat Widget Lead Generation

Source: Zach Holman

#2 Use Product Hunt Messages

Product Hunt allows ‘Makers’ to share messages with their subscribers if they’ve signed up for Ship’s Pro or Superpro plan.

Any dialogue with your subscribers is an opportunity for you to seek feedback as well as inform them about your product’s development. It also serves as an opportunity to build a community even before your product is shipped out.

Product Hunt Upcoming Messages
Source: Product Hunt

Lead Generation using Product Hunt Listing

If you’re ready with your product and have plans to launch, this section is for you.

We have added a few tactics that we’ve used in the past, which has helped us generate a sizeable number of leads.

There are several best practices when you launch your product on Product Hunt, and while none can guarantee sizeable upvotes or a ranking, being mindful of them can get your product much-needed visibility and leads.

Here are a few different tactics you can try:

Don’t treat your ‘hunt day’ as a one day party

Product Hunt is all about its community.

So, if you want to treat your hunt day as a one day party, you are in trouble. Most successful Makers are active and engaged members of the community. The more visibility you have, the more interest others will show in your product.

 

Top things you can do:

  • Create a list of mentors and advisors and start interacting with their products
  • Approach the community for feedback—get talking
  • Hunt products by other ‘Makers’ and build new relationships
  • Comment, upvote or ask questions on other threads

#1 Get talking on “Ask Product Hunt”

Product Hunt Ask Lead Generation
Source: Product Hunt Ask

“Ask Product Hunt” is a pit stop for product recommendation and advice from the community. You can ask questions, refer products and even follow threads.

As a ‘Maker’, this is yet another opportunity for you to get talking to members and engage with them on a deeper level.

#2 Choose your ‘Hunter’ wisely

There are two schools of thought here.

Product Hunt claims that the influence of a ‘Hunter’ does not impact upvotes in any way and, in the end, it’s the usefulness of the product that decides its fate.

But many find it to be otherwise, given that the popular trend is to rope in an ‘influencer’ or a ‘popular Hunter’ to push the product forward.

Sign up as a contributor and go ahead and hunt your product.

Product Hunt Contributor
Source: Product Hunt

Alternatively, use tools like 500 Hunters to find the right ‘Hunter’.

Product Hunt Top Hunters 500 Hunters

Most ‘Hunters’ have open DMs on Twitter, and you can connect with them instantly, but not at the cost of being spammy.

Product Hunt Top Hunters Kevin William David Chris Messina Ben Tossell Hiten Shah

Seasoned ‘Hunters’ usually have a ‘launch form’ of sorts on their website which can be used to share all the product information. Usually, Product ‘Hunters’ prefer this tactic and consider it less spammy.  Product Hunt Top Hunter Chris Messina

You can also use a tool like Nicetohuntyou which provides a weekly email introduction to a fellow Product Hunt member so you can build a relationship before the launch.

Product Hunt Nice to Hunt You

Another way to reach a ‘Hunter’ is by registering on PHGlobal and tapping one of them via their Slack community.

#3 Launch Tips from Top ‘Hunters’

We recently spoke to Kevin David William (#1 Product ‘Hunter’, globally) who shared his Product Hunt launch tips and best practices for approaching top ‘Hunters’.

Product Hunt Kevin William David Top Hunter

Here’s what he said:

One of the basic checks for any Maker should be to make sure that his/her product suits the Product Hunt audience. It’s a community of developers, designers, product managers, founders, and marketers. If the product resonates with either of them, it will do well.

He further added:

Don’t forget to pitch the USP of the product on your landing page. Also, focus on the tagline and thumbnail of your product.

Kevin also suggested reaching out to a Hunter at least a week or two in advance, because of the volume of requests they receive.

Bram Kanstein, ‘Maker’ of the most upvoted product of all times on Product Hunt and a popular ‘Hunter’, shared his two cents about launching on Product Hunt and approaching ‘Hunters’.

A few things that aren’t a great way to start a conversation with a ‘Hunter’ is sending lengthy emails, not sharing any links and not making their message personal.

Also, many folks ask for upvotes which is a definite no on Product Hunt. The idea is to get your product discovered organically and let people see value in it.

#4 Increase visibility by hunting at the right time

Product Hunt claims there’s no best time to hunt.

However, here’s the thing.

Posting at the right time increases your chances of being discovered, and, if matched with a good promotion strategy (we’ll talk about it later), can increase your chances of getting featured.

The algorithm follows a 24hr cycle and a new product gets added at 12.01 am PST. The best practice is to hunt before 9 am PST.

#5 Offer your best deal to attract more leads

We can’t harp enough on the benefits of adding a deal to the launch. A good deal on launch day not only promises more leads but also tells visitors that you are a serious and credible business.

 

Source: Algolia

#6 Prepare your landing page for Product Hunt traffic

‘Makers’ are often unprepared for Product Hunt launch day traffic. Creating a dedicated landing page for the Product Hunt community will help you successfully convert first-time visitors into buyers/subscribers.

Set the right web capture forms, CTAs, chat widgets, and exit-intent popups to convert this influx of visitors. Injecting humor/gamification into CTAs can increase the chance of conversions too.

Top things you can do:

  • Use gamification in your CTA

Here’s a look at Spin the Wheel style CTA that can work wonders with your Product Hunt launch. You can use a tool like JustUno to create one.

Source: Product Hunt
  • Set up remarketing campaigns with Facebook pixel so that you can retarget your website visitors.
  • Gently nudge your website visitors to leave a comment on your Product Hunt launch page, just like Konsus.
Source: Konsus

#7 Supercharge your promotion

Better promotion = Higher visibility = Quality Leads. 📌

Share your product’s launch on Facebook & Twitter

Sharing on Social is a no-brainer. Product Hunt discourages asking people directly to upvote your product. However, you can still try a different approach by getting creative with it.

Highlight the benefits of your product in tweets and posts rather than blatantly asking for upvotes. Your product features should be your biggest hook.

  • Use a nifty GIF—everyone loves them!

  • Tell a story, make it personal—talk about the whys and the hard work you’ve put in to create that product.
  • Share your product launch on Facebook groups. Remember, don’t spam or join just for the launch.
Source: Startup Product Launches
  • Spend some money on ads to magnify your launch.
  • Live stream your Product Hunt launch. Get interactive and ask people to join in.
  • Promote the product in Slack communities. However, use only authorized channels to do so.

  • Don’t abuse your email list. Instead, use pop-ups or chat widgets on your website to announce your launch and let your website visitors make a decision.

Your up-voters are early supporters of your product. Remember to reach out to them on Twitter or LinkedIn and find out if they would be interested to join your community to provide regular feedback.

Evaluate your competitor’s launch – Make a list of your competitors and study their launches.

Get talking to folks who have engaged with them previously and plug in your product as an alternative —  but not at the cost of their launch.

Look out for subreddits like r/startups and r/sideprojects

Respect the Community

Building and sustaining a robust community like Product Hunt can be difficult. We really respect and appreciate the Product Hunt Team for having created a platform for developers, designers, marketers, and founders to come together.

Product Hunt Team

The tactics above, if implemented correctly without hurting the community, can really enhance your lead generation process.

Is there a strategy or technique that helped you generate more leads via Product Hunt? Let us know in the comments below or write to me at nivas.ravichandran@freshworks.com.


Freshsales is a sales CRM built to help you stop juggling multiple tools. It’s ideal for small businesses and refreshing for enterprises. 

Thanks to Madhumita Prabhakar for helping in editing the article!

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