Take control of your app community and be your own YouTube

January 30, 2019

Why be a tenant on another social media network? Smart app marketers are looking for alternatives that combine the power of bite-size videos with the freedom and flexibility to connect directly with app fans, influencers, and users. LAMA does both, providing marketers with an app and a platform to showcase their top users or give a voice (and a face) to founders and the great teams that support them. Our Chief Content Officer and show host Peggy Anne Salz catches up with Mario Arabov, co-founder of LAMA app, who explains the nuts and bolts of the video interview app—which allows interviewees to answer and record their responses to a catalog of questions developed by the company or on-demand LAMA journalists who can “script” interview questions to suit the occasion. They also discuss video production best practices and how companies can best use LAMA in a B2B context to boost their brand and profile.[ultimate_exp_section title="Transcript" title_alignment="left"]

Peggy: Welcome to "Mobile Growth," the podcast series where frontline growth marketing experts share their insights and experiences, so you can become a better mobile marketer. That's what it's all about here. I'm your host, Peggy Anne Salz from Mobile Groove where I help my clients grow their revenues and audience through content marketing. And on my watch, this series will introduce you to the people who know how to drive growth. It's either because they do it as their daily job or in this case because they have an idea that will help you grow your audience. To give you some context to where I were gonna switch gears today, we're looking at content marketing, but with a twist. Because if you're like me, you're watching all the trends, reports out there for 2019 and you're probably noticing two things, it's all about video, video is eating the world, it's crushing. It's also all about content marketing for your app. In other words, how to go deeper in the funnel and build deeper relationships that go way past just the download and the install. And so, if you think about it, mash them both together. That can't be a bad thing and that's exactly what LAMA app does. And I have today Mario Arabov. He is the co-founder of LAMA app. Mario, first of all, great to have you on the show, one of the first in the new year.

Mario: Hi, Peggy. Thank you so much for having me. Happy New Year to everyone.

Peggy: And as I said, it looks like trends are coming together to favor LAMA app. What exactly is it?

Mario: So what is LAMA? So LAMA is a video interview platform that mainly helps entrepreneurs, freelances, and overall creators to promote themselves or the projects in a video format. And what we built so far is a platform that is enabling mainly everyone to record very easily a video interview.

Peggy: So that's what it is, but I'm talking about like, the applications because I looked at this and we'll be using it on Mobile Growth as well, Mobile Growth Summit for our keynote speakers. So I get it completely. If you look at the bigger picture it's not just an app that allows you to create video interviews. It is an instrument for app developers, app companies. It's a B2B play as well. Tell me about the different ways I can use your app.

Mario: Yeah. Exactly. So LAMA, like, from one side is helping the entrepreneurs and freelancers to promote themselves, but from the other side, what we wanna do is to empower also companies to produce video content. And, yeah, so another side of our mission is to help businesses produce personalized video interviews for a fraction of the cost of a professional video team. And we help build the software that helps, like, every kind of companies to interview their own users. It could be like apps, it could be other platforms. Every time you have user profile, what we can do is help you to produce video content from your own users. So it's very easy to use software and what you can do is basically upload your user base and ask specific questions to every user or like, you can ask different questions to different users. So it's basically... It's helping really to produce in a very easy way content from user-generated content.

Peggy: Well, you raised the question. You said yourself, very easy, very low cost. Let's get the details out of the way and then we can deep dive into some of the really cool ways I could see people using this. So easy, sounds pretty easy, you know, you upload your user base and you have some questions. And they're going to download your app, and use it to just basically film themselves, right? Capture their answers to your questions and then you have a video. That seems to be in a nutshell what's going on here, right?

Mario: Yes, exactly. So it's very easy for the users because they're gonna receive like, an email with a QR code. They just... The only thing they need to do is to scan this QR code and afterwards they're gonna land on directly in our app in their questions. And what they have to do afterwards is just to record the videos and we also have some reporting options. They can edit the video, they can crop it. We also are basically thinking to introduce filters. So there would be, like, different options in the content, in the, you know, video creation tool. Yeah. That's basically how it works. It's very... We really want to help the users to produce the videos because something that we realized is that they are... Actually, there are different ways that users can create content, but nowadays there is not really like, a B2B tool that helps, like, other users to create content. You can do it rather via your mobile phone and then you can upload on YouTube, but that's, you know, it's not an integrated process. And what we are enabling companies is that we give them the chance to create. They have their own personal content creation tool.

Peggy: And as I said that can't be bad because that's exactly what I'm hearing. I'm going to the conferences such as Mobile Growth Summit, of course, and people are talking about content marketing. They're saying, you know, "How do I get content around my app that gets people, you know, engaged, interested?" And this allows... It sounds to me, it allows app companies to sort of create, first of all, video content on the fly, you know, really simple, really easy, really cheap. Oh, I didn't ask you, Mario. How much is it?

Mario: Yeah. So we are currently testing our pricing model, but there would be, like, different options. The current stage, depending on the partnership we have from the company. So it's really depends how many videos you have to produce how many users do you have, but see we start from a range from, you know, $50 per interview. So that means like, six videos and then of course, if you need to produce a lot of videos, we lower down this price. So usually to produce a video interview, it can cost up to, you know, $1,200 and we dramatically reduce these costs.

Peggy: Okay. So, you know, the pricing, that we can understand, value proposition, we can understand. I mention that this would work for app companies, but you tell me, Mario, it's still early days with LAMA and we're gonna be using it here at Mobile Growth Summit, by the way, listeners. So, you know, we're gonna road test it for you. So you can watch how we use it. If we love it, you know, why can't you use it and do the same? But do you have some examples of app companies already using LAMA?

Mario: So specifically, app companies. So we have of course, like, some clients that they have their own app. So for example, we have... One of our first clients is called Kooness and it's a very different target group. So Kooness is arts marketplace where you can buy, you know, modern paintings, modern art. What we did for them is we helped them to produce video content from their artists and gallerists. So basically we interviewed like, all the artists and we enabled like, also to showcase around their galleries and so on. And in this way we got them to convert on their website. So that's another, like, one example of use case. Apart from that, we are really, like, you know, have really different target groups because this concept works mainly for everyone. We have some coaches on onboard like, some platforms that have hosting coaches that they have to introduce themselves. We are also partnering up with a very, very big fintech company. That's basically are collecting traders and those traders, instead of introducing themselves, like, with a text, we are enabling them to do, like, a video intro. So it's very, you know, there is a huge range of different use cases that LAMA can be useful for. And then we have our own use case. So apart from the B2B concept, we have our own magazine.

So what we do is we give the chance to entrepreneurs and freelancers to promote themselves on our platform. And so, we are the first users of our B2B software basically. So everyone can apply for LAMA and then we help people, entrepreneurs to, you know, get interview and promote themselves.

Peggy: And I understand that I can also through the dashboard, you know, see what's going on and have a little bit more control in the back end. Is that correct?

Mario. Exactly, exactly. So as a B2B client, you have the full control on the content. You are basically using, like, you are using the software as a content creation tool and you can control the creation of the content, you can integrate the content within your platform. We have different options. So for example, we give the chance to embed a code with a player or you can that you can really download the video and then upload if you have like, a CMS for example.

And there is also, like, even a hardware integration. So we also provide APIs. So if you really want to how to integrate your platform with our system and host the videos in our service, you can do it in that way through our tool.

Peggy: So a lot of different ways to use LAMA and we have to get a break right now. But don't go away, listeners, because when we come back we'll be talking about some best practice around video, around interviews, around using LAMA, and much more. So don't go away, we'll be right back after the break.

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Peggy: And we're back. And we have Mario Arabov. He is LAMA app co-founder. Mario, great to have you here on Mobile Growth. Right before the break, we were talking about just the basics of your app and the fit with content marketing which I think is just, you know, crystal clear, no-brainer here. But there are some things that... Let's just say they're table stakes around video production, you know, it's got to be vertical, it's got to be a certain length, this and that, other I won't go into it because I'd like to hear how you are fulfilling some of these requirements. So let's just take the length. What can I do about the length in LAMA? Because we know that, you know, attention span, not there. So it has to be short, sweet to the point. How do I do that with your app?

Mario: Yeah. Exactly. So there is a default selected timeline that we give. It's like two minutes for each video, for video answers, but what we can also do is if you have a special requirements, we can shorten the time. And actually, this is what we do also from ourselves. And as you already mentioned it's like, it's all about the attention of the viewers on your website. So the message has to be concise and it has to be like, direct. And we push really our users to you produce the videos...each video like, up to one minute. And the company can also request the specific, you know, if you have a very specific requirements like 10 minutes or 1 minute, 2 minutes, or what else, we can do it for the company. But we really advice every company to be very...with each video to be very short not long because people, like, use their attention. That's pretty known and, yes. But we give the chance to choose, like, every company can choose how long the video can be.

Peggy: And you talked about the APIs earlier. I mean, some people listening in obviously, mobile app marketers, they're gonna be mobile first, mobile-only perhaps, and they might wanna use this maybe on a landing page or they might wanna even deep link to some content from their app out to, you know, these interviews. I mean, would that all work?

Mario: Yes, yes. Definitely. As I mentioned before, they can hardly integrate the content in their own landing pages if they like it through the APIs and we make it very simple also to integrate, to catch the cost. So each API has his own specific call and we have technical support. So no worries. Like, API can be very scary for people, but our technical team is like, it's like leading you through all the process and the onboarding, and so on.

Peggy: So I'm one of these people. I love to brainstorm, you know, imagine, think laterally. I mean, I'm gonna throw out some use cases and you maybe, you know, weigh in on, like, how cool this sounds or how possible this sounds. Okay. So as a layman here, someone who writes a lot about apps, you know, talks a lot about apps, does show about apps, but doesn't actually develop or sell an app, I will just imagine for a moment that we could have this to...and it was sort of like, enhanced ratings and rankings. You could have, like, some of your power users and say, "Yeah. Man, I really love this app." And then you've got the video and this sort of thing. So it would be a way to sort of like, promote your app on your landing page.

It might even be a way to, you know, introduce the team. You mentioned your fintech people, they're introducing their brokers. So you could say like, "Hey, guys. We're indie developers and we're really cool. And here's our, you know, our co-founder, Bob, and he's gonna tell you all about it." I mean, you can really bring some personality to what you are. Correct?

Mario: Yes. So, I mean, the main goal is that to, like, we help companies to discover also the face behind the companies and we empower them to have, like, some personal touch. And, you know, the video is very crucial. It's very crucial because people really sees the face behind what's behind a product and we also seen that a lot of companies that we are...they first start as our B2C customer. So they first want to promote themselves only, you know, to talk about startups. But then we have some request from their side saying, "Hey, but that would be, like, really cool if we can introduce all our team." So we also are taking that this to can be used for, you know, for example, for the team page, those team page pages are just, you know, I have the picture, like a short, you know, CV. But it would be really fun to have maybe an animation or, like, a short video. And you can really easily do it with our app. We've been doing that for our old company. So we try to, you know, produce with our phones the videos and we... I mean, it take... I remember it was such a pain. We took around two months to produce for like, 10 member, team members like, an entire video. But with our system, you can really do it, like, right away. So 10 minutes then we're done.

Peggy: I like it. You sort of learned from your pain points to produce this app. As you said you were trying to make one for your own team. It's like, man, this is not easy. There has to be an easier way. There it is, you came up with it. I'm thinking also that, you know, it might not be your ambition. Maybe it's just me or maybe I'm gonna give you an idea for a business model here. But, you know, it sounds like the early days of all those platforms out there. I mean, do you have the ambition to be indie's YouTube or Facebook, or any of the above? Because in theory, you know, you have a community, you have a platform, you have good free tools, and you have an audience.

Mario: Yes. Yeah. So definitely, I mean, our big ambition is to really interview everyone in the world. So we really believe that everyone has some interesting to share and, you know, no one is gonna do it, like, automatically. No one is gonna go on, like, you know, on Facebook saying, "Okay. I'm gonna record a video about myself and I'm gonna talk about this, this, and that." They really need someone to ask them and I really believe that this tool is gonna enable, like, people to talk about their projects, to talk about themselves in a very more freeway and without a filter. Also the easiness of the tool, it's definitely something that's...it really help, it really help a lot people to produce the video. So I personally see our self like, you know, the use case for interviews is really huge. So we are starting out with this niche with the entrepreneurs, founders, and freelancers. And I really see also there that we can become something like, you know, a video LinkedIn or what else. But use case are huge.

Peggy: Is that also your ambition? Is it also to have, you know, these companies sort of knocking at your door? You mentioned like, a video LinkedIn.

Mario: Of course.

Peggy: I mean, potentially some conversations could take place. How is it going over there at LAMA with respect to, you know, your own growth and your own user acquisition?

Mario: Yeah. So it's going pretty great. Yeah. We started, you know, interviewing founders and it seems kind of a niche, you know, the niches are developing very well. So mainly because of word of mouth and also because of videos, you know, videos are getting, like, if I'm not wrong, up to six times more shared on all the social media platforms. And this way, like, other people sees like LAMA where the founders start talking about themselves. And we are able to attract other founders in this way. We set up a very nice referral program where it helps like, you know, onboarding other founders that you know in your network. And, yeah, so the organic growth is pretty impressive. We're growing pretty fast in the user base and, yeah, we had a very good news that we're gonna announce publicly soon, but we've been accepted by the Next Media Accelerator. It's an accelerator in Hamburg and they are all the main German press invested basically in this accelerator. So we're gonna have access to, you know, big publications and magazine. So I really hope that in this way we're gonna have some bigger partnerships. So basically we can give other, like, more reach than the we have already and also we are closing currently our seed run with a couple of the VCs. So we've seen a lot of interest from investors and also now, with this accelerator.

Peggy: A lot of this is word of mouth as I said, you know, just organic. We're gonna try it out here at Mobile Growth. But are you looking at paid acquisition or is it really just all, just getting it out there and being very social, very organic?

Mario: Yeah. So, I mean, yeah, personally I have also this, you know, this growth hacking background. So I really like to do experiments on, like, you know, a little bit strategies that there may be not seen are conventional. So I've been testing out very, very different acquisition strategies and what I'm trying to do is really to lower the cost like, not to doing paid acquisition at the moment. Also, you know, as a startup, you don't have the budget. So you have really to get your first 10,000 visitors on your website and so, and so. We are really experimenting a lot of growth hacks. I cannot tell you which are there, but, yeah, I can just tell you we're using a lot like, platforms like LinkedIn or... Yeah. We are trying to also cross-post in other platforms and get traffic from other sources and, yeah.

So, but mainly we are trying to do this organically. I know that that can lost too much because, you know, there is also like, a limit where you can acquire like certain people. Also with algorithms of the social media platforms nowadays, the reach is very low. You also, you will have to pay to reach your own followers. So we know that we're gonna start to do some paid acquisition, but until now it has been always organic and word of mouth, and a lot of growth hacks.

Peggy: Well, I think that your love of experimentation is exactly what our audience has, you know. They would love, I am sure to know more about this to try it out for themselves, you know, take it out for a road test, have some fun. How can they do all of the above? What's the best way to interact, engage, contact LAMA app?

Mario: Yeah. So if they are companies, so if they wanna try the software, they can reach out to mario@lama-app.com and I'm gonna give you like a demo or, like, we're gonna put online, I think the next week the software, like, the B2B software, and they can request them from our website. So they have to go to lama-app.com and they can request a demo from there. And that's it basically or they can reach out our social media platforms. We're very active everywhere or like, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, also they can retweet.

Peggy: Got it. And last question just for me, Mario. I mean, I get it. LAMA, it must stand for something. I mean, obviously, you looked for a name that no one else had and you've done a great job there. But does it stand for something? I think of the animal to tell you the truth, but that's not what it is. So...

Mario: Exactly. So, I mean, to be really honest, you know, it's very hard to find a name of a company and we were doing big researches, and so on. We found this domain name, but we started as an Ask Me Anything app. So what was the original name was like, "Login, ask me anything." So this is like a secret, but I'm sharing with you. I know it's a little bit cheesy, but from the other side then, as soon as we started the company, we realized that also LAMA stands for Lachinger, Alexander and Mario Arabov. It's like me and my co-founder. So...

Peggy: Oh, there you go. You got your founders names in that as well. Very cool.

Mario: Yeah. We realized that afterwards, but, yeah, we can pretend that we thought of it this way.

Peggy: Well, absolutely excited to watch what you're doing over there at LAMA app.

Mario: I'm really excited also to help out to create the interviews for the podcast.

Peggy: Absolutely. And that's exactly what we'll be doing. And listeners, thanks again for listening to this episode of the "Mobile Growth" podcast. A quick reminder to visit mobilegrowthsummit.com for a complete list of our upcoming events and don't forget to use the very special promo code, MGSPODCAST30 for 30% off your offer. We hope to see you there and we encourage you to check out this and earlier episodes of our series by going to mobilegrowthsummit.com and they're also on SoundCloud, and coming soon to more channels providing more ways for you to listen in. So watch for that, we'll watch for you, and we'll see you soon.

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