How Dollar Shave Club Gained 12,000 Customers Over a Single Weekend
With one expertly crafted video, Dollar Shave Club identified and offered an affordable solution to a major annoyance that affects nearly the entire population of the developed world: the unnecessary ordeal of buying painfully overpriced shave supply. They poke fun at the massively bloated technology, citing a hyperbolic razor that boasts a “vibrating handle, a flashlight, a backscratcher and 10 blades” – not much of a stretch considering what’s currently on the market. Champion a razor that harkens back to the utilitarian minimalism of great-grandpa’s one-bladed masterpiece – you have quit the winner.
There was no doubt that delivering affordable razors by mail monthly was going to be million-dollar idea. Beyond the expense, just remembering to buy razors in the first place is a hassle. The market was ripe for disruption. However, a great idea only goes so far – it was the careful planning and execution of their marketing strategy that resulted in Dollar Shave Club’s current 65 million USD in annual revenue.
Using the D.S.C. formula, anyone can use these direct marketing elements to tap into their target customer’s needs and buyer’s mindset, creating marketing viral content that drives both traffic and sales. This is done by targeting a demographic, having immaculate timing and by urging people to buy!
A huge chunk of the population shaves unwanted body hair. Producing a video that targets a customer base this widely distributed is a monumental task. One common misstep of new companies approaching a market is their failure to research an extremely concise target customer group. Dollar Shave Club didn’t just go for “men”, they didn’t attempt “millennials of all genders” – they targeted men in their 20’s who value both their looks and their wallets.
This hyper-focused customer profile allowed them to craft a video that directly appealed to this demographics sense of humor and values, which meant fast growth for less money right out of the gate.
Pro tip: One way to hone in on that target group that will eat up your content is by finding your 1 key fan. Using social media, data research and media investigation you can find a single person that represents your entire audience, and always think about that individual when putting together marketing material.
Michael Dubin, the founder of Dollar Shave Club, was also the star of the viral video. A student of improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City, he understood the value of humor as a storytelling device. The video is full of jokes, but it doesn’t rely on entertainment value alone – within the first 15 seconds, Mike makes his marketing message crystal clear.
“Hi. I’m Mike – founder of DollarShaveClub.com. What is DollarShaveClub.com? Well, for one dollar a month, we send high quality razors right to your door.” He deftly anticipates the viewer’s initial questions: “How can the razors be any good if I’m only paying a dollar a month for them?” Great question – despite Gillette and others conditioning us to believe that $20 for razors is normal, Mike posits that nineteen of those dollars go straight to the pockets of celebrity endorsements. Fair Enough. He describes Dollar Shave Club’s razors: one blade, an aloe strip, and a pivot head. Simple – that “too good to be true feeling” fades.
The timing of the information presented in the video is crucial. Even one minute is stretching it for the attention deficit tendencies of their target market. The timing of the video’s debut was also carefully considered and masterfully executed: right before SXSW, when a massive group of their young, tech savvy customer base would be hanging out in Austin, Texas, sharing memes and YouTube clips throughout their community. Sharing via the Internet is one thing, but add I.R.L. word of mouth and watch the views roll in.
Pro tip: Some rules of thumb to follow are less is more when it comes to content length and find some major event that your 1 key fan would attend, and try to set your media launch around that important date.
Mike ends the video with a clear call to action: “So stop forgetting to buy your blades every month and start deciding where you’re gonna stack all those dollar bills I’m saving you.”
When you’ve made your message and product benefits crystal clear, it’s easy to leave them with a straight forward call-to-action, urging them to hit that buy button.
Pro tip: The key is authenticity and honesty. Always make sure your benefits and competitive advantages are music to your 1 key fans ears, and the call-to-action will be the easiest part.
The numbers don’t lie – orders reached 12,000 within the first two days. This highly successful launch video was the perfect first step to generate revenue quickly in order to continue building upon Dollar Shave Club’s platform. Mike went on to target a wider demographic, retain existing customers and generate more profit from add-ons and upgrades such as shave butter and aftershave, but it would have taken him a lot longer to reach this large-scale vision if he had not planned Dollar Shave Club’s introduction to the market down to the last detail.
In just one month, our app saved merchants over $50,000