September 20, 2018

How MobileMonkey is Utilizing Facebook Messenger for Marketing

Larry Kim is the Founder and CTO of WordStream, which was acquired by Gannett last July.

Kim's latest startup is MobileMonkey, a chatbot-based marketing platform exclusively for Facebook.

I connected with Kim to learn a little bit more about the company and how the social media platform’s Messenger feature is great for marketing teams. Plus, we also get into some details on how to raise funding and personal brand building.

First off, let’s talk about WordStream. Congrats on the recent acquisition! What was the aha moment that led you to start WordStream?

I created some software automation tools to make my PPC marketing work more efficient to scale my marketing services agency.

Later, I thought a better business model might be selling that software instead.

How did you go about building the company in the early days in terms getting customers and revenue?

Early on, I did a lot of content marketing, SEO and weird growth hacks, like making an AdWords Grader, Free Keyword Tools, etc.

Larry Kim
Larry Kim, Co-Founder and CEO of MobileMonkey

As all software can become commoditized over time, these crazy “go-to-market” tactics have today become very strong differentiators or barriers to entry.

How were you able to raise capital as a first-time founder?  What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs looking to raise capital?

Be persistent. I pitched over 200 VCs.

Believe it or not, one of my investors actually pulled my pitch deck from the “unsolicited email pile” (eg: contact@website). I wrote a bit about that experience here.

Now, let’s talk about your new company. What is the “origin story” behind MobileMonkey and how did you come up with the name?

My 4-year old kid likes monkeys.

Plus the domain name was available.

Can you share the details on what MobileMonkey does?

It’s a popular Facebook Messenger marketing platform.

We provide chatbot tools to help companies engage with billions of users via Facebook Messenger.

There are too many features to list out, but some of the popular ones include our chat blaster (think ‘email blaster’, but for chat), chat drip campaigns (like Marketo or Hubspot, but for chat), Website chat tools, a visual chatbot builder, Facebook messenger ad tools, and tons of tools for growing your chat subscriber lists.

It’s a free product (non-expiring) and there’s also a paid version that has a few extra features.

What are Facebook Messenger Chatbots and why do they matter?

They let you answer questions automatically on chat so that businesses don’t have to answer the same things over and over again manually, and customers don’t have to wait.

But I think the coolest thing about Messenger chatbots is that you can send out very personalized, push-notifications to your entire contact list.

How can marketers use them and what can they expect in terms of engagement?

Typically we see engagement rates for chat blasts to be around an 80% read rate and 20% click rate.

Email marketing is typically 10% open rate and 1% click rate.

So on average, a chat contact generates 160x more engagement than an email, which is amazing.

What’s the current status of your business in terms of customer growth and number of employees?

We just released our product in May.

We’re at 14 employees.

Just under 5 thousand paying customers.

A million monthly active users.

What next for MobileMonkey?

We hope to raise a Series A in the next few months.

Investor inquiries are welcome.

You are well known as an influencer for SEM, digital marketing and entrepreneurship in general.  What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are trying to build up their personal brand and trying to become an influencer?

Six years ago I started using ridiculous unicorn and donkey imagery in all of my content (presentations, blog posts, webinars, etc.).

That one seemingly random choice made a huge difference in making the content more memorable among all the noise out there.

Also, don’t bother with personal brand stuff until it’s the right time. I spent the first 10-plus years of my career just working heads-down trying to get my business off the ground. It wasn’t until relatively recently that I started blogging, etc. It was only successful because I had accumulated over time, some interesting experiences worth sharing.

How can people connect with you?

Would love to connect on Facebook messenger!

Keith Cline is the Founder of VentureFizz.  Follow him on Twitter: @kcline6.