I’ve said it many times before: your band website is the most important online marketing tool you have. In fact, your band website matters almost more than anything else. But . . . how do you use your band website to convert casual visitors into fans? Well, people don’t (usually) become fans overnight. (Yes, it’s possible. Someone might experience “love at first website,” but chances are you will need to wine-and-dine your visitors before they start taking you out to lunch and buying everything you release. In order to do this, you’ll need to make sure that your website is modern and intuitive, has easy email capture features, displays fresh content, and connects with your audience. Here’s a quick checklist that will help.
1. Make sure your website is modern and intuitive
Your website should be a website. Seems obvious right? But many artists get this wrong. A Facebook or Bandcamp page is not a website. Any 4rth grader can set up a Facebook profile and abandon it two days later. You need your own domain name (www.YOU.com) and your own multi-page site. A professional music website (like the ones we offer at HostBaby) is the very first step to impressing potential fans and letting people know that you’re serious about your music.
Your website should employ user-friendly design. Keep the navigation options simple. Keep the number of colors to a minimum. Don’t use too many fonts. Make sure your content has room to breathe. All these things will make it easier for visitors to explore and learn about you.
Your website should be mobile friendly. Check that your website looks and works great on all devices. More and more, people are using tablets and phones to browse the internet. Make sure your website works on mobile. A bad mobile experience is a missed opportunity.
2. Make your tracks available for listening
You won’t make any music fans if people can’t hear your music. Put your best tracks forward so people can get to know your sound.
3. Keep your content fresh
Update your concert calendar. Even if you don’t have performances coming up, you can add band-member birthdays, release dates, recording dates, and more. An active band calendar gives fans insight into the time and work you put into being a musician. It also lets people know that you’re still making music.
Photos! Photos are one of the best ways for potential fans to get to know you. Make sure you build an awesome and organized photo gallery–so fans can see you and your band in a variety of environments–from the stage to the dinner table. Update photos often so there’s always something new to look at.
Update your blog. This is a big one. It doesn’t take a long time to compose a quick blog post and upload a few photos, but it does go a long way with fans. If you don’t like writing, try posting a video, a photo, or a song. If you haven’t updated your blog in 6 months, your site visitors will notice and they may not come back.
4. Build your email list
Use an email capture form. Get access to visitors email address by offering a free song if someone signs up to your email list. Getting an email address is the most important step towards turning a visitor into a fan–because now you can communicate with them regularly through email (so much more reliable than Facebook or Twitter).
Send a regular newsletter. Your newsletter is a where the magic happens. This is how you can reach out to your fans and show them that you care about them. Be honest, and share as much as you can. Make sure to feature blog posts, photos, and concert dates in your newsletters. Provide links back to your website where people can explore more content.
My final advice is the most important. Great musicians are givers. They give us their music and performances. They give us their attention and thoughtfulness. And we become fans in return. The more you give of yourself as an artist, the more the favor will be returned. So, not only do you need a modern website with an email capture form and a great newsletter, you need to give generously to your audience. Using these techniques may not convert every visitor to your website, but it certainly will help.
Do you have any suggestions for turning web visitors into fans? Let us know in the comments below.