Using your website for promotion

(The original version of this article was first published on the Mp3 Backing Trax website circa 2006 – 2012)

In this article I look at how you can use your website to get agents and bookers falling over themselves to book your act.

Have you noticed that all the worlds biggest entertainers have websites to promote themselves? That’s because websites work.

If you are an entertainer, no matter whether you just work locally at a semi-professional level or you are a worldwide pro, you must have a website if you want to effectively promote your act. A website is the single most cost-effective way to promote yourself.

Overall, the publicity a website can bring you makes it cheaper than mail-shots, printing up flyers, sending out brochures, or any other form of marketing you can think of. Just set up a website one time, and it can generate you work for years and years to come as visitors and fans as well as bookers and agents come back to the website time and time again to find you, get more news about you, and offer you more work.

However, if your website is to be successful in prompting all those visiting agents and promoters in to booking you, then you need to put your website to work for you…and a good website design is essential.

Luckily it needn’t cost a fortune.

Outline a plan
The best ideas may come from our heads, but most ideas don’t really come together until we transfer them on to paper and can arrange them in a logical and sensible way (it’s easier to arrange a bunch of rocks if they are in front of you rather than if they are a picture in your head, right)?! So get a pen and a piece of paper and start sketching an outline or plan of what you’re trying to achieve with your website and the type of things you want it to contain.

Many acts make the mistake of employing someone else to go produce their entire website for them. Yet this makes little sense because nobody knows you and your act like you do, so you are best qualified to write the content and explain what you do to your website visitors, not a webmaster.

There will be some technical aspects of the website that you may not be able to do yourself, so by using an outline, you will be able to plan out how much of the website and the pages content you can produce yourself and which other jobs need to be “out-sourced” to others.

Imagine how much you would save if say, in a 10 page website, you produced 8 of those pages yourself and only out-sourced the producing of perhaps a contact/feedback form, and an audio/video page?

Your outline/plan should consist of:

  1. Content
  2. Structure
  3. Design
  4. Navigation
  5. Credibility

Content – this should consist of everything about you that you think a visitor will want to know. Your musical background (Biography), where you’ve worked (your CV), how to contact you, prices you charge, in fact everything you can think of that anyone wanting to book you would want to know.

Write as much text about yourself as you can to ensure you don’t miss anything out – you can always condense it later if need be.

Structure – decide how many pages your website is going to be and how many of these you can produce yourself. Outsource the rest.

You need to think about how all these pages will link to each other and what graphics, logos, pictures and icons you are going to use on each page to illustrate your text and keep the visitor interested.

Design – Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to employ an expensive web desgner to design your website. There are many website “Templates” out there that you can download, just search on google for free web templates. You can take one of these free templates and adapt it to suit yourself using a web design program like Dreamweaver or MS Front Page.

The main thing to remember is that a good web design has consistency throughout all the pages, readability, simplicity and good use of colour and pictures.

Navigation – nothing puts off visitors more than being on a website and they don’t know where they are, how to get to another page, or how to get back to where they started. So think carefully about how you want the visitor to go through your website. It shouldn’t be too difficult if you just put yourself in the visitors position – they’ll most likely come to your site through your home page (index page) and then move around the website from there, so make sure your home page is very clear about where all the other pages can be found and what’s on them.

Navigation links like Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 etc will not do. Make the text on the links to these pages relevant to what’s on them (eg Home, Contact Me, Video Clips, Biography etc). Here’s an impotant tip – always remember the 3 click rule…if a visitor can’t get to where he wants to go on your website within 3 clicks of the mouse, web behavioural research has shown that he’ll get fed up and leave.

You have been warned, so get your navigation right or else!

Credibility – The internet is impersonal so don’t let your website be. Make sure you reach out to every visitor that comes through your door, just as you would if you were meeting with them face to face.

Interact with that visitor by giving them all the information about you that you can. Let them contact you by email, by post or by telephone – give full contact details. Make sure your website presents a proper professional image of you because if your website looks professional, the visitor will consider you and your act to be professional too. This is VERY important.

Remember that when the visitor reaches your website, you are just another anonymous person out there in cyberspace who has posted a whole bunch of information about yourself which could be true or false (you might not even exist as far as the visitor knows). So make the visitor feel that by visiting your website, they are communicating with a real live human person.

Write your text as if you are speaking directly to them.

If you can achieve all of the above with your website, then there is no reason why you can’t stand out from the crowd. Agents, bookers, anyone who wants to give you work will be impressed by you because of the ease which they can get relevant information about you from your website.

If your website looks the part, then so will you, and that will be reflected in the amount of bookings your website will pull in for you.

One last word of advice. Check your email every day (twice a day is better). Email is a form of instant messaging, and although no-one expects you to be sitting in front of a computer 24 hours a day waiting for their email enquiry to pop in your inbox, most people do expect a prompt reply within the day.

So make sure you ALWAYS reply to any enquiries that come from visitors to your website. If you don’t have time to give them a full answer to their enquiry, just hit “reply” and send them back a simple message saying something like “…thanks for your enquiry, Im just putting all the info you requested together now and will email you back again with it all later…”.

Above all, make your website look professional, look professional yourself, be professional and act professional, and you’ll reap the rewards over and over again.