We’ve been working on Welkio for a little over a year now and after working very closely with our early adopters, it was time for us to officially launch our product to the world.

When building a product, you’re never fully satisfied with the quality or the feature set or the user experience or ... There is always something that will make you push your deadlines and prevent you from launching. I think we always find excuses because we’re scared of what will happen once we launch. It’s a lot easier to say “We’re growing slowly because we haven’t launched yet” once your product is out there, you have no more excuses and you’ll have to face everything that will be thrown at you.

Luckily for us, we were getting really good feedback from our customers and we felt like it was time to start driving traffic to our website and scale. A few weeks ago, I reached out to Ryan Hoover from Product Hunt and asked him how to set up a promotion. I’ve always admired the work Ryan and his team have done and I just wanted to give back to the community. We decided to offer a $100 free credit for Welkio to anyone signing up from PH. Ryan kindly put me in touch with Ben Tossell to help set it up. Ben has been extremely helpful and responsive during the entire process. I’m sure they have tons of companies reaching out to them but they always manage to make you feel like you’re the only one.

After providing the following information, we were all set for our launch on October 14th at 4am PT (recommended by Ben).

Name of product
Tagline (60 characters)
Makers personal twitter handles
Who is your hunter? If you have one agreed — if not I can help/recommend
App store/Google play links if applicable
YouTube link if applicable
Date and time of Product Hunt launch
Images: screenshots (not homepage screenshots — preferably of the product in action), Header (1000x250) and thumbnail (260x180) — (visually appealing, no logos and non-text heavy)
Notice the blur at the top of the banner to make Welkio more visible on their website.
Colorful thumbnail to stand out.

Since Welkio is about being friendly and welcoming, we couldn’t just put a simple Product Hunt banner on our website. We want to create a real experience for hunters and came up with this dedicated hero image on our website:

Finally, we wanted to provide something extra and personal so we created a form to capture people’s addresses so we could send them a surprise in the mail and thank them for their support.

Hey product hunters! We have a surprise for you today! Fill out this form and we’ll send you a little treat to celebrate our launch :) — https://goo.gl/1nMZoa.

We were ready to start the conversation with the community and were looking forward to it.

Launch day

It’s 3:30am on Wednesday, October 14th and I’m waking up, getting ready to launch Welkio on Product Hunt. After a quick shower, I’m all packed and set to kick off the day. At 4am, we’re live on Product Hunt! With a big smile on our faces, DJ Tarazona— my business partner and I hopped in the car and started monitoring our Google Analytics and PH page while driving back to San Francisco.

It was a pretty incredible experience watching all the dots from all over the world popping up on the screen and the up-votes on PH. We kept on refreshing the page to see that number grow, looking at our ranking and trying to see if we could beat a few other products in front of us.

To understand the rest of this post, I recommend reading all the comments from our PH page, no worries, there aren’t that many and they mostly talk about the same thing: https://www.producthunt.com/tech/welkio

How are we different from our competitor? It’s true, at this time, we’re fairly alike. We have a similar set of features, our apps are asking similar things from visitors: information, NDAs, Photos, badges, notifications and we keep track of everything in a dashboard. There are not many other ways to sign-in visitors, so of course we’ll be similar. We’ve built Welkio because not only we do believe that our long term vision is different, but we also believe that giving an alternative to customers is important. This will drive us all to always be the best and I’ll personally welcome any competitors in that space. The success of Welkio is not necessarily just about our product, but also the brand we’ve created, and we’re just getting started. So yeah, should Lyft stop what they are doing because Uber was there first? Should Verizon and T-mobile close business because AT&T was there first? Of course not. It’s the same for Welkio. We’re here to stay and we’ll always thrive to be the best and deliver a quality product, an amazing user experience and exceptional customer service.

In perspective, our launch was extremely positive and the outcome has been pretty incredible. We ended the day with over a hundred up-votes and felt pretty good about this. Since we’re not a B2C company, we figured it would be harder to get people to like or even understand our product. We got a bunch of new sign-ups and a good amount of traffic onto our website which is always good for brand awareness. We’ve also been contacted by a few VC firms to set up meetings as well as other potential strategic partners.

What could have we have done differently?

If I had to do this all over again, I would make sure that we combine our launch with the release of a couple cool features so people can focus on that and get excited about the product. Although we had a feature ready and it was really tempting to launch it on the fly, we had to stick with the schedule so it can have a greater impact once we launch it.

My answer about “being the best” and “how are we different” may have been a bit too lengthy and I should have just acknowledge that, at this time, we’re similar and move on.

In the end, we’re really stoked and we can’t wait to launch another product on Product Hunt! If you have any comment about this story, or any feedback on Welkio, or just want to say hi, feel free to comment here or get in touch with me directly — flo@welkio.com. We’re always looking for new ways to make Welkio the best visitor sign-in software for your office.

– Florent Ferere

Disclaimer — English is my second language.