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How We've Taken Fomo 20 -> 80K MRR in 18 Months

Justin Mares

Co-Owner, FOMO

Founder, @kettleandfire. Builder, @usefomo. Co-author, @tractionbook.

San Francisco
Justin Mares

Email Justin

Bio

Former director of revenue, Exceptional Software (acquired by Rackspace for $10M). Currently director of Fomo.

Fomo

Social proof app that boosts conversion rates (ex: "your friend just bought this thing!"). Used to be a shopify app ("notify") doing 18k MRR, then Justin and his brother bought it with seller financing (ask him about this!).

Justin saw a massive conversion boost (20%) by implementing Fomo on his other site, Kettle and Fire.

First 18 months to 4x

Here's what Justin did to grow Fomo 4x in 18 months.

Day 1: Raise Prices

So many people still don't do this. They feel like they want to give their customers a good deal, and raising prices cheats their customers.

Justin raised the bottom tier from $14.99/month to $29/month, and added multiple tiers up to $199/month. Now he could capture the value of higher value customers.

After raising prices, they saw basically no difference in conversions. Raising the prices just got rid of "kicking the tires" bad customers.

Day 2: Optimize the shopify listing

Shamelessly ask for reviews! "If you like notify, could you take 30 seconds to help me grow my little business? If you have any feature ideas, let me know! We're adding features over the next few months"

This catapulted Fomo to the top of Shopify ratings with 50 new reviews. Shopify is also excited about sharing Fomo. Also Capterra.

Day 3: Churn

Started with churn of 1-19%. If their app got delisted, they'd be out of business in 5 months!

How'd they decrease churn? Lots of no-brainers: show your customers that by using your product, they make more money. Fomo did it with Mixpanel automatic emails.

They also initiated as many one-on-one emails as they could. Five days after signing up, customers get an email Intro: ${customer_name} <> ${customer_support} from the CEO.

Also, hire! Hire enough people to decrease customer support response time. They also get a much better pulse of what customers want.

At day 90, churn was down from 19% to under 8%.

Integrations

Fomo invested in building integrations, like a line of Javascript to integrate with with BigCommerce (which cost $1,500). In the first 45 days this integration was live, it made $1,000 (now at ~$8k/month).

After doing more integrations, Shopify went from 100% of business to under 40%.

Today Fomo has over 50 integrations.

FOMO has over 50 integrations

Fomo now buys smaller businesses (like Built with Shopify, ~30k uniques/month), which is like cheating at integrations.

Results

4x the business! From ~$25k MRR to $100k MRR this month.

Q/A

How did you decide to hire 3 full time service reps? Did you look at alternatives?

We didn't do it from day 1. Our first hire was a customer support person, and they had a positive ROI by preventing churning and upselling. They paid for themself 100x over.

Did you hire any software developers?

Justin's cofounder did most of the development, then hired out development to a dev shop investing the founders' money.

How did you approach the competitors that you acquired?

On day 1, we emailed all 20 of our competitors and asked if they were open at all. More than half said they were interested in selling, integrating, and walking away.

Re: raise prices, how did you come to that magic number? How did you know you weren't pricing too high?

I still don't know we're at the magic number! We tested it and it worked well. We split tested sending special offers to existing customers (upgrade now for ${price}!).

Did you grandfather existing customers?

Yes, for a year.

Do you have negotiation tips for negotiation integrations?

Have something in it for your integration partner! Promote them.

How are you differentiating yourself from your competitors?

One of our biggest competitors just went through YCombinator. There's not a ton we can do with feature differentiation - it's a rat race. What we focus on is the actual experience of using the product. If you have two matching products, integrations and customer support and scaling and the overall smoothness of the experience is what makes the difference.

The overall market is bigger with competitors, which actually works to our advantage.

How did you connect with Zapier?

We cold emailed their partner integration partner person. It was pretty easy for us.

Other than Zapier, do you have an API?

Yes - it's been a big win for our larger customers.

How do you source and onboard a support team?

We hire support from development bootcamps. Dev bootcamps don't make you a strong, facebook-level engineer, so they're having trouble finding work. We put them through the customer support training we care about and another $25k/month technical course

"You're not good enough to code for real yet, so come here and do customer support and we'll invest in you. After a year you can either get onboarded as an engineer or move on."

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