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#13: The Product Hunt Playbook

The year began with an explosion of AI products.

ChatGPT reached a level of mass awareness no previous AI-driven content or product had achieved. Every tech company was racing to take advantage of this hot trend.

And our team at Kajabi was no exception. We’d already started building AI inside the product, but we wanted to move even quicker.

So, in January, we issued ourselves a challenge: how could we solve a customer problem with AI and get it into the hands of creators as quick as possible?

This week, we launched the newly built AI Creator Hub on Product Hunt and secured a spot on the Top 3 Products of the Day.

Here’s the playbook we ran to go from idea to winning launch in less than two months.

Channel Selection

In order to amplify the reach of the AI Creator Hub, we knew we had to go beyond our traditional customer channels. And since the product was free for all creators, not just customers, we wanted to explore new channel expansion.

We landed on Product Hunt for a few reasons:

  • It has a large audience of entrepreneurs, creators and makers - all personas who could benefit from the value of our product

  • Product Hunt users are actively looking for new and exciting products to try (they make great early adopters)

  • Free and freemium products tend to perform particularly well on Product Hunt

  • The upside was high - if your product performs well on launch day, the Product Hunt team features it on their social channels and in their daily digest of 500,000+ subscribers the next day

The secret to a successful Product Hunt launch is landing a spot on the list of top products of the day. If you’re in one of the top 5 spots, you’ll receive the additional promotion mentioned above.

It’s not an easy task - on average, you’re competing with at least 40 other products that are launching the same day.

Product Hunt Playbook

Products with a high quantity and quality of upvotes rise to the top on Product Hunt. Your ability to secure a top spot will rely on capturing both upvotes and comments from Product Hunt users (ideally those who are regularly active on the platform). Here’s what you’ll need to do to get there:

Prepare Your Listing

Product Hunt launches require a ton of pre-launch planning and effort (shoutout to Emily and Steph on my PMM team who hustled to set us up for success!). Start planning your launch strategy at least a few weeks before the launch date. This includes setting up a coming soon page, preparing marketing materials, and building buzz around the product. Participate in the Product Hunt community ahead of your launch by commenting and upvoting other products - this will help you get a feel for what works well, and what doesn’t.

Rally Support for the Launch

You’ll want to start encouraging your coworkers, customers and network to create a Product Hunt account as early as possible. Product Hunt rewards engagements from users who are active on the platform, and may actually penalize you if a ton of new accounts upvote your product. Have folks sign up at least two weeks in advance, and ask them to play around on the platform. It’s important that you don’t directly ask for upvotes (this is frowned upon). Instead, ask for support and feedback on your product!

Select a Date and Time

Identify the launch day: choose a day that has high traffic on Product Hunt, such as Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The ideal time to launch is 12:01 am PT, in order to capture both the European and North American market. This means an all nighter for at least some members on your team. Some say that the first hour on Product Hunt is the most important - if you can drive early engagement via upvotes and comments, you can keep the momentum going throughout the day.

Find an Experienced Hunter

In order to post a product on Product Hunt, it needs to be “hunted”. In the past, the success of your launch was largely determined by the importance of your hunter. However, this is not necessarily the case anymore. Product Hunt itself encourages you to launch your own product, but I’ve heard from many that having an experienced hunter still goes a long way. For our launch, we chose to go with an experienced hunter who had a solid reputation on the platform. If you do choose to go with a hunter from outside your company, you can still set your team as “makers”.

Engage on Launch Day

Product Hunt isn’t a set it and forget it launch. You’ll need to engage with the community all day long, from about 12:01am to the early evening. Respond to comments and questions, thank upvoters, and promote your product on your social channels.

In the end, it's important to remember that success on Product Hunt ultimately depends on the quality of your product and the value it provides to users. But, with a good product and a good launch strategy, you’ll be well on your way to a top position.