Content Marketing Tips That Helped the Dollar Shave Club

Who else can't stop going back to "that" viral Dollar Shave Club video? 


You know the one I'm talking about…


The one featuring a drop-dead handsome man with a charismatic stare and an oh-so-terrible throw?


The one with a man in a bear costume, tennis racquet, raining dollar bills, forklift, employee Alehandro, and the single best use of a swear word in any advert EVER?


The one you've heard being referenced in every digital marketing conference you've attended since 2012?


No? Still doesn't ring a bell? Fine this one then…





If there's one takeaway from this viral video (well, other than the fact that you can't actually cut tape with a blunt machete), it's that content marketing doesn't have to be drab, dull, and forthright for it to work. 


Sometimes it's good to be bold. To be a little more innovative, a little more fun, and a little more laser-focused. 


The most successful marketing campaigns don't just tiptoe into the marketplace—they're built to grab headlines, bring industries to a standstill, and roar their message across social channels.


However, building a show-stopping content marketing strategy like Dollar Shave Club's is easier said than done. Luckily for you, we've prepared this epic case study, covering the grass-to-grace story of Dollar Shave Club. 


In it, we're going to take apart Dollar Shave Club's content marketing strategy piece by piece so you can learn from it. We'll also give you in-depth, actionable, mind-blowingly simple content marketing tips to ship back to your own marketing team.


But First…The Numbers Behind Dollar Shave Club's Meteoric Rise to Superstardom


Talk about an overnight success story. Talk about going from zero to million-dollar status in one day. Talk about fame, money (lots of money), and being a member of the content marketing hall of fame. 


Dollar Shave Club is all that and more.


In February 2012, Dollar Shave Club's CEO Michael Dubin was probably not worth more than a few thousand dollars. Yes, he had tons of experience and improvisational comedy, but all that for what? A bragging session with the boys at their favorite Budweiser joint?


Michael Dubin knew that he had to step out of his comfort zone if he ever wanted to taste marketing success. He knew he had to do something, anything, that would launch his brand onto the global stage. 


He took a risk—and boy did it pay off!


In March 2012, during a launch video for Dollar Shave Club's razor blades, Michael Dubin brought his A-game to the fore, nailing the presentation with such acute thoroughness and charm that the whole world was left in awe.


Since it hit the airwaves, "that" viral video has on gone to become:


  • The only online marketing video to garner over 10,000 new subscribers within the first 48 hours of launch. That number quickly rose to 1.1 million by 2020.
  • The only marketing-oriented video to have ever amassed 20+ million on YouTube (27million and still counting as of 2021)
  • The most popular piece of video content ever created
  • A global sensation that earned the Shave Club hundreds of thousands of new customers, and most recently, a $1B cash-only acquisition by Unilever.


Pretty awesome, huh?


To give you a hint of just how popular Dollar Shave Club has become, here are some site statistics (between March 2021 and August 2021):


  • Organic traffic: 53.81%
  • Referral traffic: 1.34%
  • Direct: 40.90%
  • Social: 1.32%


Question is, how did Michael Dubin do it? Better yet, how can you incorporate some of Dollar Shave Club's genius content marketing tips into your customer journey? 


Razor Sharp Marketing Tips from Dollar Shave Club: Best of the Bunch


#1: Done Right, Offbeat Humor Goes a Long, Long Way Online


Literally every men's grooming ad on TV promises to turn you into a chiseled model if you buy their product. Unfortunately, it never pans out that way, does it?


DSC knew this early on and sought a totally different approach. Instead of slapping their target audience with tons of "perfect" TV commercials, they connect directly with them through subtle humor and an irreverent approach to product marketing.


Through deliberate, humor-laced online marketing, Dollar Shave Club has reached a point where their target audience no longer views their content as "marketing." And that's the dream.


Often, their prospective customers see Dollar Shave Club's promotional content as a chance to have a good laugh for 60 or so seconds straight. It hits their funny bone, and they genuinely love it.


I'm not saying you sprinkle in bits of forced humor into your content strategy. No, don't do that.


If you do, your marketing content will become a meme that will people will be quick to laugh at and just as quick to forget.


Rather, take a bold yet measured approach to humor. Turn a cliché video content into simple, personality-driven adverts that genuinely give potential customers the "warm fuzzies".


Or learn this art too.

Here are more ways to inject offbeat humor into your content strategy:


  • Sprinkle in a GIF or two: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a GIF is probably worth 10,000 (oh, and btw, the Dollar Shave Club are awesome at using GIFs too)
  • Use cartoon and comic strips: If GIFs are not your thing, you can still add humor to your blog posts and website by using cartoons, illustrations, and topics.
  • Poke fun at your own mistake: Rather than have a dull error page, you could perhaps throw in a bit of personality as Emailcenter did here.





#2: Establish a Character-Rich Social Media Connection


Dollar Shave Club didn't stop at "that" viral video. 


Of course, the hilarious 2012 video earned them tons of Twitter and Instagram followers, hundreds of thousands to be exact. But they knew better than to rest on their laurels and let fame pass them by.


Instead, DSC carried on with its hilarious approach to digital marketing on its Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. Poke around their social media channels and you'll literally be bamboozled by the number of social shares their posts are getting.


It is humor alone that makes Dollar Shave Club such a darling on all social networks?


Well, not really.  As you'll find out on your tour, Dollar Shave Club's customer care team typically answers their customers quickly and comprehensively. 


As far as customer engagement on social media goes, DSC does a particularly good job on Twitter. They've got two Twitter accounts, one for official posts and one called Ask_DSC specifically for customer care.


To top of it off, their characterful, personalized, imaginative approach to social marketing can be felt throughout the replies. 


They're so effortless and punchy that they almost seem like a cheat code, not to mention that the brand has recently started using Vines (can someone please give DSC the title for the best brand ever!)


In summary, here's what you can learn from Dollar Shave Club with regards to creating a brand-client social media connection:


  • Post more than just business information
  • Always respond to customers' comments and inquiries, whether positive or negative
  • If it's not a character-rich, high-quality content, don't share it


#3: Your Product Packaging Should be Exceptional, Nothing Less


Wait a minute, did I mention that Dollar Shave Club is a subscription service that regularly mails its customers razors, so they never ran out?


Oops! My bad, I assumed you knew that already (let's be real though, who doesn't know Dollar Shave Club?)


That said, one of the things that have really endeared Dollar Shave Club to the public over the years is how highly they regard product packaging. To date, every DSC box comes as the perfect fit for the products inside.


The effect is clean and tiny, which reflects how they want you to feel when using their products—special, super special, almost as if you'll resemble Dwayne if you've shaved off that quirky mustache. 


For them, every product package is a chance to win over the client all over again and encourage higher customer lifetime value (CLV). They've recently added entertaining product messages to make the unboxing experience all the more personal.


Some of the awesome messages they've made part of their packages include:


  • Leave your mark, just not on your face. Change your blade every week.
  • Even surgeons don't operate on their faces. Change your blade every week.
  • Burn up the dance floor. Not your face. Change blades every week.


Trust me when I tell you that these product messages are just a drop in the ocean. The brand has crafted many other beautiful, well-thought-out messages like these.


A few more include:



In summary, here's what you can learn from Dollar Shave Club's approach to product packaging:


  • Treat every package as an experience, not a product
  • Make your brand details consistent and telling
  • Fun and efficiency can fit into one box


#4: There's a Customer Experience, and Then There's a Unique Customer Experience


Could Dollar Shave Club have flocked retail stores to sell 3-dollar blades alongside expensive razors?


Probably so, but that would have meant that they dig deeper into their pockets. Worse still, it meant they deprive customers of an exclusive, unique, positive experience.


That's where Shave Club truly outdid themselves. They took on uncharted waters, quickly finding their way into the heart of Americans through stylish, young, yet playful marketing.


When you subscribe to DSC, you don't become just another customer on their roster. You become an esteemed "member," a club member that has signed up to experience the "delight" that comes along with buying low-cost blades and razors.


The bottom line?


Offer an outstanding, off-the-charts user experience, and your customers will surely return the next day, and the next, and the other one after that. 


#5: Perfect the Art of Ambitious Storytelling


By now, you already know that DSC greatly ramped up their content marketing efforts soon after "that" viral video, right?—they pitched camp on social media, streamlined their inbound marketing strategies, churned out one funny blog article after another, and so on.


But do you know what else they did?


Dollar Shave Club scaled its storytelling efforts several-fold. They put out a hilarious video series that their target audience absolutely loved, and despite all the online frenzy it attracted, the brand still surged on—relentlessly, passionately, vivaciously.


Soon after, DSC made probably the best follow-up in modern marketing history: "Let's Talk About 2." Other than introducing their new butt wipes product, this new video stuck to the overall theme of creating fun-induced content. 


But they were just getting started. In the period between 2014 and 2015, these two milestones quickly ensued:


  • "Bathroom Minutes," a miniature newspaper for quick (or not so quick) reads, started accompanying every one of DSC's orders.
  • MEL Magazine, arguably the most ambitious editorial publication of all time, was launched.


Both the Bathroom Minutes and MEL Magazine proved to be worthwhile investments over time. And they teach us one thing: ambitious storytelling works, but only if brands are willing to step out of their comfort zones and actually take the plunge.





Ultimately, these storytelling strategies helped Dollar Shave Club cultivate customer relationships, improve its social media marketing strategies, and build an incredibly robust brand.


If apt, witty, well-timed storytelling worked for DSC, why not you?


Bonus Tips From the Content Marketing Legends


While I think the five tips above are the key takeaways from Dollar Shave Club's success story, I'm kind enough to supply you with a few bonus tips (a round of applause for me, please):


  • Marketing Budget: You don't need to rob a bank to facilitate a successful content marketing campaign. No, not at all. With a bit of creativity, effort, and charm (duh), you can actually create a content marketing strategy that puts all the existing strategies to shame
  • Product Pages: One thing that stands out about DSC's product pages is their imagery. Take it for me. Those are the most beautiful pages you'll see in a long, long time. The good news? You can replicate such awesome pages on your website using best-in-class editorial tools like CrazzyEgg.
  • Search Engine Optimization: Dollar Shave Club's SEO tactics have been spot on since "that video." In a recent toe-to-toe comparison between Dollar Shave Club and Gillette, it was found out that for every set of similar search terms, DSC earns more than triple the search volume of Gillette. Mind-blowing, right?
  • A/B Testing: The Dollar Shave Club recently liaised with Instant Logic to run A/B testing in a bid to increase the site's conversion rates. As you'd imagine, the retailer uncovered inefficiencies and dependencies within its site structure. By the time Instant Login was done troubleshooting Dollar Shave Club's website, the former was enjoying a whopping 126% increase in conversion rates. As crazy as that sounds, it's super doable. Simple A/B tests for all your product pages, landing pages, and blog posts can do the trick.


Play Around, Just Not With Content Marketing Strategy. Leave the Heavy Lifting to the Pros.


Let's face it. Not every brand will become an overnight sensation like the Shave Club. Not every marketer can ace a piece of marketing content as Dubin did. That's just how life works—it's a scramble to the content marketing pinnacle, and only the best can touch the summit.


More often than not, you'll find yourself on the other end of the spectrum, barely succeeding in meeting deadlines, performing in-depth content research, keeping a pulse on all content channels, or even coordinating your content marketing team.




Effective content marketing, above all else, starts with a step of boldness. A realization that you need to break out of your shell to actually ace it. Luckily, a copywriter can make that bold step on your behalf. 


We may not be as good as Mike Dubin in improvisational comedy, but there's something we're really, really, really good at: excellent content writing services. We literally eat and breathe content marketing, and we believe we are the missing piece in your marketing strategy puzzle.


Why don't you give us a call today or shoot us an email and see if we actually walk the talk?