Hi Ryan. Please introduce yourself and the Fomo team…
First off the team is more important than me, but because I’m the “mouthpiece” I’ll go first: I’m a semi professional musician, marketer, and part-time developer. Fomo is my ~4th company and my first win.
Our team is a collection of hackers from around the world, most of whom I met online in places like reddit, AngelList, and through mutual friends. We work remotely, set our own schedules, have exactly Zero Jira accounts, and manage all our projects with Slack and Trello.
A few of us are married or have kids, some like to lift weights, and others smoke too much. It’s a great group that travels the world together (Croatia, Vietnam, Italy to name a few) while building Fomo.
How would you describe FOMO to the layman?
You know how seeing a busy restaurant makes you want to eat there? Fomo does that, for websites.
Shortly after launching in 2016 we shared our vision — to give honest entrepreneurs the credibility they deserve.
What’s your background going into FOMO? What motivated you to get started?
If I had to “identify” as a profession, I’m a marketer. And I know a lot of marketers are shady.
Before we started Fomo I had been learning to code for a few months, and the ability to combine marketing (non-scaleable) with engineering (scaleable) gave me hope that we can fix the culture of sleezy marketing.
My real background though, is music. I love performance and creativity but also making money, so a few years ago I pivoted from an aspiring full-time musician to a marketer that writes copy instead of lyrics. Spoiler alert, I still write lots of lyrics and perform around the world.
"I saw someone on Twitter last week saying “you know you’ve reached product-market fit when customers are asking for Dark Mode” -- this is us."Ryan Kulp
Why is social proof so effective? What results can somebody expect?
Consumers are smarter than ever and they’re tired of marketers. Nobody cares what you have to say about you, they care what other people say about you.
We have this image on our blog that I think captures the essence of what most marketers are doing today:
Naturally, results vary because some customers’ websites are already more optimized than others, and low quality paid acquisition traffic also deeply impacts your baseline conversion rate.
That said, the average customer who connects analytics or shares their results with us sees anywhere from a 2-20% increase to their conversion rate. We have nearly 300 reviews and dozens of case studies to prove it.
How have you attracted paid users to FOMO?
It sounds cliche but: mostly word of mouth. Our entire ads “budget” is $5-15 per day on Google AdWords, and most of those clicks are just branded campaigns, aka people searching for us anyway.
Because Fomo is highly visible — more than 54 million unique people see Fomo notifications every month — you can imagine that if even a small group of those exposed to Fomo are curious, savvy, and have a moment to run a Google search, they’ll find us.
We also do well in a few app stores and partnership directories. Some weeks on Shopify, for example, our app listing has a 25-30% install conversion rate. In other words, we get 20 installs per 100 unique visitors. For reference, our homepage has about a 4-6% signup conversion rate.
It seems an obvious way to get people to commit to their shopping carts. Have you seen any more creative uses of FOMO?
We feature a few customer stories per month for exactly this reason — to find new and unique use cases.
Beyond the obvious, “increase conversions,” Fomo helps websites drive more traffic to checkout pages by creating a sort of 1-click “portal” from high-ranking SEO content that’s otherwise far removed from purchase opportunities.
Fomo is also great for building specific types of trust. For example, on our own website we exclusively show recently closed support tickets on our “customer reviews” page to showcase to visitors that we value customer service.
This strategy complements the messy buyer journey by not forcing “buy now” on the visitor, but instead providing supplemental information to their context at that moment — reading what others have to say about us.
What’s your future plans for the tool?
Fomo is a “whole product.” I saw someone on Twitter last week saying “you know you’ve reached product-market fit when customers are asking for Dark Mode” — this is us. Sure, there will always be feature requests and quirky ideas, but the robustness and optionality of Fomo’s core product is unmatched.
While some founders at this point might fire their engineering team, we’re actually growing the team and shifting efforts toward building new products that a) add more value to existing customers or b) reach new markets entirely.
Once you’ve spent a few years cultivating a group of smart, talented people who know how to plan, design, build, and launch products, you don’t let it go. You introduce them to new projects.
Have you got any advice for anybody else wanting to create their own marketing tool?
Most makers build a product that “passes the toothbrush test” (requires daily or frequent usage), or that is “set it and forget it.”
If you build the first, be ready to hone in on event tracking, triggered emails, and user experience to keep customers engaged. If you build the latter, your product needs to remind the customer that it’s adding value without requiring much maintenance.
In my opinion the best marketing solutions do both, and I’m proud Fomo embodies this strategic intersection.
Apart from FOMO, what’s your favourite digital marketing tool?
I love Headway, a simple “changelog as a service” we use to announce new features. We even tried to acquire it but the founders said “no.”
Generally when we find a new solution we admire, we’re more likely to test it briefly, then build our own implementation in-house. This “build vs buy” approach is a hot topic of debate, but ultimately we’re in this for the long run so I measure savings in years vs months.