This is a post I wrote several months ago, just after DollarShaveClub.com launched.
Marketing is a tricky thing. Knowing your audience, creating a brand voice, developing and implementing a strategy, analyzing the results, and determining a return on investment is a lot of work. In the digital marketing world, advertisers dream of their marketing campaigns going viral. Why? Because when a marketing campaign goes viral, all of the work is done for them.
A recent example of highly effective viral marketing is a campaign run by Dollar Shave Club. On March 5, Dollar Shave Club uploaded an ad to YouTube. By March 8, the video had accumulated more than 1.5 million views. That’s insane. Since then, their web presence has exploded, leading to an immense amount of earned media and free exposure. True, the video is well made, informative and just plain entertaining, but it’s the brand that’s going viral, not just the video. So, how are they doing it?
It’s no secret, having an authentic voice is key in any successful marketing campaign. Dollar Shave Club succeeds in developing a casual and honest tone when describing their product.
The above quote comes straight form Dollar Shave Club’s “How It Works” page. Take note of the casual cadence used to detail the process of getting razors: “We send ’em right to your door.” Read it out loud for full effect. This is how normal men speak to one another.
Using this language to communicate to an audience emulates a human conversation, giving a brand humanity sounds like a good idea, right? That’s because it is a good idea.
Working in tandem with an authentic voice, Dollar Shave Club makes user engagement both fun and easy. Once you sign up for any of their services, you are given the option to share a uniquely generated referral code on multiple social media platforms.
The incentive for customers to promote Dollar Shave Club is a free month of membership. This is where viral marketing starts: a user shares it with their friends, those friends share it with their friends, and so on and so on. Furthermore, once you’ve shared your unique referral link on any of the listed platforms, you are then given the option to “LIKE” or follow Dollar Shave Club on that particular platform. It’s literally a one-click process. Furthermore, Dollar Shave Club promises 83 years of free razors if you refer 1,000 friends. This goal is almost impossible, and the reward is specifically comical. However, this is a perfect example of how the brand is employing comedy to their advantage. The campaign is funny and it works.
This process promotes their brand on users’ profiles while increasing the company’s social media community. It’s a marketing strategy built for viral content and, even better, it doesn’t cost them anything.
Don’t be fooled, though. While a smart video, authentic voice, and user support have helped Dollar Shave Club’s brand go viral, at the heart of their success is a great product. They have identified a need in the market and have successfully offered an attractive solution.
If you want your marketing to go viral, taking note of Dollar Shave Club’s strategy is a good place to start. Above all, however, the most important thing they’ve done is offer a quality service. If you don’t have a good product, you won’t have a good brand. In the end, what matters is what you can offer the consumer.
This offer has proven SO popular, customers will have to wait a little bit longer to get their razors.
→ David Pemberton, Editor, Social Media + PR, AREA203 Digital; follow… @Dave_Your_Fave