It’s raining in Nashville when we called our buddy Chris Small at Soundstripe. He tells us we’ve got to visit the place, “It’s just one of those cities that’s growing like crazy right now. The creative community here is insane.”
As Director of Marketing, Chris is responsible for growing the Tennessee-based startup, which licenses music to filmmakers via subscriptions. His company is making it easier and more affordable to find the perfect music track for video content.
We asked him about his experience growing Soundstripe’s community from scratch.
To give you a bit of background, Chris reached out to us in January when Soundstripe was looking for a way to streamline starting and building an influencer community. After we had a chat about what GrowSumo does and the ongoing support we could offer, he signed his company up and thus started our partnership.
Chris starts by telling us that influencer marketing was the only game in town for his company. Filmmakers are usually part of close-knit communities that shun corporate messaging (okay, nobody likes corporate messaging…but especially not these folks!). He knew that pouring money into traditional advertising wasn’t going to fly. The company needed to grow, but blasting ads wasn’t in its DNA.
“We all come from the music industry at Soundstripe. We really just want to show people who we are, why we are doing this work, why it’s important to us, and why we’re passionate about it.”
Like many others starting out, Chris found himself staring at a screen with 2500 email addresses belonging to paying Soundstripe customers. Chris reached out to those customers with an offer: if you send new customers our way, we want to return the favour.
Chris used GrowSumo to manage different payouts for Soundstripe’s membership levels, create email campaigns, and message influencers in-app. (We supported him along the way to make sure things went smoothly.)
“Our members are huge promoters of what we do. And they’ve been telling their friends and telling their networks and telling their communities about us. So it made sense to try to incentivize that, to encourage that, and also to reinforce our need to just be as real as possible—to do our customers a service by making their job easier when they’re telling people about who we are.”
This kickstarted growth for the company they’d never seen before. Their customer acquisition rate grew 30% month after month since they started their program in February. This meant 624 new customers with an estimated subscription length of over 24 months. The company now has 147 influencers that they engage through GrowSumo.
“We had a hunch it was going to be great, but I don’t think we had any idea that it was going to be as successful as it’s been. It was certainly the right call when budgets were tight.”
They’ve since baked their influencer program into their member sequence. After signing up with Soundstripe and remaining a member for a period of time, customers are automatically invited to the program, which helps streamline growth. To date, customers make up more than 70% of Soundstripe’s influencers.
The company doesn’t take for granted the support they’re receiving from the community. Speaking to Chris, it’s clear that taking care of influencers and customers is mission #1 for his team. There’s an honest humility in his voice that makes you root for his success.
Chris points out that while musicians like him build Soundstripe’s music catalog, his customers are the filmmakers who end up using the tracks. “None of us come from the film world. We try to be humble about that.” It’s this honesty, he feels, that’s at the heart of authentic engagement.
Chris ends our call by telling us that the best part of his job is connecting with new customers who just find out about Soundstripe, that a company like his exists.
“For me, that part never gets old—just being able to really solve problems and do something that’s relevant to what I’m passionate about, music, and working for a company where we get to be real people.”