We're new to this whole ProductHunt thing. If you're not familiar with it, it's a website founded by Ryan Hoover, now backed by Y Combinator, where people can share and discover new technology-based products. We knew that PH was *the* resource for emerging startups, but we had no idea just how much exposure, web traffic, enthusiasm, and validation we would receive after our feature.
One of our investors, Jason Calacanis, posted the feature on a Thursday morning. The upvotes (PH's system of "likes" or "favorites") immediately started coming in. And not just from friends and colleagues we'd notified, but from genuinely interested and excited ProductHunt users, VCs, founders, entrepreneurs, and peers. One of the cool things about ProductHunt is that in most cases you have access to the products' maker(s). Becoming a user, and participating in PH, requires a Twitter account, and it's best when you're signed on as an individual, not a business or brand. Signed in as myself, Edgar Blazona, I submitted myself as an official "Maker" of BenchMade Modern.
I introduced myself on our feature page, described in more detail what we're doing at BenchMade, and even offered a 30% off discount to PH users. People were excited about the 24-hour manufacturing time and the tracking system. One particular user mentioned that we should reach out to ProductHunt to see about adding a discount star to the listing. Hmmm, what's a discount star? After looking it up, we realized that ProductHunt will post a feature on your behalf with an added exclusive gold star that highlights that fact that you're offering a unique sneak peek or substantial discount just for PH users. Also required is that your company's landing page on your own site promote the PH feature and discount as well. Damn it, we'd missed that opportunity. While we did offer a 30% discount to PH users in the comments section of our PH feature, it was too late. We would have had to set up the post prior to posting it with the PH team.
The remarks from other entrepreneurs and VCs were all really positive: "looks amazing", "pretty darn impressive", "I was 'wowed'", "so impressed." It felt really good to see all that enthusiasm; and beyond the increased web traffic, Twitter users, and incoming inquiries (more on that below), what PH did for us was to validate that what we are trying to do here -- launch a furniture company in a tech-focused world, add in some user-friendly technology, and make it work -- is cool, and not just to us because we're in it every day. It validated to us that we are creating a product and a service that people need and are excited about. We reached 300 votes in a couple of hours, and at our highest, we ranked #6 on the home page.
The PH feature was huge for us in terms of increased web traffic, social media followers, and incoming inquiries. The day before the PH feature, we had 30 visitors to our site. The day Jason posted to PH, we increased to 2,284 visitors. Then 2,031 the following day. More web traffic than our site had ever seen.
We gained new Twitter and Instagram followers, and received phone calls and email inquiries from people, all who referenced the PH feature. We also received fabric swatch requests from several people that day — from people who saw the post on Product Hunt.
Being featured on ProductHunt absolutely put us on the map. Instead of knocking on investors' doors, they were emailing us, wanting to learn more. That day made months of hard work and long days feel so worth it. It was a huge step for us in terms of awareness and online presence. Several weeks later, we're still receiving inquiries from potential customers, investors, and media.