Last year, Dollar Beard Club's premiere product video likely made its way through your Facebook feed a few dozen times. In it, the epically bearded Chris Stoikos makes a pretty compelling case for growing a beard--all while going about his business running a beard oil warehouse, abusing clean-shaven men, and witnessing the good fortune of his furry-faced brothers (who are TOTALLY winning at life due to their facial hair).
That first video only cost $1,500 to produce and nine months later, it's been viewed over 2 million times. Not only that, it boosted Dollar Beard Club's subscribers by 15,000 in the first month alone. Naturally, the team of whiskered men capitalized on this success and less than a year later, they have cultivated a full-fledged media channel that just so happens to sell beard products.
I met Stoikos last year after he had recently generated over a quarter of a million dollars on an Indiegogo campaign for his other product, Coolbox - which also received an investment on Shark Tank this past Friday and was then officially bought out by an unnamed investor on the same day (April 8th). Based on the increasingly high production values of Dollar Beard Club's videos, it's a fair guess that Chris is taking this company in the same direction. In fact, the team aired DBC's first commercial on ABC right before Chris' Shark Tank pitch, tilting a number of heads in delighted confusion.
"Having a great content marketing strategy is crucial to company growth," Chris says. "There's really no better way to connect with your audience than entertaining them."
Last week, I sat down with Chris' equally bearded co-founder, Alex Brown, who was kind enough to share the team's process for building and distributing great content.
"We don't 'sell' to our demographic, we make them laugh," Alex says. "When we're creating content, our goal is not to push products--it's to create a community around men embracing their manhood, growing a beard, and treating it properly. Because of the emphasis on community building and creating engaging content, our products literally sell themselves. We have thousands of loyal subscribers that didn't even know beard products existed before us. Our content doesn't just grow sales, it actually grows our market. "
DBC posts their videos on YouTube, but mainly focus on driving engagement through Facebook's video upload platform. They also use Instagram to showcase 15 second clips that drive users to the website, where they can view the full video. "During our shoots, we use every opportunity we have to create social content," Alex explains. "For example, in our second video, we rented a lion. When is THAT ever going to happen again?! So we made up some shorter videos on the spot to push through social channels before the main video aired. This got people excited to see the full video."
Stoikos and his team are constantly listening to their audience. If a particular character did well, they bring him back for a series. If something didn't happen to work, they don't force it to. "That's the awesome thing about the age we live in," says Alex. "Your audience literally tells you what they want to see, all measured in real time with analytics. We aren't afraid to push the envelope and go for shock value, but we also realize the value in listening, being flexible, and giving people what they want."
Dollar Beard Club's latest video was released today and can be viewed here. If you are thinking of creating your own video series, here are a few words of wisdom from Alex:
"As you develop your own content marketing strategy remember that it doesn't have to be about explosives, exotic animals, or high production values--it's about telling a very compelling story and showing your customers that you are more than just an entity that sells a product or service."