5 Things Every Music Store Needs on Its Website
Your website is more than a parking spot for information. At Mason Music, we have invested a lot of time, energy and money into our website, and it has been worth every penny. In many ways, our website is the centerpiece of our marketing strategy. Every marketing piece we print, post on social media, put into a radio ad, banner, yard sign—you name it—everything points new leads to our website. You only get one chance at a first impression, so make sure it’s good. You have a vision for who you are and how you are going to create value for your customers and your employees. Make sure your website communicates that.
Here are five things that I believe every music store needs on its website to strengthen the brand and drive sales.
1. Your story.
People want to know why you do what you do. It’s not enough to just explain and inform—you need to share your vision. Tell us why you started teaching music lessons, how you got interested in music in the first place, who your inspiration was and why you’re a musician, not a dentist. This is a great chance to differentiate yourself from competitors. What makes you unique? What is your story?
2. E-newsletter opt-in.
Newsletters are still one of the most powerful marketing pieces for a music retail business, and they’re certainly among the least expensive. We use MailChimp for ours, and even with thousands of subscribers, it’s very affordable. Talk with your Web developer about adding an opt-in box somewhere on your home page, and be sure to get all of your customers’ email addresses at the point of sale. Use your newsletter to share original and useful content, sales, coupons, event information, registration promotions and so on. A well-crafted newsletter can have a great impact and keep your customers coming back to your site and to your business.
3. Free (useful) content.
We recently launched a blog on our website and have asked our teachers and staff to contribute articles to the blog. It has been a great way to include more people in the creative process. It requires a good bit of time and effort (thank goodness our marketing director is such a great editor and planner), but it has already given us an influx of new visitors to our website. Over the past 30 days, nearly 10 percent of our incoming traffic is coming through our blog posts, which we also push out to social media. Think about album reviews, how-to videos, interviews with local artists—anything that’s useful and shareable. If people share your posts, that’s more traffic to your site and more people becoming familiar with you and your brand. And if you have a great website, that should mean more paying customers.
4. SEO keywords to attract more organic search traffic.
I’m no SEO expert, and I’m convinced that anyone who claims to have it all figured out is either lying or sadly mistaken (unless they work for Google). That said, I have picked up a few tips from various articles and seminars. At its most basic level, search engine optimization is the practice of helping the right people find your site. When search engine bots crawl around the Web aggregating data from vast numbers of websites, the bots are trying to help people searching to find relevant content, so they have a satisfying result show up when they click enter. For you and your Web developer, this can be a complex task. There are multiple articles online that get into technical details, but many of us don’t have the time to go through them. For the novice who’s looking to make a difference, use these simple rules of thumb when building a website or updating an existing one:
• If you were a customer searching Google for the products and services that your business offers, what words and phrases would you search for? Make a list. (For example: guitar lessons, guitar lessons in birmingham, music lessons, teach me guitar, guitar teacher birmingham—you get the point.)
• Are these words and phrases anywhere on your website’s home page? If not, add them. Be sure you incorporate these words into copy that’s informative and conveys your brand identity and leads people into your buyer’s journey or marketing funnel.
• Think like a robot but also like a human. What?! Search engines have algorithms that help determine how to rank a page based on data and user interaction. So you need to have the data for the engines to search, but you also need to include it in such a way that real human beings will be glad they found your site when they searched for “guitar lessons.” For example, don’t just put the phrase “guitar lessons” 100 times at the bottom of your page. Users will think your site is spammy, they won’t stay on it long, and you won’t get linked to from other sites—all of which hurt your ranking.
If you use WordPress to host your site, I highly recommend downloading the Yoast SEO plug-in. It does a lot of the heavy lifting for you and even analyzes your pages and gives you a ranking based on what it knows about search engines and their algorithms. It’s been very helpful for us.
5. The obvious (but you’d better have them).
Here’s a list:
• Your business name.
• Your logo.
• A contact us page with address, phone number, social media links and email address.
• A call to action. You’ve done all this work. You’ve told your potential customers all about your business and why you exist, and they are interested. Don’t let them go away without doing something. What’s the next step you want them to take? Do they need to fill out a form to submit an inquiry about lessons? Do you want them to sign up for a class? Whatever it is, make sure it’s very clear and leads them toward a sale. If you get this right, you can turn your website into a sales-generating machine!
Will Mason is the CEO and owner of Mason Music, a music lessons and retail operation based in Birmingham, Ala. Check out his company’s website at masonmusicstudios.com.