INTERVIEW: Julia Akers, Kamorii

There’s a new sex-ed school where you don’t need to turn up on time, wear a uniform (unless you want to) or get six of the best for being naughty (unless you really want to). Kamorii aims to provide – with style and substance – adults around the world the knowledge with which to enjoy great sex and intimacy.

Founder Julia Akers proves to be most receptive to questioning, providing a unique insight into the behind the scenes development of the Kamorii website, online marketing issues and more. And while the website boasts HUNDREDS of beautifully illustrated sex positions and guides (and much more) you’ll understand the absence of such images here – what a shame!

BRIAN GRAY: So let’s start from the beginning. Who or what is Kamorii, how was it conceived, and when did it start trading?

JULIA AKERS: Kamorii is the web’s first comprehensive sexual technique website created by women. Our purpose is to use tech to help transform the quality of people’s intimate relationships and take them on an exciting journey of sexual exploration. Our first product, kamorii.com, was launched in early September and we will be releasing other products in 2018. There are literally 1000’s of sexual techniques and positions out there and we make learning them easy and fun. Kamorii has 86 guides, 1000+ illustrations and 540+ sex positions. We cover tantric sex, man & woman user guides, intimacy, kama sutra, kinky time and solo play. We have also created the first ever Sex Position Player with 100+ sequences to play. Trying out different techniques and positions will inject sex life longevity and fun into people’s relationships.

The idea was conceived from my own experience of low quality sex advice and was inspired by the findings of a few studies. A 2015 survey by the UK’s National Union of Students, found that 60% of students use porn for sex education. This worried us greatly as porn is purely camera pleasing material and using it for sex guidance can cause major issues for young people. Simply Google “risk of porn for young people” and you will see that this is a very hot topic. We are therefore happy to see so many 18 – 25 year olds joining Kamorii.

Kamorii also responds to the findings of the 3rd National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles. These remarkable British surveys are amongst the largest and most detailed scientific studies of sexual behaviour in the world. Principal Investigator Professor Dame Johnson (UCL) stated,

“Positive sexual experiences are related to health and well-being throughout the life course, and it’s time for this to be given wider recognition by health workers, educators, and society as a whole. We need to do more to create an environment in which it is easier for people to discuss sexual well-being as an integral part of the conversation we have with people about our health.”

We hope that our products will go some way to responding to these highlighted needs to improve people’s sexual knowledge and experiences.

Anyone visiting the Kamorii website sees there is a solid raison d’être driving it all. When you first got the idea for the website, what did you think was missing online that you felt Kamorii could provide?
During our research we observed significant gaps in sexual technique advice. First we noted that most websites are owned by old brands which have outdated web design, minimal content, low quality illustration and mainly exist to push products. The online magazines and tabloids tend to use sex advice as click bait and unfortunately they dominate Google searches in this area due to their high domain authority. This means that most people will only see low quality snippets of sex advice designed purely to grab attention. One site we do love is OMGYes.com as this is a beautifully constructed site, but this is strictly focused on female masturbation research and technique.

Secondly, we were alarmed to see that most sex advice is given by men, dating way back to The Joy of Sex through to the Bad Girls Bible and Masterful Lover. This results in men missing out on sex advice from women. In many cases the manner in which such advice is given is also worryingly based on very old-fashioned ideas about men and women and attempts to manipulate people on the basis of sexual insecurity.

The Kamorii website is clean, crisp, beautifully illustrated, and all in all, visually appealing on many levels. When you were thinking of how the site should look, the mood it should convey, which other erotic or adult brands did you want Kamorii to be at least equal to, if not better than, in aesthetic terms?
We actually took our design lead from graphic novels. I have always been a huge fan of this genre and Fiona Staples of the Saga series is one of my all-time favourite artists. Kamorii is a little nod to her work and it is why we hired concept illustrators who do a similar artistic style. We hope that this has given the site a unique look and that it stands out from the crowd. As regards other sites, we wanted it to stand up in quality against sites such as OMGYes, Lelo, Bordelle and Agent Provocateur.

Theoretically, your target customer could be any adult. That’s a wide demographic. But there’s always the risk that in trying to appeal to everyone, you actually end up appealing to less than you should. So how do you think your customers are instead defined from a psycho-graphic perspective? What common attitudes and/or attributes do you envisage your customers possessing?
We believe our customers are keen self developers who are always seeking to improve their lives and wellbeing. They are also people who want to give their partner(s) maximum pleasure so we think our customers are simply amazing. Of course, we are aware that there will be those who just click kamorii.com out of intrigue as to what we do, but we hope we convince them that sexual knowledge is worth exploring and that sexual technique deserves some time and thought.

What three adjectives would you want your customers to associate with your brand?
Exciting, modern and adventurous

A well-positioned company seeks to ‘own’ one word in the minds of consumers (i.e. Volvo and ‘safety’). What would be yours?
Ah that is a tough one but it must be “pleasure”.

If you could get another erotic or adult brand to join forces with you for an event or other product proposition, what would it be and why?
The team at Kamorii is a huge fan of well-thought-out sex toy products and those companies that continually try to improve them. We are therefore big fans of Lelo and WeVibe and we provide guidance on our website on how to use some of their products. We wish to expand this knowledge and would love to join forces to create more “how to” guides.

Good marketing is important for any company, not only to thrive but just to survive. What have been your key marketing learning points and observations so far?
We have found marketing in this industry to be hugely challenging. Google PageRank, social media signals and backlinks are key to any new business’s online marketing strategy, but each delivers huge challenges for the adult industry. Social Media has delivered us a series of highs and lows. YouTube, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter are adult friendly and we are having success with these. The first 2 are of course critical for search visibility as they are Google products.  Facebook and Instagram are not so adult friendly and carefully tailored content is key to being allowed to advertise. Facebook Ads are an absolute no for many adult products, which is a shame as Facebook has by far the highest user numbers.

We are about to launch our media campaign and hope that this delivers some good results. We learned very quickly that getting the press, bloggers and vloggers to talk about a brand is key to good backlinks, which in turn will fly your brand up the Google search results. This was the route to OMGYes.com’s success which has minimal social media activity and has done little paid advertising. As regards paid advertising, we only use AdWords at the moment and this has been a huge success, albeit time-consuming to set up and optimise.

What has been your biggest marketing challenge so far, and what steps are you taking / have taken to overcome it?
As we are a tech/online business our biggest challenge has been Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Everyone knows that the online market dwarfs all others and wanting a piece of this vast market catapults you into a battle with Google. Basically you want people who are looking for a product like yours to find it, it’s a simple concept, but astronomically difficult to achieve. You can pay someone to do it, but finding a good SEO expert is difficult and expensive, we therefore decided to do a DIY approach so that we know how to continually improve SEO in-house. There are some great gurus out there to help such as Neil Patel, Brian Dean from Backlinko.com and Chase Reiner on YouTube. We follow them religiously and implement their advice. We are now seeing great results from our SEO strategy such as an 8-point increase in our domain authority and a huge jump in kamorii.com’s global and US ranking.

Time is our most precious commodity, especially for entrepreneurs. How do you maximise yours, and what tips have you picked up along the way?
I was lucky to train in Prince2 Project Management in my last job so I have been able to implement full project management with Kamorii. It is very easy to become overwhelmed as an entrepreneur as there is always an endless list of things to do. I mapped out the main workflows last year and add new requirements as they arise. I then transfer the items to a handy monthly planner which I follow to the letter.

You’ve had a legal background in the City of London. To what extent (if any) has this been to your advantage in your new entrepreneurial role with Kamorii? What transferable skills are serving you well so far, and likely to in the future?
I have found great use for both my previous legal and business skills in my entrepreneurial journey. I think having worked as a commercial in-house solicitor has given me a great advantage as far as the business set up and management of Kamorii is concerned. There are simply so many matters I would not have been aware of if I hadn’t worked for a big company before. The main key transferable skills have been project planning, company management, business planning, start-up planning, team management, accounting, contract drafting and intellectual property protection. An added bonus is that I have not had to pay others to do this work for us. Time-wise this has also meant I have not had to spend time learning these things so I have been able to spend more time on the fun and exciting aspects of Kamorii.

And what do the next twelve months hold in store for Kamorii?
The key workflows for next 12 months are media marketing, mobile application development and translations.  We have mocked up a series of mobile applications and we are currently building our first, which will be launched in early 2018. These apps aim to carve up the distinct areas of sex guidance to make them more accessible and easy to learn.

In addition, Kamorii has been translated into 4 languages so we are currently building our language sites for Spanish (Latin & Provincial), Italian and Portuguese speakers. These will be standalone sites on their own domains so that we can tailor these to their specific markets. We will then begin our next set of translations and site builds for French, German, Russian and Mandarin speakers.

So watch this space for more Kamorii products and news!

Thanks Julia, for a very detailed appreciation of the work that has gone into – and continues to do so – bringing Kamorii to fruition. And some great online marketing advice as well for all #sexySMEs out there with an online presence.

Want to enrol at online sex-ed class? Head to Kamorii at the double! and if you’re really keen, Twitter too.

If you’d like to be interviewed about your entrepreneurial journey and associated marketing issues that will be interesting to the Lascivious Marketing web fraternity, then get in touch!

Until next time!