As a maker of music, there are many times I’ve found myself drifting towards the great sounds of live drum loops, rather than just kick and snare shots. This means that I either have to find loops of the pre-recorded variety (ie. sample from recorded audio), or record them for myself. Fortunately I have a very talented cousin who can I record when he’s in town, but he lives in Regina, so it’s not always a viable option.
How can I find that same quality in the rare instance that I’ve run out of those sick loops? I’ve spent years collecting drums from all sorts of sources, and I’m picky. I need info, I need samples/demos to listen to, and I’d like to know what people think about what I’m about to buy. What better place to get this sort of information that from professionals and/or other users of that product? I know that I can get the type of product I want and need from The Loop Loft, a site that employs ratings and reviews to energize their customers.
We’ve already talked about listening and how it generates insight. We’ve also touched on talking, so now let’s talk about ratings and reviews and how they can be used to energize your customers.
In Chapter 7 of “Groundswell”, Li and Bernhoff present details on corporations that employ the use of reviews and ratings systems to “energize” their customer base – “finding enthusiast customers and turning them into word-of-mouth machines.” (p. 208)
Why does word-of-mouth succeed? It’s a easy question to answer for most, but we’ll do it anyways:
- It’s believable.
- It’s self-reinforcing.
- It’s self-spreading.
“According to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), word of mouth ‘is the most honest form of marketing, building upon people’s natural desire to share their experiences with family, friends, and colleagues…” (pg. 209)
If you want to energize, you need that word-of-mouth power on your side… and your most committed customers can give it to you. “People believe other people more than media.” (pg. 210)
Did you know that nearly 1 in 4 online consumers in the US are Creators? Almost 25% of your customers are writing, posting video, posting music, maintaining websites, and more. Now consider that 33% of customers are Critics, and 66% are Spectators – they’re reading the information that the other groups are creating, and leaving feedback! That’s a lot of impact, whether negative or positive.
“Groundswell” talks about the ways to calculate ROI when energizing your customers. According to Li and Bernhoff, it takes in-house analysis from an employee, so the feedback from customers can be shared. (p. 221) They also present an assumed position for an imaginary online retailer – saying that a ratings system increases conversion rate (ie. number of people buying your stuff) by 20%. When considering the amount of critics (1/3) and spectators (2/3) in the online shopping space, ratings and reviews can make a big difference in converting your customer into making a purchase from your online store.
Back to The Loop Loft. You can read reviews from industry professionals and newcomers alike. This works to their advantage because just like me, most other people looking for this type of product are picky – they need to know what other users thought prior to making purchases.
One thing I found myself noticing – music sites like Bandcamp do not employ this feature. Beat Brokers does not. Beatport and Turntable Lab do not. That said, these sites are still out together great and they serve their purpose, which is, selling product online. Taking into consideration the numbers above, one could position themselves to say there could be more done on their end to help tap into the groundswell. Musicians want to know what they’re getting before they get it, and those who thrive off of that emotional currency will be energized to share feedback – giving additional insights into how to improve their products, whether music or the technology to create it.
Good talk. Do you want you customers telling others about your product via review? Why or why not? Leave some comments below.
Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell, Expanded and Revised Edition: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Review, 2011. Print.