Posted by David Dufresne
One easy thing you can do to improve your website is to focus your home page design on one main call-to-action. A call-to-action is designed to direct people's attention to something specific that you want them to do when they get to your website. This is the website equivalent of the over-friendly store clerk that welcomes you and says "hey there ! did you know we have a 2 for 1 sale on men's underwear" and then gently leads you towards the boxers display.
Take a few seconds and go to www.bandzoogle.com and look at our home page. What do you think our main call-to-action is ?
That's right... "Try It Free" (as in... "Dear Musician, please sign up for a Bandzoogle account now"). We have it big, and green, and we have that call-to-action 2 more times on the homepage above the fold (meaning you don't have to scroll down to see it), and one more time at the bottom, just to make sure no one missed it. Go to our Features Pages (www.bandzoogle.com/features) and you'll see it there too, in the details for each of our features... (And, hey, wow, we do have a lot of features, don't we ? Tell your friends !
What do you really want people to do while visiting your website?
That's your decision to make, and it depends what your goals are, right now. It could be to get folks to join your mailing list, buy your latest album, listen to your latest track, or donate to your fan-funding campaign. If you assume they'll spend exactly 30 seconds on your site, where do you want them to spend those precious seconds ?
In the early stages of acquiring fans, collecting email addresses to build up your mailing list would be a good goal to have. For a more established artist with a solid and loyal fan base, directing people to purchase music and merch through your online store might be the way to go. If you're raising money to fund your new album, you can direct people to your fan-funding campaign. If you're packing your bags for a big tour, you want to make sure visitors see your calendar.
Where should you put your call-to-action?
Your main call-to-action should be clearly visible on your website. The most important place to have it is right on your homepage, preferably towards the top of the page so that visitors to your site can see it right away without having to scroll down (remember the Bandzoogle.com example). You can also place your call-to-action on other important pages on your website like your Bio, Music, or Contact sections, or simply have it as a constant on all of your website pages. You should also keep that call-to-action in mind when updating your Twitter or Facebook accounts.
Bonus tip: Building your mailing list? Offer an incentive.
If you decide that your call-to-action will be to encourage visitors to sign-up to your mailing list, try to offer some kind of incentive. A free MP3, a free live EP, a "mixtape" download, exclusive content (videos, never released tracks, etc.). People's inboxes are already flooded with emails, it doesn't hurt to offer a little extra incentive to entice people to give you their email permission. After all, it's still the most effective marketing tool for musicians. So try to do whatever you can to sweeten the deal to get those email addresses.
Examples of Calls-to-Action
Here are a few good bandzooglin' examples of calls-to-action:
Laura Marie (email address for free exclusive music + chance for appreciation video):
5th Projekt (email address for free exclusive song):
Rob Lutes (new album now available):
Delaney Gibson (Pledge Music fan-funding campaign):
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