How We Started an Automated
Text Message Marketing Business
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hi! I’m Matt Morfopoulos, co-founder of Respond Flow – the Mailchimp of SMS. We enable businesses to grow by building authentic relationships with customers using automated text message marketing.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
The business started from a personal need of our CEO Martin Lien. After leading a business development team at a medical device startup, they had trouble converting qualified leads using the traditional cold call or automated email approach.
Martin suggested they try using SMS to engage these leads and recruited Austin Graham to develop an automated solution (Respond Flow’s MVP). After implementing the new technology Martin’s team increased their conversion rate by 18%. This generated $34,000 in revenue with just an $11 text spend.
After the success of utilizing Respond Flow’s MVP, Martin recruited Peter Daggett and myself to join the team as co-founders.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
One of the biggest challenges we faced early on was juggling multiple jobs. The team did not have the luxury to go full time to pursue Respond Flow, and had to give up a year of nights and weekends to grow the startup to the point where it attracted interest from investors.Through those efforts we were able to become profitable within 3 months of our initial launch and have continued down a solid growth trajectory.
Who is your target market?
Specialty retailers and service providers that provide a high-margin and hyper personalized product. This includes dispensaries, fitness boutiques, bike shops, massage therapists, shoe stores, and more. A typical customer wants to be able to give their customers a personalized experience even when they aren’t in store.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
The most successful path to acquisition has been cold emails as well as referrals from successful customers. We’ve also seen a lot of returns social selling in online communities and building relationships with the communities that we service.
We’re currently experimenting with more paid acquisition channels as well as growing our affiliate network to become evangelists for our product.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
Get to know your customers. People buy from people they know and trust. If you can establish that connection with your earliest customer base then you will be able to retain them for a lifetime
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
We’re working hard to build a culture that allows people to live their best life in and out of the office. Startups are hard work, so we want to make sure that everyone is passionate and loves what they’re doing.
We’ve also made sure that everyone at our company has full health coverage, because we want the team to feel like Respond Flow is a place where they can go and thrive. So it’s our job to make sure that they feel taken care of.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
Trust the process. There is no such thing as perfection, especially in the early days as you fine-tune your product, messaging, and understanding of what your customers are really looking for.
You’ll never have all the answers you need to succeed, that’s why you need to test, test, and test some more until you can find what truly works.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
COFFEE ALL DAY
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
COFFEE ALL DAY
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
Our goal at the end of the day is to be the de facto text message marketing software, worldwide. A company that can make text message marketing more available to small to mid sized businesses that need it to connect with their customers more than ever.
That’s what we’re setting our sights on achieving, so be on the lookout 😉