E251: How to Reach 1 Million Subscribers on YouTubeMay 23, 2019 in Ecom-Crew-Podcast
Are you struggling to grow your YouTube followers?
If so, boy have I got a treat for you!
Today’s guest is Eric Bandholz, one of the founders of Beardbrand. From a community dedicated to beard care in 2012, it has become a full-fledged company selling a wide array of men’s grooming products.
The company is unique in that it isn’t reliant on Amazon (at least, not anymore). Instead, it uses other marketing avenues to grow the business. YouTube is one of its core strategies. In the span of 5 years, it has amassed 1 million subscribers on TheBeardbrand channel, which is quite remarkable.
Eric was kind enough to share some tips that were crucial to their YouTube success.
- Have a vision of how your business (i.e. your products or services) can be helpful/useful to people
- Use media content (videos are big)
- Learn how the YouTube algorithm works
- Be prepared to put in that initial effort – the first hundred, the first thousand, the first million is always the hardest
- Build and streamline a process that allows you to produce content on your channel on a regular basis
Listen to the full episode for more insights that you can implement or adapt to meet your own ecommerce marketing strategy.
In other news…
EcomCrew Premium is open this week. Get access to our full suite of courses, including the newest one Email Flows to Riches, where we teach you how to use email automation to increase your sales.
If you’re interested in getting onsite advice from Mike and have your business featured on a podcast, sign up for the EcomCrew Roadshow today!
Finally, if you enjoyed listening and think this episode has been useful to you, please take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy selling!
FULL AUDIO TRANSCRIPT
Intro: This is Mike and welcome to episode number 251 of the EcomCrew Podcast. I have a real treat for you guys lined up. I’m recording this intro from Miami, Florida but I recorded this episode while I was in Austin, Texas, with my good friend Eric from Beard Brand. This is a guy who has done so much impressive stuff in the e-commerce community. He’s built a 1 million subscriber YouTube channel amongst a whole bunch of other amazing stuff. But today we’re going to talk about the YouTube channel.
Now before I get into that, you know every about a quarter we open up EcomCrew Premium. I apologize for having to put my salesman hat on for that. But I just want to let you guys know that EcomCrew Premium is open for this week only. So if you go over to EcomCrew.com/premium, you can find out more about that. And for this go around, we have just launched a brand new course on email marketing. Many of you know that we just had a seven figure exit one of our brands ColorIt, and 52% of our revenue on ColorIt.com came from email marketing, not to mention the halo effect that we had on all of our Amazon sales.
This business went from going up and being listed to sold with multiple offers in under a month. And I attribute a lot of that to what we did with email marketing. In addition to the email course, we have a course on Facebook Messenger, something else that’s really prominent and important. In the e-commerce landscape right now, Facebook Messenger, I think is going to just become more and more important. And we have a whole course on that, along with a few other courses on how to launch products on Amazon, how to build a seven figure brand, and how to import from China.
We also do webinars twice a month, one of which is an open Q&A, where you can ask Dave and I any questions that you might have. And we do a secret sauce webinar. We bring someone in that goes deep under the hood about some special topic. It’s been really interesting. Dave Huss came in and did that, talked about how he got to over 100,000 subscribers with his Facebook page in under a year. We just had an SEO audit, a lot of really good information in those webinars. And finally, you get access to Dave and I with unlimited email support.
So if you feel like you need some help in your e-commerce businesses, we’re there for you. The community is there for you. The courses are there for you. And that’s what it’s all about, EcomCrew.com/premium. All right guys off my soapbox. Let’s go talk to Eric. It was a great interview. It was one of the few times I get to do an interview in person. He is an awesome dude, definitely excited to have him finally on the EcomCrew Podcast. It took 251 episodes, but glad to have my good friend Eric here. So let’s get into it.
Mike: Hey Eric, welcome to the EcomCrew Podcast.
Eric: Oh my god. Thanks for having me on here, Mike. I’m super stoked.
Mike: Yeah, me too man. I’ve gotten to know you through the Ecommerce Fuel forums, you’re kind of like the celebrity over there who’s grown this amazing seven figure brand, and been super transparent about things the entire way, including not just the stuff that goes right, but informed like we do on here on the e-commerce podcast, also talk about some of your struggles, which I think more entrepreneurs need to share with each other so they realize they’re not alone. And then we’ve gotten to meet in person at Ecommerce Fuel live events and various meetups, and we just got to spend some time together in Austin. And I was like you know what; we got to get you on the podcast. It’s been too long. So I’m glad you’re here man.
Eric: Yeah, it’s my pleasure. And I’ve certainly had my fair share of failures. And to the best of my abilities I try to fail forward, as I like to say, and Ecommerce Fuel is such an amazing community. And yeah, I’m super excited to talk about today and kind of share the things that that we’ve learned and the mistakes we’ve made and maybe like where we visualize ourselves in the future as well or what we’re building toward.
Mike: Cool. Yeah, man, you definitely got a great thing going. What I was expecting to talk to you about today, which I might have to get you back on the podcast, but you quit Amazon and actually grew by doing that. And I was just in your office recording a podcast for your thing that you’re doing. And I turned around, and you have this like 1 million YouTube subscriber plaque. And I was like, that’s really cool. That’s what I want to talk to you about. So that’s going to be the main thing for today, we can talk about something else fun in the future. But before we get into that specific thing, so people that aren’t familiar with you and your brand, can you give maybe a couple of minute background on Beard Brand and Eric and why you started all this and a little bit of your journey.
Eric: Yeah, so I am the founder of Beard Brand. I have two co-founders, Lindsey and Jeremy. And we are a men’s grooming company. Obviously, we sell stuff for your beard, but we also sell stuff for your hair and for your skin. So if you’re a dude, chances are we’ve got products for you. And we launched this company, first as a community, essentially like a YouTube channel and a Tumblr blog, and a WordPress blog back in 2012, and then spun it off into an e-commerce business in January of 2013. So we’re entirely bootstrapped. We have no outside investors, no debt, no bank financing, and just the money that me and my business partners, or I guess my business partners put in, and our energy and our efforts, and we’ve been able to work hard to grind to develop new products.
Currently, we have over something like 120 different SKUs and distribution and target, as well as a pretty strong direct to consumer presence on our website, BeardBrand.com. And like you said, we pulled off of Amazon last year, which was a big boost to our business. I think we’re probably one of the few companies that’s ever said that. And yeah, YouTube’s been kind of one of those core parts of our business as we’ve been able to grow and stay bootstrapped and stay lean and not put too much money into paid advertising.
Mike: Yeah, definitely awesome story. Good background. Because I was just there and you’re so generous, you gave me like an entire bag of Beard Brand goodies. And I don’t have a beard like you do. I actually just shave off my beard. I’m completely clean shaven now, but the brand name is a little bit misleading because you also have some body soaps and hair gels and this cool sea salt spray, which you have given me as well. And thanks to you I smell better and look better. Nowhere near to your level, obviously. But I am a little bit more put together today than I usually am.
Eric: Well, it’s funny you say that because this is a little bit of a segue. But we just had a strategy session like a week ago, and we updated our mission statement. It used to be fostering confidence through grooming. And then we just changed it to we make men look and feel better or excuse me, we make men look and feel awesome. So you almost like verbatim said our mission statement which is like music to my ears. I’m like that’s perfect.
Mike: Perfect, man. Yeah, I’m glad I was able to give you that softball.
Eric: And that wasn’t planned either for all the listeners out there.
Mike: Definitely not planned. We don’t plan anything right here. It’s all by the seat of our pants.
Eric: Like a true entrepreneur.
Mike: Exactly. Cool. So now that people kind of have a setting, a timeline, kind of like what you’ve been doing there, because I think you started as a blog and didn’t start as an e-commerce site, you probably have always had content in mind. So I imagine that the YouTube stuff was just a natural transition for you. But I mean did you ever dream that you would be a brand with a million person YouTube channel?
Eric: Oh no. I mean, I’ve always had ambitions to grow this business to be a significant business. I want to build it to do $100 million in revenue a year. Whether or not I can execute there is yet to be seen and whether or not I can do it in my lifetime is yet to be seen. But that’s kind of the goal that I’m reaching for. And for whatever reason, the YouTube subscribers was never like a focus for us. It is something that’s pretty impressive. I remember probably the biggest milestone for me was when we crossed like 60,000 subscribers.
And I’m a sports fan. So I grew up — or I’m a fan of the Carolina Gamecocks football, college football. And I started thinking like at 60,000, 80,000, I can fill a stadium full of people that are interested in my content. That just kind of like blew my mind that like we had grown to that part. And now they’re like, I think that we have like a million subscribers, I mean, how many stadiums is that, 10 different stadiums, like we can almost fill up like the SEC football stadiums on a given weekend. And that’s pretty cool to think about.
Mike: Do you ever find that intimidating, just like a side note, because EcomCrew is in a similar trajectory, we’re in that 50, 60,000 people range now. And I also equate it to a stadium. And that’s — it’s really intimidating. I’m like, you don’t see them because you’re behind a screen, or behind the camera when you’re recording that. But in the back of your mind, like, man, there’s a ton of people listening to this and the pressure is on to continue to make better and better content. Do you think about that at all or is it just kind of a number on the screen for you?
Eric: I think when you’re in it from day one, it really doesn’t mean much, because you’re there from one subscriber to two subscribers to 100, to 500, to 1000 to 10,000 to 100,000 to a million. So like, every single day, you see that number going up, you’re just like, oh yeah, now we’ve got 500,000 subscribers, oh yeah, we have a million. I guess if I ever took like a bit of time to step back and actually admire what we’ve been able to build, I might get a little bit of cold feet into it. But nah, I mean, it’s just like, this is my community. This is my style, the people are coming because of me and the team. And I just got to be myself and if they don’t like it, so what?
Mike: I agree, man, I mean, there’s tip number one right there is just be authentic. I mean, if you try to be someone else, people will sniff that out. It’s the same approach we’ve taken with the EcomCrew. I know for sure that’s the approach you’re taking with your brand. So it’s a great, definitely a great tip.
Eric: And not only that, like you’re going to burn out too. If you’re pretending to be someone else, you can only put on that act for so long.
Mike: Yeah, no doubt, absolutely completely agree. And that’s — it’s just easier to just be authentic and live your life without having to constantly think about all the BS you told everybody, that’s going to catch up with you eventually.
Mike: So one of the things that we try to do on the EcomCrew Podcast is give people actionable advice, and not just a bunch of fluffy stuff. So I mean, if someone’s out there aspiring to get on YouTube and make YouTube a part of their brand, or they’ve been struggling with growing their channel, obviously, getting to a million subscribers is probably overwhelming the thought of [ph]. So let’s use that 60,000 number that you use, because even that’s, we’ve been working at this for a while. And that’s a big number to even get to in itself. So if there was like a goal, like I mean, take us through some steps of how you can achieve that, how much time you can expect to spend doing that. And if you were to do it all over again, how would you do things a little bit differently now that everything that you know now?
Eric: Yeah, so the first and most important thing is, you have to make a commitment to the platform. It’s true in YouTube is true, it’s true in Facebook, it’s true on any kind of marketing channel or product development channel, if you half-ass it, you’re going to go nowhere, you’re just going to waste your time. And as entrepreneurs, you also have to know when to pull out when something is not working. So it is always going to be that balance of like, committing into something full force and also knowing when to — what is it, toss in your gloves? Is that what they say?
But for us, it all starts with your mission. Now we actually started this podcast talking about our mission. And we’ve always had a mission at Beard Brand and that’s always kind of been like the foundation of what we believe in. We have our mission, and our core values of freedom, hunger and trust. And that’s almost like our shining light or our north star that helps guide us on what type of content to create. Because if you don’t have a foundation of what you’re actually in business to do, like how you’re actually making the world a better place, then your content is going to be all over the board, you’re going to be lost and your audience isn’t going to be able to connect with that.
And probably the other thing I see is you can integrate video for a lot of different means. So what we’re going to talk about or what I prefer to talk about is building YouTube as an organic channel, because you could use YouTube to essentially host your sales videos on your channel but you’re not going to get any new eyeballs on that. It’ll just be people who are browsing your website. So to do organic YouTube well, you have to take the time and energy to invest in understanding what the algorithm is. I can tell you kind of where the algorithm is at today. But the reality is YouTube changes every single month it seems like on what they prefer.
So there’s YouTube creators like Roberto Blake, Tim Smoyer, Derral Eves, these guys who are just in the weeds when it comes to YouTube algorithm. So what you do is you subscribe to these guys, watch all their videos, and you’re going to be able to get the insights on what kind of content is going to be promoted by YouTube and allow you to get those natural eyeballs to your channel without having to pay to get that exposure. Now, what we’ve found — I guess going back to those early days, from the zero to 20,000, a little more behind the scenes, like our first year, I think we had 300 subscribers. Our second year, we probably had like I don’t know, like 1,500 or 2,000 subscribers. And then our third year was like 2,500 subscribers, and then our fourth year.
So the point is it’s true. It’s true. It’s like always, like the first million is always the hardest, right? The first 100 is the hardest. And it’s true on YouTube as well, you’re going to have to spend as much work and energy to go from zero to — the time and energy that we spend now to get 1,000 subscribers is virtually nothing compared to what we had to do in those early days.
Mike: Yeah, it makes sense. I’ve heard a lot of people say the same thing like your first 1,000 will be the hardest 1,000 you ever get. And then getting the 10,000 will be the hardest 10,000 you ever get. But obviously at some point, it seems effortless to get that next 1,000.
Eric: Yeah, and the beauty is, so the big things that you want to do is obviously, as e-commerce guys or business owners, you always think about how do I sell product? How do I sell product? And generally, it’s really hard to create a channel that’s like, oh I’m just going to sell product and push products and talk about product features and ABCs of what this product is. No one really cares about that. They go to YouTube because they want to get entertained. So you have to think about how you can create valuable content that either entertains or educates and then integrate your products into that.
Of course, there’s always exceptions to the rule. I think of the guy who sells like 10 pound gummy worms. But those are almost like impressive novelty products that you’ve never seen before. And I think he might be an ECFer as well. But what we do is education. So we teach people how to groom their hair, how to groom their beard, how to grow out their beard, and then how to go to the barber shop and find cool styles. And of course, all along that, we’re using our products, and we’re integrating our products and we’re also putting our brand out there. So the goal isn’t like, hey, watch this video, click on the link, go to my website and buy right there. It’s not, you’re not getting laid on the first date, you’re trying to build that relationship. And you got to think of it that way.
Mike: Yep, so you’re putting out content like how to groom your beard. And the content is geared towards, like you said, geared towards education, geared towards actually solving that problem. And there just happens to be some convenient product placement in there because that’s what you sell. But the main point of the video is to actually help solve the problem and hopefully build a budding relationship with them and get them to subscribe. And at some point, there’s a little bit more of a hard sell on the products later, or how do you start to integrate the sales process there?
Eric: Yeah, I mean, we’re a pretty laid back type of organization. So we tend not to do hard sales. And whenever we do like a hard sale, here is some product information, we just launched it, come and get it. Those actually don’t really do well for our audience. So it’s almost better to stick to the product placement integration and of course, talk it up and hype it up. But the reality is, we’re not getting a lot of people who click on our links, and our description, and then go into our website and buying. If we based our success of YouTube based on that, it would be driving like 1% of our revenue, like something incredibly small.
So if you only look at that aspect of your analytics, you’re going to think that video on YouTube is a complete waste of time and money. But we did an exit survey that asked like, how did customers first hear from us, and 65% of our customers first heard about us through YouTube. So like two thirds of our revenue could be attributed to our efforts on YouTube. And that really just shows the power that organic still exists if you do it well.
Mike: Yeah, interesting. And then what I heard from you so far just actually seems incredibly simple. It’s produce educational type videos that you put up there, obviously high quality and solve the person’s problem of how to groom your beard, or how to style your hair or whatever different types of questions you’re answering there. I mean, but there’s got to be, there’s probably more to it I would imagine, is it? What’s kind of the secret sauce there? Is it the cadence where you’re just — it’s every day you’re putting something out, every week? Is it the quality, is it like some type of humor thing? I mean what is like the thing that actually gets people to click that subscribe button and work on growing the audience?
Eric: Yeah, I think for one thing that you have to do is you have to do something that people aren’t currently doing. So I would say there’s other people doing barbershop videos, and barbershop videos drive a primary part of our subscribers and our views. And I would say the current inventory of stuff on YouTube from the barbershop side of things were more like urban kind of cuts. So we came in and we serve like more of the suburbia type of cut, and maybe suburbia is probably not the right word, maybe more of a hipster kind of look. And no one was really creating content on that. So we hit an area that wasn’t being served. And there’s still tons of content on YouTube that you can produce that’s not being produced.
And then we also are really good at building systems and processes that allow us to produce an extraordinary amount of content. So as of June of 2017, we were able to go to a daily video schedule. And it’s that gluttony of content that really allows you to find winners and find, not every video we create is a home run. And that’s kind of our strategy, it’s more of like throw spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks. And our talent is our ability to produce really good content regularly rather than amazing content like once a month or once every few weeks, something like that.
So both strategies can work. I would say the other big thing that you want to think about is creating evergreen content rather than like news related content. So you don’t want to be creating content around politics or controversial topics, create something that is going to be relevant in five years from now. And create content that is something your five year old kid can be in the room while you’re watching it so that YouTube wants to make sure that your content is advertiser friendly and family friendly, just so it can push it to more eyeballs.
Mike: So since you switched to this daily video content in June of 17, is it is that Monday through Friday or is that like seven days a week?
Eric: Yeah man, seven days a week.
Mike: Nice awesome, not messing around. How much has the channel grown since then? I mean, have you seen a dramatic uptake in subscriber rates by doing it daily or is it kind of linear to what it was happening before that?
Eric: Yeah, I would say so. From February 2012 to July of 2017, we grew to let’s say about a quarter million subscribers. And then from July of 2017 to what is it, April of 2019, so a little under two years, we’re at 1.2 million subscribers. So we added nearly a million in about what is it, 15 months, something like that.
Mike: Quadrupled in that time?
Eric: 18 months yeah.
Mike: Yeah awesome. Okay. So I mean, it basically shows that putting out daily content works if you have the ability to do it. But I mean, I was there, you have a whole team of people, and you have an awesome barbershop studio as well there on property. So I mean, if you’re a solopreneur or just getting started with this stuff, and have a small team, I always say to people, like don’t compare your first step with someone else’s hundredth, this can be overwhelming. But you could also still start by putting out one video a week or one video a month, like Eric basically did in the earlier days.
Eric: It took us five years to get to that point where I mean like if you think about it, if you’re a lot smarter person than I and you probably are, you’ll be able to figure that out and assure you shorter period at a time. But yeah, we started off creating like one a month, and then we went up to two a month. And then we went up to like once a week, and then we went up to twice a week, and then four times a week. So it wasn’t like we were doing one a month, and then we flipped the switch and then we were able to get to daily. It definitely, you learn things and you build systems, and you kind of add team members, and you optimize. But also you want to think about how you can focus on progress over perfection. And just ship it, like get it out the door, get that feedback, make those adjustments and make the next one better than the last.
Mike: Yeah, makes perfect sense. So I got a couple questions as we’re going along, because I’m trying to think about, first of all, I mean, what is your budget to do this? I mean, if you’re putting out a piece of content seven days a week, 365 days a year, what is Beard Brand budgeting in terms of its video production annual budget?
Eric: Yeah, man, you’re asking a non-numbers guy some numbers questions.
Mike: I didn’t mean to put you on the spot. Maybe it’s a bad question there.
Eric: Well, I can do some quick math. We essentially have let’s say like two and a half full time team members who are attributed to the YouTube channel. And that would be like our video editor and our producer. And then a little bit of my time, a little bit of social media time, a little bit of a community manager’s time. And then we work with collaborators. But from a marketing budget, so I would say we’re spending what — let me do some quick math. So based on our — I would say we’re spending about 5% of our revenue is going to our YouTube channel, or specifically our content channel.
Mike: Got it? And you also assume that YouTube attributes 66% of your revenue, so obviously, it makes sense to continue to make an investment in that which is pretty cool.
Eric: Oh yeah, the return on ads or, I mean, if you broke it down as to like a return on investment, it’s just ridiculously high. It just incredibly pays for itself. This is similar to like YouTube I look at as very similar to SEO, you have to work your butt off to generate those backlinks to have a well-built website that loads quickly and conveys the information in a good way for your user. And you’re getting like 100 people who visit your site a day or 10 people who visit your site a day but it builds on itself. It’s like compounding interest. So your SEO efforts will pay off in six months or a year. Just like in YouTube, it’s the same way, it’s the same amount of work on the early days as it six or nine months down the road, but you’re getting so much more bang for your buck down the road?
Mike: Yeah, definitely chicken before the egg kind of thing but once you have it, it’s hard to take away. I mean, you have to kind of try to screw something up once you’ve got good SEO rankings or good YouTube rankings, and it kind of just builds a moat around your business because someone’s starting today. And there’s unfortunately, I mean, we all know the story of all the copycats that have come out to copy what Beard Brand is doing in terms of launching other products that are similar. What they can’t copy and what they don’t think about is what you’ve done with the content side. So I mean, it’s easy to try to copy but basically impossible to copy the part that actually matters.
Eric: Yeah, we’ve created over 1,000 videos, and we have over 1,000 blog articles. And certainly someone could do it but it just builds. It’s like well, if I want to compete against Beard Brand, I’ve got to create 1,000 videos and 1,000 articles, I’m going to find some other industry where it doesn’t have a player like that. I think ideally, that’s kind of what you’re doing because you’re always going to have competition come in. And maybe the competition is going to come from someone else who already has 1,000 videos but then they kind of swing into our space. So you can’t always have like a permanent wall around your business or I guess anyone can swim through the moat but you just want to make it harder.
Mike: Yeah, you want to put as many alligators and poisonous snakes and stuff in the moat as you can, make it more difficult. Yeah. All right, cool. So shifting gears, I’m also curious, over the last, I guess it’s been seven years since you started doing this, I mean, what kind of content gets the most engagement? I mean, you probably have a pretty good feel at this point for two or three types of content that every time you release it, this is going to be the thing that does well, both from a being viral standpoint, and also just ranking for those evergreen terms.
Eric: Yeah, and YouTube is a little bit of a fickle beast. We produce some content that we think would just absolutely crush it and kill it and it kind of will do well, but it doesn’t blow it out of the water. And then we’ll have some stuff that we would have no idea would do as well as it did. So we’ve kind of — what’s been really fun is we hired a data analyst and we essentially printed out all of our thumbnails and all of our titles. And then we ranked it based on our views and we tried to find a theme behind all these. And what we learned was a haircut like half in the process of getting done from the back of the person’s head, seemed to do the best for our channel.
So the very next video, we tested that strategy, and sure enough, the video was off to a hot start. So it was really an exciting moment in the power of utilizing your own data to shape and guide what you should be doing or maybe what you shouldn’t be doing. The funny thing is every channel is going to be different. So what works for us may work terribly for you in your channel so you have to really analyze your own data. But for us, transformation videos, someone getting a significant change in their haircut or their beard trim, or just like really kind of interesting looking people. So we’ve actually had a lot of good views from older guys getting their beard trims and haircut.
For instance, my dad just came into town and we filmed him getting his haircut and he’s 71 years old with this white beard and he still has a pretty good head of hair on his head for his age. And he’s never had like a “stylish” haircut before. And he goes in there and we filmed that. And literally you watch the video, and he goes from a 71 year old kind of wizard looking guy to like a very dapper, smart looking, young 60s looking guy. And it’s just really the power of investing in yourself and the power of a good haircut and beard trim and kind of going back to our mission statement of making men look and feel awesome.
Mike: Yeah, very cool. Yeah, that’s a great story. And there’s actually something that came out of that that was interesting to me, because the first thing I was thinking of when you were talking about the videos that do well were like a haircut video. The other two makes sense, the transformation and interesting people thing, that I kind of got, but what I was expecting you to say was something completely different. So it goes to show you, like you said, you harness your own data and you can find amazing things.
But I wouldn’t expect Beard Brand to equate to haircut brand because this is not — you obviously have hair styling products. And it is a kind of a styling type brand and you’re looking to make people feel better by the way that they look and the way that they groom and take care of themselves but I wouldn’t have put like two and two together. I would think that the haircut thing would be more of a, I don’t know, like a stylist type blog or something that would be more like an industry insider type thing watching people get a haircut versus a brand like Beard Brand.
But there you go. It’s like the thing that gets engagement is something like that. Again, the transformation thing I think makes perfect sense. It’s kind of this, you want this like all inspiring type content where you’re strung along and can’t wait to see the outcome. And that’s where I think the transformation thing works really well because you’re increasing engagement, keeping people’s eyeballs on the screen for as long as possible. They have some chore that they need to go do but they can’t stop watching your video because they’re excited to see the outcome. That type of content, I think makes a lot of sense.
Eric: Yeah, I mean, I would love to say that I had this brilliant strategy of how we’re going to grow to a million subscribers and it was going to be through these barbershop transformational type of videos, but the reality was like, we were like, I don’t know what to create content. So I’m like, oh well, I’m going to the barbershop, let’s just film it and put it up there and see what works. And those videos ended up doing really well. And in those early days, I’m like, who would go to YouTube just to watch someone get their hair cut. But at the same time, people are going to YouTube to watch people play video games. It’s like you could play your own video games.
But then I think about it, it’s like, well, I go to a football field and watch people play football when I could be playing football. So it’s like, I kind of get the appeal to it. And then if you do have a good barbershop experience, you know that feeling of the razor on your neck, and the water mist over your head, it’s just like a really relaxing feel. So I think we get a lot of people who just kind of like to chill and relax and just decompress from their day. And we kind of have like that little more laid back vibe to our of videos where you’re not rushing to see the transformation in two minutes. And it’s not all flashy and loud music. But it’s more of like a chill kind of presence. And that kind of goes in line with our brand as well.
Mike: Yeah, makes perfect sense. So we have all these different types of ideas you threw out, the haircut transformation, interesting people, and obviously grooming videos and taking care of your beard and things like that. How do you come up with these ideas? I mean, obviously, so the haircut thing you were just like one day you were kind of starting to run out of ideas, that’s how you came up with that one. But some of the other ideas how have you come up with those?
Eric: Yeah, so I mean, my recommendation for all the people who kind of come up with creators block is really just put anything out there. Just put anything out there and see what sticks. When your back’s up against the wall, and you just you have no idea, whatever tickle of idea you have, just create it, put it out there. And then what happens is you’re going to start to see comments come in, and they’ll be like, oh, hey, could you do this on that? Could you do this on that? So it was actually a lot of the community inspired us to create content. They’re like, hey, what do I do with ingrown hairs? How do I take care of that? How do I deal with acne underneath my beard? So we did a video on that. How do I deal with getting the waves out of my beard? So we did a video on that.
So the more you create the actual, the more inspiration you’re going to get. And then of course, as a company, we get our customer support having questions all the time, how do I use the product? Or what’s the difference between this and that? So always look for those opportunities, and you’ll see it. It’s almost like your FAQ page, every FAQ question you could probably almost create a video about it, assuming it’s a FAQ question tied around the product.
Mike: Yeah, I mean, that’s brilliant. I mean, you can probably go years right there without even coming close to running out of ideas. I don’t know how the heck you guys do it every single day at this point. Is it getting to be a point where it’s a struggle to come up with ideas? Are you guys like hit your stride on a particular thing and it just become easy now?
Eric: No, I mean, I think to a certain degree, some of this stuff is formulaic. So like the originality of the content, just like the different type of hair type or beard trimmer, or length, or like the ethnicity of the person. And then we will produce, strategically we will produce a lot of the similar content, but done by different personalities. So we’ve got one guy, Greg Brzezinski, he’s in his mid-50s, he’s got a gray beard and gray hair, and he has a different perspective than someone like me, who has like a wavy red beard and short hair and I want a different kind of style.
So even though we’re delivering essentially the same content, people are going to be able to relate with either Greg or me at a different level, and they want to connect with those personality. So you can essentially duplicate the amount of content you have by just throwing in a different personality. And we’ve got so many ideas that we kind of want to branch out into, and continue to grow the channel with our guiding light of our mission of, how do we make men look and feel awesome? Well, there’s a lot of different ways that we can do that.
So obviously, like your beard and your hair and your grooming routine, but even like your style, how do we help them dress and how do we tie all that together where you’ve mastered your grooming routine, but you still don’t have a clue about your style in your wardrobe? So we think about how can we create content like that, that will engage with our audience and kind of, draw people in who are looking for help in that regard?
Mike: Yeah, and that’s like next level thinking. I love that. It’s awesome. Cool man, I tell you what, this has been awesome. This is great conversation, just kind of getting your head of how you’ve built this YouTube channel. Unfortunately, we’re running out of time. But I do want to put you on the spot and ask one last question. This was not prepared. So I’ll give you a second to think about it if you need it. But what’s like one good solid tip for somebody that’s looking to start or grow their YouTube channel that we haven’t covered here, because I had a bunch of questions that I thought I’d set to ask you, but you probably know better than I do of what to maybe offer as advice to the community out here.
Eric: Yeah, I mean, if you don’t have a YouTube channel at all, the best advice I could give you is just steal Nike’s tagline and just do it. You’ve got everything you need with your iPhone, just hold your iPhone up with your hand, you don’t have to buy anything, press record and start talking. And I promise you once you put one foot forward, no one’s going to watch that video, no one’s going to watch it but you’re going to learn. And it’s through that learning that you’re going to be able to build on that and then eventually grow your channel to the potential that it has.
Mike: Yeah, I think that is actually awesome advice because I actually do consume a decent amount of YouTube. Over the last year — I don’t watch television anymore. I cut the cord years ago and I’ve just been — we had Hulu for a bit here and I even stopped really watching that, I don’t really just watch a lot of TV. But I do consume a decent amount of YouTube. I find myself enjoying the short form, content platform and things of that nature. And interesting that you mention this, I know several YouTubers who got to their first million subscribers with literally nothing but an iPhone. You can stress about the production quality and all this other stuff, all you want but it’s not necessary.
I mean, at some point, yes, you’re going to probably get to your level Eric, where you have a studio and you have two and a half full time people and you’re putting 5% of a multi-million dollars businesses budget behind doing all of this. But I mean there are plenty of other people that have grown huge channels with just an iPhone. You probably got started with a similar setup of just like let’s just do it with either an iPhone or a cheap camera. And you got to get started somewhere. And as you said, just do it.
And as you continue to do it, you’ll make a habit out of it. And as you make a habit out of it, you will continue to grow your channel, and as you grow your channel, you’ll start to see the benefits from it. And it will just be an infectious cycle from there to continue to grow. And I think it’s a great way to end, great way to end the show, man. So thank you for that advice. And thank you for coming on. If anybody wants to get a hold of you, I don’t know how public you are. But is there any way for people to reach out or you’re just like listen to the podcast and leave a comment and I’m going to go back to go and to grow my beard some more.
Eric: Yeah, I had a great time chatting and I feel like this podcast just flew along. If someone wants to reach out to me, Twitter is my favorite platform to interact with people. So my Twitter handle is @Bandholz. But if you want to for whatever reason check out selfies that I post, you can also follow my Instagram which is my full name @EricBandholz.
Mike: I called you something different for this interview, which was the sexiest man in e-commerce, so you have to go check out that Instagram feed to understand what I’m talking about because you’re always put together man. There’s never a hair out of place or it’s like not just the hair, it’s like the style. We actually there’s a lot of people that joke behind your back about this because you’re — in a good way obviously, but it’s just like man, Eric is always like looks put together and he has so much style and it’s like but it’s so simple. It’s just like a t-shirt and a leather jacket, it shouldn’t be that complicated but you make something simple looks so easy, or complicated look easy I guess and us mere mortals just aspire to have a put together like yours. So go check out that Instagram feed, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Eric: Yeah, you’re just going to start watching our videos and looking like me in no time.
Mike: I need years and years of help man; I guess it’s too late for me to start now.
Eric: You’re a good looking guy Michael.
Mike: All right my friend, I appreciate you coming on. And hopefully our paths will cross again soon.
Eric: My pleasure man.
Mike: Alright guys, that’s going to wrap it up for the 251st episode of the EcomCrew Podcast. You can go to EcomCrew.com/251 to get to the show notes for this episode. And again, guys don’t forget about EcomCrew Premium. We do close these down on Friday night, tomorrow night, actually, or maybe it’s Saturday night, I forget what date Dave put in this time, but it does close this week. And we have to have a hard stop because we do get enough people that we want to make sure that we can support all the new members. Really hope to see you on the inside of EcomCrew Premium. I think you guys will love the new email course, amongst all the other things that we’re doing there.
And even if you don’t sign up, we still love you guys. We hope you will continue to support the podcast and whenever you’re ready, EcomCrew Premium will be there for you. That’s going to wrap it up for this episode, everybody and until the next time, happy selling. We’ll talk to you soon.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the EcomCrew Podcast. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/EcomCrew for weekly live recordings of the EcomCrew Podcast every Monday. And please, do us a favor, and leave an honest review on iTunes, it would really help us out. Again, thanks for listening, and until next week, happy selling.
Michael started his first business when he was 18 and is a serial entrepreneur. He got his start in the online world way back in 2004 as an affiliate marketer. From there he grew as an SEO expert and has transitioned into ecommerce, running several sites that bring in a total of 7-figures of revenue each year.