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How a Drum Shop Uses Social Media To Sell Cymbals

I remember a time when I used to spend hours listening to the sounds that different cymbals made when hit in different locations. If you aren’t a drummer, chances are this moment will be a tougher one to relate to – but trust me when I tell you that the decision to buy a cymbal is a very personal one. You need to find one that has just the right sound to compliment the rest of your drum kit. It’s not uncommon for a drummer to buy a cymbal based ONLY on the sound that it makes when struck in one particular location.

For this audience, you might imagine that the only way you could ever sell a product as nuanced as this would be inside a physical store.  After all, what kind of drummer would buy a mail order cymbal without hearing and testing it out for himself?  The Memphis Drum Shop has figured out a smart way around this issue, and as a result has opened itself up to customers from all around the world.  They have a dedicated YouTube channel where they test out the sound of various cymbals on video and post those videos to let drummers hear a “virtual test” of what the cymbal will sound like.  The channel has been up for a little over four years, and has amassed over 20 million views – not bad for a site targeted to the relatively small niche audience of active drummers.

In reviewing their YouTube site, there are a few great choices that they made which can help your small business if you are considering a similar strategy.  Here are just a few:

  1. Great and broad URL. Their official site URL is the enviable It’s easy to remember, descriptive and is included on every one of their videos to help drive traffic back to their site.
  2. Tell people how to have the optimal experience. On every video, they also have the directions “headphones recommended.” For most people viewing a video like this, they may not consider putting on a pair of headphones, but instead of relying on the low quality of most computer speakers, requesting the watcher to use a higher quality headphone (which most musicians will likely have) ensures that the experience of listening to the cymbals in the video is as positive as possible.
  3. Focus on the exclusivity and reason to buy. One place where many small businesses fall short is that they do all the work to demonstrate their expertise, but once a consumer is already convinced to buy the product you must also answer the all important question of why they should buy from you.  The Memphis Drum Shop makes it a point in every video to say that the cymbals being played in the video are exclusively available from them – making it far more likely that drummers will follow through and purchase.
  4. Demonstrate and live up to your tagline (we are the experts). Often when choosing a tagline for your small business, you’ll pick something that is relatively generic and hopefully descriptive. In the case of Memphis Drum Shop, they picked “we are the experts.” That tagline alone could be claimed by many music shops, however the way that they have built an entire video channel on YouTube to bring this claim to life and demonstrate how true it is helps them to stand out. They really are the experts and have hundreds of videos to prove it.
  5. Dedication to adding new content consistently. The last element that makes this strategy work so well is that Memphis Drum Shop is clearly committed to adding videos to their channel consistently.  This isn’t a one time deal or something that one sales associate does whenever he finds time. This is something that the entire store is devoted to doing and maintaining, and therefore potential consumers are much more likely to return consistently and recommend the site and store to fellow drummers as well.

This post is republished from the original article I wrote for the American Express Open Forum website. It is part of "Small Business Friday" on this blog (though sometimes I'm a day late!) – a featured series on ideas and marketing techniques for small businesses.

To read more articles like this, visit the "Small Business Friday" category on this blog.

2 thoughts on “How a Drum Shop Uses Social Media To Sell Cymbals”

  1. That some serious social media reach with over 5000 videos on YouTube, some with over 70,000 views. Small businesses could setup a camera in their store or whatever they do during the day and upload. In this case, drummers are interested in cymbals but this could transfer to many types of businesses. Great find!


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