Product Hunt, is a daily leaderboard of new products. The app surfaces the best new products, every day. It began as an email list using Linkydink, a tool for creating collaborative daily email digests. Product Hunt is now the place to discover the “next big” startup mostly in tech. Every day, it curates a list of the top products and startups that you probably haven’t heard of yet.

The founder, Ryan Hoover and his team have been pretty much everywhere. They are constantly sharing their experience and success story with the startup community.

Over the last few months, the site has:

  • over 70,000 email subscribers and counting
  • directed 2.35 million views to products featured on the site.
  • press coverage from TechCrunch, Forbes, Fast Company, Business Insider, Venture Beat etc,
  • secured $6.1M in Series A funding last October, led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of reddit.

*Numbers courtesy, SFGATE

These are a few growth strategies that made them grow…fast (most of which were first shared by Ryan and team on various media platforms).

1. With Product Hunt, we focused on user acquisition before we had a product. 20 days after its public launch, we had a community of 2,000 users that we acquired by doing things that don’t scale.

2. “We reached out to Chris Dannen, an editor at Fast Company. Similar to PandoDaily, I contributed several articles over the past six months, which made connecting easier. I sent Chris a draft of my article, describing the story behind Product Hunt and the “20-minute MVP” used to validate demand for the product.”–Fast company

3. We explicitly called our first users “thought leaders.” We started incorporating curated lists — collections of products recommended by thought leaders (e.g the best “growth products”, “designer tools,” etc.)  This encouraged them to share widely to further their personal brands.

4. “After products make the top 10 list on Product Hunt, we send their founder(s) an email congratulating them.

Why do we do all this manual work?

  1. To make them feel special, involved, and good for helping us
  2. To get more data on what happens as a result of our users being active on the site
  3. Incentivize them to share and grow the community in an authentic way

So far, we’ve had over 50 founders write blog posts about their experience on Product Hunt. We’ve even had a couple go viral: Mathilde Collin of Front did a great study of launching a product on different distribution outlets (Hacker News, TechCrunch, and PH) that got more than twice as many hits as her original post on Product Hunt.”–CMX

5. Product Hunt gave people a new habit. “Segmenting the service by day has been critical — we’re building this daily ritual for people,” says Hoover. “By time bounding what we’re doing, we frame Product Hunt as something that people set time aside to do each day.”

6. Insane focus on primary goal. “It’s in our best interest to make it easier for people to both share and then feel rewarded for sharing,” says Hoover. “We don’t want to get in the way of this with a bunch of other features, and we don’t want to sacrifice the content itself by giving people too many chances to click away or do something else.”–FirstRound

7. “Early on, I spent a lot of time doing manual outreach, through email, on Twitter, making it personal,” says Hoover. “Giving early adopters a good experience was always a high priority.

8. Influencers were actively involved right from the beginning. “We did this from the very beginning by sharing mockups through email, even before the product was built, and just collecting feedback on a one-off basis,”

Hoover says. “It was clear that the people who did provide feedback really did feel more invested in us. People really liked feeling like they had a say in this thing, and we truly listened, changing the design based on their feedback.”

9. “It’s so important to build an audience before you have a product or even a company,” says Hoover. “One of the hardest things about building something like this is getting attention.”

Hoover ran his blog for nearly two years before Product Hunt burst onto the scene. The fanbase he built around this blog helped him seed the initial group that got access to Product Hunt, and it made a huge impact at the very beginning.

10. They use social proof. One key reason that Product Hunt emails work so well is because the content has already been validated. By including the products that got the most votes on the site, they can nearly guarantee that the content will also resonate with their email readers. This is social proof at work.