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INTERVIEW Andertons Music Co: talking to a global audience

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Andertons Music Co has a reach that belies its size. The third-generation family business trades from a single showroom store in Guildford, Surrey. Yet, to date, its YouTube videos featuring a unique take on the ‘rock and roll’ instruments and equipment that its musician customers buy have been watched, collectively, for 1.03 billion minutes by viewers around the world – that’s equivalent to 1,963 years and 148 days. Videos range from 15 minute overviews of the latest guitars, keyboards and other ‘rock and roll’ instruments and equipment in its product range, to hour-long interviews with musicians who are key to its category. It’s a reach that helps to bring musicians from as far afield as Australia and the US into the store, dropping in to take part in its regular events and masterclasses. It’s also won the retailer a Top50 place in the Brand Engagement Dimension of the IRUK Top500, alongside retailers including Sainsbury’s, Argos and Boots. 

Developing a content strategy

Andertons’ content-driven brand engagement strategy is aimed at taking the in-store experience to customers wherever they live, and video is at the heart of that strategy. The retailer was an early YouTube adopter, and today uploads about 15 videos a week to the channel, sharing them on its ecommerce website and across its social channels. “We use the YouTube content as the ammunition and then we use the website, social channels and email marketing to fire all the ammunition that we’re given,” says Andertons’ digital marketing manager Jack Cooper.

He adds: “We create a lot of content for different customer touchpoints, whether they’re in the research phase, the comparison phase or the post-purchase phase and whether it’s video content, written content or social media content. For the size of our team, our output is fairly large. That’s one take away from Andertons, our output of content is probably far higher than other ecommerce businesses. We’re very fortunate that our industry is inspiring and people love to consume content about it.”

At a practical level, the content team at Andertons, part of a website team that numbers around 20, operates a two-week rolling content strategy. That’s informed by commercial events, from Black Friday and Christmas to trade shows, by seasonal events and by product releases. “Then,” adds Cooper, “we largely follow a question-based SEO strategy. We will do our SEO research to drive the video and written content we create into some kind of formulaic approach. People may ask what’s the difference between guitar A and guitar B. We’ll use that to make content videos, and expand it into multiple ways we can use that based on different brands.”

Within that content strategy, Instagram, on which Andertons has 100,000 followers, Facebook and Twitter sit alongside its brand-driving YouTube channel. Instagram is all about showing off the stylish, aspirational images that the retailer creates in-house. “One of the ways we use Instagram Stories is for giving a feel for what it’s actually like to be in the shop,” says Cooper. “Given that we’ve just got the one flagship store in Guildford, people do travel far and wide to come to the store but not everyone can.”

Sharing word of mouth

Andertons’ Facebook page, meanwhile, is the forum for discussions. “We ask open-ended questions, prove or disprove hypotheses related to our products, and get our audience to chime in,” says Cooper. “We want to be helpful. 

Reviews and ratings are in important in a similar way – providing what Cooper describes as “digital word of mouth”. The retailer wears its Feefo gold ‘trusted’ badge proudly – and is able to use the technology to gain important user-generated content. “It’s not just trusted reviews and people leaving really nice feedback,” says Cooper. “We use #Andertonsmademedoit, a post-purchase campaign we kicked off at the back end of 2018. We’ve had well over 1,000 people share really cool pictures of their new stuff with us.”

Email marketing, meanwhile, is an important follow-up to the purchase. Rather than promoting a next product to buy, Andertons will instead send content that helps shoppers get the most out of their original purchase. “If someone buys a beginners’ guitar we can follow up with content about how to make their regime better, how they can make sure they’re using all the resources available online, and how to maintain their first guitar. After about a year, we’ll follow up to see if they want to take the next step to an intermediate guitar,” says Cooper. ”Research shows many musicians will give up after the first year, so there’s a bit of responsibility there to try and drive people to continue playing – we share content to help them get the most value out of their product. It’s not always about the sale for us. Our online presence is largely driven by how proud we are of our instore experience. And we’re an open book – we’re quite a small team, always trying new things and wanting to provide the best experience for our customers.”

This feature comes from the upcoming IRUK Top500 Brand Engagement Performance Dimension Report. Click here for more information about the IRUK Top500 series of reports. 

Image courtesy of Andertons Music

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