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10 Insights for Improving Your Indie Music Artist Web Site

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I’ve been working away on new album and a new live show. In preparation for all this I’ve also been hard at work re-designing the entire web experience for my artist web site MarkMosherMusic.com. I redesigned the site from the ground up to introduce new branding, create a more fan-centric experience, and also reduce the time it takes for me to maintain my online presence. One of my other goals was to create a more efficient way to communicate so I could spend more time on music and less time on web updates.

Here are some insights that might help you with your online music marketing.

  1. Make it about the visitor by using the word “You”. Many artists I’ve talked to have mentioned it’s really hard for them to write about themselves and their work. They don’t want to sound like Enough about me – now what do think about me?” One way to overcome this is to remember your writing for the visitor. What’s in it for them? So, when possible write for the visitor and make it about them by working word “you” into your marketing copy.
  2. Accommodate strangers. Lots of people are blazing through web sites during their day. Many might stumble on your site. For this type of visitor, you’ve got about 15 seconds to engage them enough to buy another 30 seconds of ther attention. One way to do this is to create a very simple landing page for them to land on to get your current message across quickly. For my new site, users first stop is an non-flash based Entry page. I can toggle this on and off if I have newsy item I want to share. If your are running ads, route your ads to a targeted landing page just for that ad. If you decide not to use an entry page, I recommend a simple message on the first page they hit.
  3. Build relationship.
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    Make it easy for your fans to show support and reward them for following along. Street teams, fan exclusives, and message boards are just a few ideas. Just make sure if you implement something you have time to manage it.
  4. One or two clear actions.
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    For most pages you should have one, maybe two clear actions you would like the visitor to take. Currently I’m building my email list so you’ll see “Join the Mailing List” clearly visible on most pages.
  5. Keep the good stuff “above the fold”.
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    Many pages on your site might have enough information that they don’t fit forcing the user to scroll to read the whole page. Make sure you put the good stuff “above the fold”. In the example above I’ve placed a “What’s New” blurb, "Join the list" box, social links above the fold. You also get a partial view of content below which can compel readers to scroll.
  6. Post once, syndicate many. A lot of the elements of my site are actually content coming from another source and are syndicated into my site via Javascrpt snippets and widgets. The mailing list is from ReverbNation, the links page is build completely using “linkrolls” from delicious. In other words, I'm centralizing content management. For example, I add a bookmark via delicious, it automatically updates my site. One downside of this strategy is if the third-party provider goes away, you’ll need to find another, so backup your content from these systems. I also connected my artist blog to Facebook and Twitter so every time I post it auto-updates.
  7. Branding. Try to come up with some consistent branding elements like – typography, color palette, and graphic styling. If your not a designer, you might want to hire a freelancer. It’s important.
  8. Set integrated audio players to “pause”. I’m using an integrated player that acts as a jukebox as you surf from page to page. Rather than blow up someone's speakers and scare the crap out of them, I’ve configured it so the visitor has to take action to play music.
  9. Hosted service with integrated web content management. There are some pretty great hosted solutions out there that will allow you to quickly create a site, manage your content and integrate with social networks without having to make a call to a web developer. No need to get your buddy to build the site and host it in his basement. If you use a template try and tweak it out so it’s unique. There are freelancers that can help configure these systems as well. One the biggest advantages of many of these hosted systems is that they have tools that automatically do some search engine optimization to help you get found.
  10. Learn more about “Permission Marketing”. Internet marketing is about relationship building. You need to build your list and deepen relationships with your fans. As an indie musician it’s in your best interest to take some of this on and learn a little more about that dreaded topic - “Marketing”. I recommend you follow master marketer Seth Godin’s blog - http://sethgodin.typepad.com/. Two of his books - “Purple Cow”, and “Permission Marketing” – are quick reads that might change the way you think about marketing and make it easier for you to connect with your fans in this noisy internet world.

So, now I invite you to visit the site and have a walkabout at  http://www.markmoshermusic.com. If these tips end up helping you out, drop me a note with a link to your site or comment on this post. Happy marketing.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO
www.modulatethis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com

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