How we launched on Product Hunt and got Product of the day

Learn the ins and outs of how we got Product of the Day. Tips & Tricks included!

May 3, 2024
min read
Product Updates
Zach Roseman
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Last week, Draftboard won Product of the Day with over 700 votes, beating out some incredible competition like Ramen Tools, Vidyard AI Avators, and Seomaker. I’ve never been good at marketing, so this was an interesting challenge - and completely new for me. In the wake of the win, multiple people reached out asking what we did, so I figured it easiest to write it out step by step. 

Here goes:

Step 1: Ask someone who knows. 

I called up Gilad Uziely, the founder of Sequence - he’s had multiple top PH rankings (including one recently).

Key takeaways:

  • Choose a date at least a few weeks out
  • Mobilize your users, investors, and network
  • Make a simple video
  • Ask Ben Lang if he’ll hunt you 

Step 2: Ping Ben Lang

Ben Lang was an early hunter at PH and has been active for years there (in addition to being one of Notion’s earliest employees). He’s a friend, so I texted him. 

Step 3: Warm up your early supporters

Product Hunt doesn’t want people signing up for accounts the day of launch and then never coming back. So they penalize (reportedly) fresh accounts with no upvote history. 

So the optimal strategy is to get your supporters to sign up early, take actions over the ensuing weeks (ie. upvote other launches), and then when they go to support yours they have some activity history. 

A month before our launch we sent an email out to our Scouts (referrers): 

And then every week in our product release email (the one where we announce each week’s newly released feature), we’d have a reminder: 

Step 4: Make a video

We got help from our friends at OK Capital to put together a smooth and simple video. First I wrote out all the screens I wanted in a Google Slides doc. Then we had multiple rounds of revisions where we removed, added and changed the order of screens. 

We used Envato Elements to find solid background music (harder than you think!), and then it was off to the races. 

We wanted the video to be about 1 minute, and to feel like there was constant movement. So no slide lasts longer than 2-3 seconds before transitioning.

Main takeaways:

  • Short transitions are key
  • Minimal text
  • Leave extra time for revisions. 
  • Find good music (bad music is a killer)
  • Make sure it looks polished - a badly edited one is worse than none at all

Step 5: Register on Product Hunt

This is actually the most annoying step - I found the whole process really confusing and unintuitive. Nonetheless, we banged our heads against the wall enough times to figure it out. 

Registration can be done by either the Hunter (Ben in this case) or the Maker (me). Ben offered to do it, so I had to send him all the registration materials - eg answers to the required questions, assets (videos & thumbnails), first comment, etc. 

Here is the doc we put together. 

Step 6: Ask fellow PH makers if they’d be open to supporting you

We mapped the LinkedIn & Twitter profiles of all makers who had launched on Product Hunt in the previous 30 days (h/t David Stark). Then we messaged them:

People were generally very friendly! And they want to support other people who have gone through the same experience. 

Then on the day of launch we sent a follow up message to anyone who had positively responded to the first message. 

Key takeaways:

  • Keep the message short
  • Personalize it

Step 7: Put up a ‘Coming Soon’ page on PH

This, again, was not intuitive, but was very helpful. 

Once your launch is scheduled (Ben submitted the info, and we got our requested date: April 16th), you can then apply for a Coming Soon page. 

People visiting this page could see some basic info on Draftboard, and then sign up to be notified when the launch went live. 

Last time I checked before the launch, over 50 people had asked to be notified. 

Step 8: Pay attention to time zones!

Product Hunt launches go live at 12am Pacific Time. Not sure why, but that’s what it is. 

That’s important because the first 4 hours are critical to your launch. 


During those hours two things are happening:

  1. Your vote totals are hidden on the main Product Hunt page
  2. Users who go to Product Hunt are shown all of that day’s launches in random order

Product Hunt does this to prevent companies from gaming the system early on and gaining an early advantage by having a massive upvote in the first minute. They (Product Hunt) are prioritizing engagement throughout the day. 

But, super importantly, whichever launches have the most votes at the end of the first 4 hours will be shown in order from highest to lowest on the main Product Hunt page. 

So it’s insanely important for you to activate your audience and garner as many votes as possible in those first 4 hours. 

Step 9: It’s launch time - mobilize your supporters!

We sent emails to our investors, friends & family and another email to our Scouts. 

We sent follow-up LinkedIn & Twitter messages to people we’d been in communication with previously.

We posted to a variety of different WhatsApp communities we’re in: 

We posted to our personal LinkedIn pages, and commented throughout the day with updates on our position / progress. 

Step 10: Reply to every comment

The number of comments are your post listed prominently on the homepage, but the key insight is this: your replies are counted as comments. 

So the second a new comment would come in, I would reply (substantive ones, not silly ones). Meanwhile the other launches were just watching the comments. 

This meant that I was doubling up comments, and it looks to the user like there was way more activity on the Draftboard page than any other page. 

I would not be surprised at all if comment counts impacted vote totals - after all, if you’re simply browsing the site to see today’s new launches, wouldn’t you be more drawn to the one that has 2x more discussion happening? 

Step 11: Look in every corner

The day was progressing and we were still #1, but the other launches were at our heels and I was anything but calm. 

On top of that, our pace of upvotes had slowed significantly. 

And then I remember: while Scouts are the ones who register for Draftboard, we also have thousands of candidates who have applied for roles on Draftboard. 

So I should email them to see if they’d support, right? 

Well yes and no: I only wanted to reach out to the ones who were mostly likely to have had a positive experience with Draftboard. In our case, that meant the hundreds and hundreds of candidates that moved to the interview stage after applying via Draftboard. 

So about twelve hours into the day, I reached out to this last bloc of potential supporters:

And it worked! In the next couple of hours our upvotes noticeably ticked higher. 

Step 12: Countdown to the finish

In the last couple hours, I was feeling better with each passing minute. Barring a massive boost from one of the other launches, we had a ~100 vote lead that looked to be maintaining. 

When the clock struck 10 am IDT (midnight PST) and the voting ended, I breathed a sigh of relief. 

We did it. 

And then the messages started: 

I can say with certainty that I never thought about launching on Product Hunt until 2 months ago. 

And when I did, I had zero expectation of doing well, let alone winning Product of the Day. 

But with a lot of planning, hard work, doggedness and no small amount of fortune, we did it. 

Hopefully this post-mortem helped - would love for others to get as much value out of it as I enjoyed writing it!

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