Jodie Fox: Around five months later in March 2010, the next big thing we did was work with a YouTube blogger to promote Shoes of Prey. This idea of working with YouTube was not one that we’d heard of before. This YouTube blogger that we approached had a following that she had built around make-up videos. She had half a million viewers. She’d post videos three times a week and they would always get half a million views. It was a very engaged audience.
We approached her and she liked our product. We shot this video for 10 minutes. She talked about finding shoes with us. At the end of the video, it says it was a competition to design a pair of shoes and also make it stand out on www.shoehero.com. The shoe that had the best design would win. What we found was that before the video went live, we had 200,000 visitors. The day the video went live, we had half a million visitors to the site. We had 90,000 people enter the competition, which was just phenomenal. The problem though was that we hadn’t made a plan for the traffic. This was starting to become viral. It was very shareable. We made sure that we had share buttons in all over the site. The key thing was awareness.
The next big hurdle was realizing that as the traffic was shooting through the ceiling, our sales were staying flat. It was at that point that we realized our enormous error, which is we haven’t thought about who our target audience is. Our average price for a pair of shoes is $20. The people who are watching these videos are 14 to 16 year-old girls. They don’t have $20 to spend on a pair of shoes.
There were two really big errors that we made there. One was we didn’t think about our target audience. Secondly, we made a really rudimentary assumption that traffic equals sales, which is certainly not the case. We had to think fast about what to do next. When I thought about our target audience, it’s me— a 25 to 35-year-old woman professional who enjoys fashion. We wrote a case study on it and sent it out to as many people as we could possibly imagine. I woke up the next morning to an email from the Wall Street Journal who wanted to write a piece on us.
Sramana Mitra: Before we go into that, let me just get one thing straight here. This half a million viewers of the video blogger who really tipped the scale for you, were they international?
Jodie Fox: Largely from the US, but it was an international audience.