Here's a quick question for you:
If you had to choose one of the following and you had only three seconds to think about it, which would you take?
- More money
- A bigger audience?
If you're anything like the musicians I've spoken to, they'd choose a bigger audience.
There are many musicians who either already make music full time or have nice paying jobs on the side in IT or real estate to 'pay the bills' so they're not concerned about earning money as much.
Plus if you build the right audience, they can help fund your career ambitions by purchasing your music, merchandise and coming out to your shows; generating money for you.
So if we're going to focus on growing our audience, we need to give them what they want. We also need to communicate to them directly using their lingo and guide them on the next step to take towards their goal.
Three Audience Member Types
I did an exercise like this for a musician by the name of Jason Raso. Jason is a talented bass guitar soloist and composer who creates, publishes and performs his own music as well as teaches guitar and bass lessons.
I came up with three core audience types for Jason to reach out to with his website:
- People who want to purchase his music
- People who want to hire him to play their venue
- Students who are looking for bass/guitar lessons
Each of these website visitors has a different agenda, and we want specific things from them as well.
- We want those who love his music to sign onto the email list so that they can become subscribers. They can also potentially buy his digital or physical music and merchandise.
- We want the bar owners, festival and small venue promoters to hire Jason for a show.
- We want the students of bass or guitar to find Jason locally and sign up to get weekly lessons on a mutually convenient timetable.
In order to get the results we have to design a website that makes it easy for those visitors to find what they're looking for and that speaks to them in a language that they can easily understand.
Keeping It Simple
For Jason, there are three different audience types that are coming to his website and since it is said that,
"...the man who chases two rabbits catches none"
it's best to focus on a single audience type and create the messaging and steps you want them to take on the website first.
You could design your website with a simple navigation at the top that handles the main interest of the three target audience types.
For example, adding a link called "Listen" for people to preview music and buy, adding a link called "Book A Gig" or "Hire Jason" that would walk a promoter or venue owner through the process as well as a "Lessons" link for potential students.
Each one of these links would send the visitor to a dedicated landing page that gives them what they're looking for.
It wouldn't take long for anyone with Google Analytics installed on their website to see which of those three links is the most popular.
In Jason's case, let's say:
- a single CD/MP3 album download might cost $10
- a single bass lesson might cost $30/hour
- a single live performance might be worth $500
If Jason's goal was to perform more and earn as much as possible along the way, then focusing his attention on local club promoters would be a great place to start.
Getting more gigs would allow him to earn more and perform more at the same time.
The Audience's Journey
For Jason to get to the desired result (a booked gig), our promoter/venue owner audience member needs to go through a certain number of steps before they reach that end goal of booking a gig.
- They must know that Jason Raso's band exists
- They must visit the website and/or listen to music
- They must decide they want to hire him
- They must contact Jason with their interest
- Jason must confirm availability, payment & show details with the promoter/owner.
So what is the first step that we need the promote to take, once they've arrived on the website to get them closer to Jason's goal of getting booked for a gig?
We can presume that the first step of the promoter/owner being aware of Jason's existence is already handled since they're already on Jason's website.
But we can't assume this person is patient or exceedingly determined to find the information they're looking for - so we need to clearly identify the steps required to hire Jason from every single page of the website.
This is easily done by added a clearly labelled link to the main navigation on the website.
This could be a "Hire Jason" or "Book A Show" link. It could even be a banner that sits in the sidebar that reads, "Want To Hire Jason? > Start Here".
The promoter would then be 'funneled' through a series of steps that would provide them with all the details they need to make it easy to decide to hire Jason for a gig.
This would conclude with a contact form or email capture to book a date and confirm the cost to hire the band.
Jason would then be able to see how many people click on this page, how many read through it (how much time they spend on the page) and lastly, how many request to book a show with him at the end.
I'd recommend collecting an email address at this point and follow up with an automated email.
The email response message would thank the person for the show inquiry and indicate when the band will be in touch regarding their availability and prices.
For the truly tech-savvy musicians, they could use scheduling software to book a gig and serve up a button to their shopping cart to receive a retainer payment auto-magically.
So now you not only can see how many people are visiting your "Hire Jason" page (via web analytics), you can also see how long the stay on the page and what percentage get to the bottom and submit an email for availability and pricing details.
If you put the scheduling and pricing details behind an email request, you've now collected an email address.
Now you're building a list of promoters that you can follow up with and re-engage for more shows in the future - pretty smart!
Most musicians want to grow their audience, but aren't identifying the different types like promoters, students, listeners and buyers that are already visiting their site.
Since they haven't identified these visitor types, they're not communicating with them effectively and guiding them by creating very obvious ways (i.e. "hire Jason") for the visitors to find what they want.
With a little bit of planning, musicians can make their site easier for each audience type to find the content that matters most to them.
This also helps the musician get more of what they want; which in Jason's case would be more students, more music sales and more shows booked.
Congratulations for reading this far, now make it worthwhile by taking the following action steps:
- Brainstorm the different audience types who already visit (or who you'd like to have visit) your website right now; come up with at least three.
- Which of these audience types is most important to you right now?
- Brainstorm how you can make your site easier to navigate for this audience type and give them more of what they want, so that you also get more sales, gigs or new students to teach.
Got a question or a comment on how to make this work for your band? Leave a note for me in the comments and I'd be happy to include my response.