How Product Hunt used push notifications to build a SAAS following:
Product Hunt, a tech discovery platform with a now massive reach of 600,000 email subscribers and over 100 million clicks a month, has, per usual, humble beginnings. What began as a newsletter of the latest and greatest in tech has now exploded into an interactive platform where new companies, products, and services, can announce what’s new to a massive network of followers and grow their exposure through a system of “upvotes”. There are several factors that make Product Hunt’s platform a success for both followers and companies announcing new products. It has a “sticky” factor to it that keeps an engaged and continually following thanks to its effective, relevant updates and engaging features.
One of the most effective features that’s helped Product Hunt achieve this is their expert use of push notifications just the right way: never annoying, always interesting.
Here’s how Product Hunt uses strategic push notifications to grow and constantly re-engage their SaaS following:
Ever-changing content with a time-scarce factor:
The thrill and “stickiness” of Product Hunt is in the fact that their content is ever-changing and always the latest. It’s the same premise behind almost every top app or social platform: FOMO (fear of missing out). Thanks to all of these platforms, we’ve developed this; even with tech products. We always want to know what is up and coming and we don’t want to miss what others are seeing. Any website or app with a continually updated feed can achieve this. Product Hunt has this built reputation of putting what’s budding around the internet in terms of the next best thing in tech in front of you in one place. It’s constantly revolving so followers have to stay engaged to keep up and not “miss out”. This built in factor of Product Hunt is why so many opt in to their newsletter and push notifications in the first place. If you think of any app or website that people truly want updates from, they all have this same factor.
Using push notifications to circumvent links and social pages for updates:
One of the reasons Product Hunt has such a huge return visitor rate compared to other sites is their use of push notification updates to create an actual following of the site itself. Many other websites may have followed social media accounts but many of those followers don’t transfer over to the website and a lot of their traffic ends up being organic visitors who do not become true followers. Product Hunt uses push notifications and their newsletter sign up to make those who come to their site followers of the actual website. On the website, you can see the ever-changing feeds of products and the top products moving up the ranks as they get upvoted throughout the day. It’s dynamic and always changing, promoting someone to want to find a way to get updates on this off the site. Boom! That’s where the push notifications come in and build up a following of people constantly directed back to the site throughout the day as updates are announced: new top products, blogs, tech news, etc. There are plenty of loyal followers clicking back to the site itself through emails and push notifications.
Predictable, yet interesting push notifications:
Product Hunt sends out push notifications that are not too sporadic so that when a follower gets them they are surprised or confused, but not too often to where they are annoying and have to be disabled. Striking that balance is really important. They kind of follow a social media posting “rule”: once per day max. This is a pattern many “following” something come to expect. When people follow a brand or person for updates, we generally want to see one really high quality, interesting post a day we can dedicate a little time to rather than close out 3-4 subpar emails or notifications until we get proactive enough to block notifications. Product Hunt takes their most popular piece of news or most upvoted “hunt” for the day and strategically sends out a notification. As a result, people expect quality notifications on a regular yet not excessive basis. They do the same with their emails: very simple, to the point, and curate top content. It feels like a quality source to follow.
Fun, visually engaging updates and notifications:
Not only is the content of Product Hunt’s notifications specially curated but the visual elements are well thought out as well. They’ve sort of made GIFs and emojis their thing. Every update, even on the site, has an arrangement of GIFs and emojis matching the content. It’s a minor detail but it makes the feeds and the notifications so much more engaging. They’ve create a unique brand people look forward to engaging with. You can replicate what Product Hunt does in any page by installing Beamer’s push notifications. Beamer is a news feed that sits within the interface of your site or app where you can share updates. Visitors can click a “What’s New” tab or an icon in the interface to open the sidebar news feed. There is also a push notification feature where they can opt in to push notifications just like Product Hunt. Beamer automatically generates notifications from your update. You can also use the Zapier integration to have automatic emails sent out from your updates. You can configure a whole system like Product Hunt just using Beamer.
Good, dynamic landing pages for push notifications and email updates:
Another big part of why Product Hunt has kept its followers so well engaged is that when they bring them back to the site, they end up on relevant pages. There is always a feed of the top products and news on the homepage of Product Hunt. It’s an easily explored page relevant to the updates. Followers are always met with what they expect from the updates. You can do this on any site too with Beamer, which allows you to create the same “top news” experience on any page so when you send push notifications, your followers are always engaged.
Product Hunt has created a social and news network away from social and news networks on their very own site with an followership 600,000 strong. By using push notifications, they’ve created a consistently engaging experience that their followers love to be a part of. You can do the same without building anything on and off your site using Beamer.