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March 22, 2012

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Filed under: website promotion — ian @ 9:00 pm

March 20, 2012

How To Take Your Band To The Next Level Online

Filed under: website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 10:20 pm

I was recently contacted by the manager, frontman and vocalist of a blues band, who have been going since 2010. “I would really value your advice on how to improve our marketing.” Mackenzie asked, and he goes on, “We have a website and I’ve been reading marketing literature. I’ve implemented promotional pages and put a mailing list widget on our homepage, but the uptake has been slow! I have tried to drive traffic to our website, but again with little success! I keep a regular blog that includes plenty of information, a call-to-action and interactive content however, the uptake is very slow and scanty.”

“We gig about three times a month and we are starting to get more bookings. I promote our events, I hate to say it, but it’s usually hit and miss; I work very hard and attendance varies greatly. I’ve used videos and different types of content, but yet again it’s the same story, I’ve had little success.”

“We started as a band that only had friends who were real fans, but I want to move away from that because it’s not sustainable. I’m working hard to not overexpose or overpromote our product so that people don’t just switch off or block us, but at the same time, I’m not getting traction.”

“I do have more ideas on how to generate buzz, but I’ve been hesistant about implementing them because, I get little return on my investment of time and effort.”

“Ian, I’ve hit my ceiling in terms of promotion and marketing. So I want to know how to take our band to the next level on the Internet. It would be great if you can help us out and advise on what to improve, fix, trash, and introduce in order to make a real change.”

Hi Mackenzie, I hope you don’t mind, but, I’d like to share my reply to you with my readers, because yours is such a common cry for help from independent bands, and it fits in well with a couple of recent blog posts: How To Get 100 Daily Website Visitors - The Golden Ticket and The Most Frequently Found Website Promotion Mistakes. BTW, thank you for your well written and detailed email :)

Firstly, I said this in a blog post ages ago, “Nine times out of ten, if you are having trouble getting noticed and making money out of your music, then you probably can’t do it! Seek criticism and advice from an independent and qualified person whose opinion you value and trust. Then act on their advice.” Personally I’m not that keen on Blues, I like Folk Rock, but even if I did like Blues I still wouldn’t be the right person to help you with your core essential, Music and Performance, because I’m not qualified - I’m just for Website Promotion ;)

O.K. after you have checked your core essential and before you do anything else to change your website, you need a Target Fan Profile (someone to aim your marketing and promotional efforts at) - without one you are totally fucked and you are just wasting your time. When I talk about promoting a band’s website, I usually mention something somewhere about a “target audience” or “target fans” (most website gurus do wink) because, these are the people who are going to interact with you.

Your target fans are the people who want to come to your gigs and buy your music, they follow your genre and live your lifestyle! And as I’ve blogged, “They probably hang out in the same colleges & universities, independent record shops, fashion shops, cool coffee houses, pubs and nightclubs that you do, they live next door, they listen to the same music and they want to dance like you, or maybe you want to dance like them! They are your friends, or they could be. You know who these potential fans are, where they are, what they want and how to approach them. I don’t, I can only generalize.”

Your Target Fan Profile Checklist

From your 10 true fans (who tend come to gigs) and 10 other loyal fans, create a target fan profile of your ideal fan by investigating their similarities. Use social media and the art of conversation to extract the information, you will soon build up an intimate understanding of your target fan :) Here are a few ideas:

  • Where do they live, is location important to you? Postcode information can be helpful!
  • Do they live in a little village or a big city?
  • Where do they hang out? Birds of a feather flock together ;)
  • What about climate, is that an issue?
  • Age (average & range 25 - 60), sex (males% females%) and marital status?
  • Occupation and education? Income is difficult to acquire!
  • And other demographic factors like, habits, attitudes, tastes and moral standards?
  • What is their fashion style? Where do they buy their clothes?
  • What is your target fan’s general personality like?
  • Their behaviour and life-style choises, do they buy their music from iTunes and listen to it on their iPhone?
  • How do they normally listen to music?
  • Are they consistently active users of social media, do they have a favourite like twitter?
  • How many friends/followers have they got?
  • If they work, are they on the net at lunchtime, what time, when?
  • When (what time of day) are they active on social media?
  • What type of internet connection are they using?
  • When you release a new album, are they excited - in what form do they buy it?
  • How did they find out about your band?
  • Is there a third party online/off-line who recommended them?
  • Do they look for and talk about other independent blues bands?
  • Are they listening to and following other blues bands? - who are they?
  • Are they knowledgeable champions of blues music?

A Quick Run Through Your Website - Including Tips & Advice

Home Page & General Comments: Run your URL through W3C HTML Validation because you’ve got a number errors and warnings - not too many and all are very easy to sort out. You’ve got the same title element on just about every page. Target the title element to the contents of each individual page - using the same one is a huge waste. Also, include the description element, which is missing.

The Home Page looks messy even though it’s actually simple, not good; remember, once the page has loaded you only have a fraction of a second to capture your visitors attention. The messiness is caused by the slightly unconventional presentation of important information which makes the viewer need to think! Not good, we don’t have time to think ;) for instance, in your Our Gigs column, you present your gig thus: ‘name of party’ @ ‘name of venue’ w/ ‘name of support’ ‘date’; the reader is initially confused because the convention is to use the date as a bullet point, newest date at the top. Get rid of the “Past Gigs” section it’s fluff.

You use external websites to augment your site, that’s good not a problem; the problem is that the external sites are using different navigation to you! Navigation is an issue.

I feel the look, mood, aura is wrong for your genre. See: Make A Sexy Website And Get Laid Like A Rockstar This Weekend

Think about the three ways by which your visitors will come to your website: Via a search engine - needs Content and SEO. Via an incoming link - needs links from Blues Music and lifestyle related websites. Via the real world by typing your URL directly into the address bar - needs a cheap (so cheap it’s almost free) and very simple A8 (v.small) flyer.

Think about what will keep your visitors on your website for longer than two seconds!

Book Us [page]: ‘This is Why You Should Book Us’, OK, how about the How? I think you could delete this page and include the information in ‘About Us’, even though you may feel that it’s an important sales page. You’ve included your contact information at the top of each page :)

Blog: Websites are always about communication, and your target fan is the person with whom you should be talking; potential fans are looking for you - what are you talking about with your fans that will help your potential fans find you?

You are using a well-known Wordpress theme, change it to fit in with the look of your website - continuity is an important part of branding.

Navigation issues: ‘About Us’ versus ‘How We Started’ versus ‘The Band’. And ‘Buy Our Music’ versus ‘Hear Our Demo’ versus ‘Our Music’ - six pages where two would do.

BTW, I can see that you’ve put in a lot of hard work :)

How We Started [page]: Redirects to your blog’s About Us! Include some images with description for new viewers. Change one of the page names.

Hear Our Demo [page]: Redirects to Soundcloud! create a new page or use ‘Our Music’ and embed the Soundcloud code. This page should be a sales page, think about merchandise!

Photos [page]: I love your image gallery powered by Coppermine Photo Gallery. Use more of your images around your website and especially your blog. You’ve got a surfeit of brilliant band photographs, but out of the 369 images in 9 albums, you have not got ONE of a fan!!!!! Very Bad for conversation, it’s all one way. Take a gander at how Sandi Thom does it.

The visitor has to use the back button to navigate back to your home page :(

The Industry on Us [page]: Another important page, it misses the opportunity to connect with music industry people, you have not linked to the original articles or the authors. Most music critics will visit this page to find out what others are saying - it’s a very negative experience for them - you must connect with people.

The Band [page]: I suppose this could be the bio page? No content, so delete it.

Our News [page]: No News is bad news, you’ve got a blog, I’d delete it.

Our Gigs [page]: Most recent gig 7th October 2011? No it’s 18th March 2012 - I think! You Must keep important pages updated, up-to-date.

Use the local date format for where you live: day, month, year? Use the date like a bullet point. Always use the same configuration e.g:
20:03:2012 @ 20.30, doors @ 17.30, Venue Name (hypertext link to Venue Page) & town, £5 with flyer, 18+ ID., freebie inf.

The Gigs Page could easily be a hosted Wordpress blog, each gig listing would then be a blog post and it’d be easy for your true fans to share :)

Create a Venue Page for each venue you play. When you promote a gig from your website you are actually promoting the venue as well, so make the most of it. Include:

  • Venue’s name inc. hypertext & image links to the venue’s official website.
  • Link to venue’s Facebook & Twitter.
  • Venue’s Full address - maybe with Sat Nav inf.
  • Box office details (link to box office &/or online ticket agency - maybe affiliate opportunity?).
  • Normal ticket (admission) price.
  • Usual doors times.
  • Age restriction details.
  • Full travel information and directions inc. how to get there: on foot, by rail, by bus, by car with parking inf., and hypertext links to Google maps.
  • Video of your band playing the venue.
  • House DJ details.
  • Open mic. details.
  • Local information might include: independent record shops, fashion shops, accommodation, coffee houses and pubs etc. that reflect and complement your genre.

A Quick Word On Fan Numbers: All your friend/follower numbers are well short of the mark, you need at least 1,500 people on each social media platform, because most of them aren’t true friends, followers or fans.

MySpace trash it!

That’s it for now, I really hope that helps you a little Mackenzie, if you’ve got a specific question regarding this basic website critique or anything else for that matter, please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best for you.

Fond Regards xx

Helping Indie Bands With Website Promotion
Unsigned Band Promotion
UnsignedBandPromotion.com
Helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own.

March 8, 2012

WOLFSHEAD

Filed under: website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 6:10 pm

Wolfshead hard rock band from Fleet Hampshire UK

WOLFSHEAD are a hard rock band from Fleet in Hampshire, UK. They’ve just put up a really professional looking Tumblr website - LOVE it Leigh & Mart :)

Keep in touch guys, I’m just down the road Between Crowthorne and Wokingham.

March 7, 2012

How To Get 100 Daily Website Visitors - The Golden Ticket

Filed under: website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 8:48 pm

Golden Ticket to success

Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder Records wrote an interesting blog post a while ago titled, 8 Ways To Get 100 Visitors A Day To Your Website; @corecorina of corecorina.com (BTW I like your blog Corina) commented cleverly, "I would like to see ways that the above strategies are implemented to provide ‘concrete’ returns." And I thought, yeah, I’d like to see that too. Brian pointed out that there are NO guarantees or a single golden ticket when getting website traffic - True Brian, very true. Website traffic is gained through multiple processes or actions, that combine to make up an overall strategy.

All this exciting chatter was sparked off by Chris Rockett’s question (posed to the experts), "What is the fastest way to get 100 targeted fans per day visiting your website on a consistent basis without using paid traffic?" in 100 Fan Sprint. I made a follow up blog post, The 100 Fan Decathlon, which provides the reader with an elementary and practical outline of a typical website promotion effort - the sort of thing that Corina was looking for! ;)

How To Get 100 Daily Website Visitors

Here’s an obvious but important thought (question) that you may not have bothered thinking about. "how many fans do you need to get 100 visitors a day?"

The number of fans needed to get 100 Daily Website Visitors - if each fan visits your website on average:
TWICE a month - is approximately 1500
ONCE a week - is approximately 700
TWICE a week - is approximately 350

O.K., the maths is V.simplistic and naive, but you get my point; and please note, the average indipendent band only has around 250 Facebook Likes (Likes are not necessarily true Fans, and, there Is much more to It).

How many times a week do your fans visit your website? If they are merely visiting your website once a year to catch up on stuff, then that’s why your website is dead! Additionally, there is a natural turnover of fans who move on to pastures new, BTW, a high ‘attrition rate’ could be an indicator of total boredom - Oh! and if you’re a bunch of arseholes that won’t help either ;) You do need to be constantly attracting new fans and that’s solved with MARKETING & PROMOTION.

I am assuming that your website is ready to receive visitors by offering brilliant content, however, you might want to read The Most Frequently Found Website Promotion Mistakes, it may give you a few extra ideas.

The Golden Ticket To Success

  • Firstly, create a *Target Fan Profile* - without one you are totally screwed. Think about your fans’: geographical location, age, gender, occupation, attitude, general personality, life-style choices, habits, loyalties, needs, knowledge of your band and information sources.
  • About 70% of your Web traffic will come from Google - a lot of the traffic, unfortunately, could be Web crawlers and Spambots and means nothing! To help cut the crawlers and increase the client requests (or hits), you need words. Search engines use TEXT to find you. Find the top 8 - 10 keywords and/or key-phrases (per webpage) that best describe your band, genre and subject matter (think SEO) - e.g: Genre (indie rock band), Location (Chelsea, London), Venues and Lifestyle Choices i.e. reflecting the demographic factors (habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards…) that define your target fan. Include the keywords and key-phrases on the appropriate webpage.
  • Go to each page on your website, without exception, and check the HTML head elements (Think About What Words You Want To Be Found For, bear in mind your Target Fan):
    The TITLE element Should look approximately like this: the flying footstools - folk rock band reading berkshire Disambiguation: [Band Name] - [Genre + band] [Geographical Location]. Lowercase, no punctuation.
    The DESCRIPTION meta element Should look approximately like this: the flying footstools are a folk rock band from reading berkshire, on the first saturday of each month we play at the black duck in henley on thames. Disambiguation: [Band Name] are a [Genre + band] from [Geographical Location] , [blurb/puff] [Venue] [Venue’s Geographical Location]. Short sentence (150 characters including spaces), lowercase, minimal punctuation.
    The KEYWORDS meta element Should look approximately like this: the flying footstools, folk rock band, reading, berkshire, black duck, henley on thames Only include the most frequently used keywords contained within the title, description and the webpage, lowercase.
    NOTE (this is the important bit): the Title, Description and Keywords head elements must pertain to each individual webpage’s subject matter and reflect its content - do not just replicate the same head elements throughout website.
  • Add Google to your website: Google Analytics - so you can measure your progress. And Google Adsense - provides a financial yardstick. Read: Reading Website Traffic Statistics.
  • Blogging regularly is an easy (reality check: blogging isn’t easy!) way to make your website entertaining. Either, download the latest version of WordPress.org (free blog software, easy to install, loads of free templates & plugins) or (pick this one) get a free blog from WordPress.com - Google will love you for it ~ post 3 times a week (Mon, Wed & Fri) - share.
  • O.K. it’s time for an idea. You need a Hook. If your target fan was a horse racing enthusiast and you said to him, "Visit my Website tomorrow after 10.30 A.M. and I will tell you the winner of the 2.30 at Ascot." And it won or ‘came in’ (a horse racing colloquialism), you would have a mega-superfan. That’s a hook; a reason to visit your website. Why do you think so many female artists show a little too much flesh? - Maybe it’s time to get your kit off - only joking ;) Instead of posting ‘happy snaps’ on Facebook, put them on your website and tell your Facebook friends to go and have a look - if you’ve included them on your blog, they can comment and share.
  • An easy one for you: Link to your band’s website from all your social networking profiles (plus.google.com).
  • Send out an emailshot to your mailing list: Sign up for a free MailChimp account. Create a database of fans, friends and family (spend a lot of time on this list, this is the real gold) - a group of four (with help from friends) should easily be able to assemble a legitimate mailing list of about 500, aim for around 1,500 - 2,000 targeted subscribers. Announce your updated website and use your hook. Ask recipients to help by not only sharing the email, but to spread the word by: liking, tagging, retweeting, bookmarking, commenting and posting your news.
  • Create 480 A8 (74mm x 52mm / 2.9" x 2.0" (16 A8 flyers on a normal sheet of printer paper - A4)) flyers promoting your wesite’s hook - make it very easy to read. Include: Your Band’s Name. Website URL. Marketing Message (the hook). Then, hand them out, only to your target fans - You know where they’re hanging out!

And that’s it, 100 Daily Website Visitors - no problemo. By-The-Way, you’ve got to do ALL these ideas and keep up the good work by constantly updating, checking and tweeking your website - get a friend to help.

Helping Indie Bands With Website Promotion
Unsigned Band Promotion
UnsignedBandPromotion.com
Helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own.

February 26, 2012

The Most Frequently Found Website Promotion Mistakes

Filed under: Music Marketing, SEO, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 12:32 pm

Sorry that it has been such a long time since I posted, I’ve been working!

If you are The Unknown Band who wants to get their name out there and would love some help with your website promotion, then take a quick gander at this Open Email - it’s a sort of ‘Most Frequently Found Website Promotion Mistakes’ compiled from my 2011 email correspondence with bands ~ no names mentioned ;)

You Are Not Maximising Your Website’s Promotional Effectiveness

Your opening page is a splash page! Having a splash page is one of the biggest and most extravagant website promotion luxuries and it is a colossal mistake. A splash page is nothing more than an introductory opening page that precedes the main home page; it usually just contains a massive attention grabbing image of the band that acts as a link to the band’s home page (CLICK TO ENTER). Here is some real source code copied from a band’s splash page (Only the band’s name & javascript have been changed):

<html> <head>
<title>The Johnson</title>
<script language="javascript">
<!– {
/*Bollox javascript*/
image_load_javascript_here();
} //–></script></head>
<body bgcolor="#CBBB9B">
<div align="center">
<a href="home.html"><img src="images/artwork.jpg"
width="800" height="569"></a>
</div></body></html>

…No Content There Guys! Personally, I think a band’s opening page should be a simplified version of their press pack, that contains everything a new visitor or fan is looking for :) Please have a V.quick gander at: Press Packs What Should They Include

Quick Fix Get rid of the splash page and replace it with your Home-Page which has loads of content.
Further Reading Search Engine Optimization - SEO for Bands and UBP’s Response To Matt Early’s Blog Post - Splash Bang Codswallop!

Your Links And Linking Are Totally Up The Spout

Linking errors will ruin your chances of success. The question every noobie band’s webmaster wants to know the answer to is, "How can I get people to visit our website, become fans and buy our music?" The answer is simple, traffic increases with the number of Links pointing to your Website in addition to the quality and quantity of your website’s Content. It’s a simple answer, but quite difficult to accomplish.

Most of your links are pointing away from your website to Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, MySpace and various other profile pages, and they are not reciprocated. Your website is acting as a landing page to your social media and that is wrong, it should be the other way around.

Also, create a user-friendly navigation structure so it is easy for visitors to find their way around your website - don’t use loads of different and confusing text sizes and colours. NEVER make regular text look like a bog standard link (underlined &/or blue), it confuses people and stops them clicking the real link.

Quick Fix Link with 10 other websites each week. For linking think networking and for networking think conversations. So that’s, get into deep and meaningful conversation with ten new people each week - and swap links!
Further Reading Links and Linking - The Dark Art and Check Your Link Popularity

You Have Got 153 Coding Errors On Your Home-Page

Coding errors are actually the most common of all website mistakes - by a country mile - I’m sure I’ve got some myself ;) Most HTML errors are very easy to solve, go to W3C HTML Validation and run a check to find out more.

However, you haven’t got enough technical flexibilty on the type of web platform that you’ve chosen to build your website on (one of the free web hosts) - which means, your web host, where your website resides, doesn’t allow you to get hands on with the coding (they do it all for you), your website is not created in the most optimum way and there are a shed load of SEO & html issues! Your problems would be solved by moving your website to a real web host like iPower.

The most common HTML errors are: Not including or incorrect use of DOCTYPE declaration. Forgetting to close a tag. Nesting tags incorrectly. Not opening or closing quotes within tags. Not encoding special characters like ‘"‘ and ‘&‘. Not including the image alt attribute.

Note: a lot of the free Web hosts use too much javascript, Flash and frames which can cause problems with Web crawlers; this may result in your website being indexed incorrectly (and slowly) in the search engines.

Quick Fix Get a real website from iPower then visit: W3C HTML Validation
Further Reading Band promotion for unsigned bands

Your Website Is Mind-Bendingly Boring

A band’s website shouldn’t look like a 1990s Online brochure for a small engineering firm. Boring - unless you’re a small engineer ;) A band’s website should be entertaining. And what makes a website entertaining is good content. Content is the all important key word here; if you want people to spread the word about your band, you’ve got to give them something to talk about! Give your visitors regularly updated, interesting and maybe a tad contraversial, newsworthy Content.

It is So easy to get sucked into social networking and at the same time neglect one’s website, because websites take up so much fucking time, and, quite frankly, updating websites can be boring. However, if you want to make money from your music, it is worth putting in the effort. You are posting some lovely images of your band on Facebook, publish them on your website instead. Write loads of compelling description around the images to enlighten and titillate - especially for the people who don’t know your band. Do the same for the wacky photos of your fans enjoying themselves.

Stop using images to replace actual textual content (words).

Quick Fix Turn your opening page into a Blog.
Further Reading Quality Content

There Are Problems With Your Band’s Name

You often abbreviate your band’s name or write it as an acronym, I wouldn’t do this until you are Very Well established. Promote your full name at every opportunity.

Because your band’s name is a Surname, you have got strong competition when promoting it in Google. Write a strapline that describes your band, eg: The Johnson are an indie folk band from Reading, Berkshire Put it in to your title tag and write an extended version (about 150 characters including the spaces) for your description meta tag - Write many different versions and tweet them regularly (note: tweets are 140 characters including spaces).

There are other bands with the same band name as you!

Quick Fix Choose a unique, short and memorable name that reflects your band’s image - make sure it’s O.K. to use.
Further Reading A Band Name That Everyone Cares About

You Are Not Promoting Relevant Keywords

This is how a search engine sees the textual content of your opening page: ‘official’ ’site’ because you do not have any other textual (written) content!

Aim to be found for your bands name and for something else other than your band’s name, like: ‘folk band reading’ or ‘function band berkshire’. What is someone going to type into Google to find you? Second Guessing (attempting to predict or anticipate what people are going to search for to find your website) is an odd topic with plenty of scope for both error and success, but, it’s important - your band’s lifestyle choices could be the way to go! Don’t bother using extremely popular keywords like: music, sex, free, mp3… they’ll never work!

I wouldn’t normally say anything about keyword density here on my blog, however, I would aim for approximately 4 or 5 keywords and or key-phrases per 100 words of written content (not including the header meta tags) - ‘Johnson’ is a keyword, ‘folk bands reading’ is a key-phrase!

Quick Fix Find the top 20 keywords and key-phrases that best describe your band and genre, add them to your website.

Your Free Hit Counter Looks Very Amateurish

Nobody cares about how many hits your website gets - apart from you ~ true! But, the fact that you’ve got a hit counter means that you are interested in monitoring your website’s success, brilliant. If you are interested in marketing your music, keeping track of your website statistics is vital as they will tell you what your visitors like and dislike.

Obviously, by keeping a regular check of your website’s statistics you will be able to build-up a good understanding of your: Advertising success. Traffic sources (the who, what, where and why of how people are finding you). What pages are successful… i.e. the overall performance of your website’s various aspects.

Quick Fix Get Google Analytics - so you can evaluate your progress.

Cold Hard Fact: Your Website Design Is Unprofessional

Sorry, but the one ingredient that separates an amateur website from a professional website is the speed at which the crucial message is delivered to the visitor. A professional website delivers the crucial message immediately, however, your website delivers your album and gig details eventually (one day, someday, never - only if one looks for them), V. negative!

There are two VERY important areas on the opening page of your website:
1. Centre Opening Screen - this is where your most important messages should be going.
2. Top Right Corner Opening Screen (between 1 and 2 o’clock) - the perfect place for a sign up button, a music player or a 300px x 300px ‘clickable’ image of your psychedelic album cover.

Keep the layout simple and obvious, i.e., Upcoming Gigs should be listed with new gig dates at the top and old gig dates at the bottom - why would you make visitors scroll down the page to find your next gig date? BTW, Don’t forget to blog about ‘it’ too!
…Talking of blogs, if you use Blogspot or Wordpress, make an effort to make it look like the rest of your website. Post 3 times a week.

Quick Fix Think about what your fans want. What is your website like from the their point-of-view? Ask them!
Further Reading Make A Sexy Website And Get Laid Like A Rockstar This Weekend
Make Money From Your Band’s Website

The $64,000 Question: How Can We Get More Traffic?

Well it’s the question everyone wants to know the answer to! How to get targeted and consistent traffic visiting your website - quickly, like today? After all, it’s what we build a website for, isn’t it?

The fasest way initially is to collaborate with others. Big Warning: collaboration will kill you if your band is crap and has a pisspoor website!

Create a ‘Target Fan Profile’ and figure out how they will come to your website; there are three usual ways (with multiple criterion): 1. By searching in a search engine. 2. By clicking on an incoming link. 3 By typing your URL directly into the address bar.

Create the right environment on your website that will satisfy your target audience. Point your potential fan towards your website using both online and real world techniques. Visitors will keep returning and become fans if they are continually entertained - i.e. they like you!

…How Fast? Well it is not going to be a 9.58s 100m sprint, getting traffic is much more like the decathlon! Visitor numbers improve with the quality and quantity of Content, in combination with the quality and quantity of Incoming Links, and Time.

BTW, the three most common requests I receive are: Help us get our name out there. How can we get more web traffic. and, Help Promote My Band. Unfortunately, promoting a band Online through its website and social media, doesn’t lend itself to a quick fix answer; like building relationships through networking, promoting a band Online takes time! See a simple and basic outline of a typical website promotion effort in: 100 Fan Decathlon

Your problem is that you are too focussed on social media, that you don’t pay enough attention to your website!

Lastly, and to conclude, did you know only about 20% of bands have a Real Website! That’s it for now, hope that helps a little, if you’ve got a specific question, please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best for you.

Fond Regards

TURN UP THE VOLUME
Unsigned Band Promotion
UnsignedBandPromotion.com
Helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own.

October 20, 2011

Dumb Blonde Must Sync Or Swim

Filed under: website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 4:36 pm

monroe

Punished for posting? I hate it when people like David Hughes of Mohican Records act as a spoiler to my magnanimous and virtuous efforts to help bands with their websites! I posted a most out-of-the-ordinary, as it was my first time, advertweet pointing my websiteless followers to an advert here on UBP’s blog recommending iPower, because They’ve Got A Sale On :) The amazing and stupendous Chris Bracco of Tight Mix Blog retweeted it and I quote: “On @BandPromotion: IPOWER Is Great For Musicians - Web Hosting Sale co/oiNHmPFv

Anyway, I was talking with Adrian, an old friend, down the pub ages ago and he asked me, “What’s all that bollocks stuff on your Facebook these days?” “Oh, it’s just my tweets. I’ve synchronised Twitter and Facebook so my tweets appear in Facebook!” I said. “I’m not on Twitter” he said.

Back to the present, so how do I feel when the ill-informed David Hughes say’s on Facebook, “Nah it’s cheaper via 1&1 or better still bandzoogle for a real band website, it has everything you could possibly need and works with artist data which means being able to update all your web presence in one go, take from somebody who knows” ????

Synchronizing social media is a dangerous thing to do, especially for bands, who tend to spam the same mind numbing shit like “Check Out Our FUCKIN’ AWESOME New Demo” or “Join Our Mailing List” day after day; even when bands take care to post exciting and informative news, it can still look lazy and spammy! We are not helped by the social media who actively encourage synchronization, maybe as a collective act of self-promotion and togetherness?

Each social networking platform, be it Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or dare I say it, Your Website, has its own niche, an identity created by its owner for its users - Facebook isn’t Twitter isn’t MySpace isn’t your website - the differences may seem subtle sometimes, but they are important to the individual user. Always use different content on the different social networking sites, so when people ‘click around’ they don’t read the same shyte over and over again, because that’s boring, disengaging and a massive, massive, massive turn-off - even for super-fan! The true promotional value of social networking is always measured by what you have to say!

So when somebody who knows tells you, you can automatically update and publish your information to your Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Bandzoogle, PureVolume, Sonicbids and MySpace fans all with the single press of a button, tell them to “Eff Off,” because they don’t know what they’re talking about and ultimately, it will hurt you if you don’t run away! And yes, I’ve de-synced.

As for 1&1 and Bandzoogle, well, I’m not going to pull them down. Stating the obvious, there are hundreds of places to get your band a website on the Internet, Bandzoogle and BandVista are two well-known sites that offer a 30 days free trial! But with many bands wingeing that they are perpetually skint, free networking sites like Facebook, YouTube and Myspace are the main attractions.

I like the idea of bands using blogging platforms as a free website because they are so easy to set-up and personalize. Here are some of the conspicuous names with an example band blog on each platform: Wordpress - Downstat, Twitter - Tiny Birds, Blogger - Blue News Band and Tumblr - Tom Waits.

Be creative and be inspired by giving life to a free website :) Primer used Wix for an easy drag and drop flash website- which looks brilliant :) Charlotte Stephenson used Moonfruit - London based and very friendly :) Tiny Birds - tinybirds.co.uk used Bandcamp as their publishing platform (not totally free but good)!

So anyway, I was talking with a band this week who asked, “Why are you doing all this for free and what’s in it for you? I’d love to put some work your way.” Well, I’m a Buddhist; I like to help bands by showing them how to promote their websites, I do it for free because I’m a Buddhist! My key words are, dedication, service, simplicity, purity and harmony; and my strapline is, helping musicians and artists to get their websites noticed by fans, search engines and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own. If you feel that I’ve given your band support enough to warrant a reward, then feel free to make a small donation! I also recommend sites that I’m affiliated to like, iPower and easyspace who provide webhosting at very competitive prices - and I’m proud to do so :)

Here is a Buddhist thought, “As a net is made up by a series of knots, so everything in this world is connected by a series of knots. If anyone thinks that the mesh of a net is an independent, isolated thing, they are mistaken. It is called a net because it is made up of a series of connected meshes, and each mesh has its place and responsibilities in relation to other meshes.”

October 12, 2011

IPOWER Is Great For Musicians - Web Hosting Sale

Filed under: Music Marketing, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 10:00 pm

I don’t like to be pushy, when it comes to advertising on UBP however, IPOWER who have got a promotion going on at the moment, partly because they’ve merged names with iPowerWeb, is worth a second look if you are thinking of getting yourselves a website :)


It’s a good time to start building a Website with IPOWER, who used to be called iPowerweb! I’m an affiliate, give them a try - 30-day money back guarantee, with a free domain name :)

Easyspace.com making the web easy

[Edit:] Easyspace has some quite good deals going on too :)

September 27, 2011

Ska Band Rubs Shoulders With Queen

Filed under: General Musings, website promotion — ian @ 12:09 pm

The Skarlets 7-piece 2-tone & ska band from Reading Berkshire, live function music

I was contacted by Dave Long of The Skarlets asking a video marketing related question. I visited The Skarlets website and was very pleasantly surprised by its high level of professionalism, it is one of the best band sites I’ve seen for ages - well done Roy Evans of Kaboodle Creative. Here is a little narrative for you!

UBP: Hi Dave, great to meet you. In my experience it’s unusual for a band to have such a polished website, what’s the story behind it?

Dave - The Skarlets: Cheers Ian, well we started out like most bands with just a MySpace page, but we found it so difficult to manage that no band member could be bothered with it! Not long after I met the singer from a Queen tribute act at the airport, he gave me the advice to create our own website. He also suggested that we include some quality video footage, preferably multi camera, of the band on the front page - which we’ve done.

UBP: Solid ritzy advice from ‘Freddie’ as per usual ;)

Dave - The Skarlets: Lol, yeah, of course the initial outlay is not cheap, but I would recomend this to any covers band if they want to progress. We also usually spend about £35 a month on a Google add campaign, this is a great help for potential customers who are looking for certain types of bands and it’s well worth doing, it increases your profile and brings great gig offers.

UBP: I think that you’ve hit the nail on the head, if a band (or a business) wants to progress they must have the confidence to invest in themselves, it’s not only about those long rehearsal sessions!

Dave - The Skarlets: Well it’s also about people, a huge thanks goes to Roy Evans for all the help he has given us with designing and managing the website!

UBP: Thanks Dave - The Skarlets are a dynamic and entertaining seven piece ska band from Reading, Berkshire. They play some of the very best ska and 2 Tone hits from the ’70s and early ’80s by artists such as, Jimmy Cliff, The Pioneers, The Specials, Madness, Bad Manners, Desmond Dekker and others - you’ll be up on the dance floor all night long. They are available for weddings, beer festivals, private parties and corporate events. And you can even Like them on Facebook - like I did :)

September 12, 2011

100 Fan Decathlon

Filed under: website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 8:11 pm

I was reading Chris Rockett’s Blog and feeling a little peeved because he hadn’t asked Me to contribute to his excellent blog post 100 Fan Sprint, where he asks the question, “What is the fastest way to get 100 targeted fans per day visiting your website on a consistent basis without using paid traffic?”

The answers given by each of the experts are right on the money and well worth the good read. Host your own blog is always popular advice with marketing and promotion experts, because a blog ticks so many of the SEO and Web 2.0 boxes; as is content, content, content - Content Is King (the title of an article by Bill Gates 1996) has been around for a long time.

The reason Chris didn’t ask me is probably because I’d give a boring answer that would lower the tone; well, here it is on my boring blog instead of his glamorous website:

“The fasest way initially is to collaborate with others. Warning: collaboration will kill you if your band is crap and has a pisspoor website!
Create a ‘Target Fan Profile’ and figure out how they will come to your website; there are three usual ways (with multiple criterion): 1. By searching in a search engine. 2. By clicking on an incoming link. 3 By typing your URL directly into the address bar.
Create the right environment on your website that will satisfy your target audience. Point your potential fan towards your website using both online and real world techniques. Visitors will keep returning and become fans if they are continually entertained!
…How Fast? Well it is not going to be a 9.58 100m sprint, more like a decathlon! Visitor numbers improve with the quality and quantity of Content, in combination with the quality and quantity of Incoming Links, and Time.”

The 100 Fan Decathlon

Any one of the hundreds of website promotion & band promotion ideas, tips, tricks and gimmicks could bring a sudden surge of traffic to your band’s website, but that’s not what we’re talking about, gaining consistent targeted traffic is not a short term quick fix sprint, it requires a multi-disciplined effort more like the decathlon (or running a small business)! A band should educate themselves (read: Build A Team Of Online Support For Your Band) and get help from a dedicated person who is capable of handling all things to do with Media, Promotion and Marketing.

Here is a simple and basic outline of a typical website promotion effort:

Day 1

  • Firstly, obviously, you need a real website. D’oh!
  • Make your band’s website the focal point of all your social networking and Internet activities - err… link to it!
  • Tweak and improve your band’s website, it needs to: load quickly. look good. be in character. connect (link) correctly. be useful. be interesting. have a purpose. be different. be entertaining. offer an easy mailing list sign-up. give a freebie. have very clear navigation - (read: Make A Sexy Website And Get Laid Like A Rockstar This Weekend).
  • Use WordPress - free blog software, easy to install, loads of free templates and plugins.
    Add Google Analytics - so you can evaluate your progress.
    Sign up to MailChimp - a free email marketing and email list manager that allows you to design, send and track HTML email campaigns.
  • Find the top 20 keywords and key-phrases that best describe your band and genre. Think about what your potential fans will search for, then add them to your website (think SEO). Now you’re being found for something else in the search engines other than your band’s name - for example, it could be: your genre (indie rock band), your location (Chelsea, London), the name of your favourite venue or your album, song titles (all very obvious, sorry)…
  • Create an email list (use: MailChimp) / database of fans, friends and family, especially target those within your locale; ask them for promotional help and support (i.e. help spread the word) - a group of four should be able to assemble an instantaneous and legitimate mailing list of about 300 (ask people first), aim for around 1,500 - 2,000 subscribers.
  • Write A Blog Post Three Times A Week (Mon, Wed & Fri) - blogging regularly will really get you thinking about your subject and enable you to talk about your music. It will increase the size, quality and visibility of your website and therefore make linking easier - share.

Day 2

  • Find a couple of struggling blogs that are enthusiastic and compatible with your band’s lifestyle and genre; join in and support their community - never practice the art of shameless self-promotion (it’s all about the community, not you).
  • Set up a small, hands-on and dedicated ‘Promotion Team’ (superfans only) that work both online and offline - a proactive and knowledgable ‘E/street’ team can really help to increase your fan base.
  • Team-up and collaborate with upto 5 local bands who have the same or a V.complementary genre - play gigs and promote each other online and offline.
  • Collaborate with a fashion house (a fashion company, a designer, a shop: selling off-the-peg, custom-made, haute couture clothing) - also include: a hairdresser (could be a salon), a make-up artist, a photographer, a fashion stylist (to help build & control your image. A good stylist will help with branding), a lifestyle magazine/website. Do-it-yourself, noobie bands who can’t attract the attention of professionals, are usually at an age where they can collaborate with students, assistants and the like. Also think about local charities, record shops, cafes, pubs, clubs, venues… Note: a hairdresser sees approximately 200 clients every 5 weeks, and she talks to each of them for about 45 minutes - “Something for the Weekend Mademoiselle?”
  • Check to make sure your superfans, friends and family have all joined you on your main social networking platforms. Then ask them to spread the word by/via: Updates, Bookmarks, Bulletins, Emails, Pings, Retweets, Tagging, Comments and Posts etc… regularly provide them with interesting information so they can talk about your band, lifestyle and genre with reckless abandon.
  • Announce your (updated) website by newsletter (MailChimp) about five times a year to your mailing list - give ‘em a treat at the same time.
  • (Legally) Hand out, post, pin up, stick and drop (accidentally!): flyers, stickers, business cards, button badges (include your band’s name, website address & free gift inf.) - in and around: schools, colleges, universities, record shops, fashion shops, cafes, pubs, clubs, venues, churches…

Every Week

  • Link with 10 other websites. For linking think networking and for networking think conversations. So that’s, get into deep and meaningful conversation with ten new people each week.
  • Write 10 sentences (no more than 140 characters each) about your lifestyle and genre (not your band) - be elegant. Share.
  • Participate in popular forums and blogs.
  • Keep track of your website’s statistics and social analytics.

GOOD LUCK

Helping Indie Bands With Website Promotion
Unsigned Band Promotion
UnsignedBandPromotion.com
Helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own.

June 2, 2011

A Conversation With Ross Barber Of ElectricKiWi

Filed under: website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 8:13 am

Ross Barber (ElectricKiWi) and I met through Twitter (@rossautomatica) - it feels to me like we’ve put our arms over each others shoulders and we’re weaving down the road together singing and having a laugh, but at the same time being serious about our journey and we’re each of us striving to reach to our destination - so there’s bound to be a little bit of jostling ;)

Ross Barber - ElectricKiWi

UBP: We opened our friendship by talking about flyer design, which I’m interested in because I promote the idea of bands using a Vertical Rectangle Banner Ad. (a reduced A6 flyer) - a good combination I feel! Ross, what are your thoughts on the different sizes of flyers, and how do you feel about turning them into website banners?

Ross Barber: Hey Ian, I think it’s a good idea to reduce physical flyers into an online format. As more and more people are discovering music online than ever before, online promotion cannot be ignored. I would say it does depend on the design of the poster/flyer as to how well it will transfer to a digital environment. As you mentioned in Band Flyers and Banners, it can be difficult to read when a poster has been re-sized for online use. It could be a good idea for designers to create a separate version once the background image has been re-sized. This would not take up a great deal of time and would maximise potential exposure for the band in question.

For use offline, I think varying sizes of posters and flyers are great, too - particularly if the designs are creative and can match the band’s style. For example, cutting posters into different shapes if the band’s name is associated with a particular shape or object. Different poster sizes work for different locations so it’s always a good idea to have at least 2 different sizes for the purpose of maximising the number of places you can advertise.

If the flyers can double up as both an offline and online method, then even better! I’ve always said that it is so important not to ignore either environment for promotion as each is extremely valuable and together they can be even stronger. They enhance each other massively when the strategy is right!

Terra Naomi Music

UBP: Thanks for the flyer, it’s an ideal working example. Yeah, I totally agree with you, promoting and marketing your genre, style, image, aura and brand simultaneously using both online and offline methods, can have an ultra-powerful effect.

Cost is always in the back of my mind, different sizes, full colour etc. cost money; one of the reasons I recommend bands should start with a simple A6 flyer, is so they can self-print four to a normal sized sheet of paper (A4) in monochrome and slice them accordingly; most bands don’t have much money - I’m aware there is also a professionalism issue here! Most venues use a local printer who may also do the designs, how do you feel you fit in with this, who are you targeting?

Ross Barber: Cost is always going to be an issue. I know that money is an issue, particularly if a band is dedicating a lot of their time to their music and don’t have another source of income. Even someone who does have a steady income may not have the extra funds available to spend on flyers. I do think that high-quality flyers which are relevant to the band’s style can make a big difference when it comes to promotion, so I would say that if they can afford to spend some money on a design which reflects their music, they definitely should - it could be very good value for money.

As for the venues who may have printers and designers in place - there is not going to be much we can do in this situation. The downside to this would be that often the designs may not represent the style of music as accurately as an in depth consultation with someone who designs specifically for musicians and bands would do. I’m not sure how you could combat the venues who will only allow flyers made by their chosen agency, though - that would be something I would look into when the situation arose.

UBP: Well from a band’s point of view, a venue who promotes their gigs is brilliant, a band can still, and should, produce their own flyers, it’s all part of branding.

Even though you’d never know it from my websites, I love art and have had a life full of art and fashion. What initially attracted me to your website was the Jackson Pollock-esque, James Brooks-ish, abstract expressionist header image. The ‘era’ of the 1950s to the 1970s (with a little 1930’s surrealist movement thrown in) is my main love and influence, what are your main influences and how do you reflect them in your artworks?

ElectricKiWi

Ross Barber: Bands should take advantage of any promotional services the venue can offer, absolutely, but I agree that they should have their own flyers made wherever possible.

As for my inspiration, it’s a difficult one to place. Unlike you, I’ve never really been that involved in art. It’s strange though because I love graphic design but don’t think I could cite any specific artists or eras that inspire me. I would say I am inspired mostly by artwork I see everyday - whether it is online or elsewhere. I do love abstract and experimental graphic design and have always liked combining elaborate abstract designs with grungy textures and patterns.

Music gives me a lot of ideas too - I often get images in my head when listening to music. Listening to instrumental bands like Explosions in the Sky or This Will Destroy You never fails to conjure up a few ideas! Sometimes they are vague such as a basic colour palette to start with and sometimes they are more complete visions. It varies so much! I always try to match the visuals with the audio so there is a level of consistency and branding to some extent so I try and listen to the artist’s music while working to keep the vision focused!

UBP: A while ago I was sitting and chatting to my wife, when the thought suddenly popped into my head ‘What colour is rock music?‘ and something odd happened, I could see the colours! I wondered how this would translate into branding as well as marketing and promotion. It does! Almost! Sort of! Wow!

Do you see/feel the differences between Marketing and Promotion? I ask this because of the way you present your website (BTW., that’s not a negative criticism). Also, one of my hobby-horses is ‘local band promotion’, how do you interact with your local bands in Glasgow?

rock

Ross Barber: Haha, I wouldn’t solely rely on the ideas that music creates, but I definitely think there are certain colours that are more appropriate for a style of music than others. It’s funny though, because music and art affect people in different ways - what one person "sees" music as could be something completely different from what another sees. This could be a fairly interesting topic to research!

I would say I have a pretty good understanding of marketing and promotion. Marketing has more to do with defining your target audience and presenting the product (in this case, the gig/website/album etc.) in a way that will appeal to the audience. Promotion is more about spreading the word and advertising in a sense. I offer an online marketing service, which is mostly about ensuring that a band’s website has copy which is going to be SEO friendly while also being engaging to their audience. I do provide online promotion services, marketing and promotion do go hand in hand. The services I offer are tailored individually as everyone has different needs.

I’ve only recently moved to Glasgow and am still getting to know how the music scene works here. It’s definitely different from the small town I moved here from! I do most of my interaction online at the moment and have made quite a few connections this way. Before starting ElectricKiWi, I had done quite a bit of writing for The List magazine and AbsolutePunk.net which introduced me to a lot of new bands and allowed me to connect on a slightly more professional level.

I’ve always embraced the internet as a networking tool. I started building websites and participating in online communities around 12 years ago. I think I maybe spent too much time online when I was younger and as a result find it far easier to make connections via the internet first, I would say in all honesty that I’m perhaps a little shy and reserved in social settings at first which is why I find it harder to introduce myself in an offline environment than online. Online I can showcase my abilities far easier than I could in a real-life setting, I guess!

UBP: Interesting name ElectricKiwi, where did that come from, do you have connections with New Zealand?

Yeah, small town band promotion is completely different from big city promo. Bands who come from London say, have a big advantage in terms of getting gigs and fans, over bands who come from the provinces - I was talking with a London based band who were trying to make it big on the internet, they’d ‘forgotten’ where they lived!

The most common question I get asked by bands is, "Can you help us get our name out there?" How would you respond to that?

Ross Barber: The ElectricKiWi name has been around for a long time. I originally purchased the domain about 8 years ago and it started off as a personal blog, then it evolved to include and showcase my own music. I decided a few months ago to relaunch it as a design and marketing service. As for the name itself, there is no real meaning behind it. When I decided to buy a domain, I wanted an unusual name and just tried pairing random words…ElectricKiWi was the result!

You’re absolutely right. Bands in larger cities have a greater chance of getting gigs but at the same time there is so much competition it can be harder in some cases to stand out.

When a band asks for help "getting their name out there", I think it’s important to know if they mean locally, nationally or internationally. I would offer some assistance or advice in on-site and off-site SEO to ensure their website ranks for the most appropriate and effective keywords, encourage them to network and communicate with their target audience and other bands/venues in their local area to start with. Without a big budget, it is usually going to be a slow process building up a large fanbase and becoming known either in their area or elsewhere. Of course it is possible but they have to be dedicated and be willing to stick it out for the long haul!

UBP: Put the elasticated stockings on, We’re Going Long Haul - that’s So True :)

Ross, I really like your individual and personal approach when engaging with bands, and I think that you have got it absolutly right when you talk about, encouraging bands to start off by networking and communicating with their target audience, other bands and venues in their local area. It’s always a joint effort between ‘us’ and the band :)

ElectricKiWi - I’m disappointed! I was expecting tales of travel into the mystical heartland of New Zealand, hey-ho, what’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet - actually I’m not so sure that’s true anymore after watching ‘Secrets of the Superbrands’ presented by Alex Riley last night!

END

Get in touch with Ross Barber for graphic design, web design and online marketing and promotion - he’d love to help you with your band’s next flyer campaign. Ross: ElectricKiWi, Twitter, Facebook.

In Conversation With The Music Industry,
Unsigned Band Promotion
UnsignedBandPromotion.com
Helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own.

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