The digital product landscape's boom and growth have opened a broader range of creators, from university students, solo founders, and small to big companies introducing a new flagship product. However, no product will survive its initial growth without a Minimum Viable Community (MVC).
In this blog post, we will look at using Product Hunt to jumpstart your Minimum Viable Community to give your product the best chance for growth and success, and if you really manage to turn some heads with your launch, you may even get on the radar of VCs.
Our focus and resource to help you with Product Hunt
Product Hunt launch is a whole topic on its own. You will find a plethora of information on the web on Product hunt launches. Here, we will be more focused on building your MVC. However, to ensure you have a helpful resource to assist your preparation, the Product Hunt Checklist is a convenient and through guide we recommend. It will give you all the necessary steps to help you have a successful launch.
Introduction to Minimum Viable Community and Product Hunt
Before moving further, here is a brief introduction to Minimum Viable Community (MVC) and Product Hunt (PH). MVC refers to the smallest number of people you can bring together to grow a product and its community. The earliest members of your MVC are those who simply like your product idea to people interested in being early adopters. We could say that they must have an affinity towards your product idea.
Founded in 2013, Product Hunt showcases the best new products in tech, providing them a space to be voted Top product daily. What that means for your product is global exposure to find your supporters and early adopters.
Step 1: Don't wait for an MVP to test your idea.
Makers often wait until they have a minimum viable product to share their idea with the world. It has been a norm so far, but more and more creators are starting by sharing their vision to garner support and feedback and not waiting until they have a minimum viable product. It should really be at this early stage that you start checking the validity, appeal, and product market fit of the idea behind your product while bringing those who support your core idea to one place to form your MVC. While you might fear your idea will be stolen, you will find that sharing allows you to test the originality of your idea and brings to light what you might have missed. If you are still unsure, just google "will my ideas be stolen" and find that it is otherwise. For us, it's important to find supporters, and we won't get that if we don't share. How soon you build your MVC depends on your commitment to your product: the more committed you are, the sooner you should start. A minimum of one month before you have your MVP is ideal if you need a timeframe. You can thank yourself later when your MVP is complete, and you already have people ready who use it and give you feedback.
Step 2: Activate → Create your Product Launch page and share it everywhere.
The first task is to create an upcoming product page and share it where your potential users are, on your personal network, Reddit, forums, networking events, and online communities. Important: Don't forget to provide lucrative early bird discounts for your early supporters when creating the upcoming page. To assist you with sharing your core concept with the world, Product Hunt's Ship allows you to create an upcoming page that is easy to set up. Those interested in the product can directly subscribe to the upcoming page.
You must aim to communicate and engage with potential supporters. To get the best out of your efforts, assign the role to someone with good people skills and an understanding of your product. This is a crucial role at this stage, so by spending more time on this, you can make more connections and improve your chances of engagement. Good engagements lead to conversion, building your subscribers. Better engagement is also a good sign that your MVC is interesting. Therefore, wherever you share the upcoming page, be sure to come back and check for possible interactions. Make sure to track where you made the posts in a document for follow-up posts as you have more updates.
Step 3: Leverage PH Discussions
With the above, you have activated your outreach. To reach the more active hunters in the PH community, use Product Hunt Discussions. Again, aim to engage with people by asking and answering questions from the community. It doesn't always have to focus on your product. You can reach people with more general topics so that you connect with people, which opens the possibility to start talking about what you have created and then pointing them to your upcoming page.
Step 4: Build your followers with PH
PH also gives you the feature of building your followers. The great thing about having followers is that the discussion you post (provided your followers haven't turned off the defaults) gets a notification directly in their mailbox. On the launch day, you can update your followers that your product is live and reach them directly.
I created and shared this one-page guide for increasing followers within the PH community, which was well received. You can follow the same steps if you cannot develop your ideas for growing followers.
Step 5: Extend PH connections to LinkedIn / Twitter
I focus here on connecting with people within PH because they need a PH Account to support your launch. The first hour of your PH launch will require a big push from your side. So, connecting to as many people from Product Hunt as possible on LinkedIn or Twitter is best to keep a direct connection. Reaching out to them with a personal message is simple and effective.
Special hint: Please note that upvotes from people who sign up on the launch day have lower weightage than older accounts. So, if you are going to ask your friends and personal connections to support you, it's a good idea to ask them to create an account at least a week before the launch and also engage themselves a bit by partaking on the discussions and supporting product launches by upvoting them.
Step 6: Finding A Hunter For You Launch
Every user on Product Hunt can submit a product they found or made, known as hunting. This makes everyone a hunter. However, only those with a strong base of followers are referred to as Hunter in the community.
You can increase exposure for your product by reaching out to them to hunt your product. If a Hunter finds your product interesting, they will support you. You can find a list of top hunters and their profiles here. If you can't find anyone, don't be afraid to hunt yourself. Many have done that and found success. If you have taken the time to build your supporters, it's not entirely impossible.
Step 7: Pre-Launch & Launch
Now we come to the most exciting part of building your MVC, the product launch. While it won't be possible for me to cover the finer details that go into a Product Hunt Launch, I want to highlight the elements that I found to be essential. So far, the aim has been to give exposure to your product idea to build subscribers on the upcoming page, reach scattered supporters in various communities on various online platforms, and create direct connections on LinkedIn. Now we want to ensure that we use what we have made effectively.
Before the launch:
Optimize all the content of your product page. You should aim to create a video with a short demo as it is much more engaging.
Use the maker post to bring a human element, stay humble & helpful, and avoid marketing language.
Give your early adopters the best Launch day deal you can offer.
Now some internal preparation: Import the subscribers from the upcoming page and communicate with them in advance about the launch day. Keeping all the LinkedIn/Twitter contacts, communities, and successful engagements in one document will be extremely helpful. Prepare answers to anticipated questions to prepare yourself for Q&A. Ready your sample DMs that you will use to reach out on the day. Keep some of your most trusted supporters for that push when you drop in the charts. Bring your team under the same roof on the launch day, and buy plenty of food and drinks to keep you going for the 24 hours ahead.
Go live at 12:00 PST to take advantage of the total 24 hours. The first hour is considered the golden hour. It’s time to reach out to the list of contacts and communities. Aim for one-to-one messaging where possible. Keep the outreach consistent so that you can pace yourself in the race. Take every opportunity to connect and engage with those that support your launch. Show your gratitude to those that leave comments. Be quick to answer any queries people might ask to build good connections.
You can use the PH dashboard and Product Wars 2 to keep track of your progress and plan your outreach accordingly. Don't hesitate to contact PH members if you need their support on the day. PH is a community of makers who understand what it is like trying to make their own startup, and they understand your efforts and will be supportive if you reach out to them.
The Product Hunt launch day will be adrenaline-filled, with many highs and lows you share with your team. It is also a celebration day with your team that brought the product to this stage, so don't forget to enjoy the day and make great memories.
Expect increased traffic and activity for two days, and plan your after-launch activities accordingly. Whether or not you reach the top position, you will find early users from the launch. They are the users you should aim to grow your product with. That is where you will find your Minimum Viable Community.
I hope the contents of this post have helped shed some light on how you can use Product Hunt to build your Minimum Viable Community and expounded on helpful details that assist you in creating your own MVC for your product's success.