And the winner is!
Head over to the following website and take a look around for a few minutes, if you would: skylarkcelticband.com
(Don’t forget to come back!)
Her entry was randomly selected from the dozens I received, and I’ve now had a chance to take a long look over the site.
Hopefully, this exercise will be valuable not just for Elise and her band but for every artist with similar goals.
Let’s make sure to discuss afterwards in the Comments section.
Marketing Help for a Fellow Performer
As far as I know, Elise is not considering a complete redo of her site. Since we’re all strapped for time and resources, most of you probably aren’t either.
Performing artists need quick marketing wins.
For these reasons, I’m not going to rethink her website from the ground up.
Instead, I’m going to concentrate this review on some high-impact “quick wins” that Elise (and you) can accomplish in a matter of minutes.
I’ll also offer some larger – though not major – changes that I’d recommend as time allows, and maybe a few nitpicky things too.
Here’s what Elise told me in her entry:
Objective of the site – GET MORE GIGS! Plus, provide press material for venues and performance info for fans
Biggest marketing struggle – Getting more gigs. We play a lot of weddings and parties (bread and butter) but I’d love to have more performance gigs. We have a great one coming up (The Kennedy Center in DC) but how do I leverage that to get more? I’ve been performing with different bands for the last 30 years or more. Things have changed! I’d love to have your assessment.
Here We Go…
Things I Liked:
Big photo on homepage
This gives a great sense of who you are and what you do, and assures your visitor that you are professionals.
Email subscription box on every page
This is a best practice. Make it a goal to “capture” as many of your website visitors as you can, turning them into an audience you can stay in touch with. (Another tip for that later….).
Easy Tweaks for Some Quick Wins:
#1. Email Signups
Give your visitor a compelling reason to subscribe and you’ll double (or more) your signups. In short, tell them what they’ll get out of it.
So, consider changing the text from “STAY IN TOUCH! BE ON OUR EMAIL LIST” (what do they get from this?) to something like “GET OUR BEST THREE SONGS DELIVERED FREE” or “THREE REASONS TO BOOK SKYLARK TODAY: GET THE INFO.”
Given the current layout of the homepage, I would add a single, authoritative quote to instantly establish credibility and give context to what the group does. (How about a few words from the Kennedy Center?).
Since the main objective is concert bookings, some words from a performance venue would be ideal.
Find one short, punchy quote and make it a very obvious element on the homepage. You want your visitor’s eyes to go there within a few seconds of looking at your photo.
#3. News Page
These can be hard to keep updated. Since the latest “news” appears to be from 2014, it would be better to dump this page completely.
One less navigation choice is good for your visitor too, getting them to the important pages quicker.
#4. Calendar Page
It has no current dates on it.
#5. More Quotes Needed
We don’t want our visitors to have to search for reassurance that we’re good. That reassurance is called social proof, and right now, I only see one “testimonial” quote on the site (and it doesn’t exactly stand out).
Gather some brief quotes or words of praise from the best venues you’ve played, and any other important folks, and sprinkle them around the site in obvious places where people will see them.
The article on using social proof on artists’ websites is a resource to help you explore this further.
#6. Kennedy Center video
I was glad to see there was a video of the group’s “flagship” Kennedy Center performance on the site, but….the link doesn’t work!
#7. Decrease Spam
If spam has been an issue, 90+% of it can likely be eliminated by simply replacing the full email address listed on the site with something like “elise [at] skylarkcelticband [dot] com”
Some (Slightly) Bigger Things To Consider:
File these under the “a bit more involved, but really worth doing” category…
Kennedy Center Video
That video (which I was able to find here) says more about the group’s professionalism and talent than anything else on the site. It speaks directly to the types of gigs you want more of.
For that reason, it should be front and center.
Find a way to make the video much more prominent on the A/V page, or even better, get the embed code from the Kennedy Center and put it on your homepage.
Why make people dig to find that? It’s your key to more and better bookings.
I was glad to see that the site is mobile friendly, but when I looked at it on my smartphone, the band photo was stripped out of the homepage.
What I was left with was the image displayed here – not exactly the most inviting or professional-looking entry point for the site.
Granted, most potential clients for performance gigs will be looking at you on a desktop computer, however, the trend is clearly towards more mobile use across all demographics. Best to look really good there too.
I noticed that the site does not currently have a Facebook Pixel installed on it – I love these things, and you might too.
In short, the Facebook Pixel allows you to stay in touch with people who’ve visited your website but have NOT signed up for your email list (96-98% won’t).
By creating an audience of all Facebook users who’ve been on your site, the pixel gives you the ability to “retarget” them with Facebook ads for as little as a few bucks.
Your website developer can install the pixel very quickly, and it costs you nothing until you choose to advertise on Facebook to those visitors.
See the article Facebook Ads: 6 Wins for Performing Artists
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
A full SEO evaluation of the website is beyond the scope of this article, but I did take a quick look at how the site appears in Google search results.
For “Skylark Celtic Band,” the website actually came up in the third spot rather than the first, and as you can see, the descriptive text (aka the “meta description”) needs some work as well.
The page’s title tags could be optimized too, in an effort to direct people searching for things like “celtic music cd’s” (320 searches per month!) to the “Store” page, “celtic concerts” to the calendar page, etc.
Making these SEO changes is easy stuff, but whether you can make them yourself depends on how your site is hosted and configured. Best to check with your web developer or host company if you’re not sure.
Is the “Performance Highlights” box on the homepage “dynamic,” i.e., can/does it disappear when there are no upcoming dates?
That would be my suggestion, if it’s not already set up that way.
Feel free to take or leave these small items:
I would decrease the font size of the navigation categories on the homepage (HOME, BIO, CALENDAR, etc.), leaving more room for that dynamic quote we talked about earlier
Does anyone visit the”Photos” page? (Check your analytics to find out.) Since the official promo photos are on another page, I’d get rid of the “Photos” page and move the best images to the other pages – again, reducing the number of navigation choices for the visitor.
And my inner proof reader couldn’t help but notice these two:
The Frankie Gavin quote below is broken up awkwardly, with his band name on the opposite side of a separate line. This gives me the impression that we’re reading a DeDanann Band Bio rather than Skylark’s.
And more odd line breaks on the “Press Kit” page:
So there you have it – some quick, simple victories for Skylark’s website along with a few slightly larger things to think about.
What would YOU have suggested for Elise’s website? What did I miss? What would you have changed? Where do I have it all wrong?
Let’s compare notes in the Comments section below.
About The Blog
Since leaving a white-collar marketing job in 1992, Dave Ruch has been educating and entertaining full-time in schools, historical societies and museums, folk music and concert venues, libraries, and online via distance learning programs.
Along the way, he’s learned a great deal about supporting a family of four as a musician.
The Educate and Entertain blog provides articles, tips, encouragements, and how-to’s for regional performers (in any region) interested in making a great full-time living in the arts.