Having fans visit your website is great, but let’s be honest…. there’s nothing like getting an email that says “You’ve made a sale!” Having someone buy from your website is no accident and it takes a bit of skill to not only get them to your website, but to encourage the sale. The number one rule of sales is to make it easy to buy from you. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help.
1) Don’t clutter your store page
This can be easy to do when you have many CD’s and merch to present. Always assume your visitor has only a few minutes to browse your site. If you put too many pictures, words, and options on your store page they may get overwhelmed and decide to come back later when they have time. If they leave without buying, the chances of them coming back are slim. Make your Store page organized and inviting. Provide a short description of the item, an image, and the price. Then all that’s left for them to do is click ‘buy now.’
2) Don’t add a lot of widgets to your page
Widgets look nice but there are two major downfalls to adding store widgets to your website. The first is that most are flash based and won’t show up on iPad’s/iPhone’s. When a visitor views your store page from any of those devices it will just be blank. Second, widgets can take quite awhile to load which can be irritating to a visitor who is ready to view and buy your items right away.
3) Don’t make your visitor leave your site
Imagine walking into a store and the salesperson telling you, “Yes we sell that here, but a more popular ‘brand name’ store sells it also. We want you to know we are so cool that our items are there too, so you can go there to buy your item if you want.” That would be ridiculous right? That is the same thing that happens when you have your fans go to iTunes or other ‘popular’ music sites to purchase your music when it is easily available from your website. Now there is nothing wrong with linking to any other store sites, but once a fan makes it to your Store page encourage them to buy right from that page. The best part is that the Bandzoogle store doesn’t take a cut of any of your sales, so that’s a bonus as well.
4) Don’t make a visitor log-in to buy
Of all the other don’ts on this list, this one is by far the most important in my opinion. When you are an indie artist you work so hard to get people to even view your website, so when they get there don’t make them jump through hoops to buy something. Many people are leery of ‘registering’ for a website they are not familiar with so I don’t recommend making your Store page ‘members only’. Once you have a solid fan list you can setup a ‘members only’ page and add freebies and contests for your most loyal fans.
5) Don’t inundate your fans
This tip isn’t really about your store page, but the methods you use to get them there. This topic deserves a blog post all its own, but for now just remember that screaming ‘BUY MY MUSIC!!!’ every hour all over the internet is not going to get fans to buy from you. In fact it will most likely result in those fans un-friend’ing you.
1) Do ask!
The most important ‘DO’ is to ask for the sale! If you don’t ask the answer is always no. This goes for online sales, as well as sales at gigs and events. Don’t be afraid to put a call-to-action right on your home page directing people to your Store page. This lets fans know you have a current album that they should get, now! At gigs, don’t just end your final set with a “thank you and good night.” Let your fans know what you have to sell and where they can buy it.
2) Do promote creatively
Remember that music is everywhere and many artists are giving it away for free. To make sales you have to create the perception of value for your items. Think outside of the normal ‘CD’s and Downloads box’ by offering other goods and services as well. Many artists have made good money by offering things like autographed items, personalized songs, backstage passes, and phone calls.
3) Do continually add new products
Being a professional musician means going to work every day to create something new for your fans. To keep your fans interested, add new products and content often. When you add new blog posts, images, videos, and events, it brings visitors back to your website to check it out. When they get to your site, try to have something new for them to download or buy. You don’t have to offer a new 10-song CD, as new individual songs and EP’s are just as popular with fans. Even before your CD is ready you can offer it as a pre-sale item. Offer a short description and then add at least one track to the page to give them a little taste. Then blog about the progress to keep people in anticipation of the new release.
4) Do give some freebies
Consider giving away one free track in exchange for the fan’s email address. If they like your music, they will most likely purchase other tracks or the full album. You can also do this with referrals, which are another great way to increase your fan base. When someone refers friends you should reward them with something free like another free track, or free admission to your next gig. Running a contest on your Store page each month is another way to use freebies to encourage fans to re-visit your site often, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. People love gift cards, free music, free gig admission, or even a video chat with you, their favorite band or artist!
5) Do thank your fans
When your fans purchase a download they will receive an email with the thank you message you set in the Mailing list tab (member options tab). In that thank you message you may want to consider using the “freebie” idea and adding a link to a free ‘hidden’ track. You can go one step further and set up a group in your mailing list for those who have purchased anything from you. Then every few months send them a thank you for being a loyal fan and give something away to them for free. And whenever you send physical merch, include a little something extra like stickers or guitar picks. This will make them feel special and will want to buy again for the perks. Just remember that fans have many options to buy new music so when they buy from you, let them know you appreciate it.
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