The power of a micro commitment
In the arcade outside the window where I ordered my coffee today was a guy braving the icy morning weather to serenade passers-by with his acoustic guitar.
At a time when I’ve been feeling disconnected, Dave’s humanity (and musicality) was very welcome.
He had his guitar case open on the ground beside him with a note saying “If you don’t have any cash, you can tip me digitally at bit.ly/davethebusker.”
Traditionally if I pass a busker who catches my ear, I share whatever change is in my pocket. Historically, that averaged a couple of dollars but since the advent ApplePay, I rarely carry any cash or coins. Today was one of those days when my pockets were empty.
Intrigued, I typed Dave’s link into my phone browser and was redirected to his PayPal account. Here is where I think it gets interesting.
Remember how I said I would have dropped a couple of dollars worth of coins into the case? Well once I’d gone to his PayPal page, $2 didn’t seem enough and instead I sent him $5. He was the same guy, playing the same guitar. So what had changed?
In the act of pulling out my phone and typing a few characters into my browser, I’d already made a micro commitment of loyalty to Dave. I’d told myself that he was the kind of professional who’d come and and play on a bitterly cold morning (when very few people were around) and play some great music, and that I was the kind of guy who supported an artist like that.
By that point (maybe 10 seconds of unconscious thought and one action on my phone) my personal investment in Dave was worth more than $2. My engagement increased in value by 150% because he’d made it a little bit more involved than just leaving whatever coins I had in my pocket.
Where might encouraging a micro-action from your audience help them move them a step up the ladder in terms of their loyalty and engagement with your work?
Bonus: Thanks to PayPal, Dave the Busker now has my email address and he sent me a thank you note within a couple of hours saying thanks for the support. I hope he’ll keep in touch and let me know what else he’s doing musically, in case I can support him again in the future - streaming his music, support a gofundme for a recording project, spread the word about his work or connect him with other great musicians who might be keen to collaborate.