Jack Cooper of Andertons Music Co tells Chloe Rigby how the family-run business talks to an audience that extends well beyond its hometown.
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’n’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, other instruments and equipment in its product range, to hour-long interviews with musicians who are key to its product categories. This activity 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 takeaway 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.”
The content team at Andertons, part of a website team that numbers around 20, operates a two-week rolling content strategy. This strategy is informed by commercial events, from Black Friday to trade shows, by seasonal events and by product releases. “Then we largely follow a question-based SEO strategy,” adds Cooper. “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 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 is important too. Rather than promoting a next product to buy, Andertons instead sends content that helps shoppers get the most out of their original purchases. “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 in-store 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.”