Viral — Another big lever for Spilled has been viral distribution. A lot of tactics work here, but the key thread across all is to really over-deliver and wow your early customers so they can’t help but talk about it. For Spilled, this played out in extreme attention to detail with our products, hand numbering and signing every piece, answering customer emails in the wee hours of the morning, and going above and beyond to make it right in cases where we didn’t deliver. Painful at times, but as Paul Graham pointed out, doing things that don’t scale is often what it takes to win over those critical first customers.
One of the early ones was setting up a scraper to pull down every listing on Craigslist where people were selling or trading sneakers online. I think there were 10 or 15K of them nationally. We set up a program to email all of these people with a personal 1:1 looking email, complimenting their shoes and offering to trade for one of our rugs, with a link to view the product on our site. Most people just ended up clicking the link, and many actually bought or shared the rug. This was huge for kick-starting our viral flywheel. (PS this is easier than it sounds).
For Spilled, we were in their email inbox, responding to their Craigslist posts (more on this below), commenting on their Instagram photos, replying to their forum threads, getting posts into their Facebook newsfeeds, reaching out on Twitter, commenting on their favorite blogs, dropping retargeting pixels to show low-cost banner ads, the list goes on.