Origins #57 - Let the Product Speak for Itself
The best way to reach more people
In this series we are documenting the journey of building DULO, starting from Day 1. Every week we publish a new chapter that takes you behind the scenes of our process. With every article, we want to provide value to you, the reader. We share the success and failures, the opportunities and the challenges that we face while executing our vision.
If you are new, check out our previous post.
In terms of creating a positive impression of our product, there has been one thing that has worked for us from day 1 and that is letting people experience it physically.
We started doing this from the very first prototypes we made, which we sent out to people close to us as well as friends we made along the journey of building this company.
We did three rounds of prototypes, gathering feedback and iterating after each one to improve the product and take it to a market-ready quality that we're proud of.
Once we launched we continued giving away some of our product for free, both to people that are close to us, as well as "influencers" or just people we respected and wanted to show them what we're building.
For our scale, this was incredibly successful and many of those folks that interacted with the product, came back to buy more than 1 shirt and/or promoted and talked about our product to people around them.
At some point we scaled down this strategy, thinking that throwing money at Facebook/Instagram ads would be a more effective way of attracting new clients. In theory, this sounds easier and more efficient and as humans, we tend to gravitate towards "quick wins" and short-term driven approaches. But in practice we were slightly ignoring and disrespecting an approach that has worked well for us in the past and even though it's not as scalable, it produced much better results.
We want to consciously keep a mindset that we are always at day 1 and not get ahead of ourselves, going for the easier (on paper) and more "scalable" approach that in practice wasn't working as well.
Of course, the ROI from throwing $ in advertising would be based on the execution (creative + targeting), but it seems that at this price point, with an innovative product and a new brand, it just makes more sense that our priority should be getting our product to as many people as possible, even if it's ROI negative for us in the beginning, rather than spend money on ads and HOPE that someone might buy.
Even if we manage to get a successful advertising strategy in place, we need to create multiple touch points which need to "lure" a customer into taking a leap of faith with the product, without experiencing its innovative nature. And I somehow feel better avoiding large platform and going straight to people we respect to leverage their audience, only IF they like the product.
So, from this week, we've taken a step back and doubled down on spreading our product to the world, the good old-fashioned way of sending it for free to influencers.
We have been strategic about this, of course, targeting influencers that are aligned with our interests, including entrepreneurs, vloggers, and podcasters.
Besides just making sure that the product gets to them, we are of course hoping that the more we get our product out there, the higher the chance of creating a disproportionate ROI, IF one of them gives us a shoutout, or even drops us a line back with good feedback about the product, that we can then leverage, e.g. as a testimonial on the website etc.
Believing in the product as much as we do, we are patiently going to wait and I think it's only a matter of time before this "non-scalable" approach, produces results much greater than going wide with our online advertising.
This is, of course, a strategy we feel is appropriate for THIS stage of the company.
The timing is also great, as we are in the process of organizing our first professional product shoot. The new images will be combined with a slight website redesign and hopefully some great testimonials from the people we are approaching, improving on the social proof aspect of our website/brand, which can then be leveraged for paid advertising and driving significant traffic to the site.
To give you a better example of the people we are approaching, here is a list of the bigger/more famous:
1. Gary Vaynerchuk
Entrepreneur, investor, CEO of Vaynermedia, 4x NY Times bestselling author
2. Casey Naistat
Entrepreneur, YouTube vlogger
3. Brian Rose
Entrepreneur, host of the London Real podcast
4. Patrick Bet-David
Entrepreneur, host of the Valuetainment podcast
5. Johhny Sins
Entrepreneur, adult movie start, YouTube vlogger
What do they all have in common? Yes, they are all DOers, building and creating their own legacy. These are the types of people we want to associate DULO with. These are the types of people we want to become.