Build list of mentors / advisors
Over time, build up a network of friends and mentors who might be willing to support you on launch day.
Build up a pre-launch mailing list
You might do this by publishing an early teaser site with a sign up form. You could also use Product Hunt Ship for this. You can promote your page on social media and with friends / family. Even if you could get a couple hundred email addresses, it will make a difference to your Product Hunt launch.
Get contributor access or find someone in your network who does
The process takes a few days so be sure to plan for it. If you go the route of finding a "hunter", look for folks who lend some credibility to your launch and who have larg Product Hunt follower counts.
Post your product
Since we've already created everything needed for the page, now it is just a matter of posting it.
Add a maker comment
From PH: "Briefly introduce yourself, the team, and the problem that you’re solving. In a total of 3–4 sentences explain what the value prop is, what’s the use case, who its for, and why you are building it. If this is the second time you’re launching on PH (i.e. a big product update or huge feature announcement), explain what’s changed. Tip: Make it as easy as possible for people to care. For example, if you’re a 16 year-old launching your first product and answering questions in the middle of math class… THAT is what you should lead with. If you have a business background and taught yourself to code — tell people. Create a narrative that makes people relate and want to help you."
I would add that it is always good to ask for feedback (and feel free to specify what kind) to get the conversation going and show you care.
Optional: give a deal
From PH: "PH users love a good deal. Feel free to include a special promotion or offer in your opening comment. These special launch day offers can increase engagement, help capture people’s attention, and encourage people to try what you’re working on (e.g. 20% off for 6 months). P.S. Giving community members early access by distributing promo codes via the comments can work wonders."
Promote Product Hunt page across all channels
Hopefully by now you have a list of influential advisors and a small list of people who expressed early interest in your product. This is the time to tell them about your Product Hunt page.
Get featured on the "Popular" page
If you get enough upvotes, you'll end up on the coveted Product Hunt homepage. If you have a ton of votes and are still not showing up on the "popular" page, it is possible that Product Hunt is holding your page until the next day so you get maximum exposure (for example, maybe you posted your product later in the day).
Make sure your servers are ready because getting featured on this page can send boatloads of traffic.
Get featured on the Product Hunt newsletter
If you are one of the top products of the day, you will show up in the Product Hunt newsletter the next day. This can also send enourmous amounts of traffic.
Get ready for next time
Thanks for taking the time to get all the way to the end! I hope this has helped you have a ridiculously successful Product Hunt launch. One thing to remember is that Product Hunt is not just a powerful way to launch your initial product, it is a great way to launch other majro milestones (mobile app, 2.0, or even major new product features). My hope is that after going through this guide you will be well equipped to own the Product Hunt charts every time. Good luck!