This section will provide a high-level overview of how to distribute your offers to the web and capture demand for your products.
You will learn how to:
- Properly place your offers on your own website
- Properly place your offers on the social web
- How to drive demand for your offers
Distribution Ground Zero: Your Landing Page
After investing in your marketing campaigns and product combinations, you will need a
landing page that actually converts. You must follow best practices in SEO, offer placement, design, and technology choices in order to succeed with your landing page.
Splash pages are highly effective at focusing your audience on your offer.
Many artists choose to use splash pages during peak marketing campaigns to optimize conversion of web traffic. Keeping offers and messaging simple is extremely important.
Make use of streaming players and giveaways on these pages too.
Above: This splash page by Mates of State introduces website visitors to the product offerings without any additional clicks.
COMPLEX WEBSITE HOMEPAGE
For some bands, it's appropriate to have a homepage that presents all kinds of content— current offers, blog posts, Twitter updates, Facebook updates, and news about live appearances. It's sort of like a one-pager for the band, a MySpace page on steroids.
Above: This site is for the Get Busy Committee. Keep in mind that many of your website visitors will not venture past your homepage. This site takes a kitchen-sink approach to content. Note the prominent streaming player, strong calls to action, and integration with Facebook and Twitter.
SIMPLE WEBSITE HOMEPAGE
Another simple alternative to the splash page is the bare-bones simple website homepage. For many artists, this approach works best. It requires little upkeep or editorial involvement. It makes it easy for visitors to stream, sample, and join your email list. Navigation and buttons should be as self-explanatory as possible. Creating multiple entry points to your store is actually OK— repetition of those calls to action can drive click throughs to your offers.
Above: The website for the David Byrne/Brian Eno project 'Everything That Happens...' Note that this website is entirely static HTML-- no blog, no database. The widgets stream dynamic content, but the wrapper of the site is static.
ASSESSING YOUR LANDING PAGE
If you have a current website, or if you have plans for your website, take a moment to assess your landing page. This is the first page visitors will see. Have you designed for conversion, for optimal user experience, and for search engine optimization (SEO)?
Design for Conversion
✓ Your offer page (page with your products) is never more than one click away.
- Why: only 15-30% of visitors will follow the link to the offer page. Compare:
- Offer page is one click away: 30% click and 10% buy = 3% total conversion
- Offer page is two clicks away: 30% click once, 30% click again, 10% buy = 0.9%
- Assume 10,000 visitors and $20 avg sale: this is $6,000 vs. $1,800
If your current offer is simple (e.g., only one product or a free media download), your landing page can be your offer page too.
✓ The landing page is simple (focused funneling conversion)
- It features a strong call-to-action (CTA) to lead to the offer page
- This is not just a “store” link. If your CTA is just another link on the page, the 15-30% of visitors that follow a link will be split between all your links.
✓ Plays lead to purchases - let visitors stream your media
Design for Optimal User Experience
✓ Avoid the late-Nineties Flash experience like the plague
- No preloaders
- No “intro movies”
- If your designer wants to build the whole site in Flash, ﬁre him/her immediately
✓ Use logical navigation to guide the user through content
- Make it easy to ﬁnd your songs, videos, images, and things fans actually care about
- Consider sidelining the blog unless your singer is a fascinating writer
- Don’t showcase stale content
✓ Put as much streaming content up as possible ... but make it easy to use
✓ Speak to your fans in an authentic and personable voice
- When was the last time you really enjoyed reading a press release? If your publicist wrote it, consider leaving it off the website...or bury it in the press section
Design for Search Engine Optimization
See the dedicated article,
Search Engine Optimization, for details about this step.
Distributing Your Offers
Are you maximizing your efforts at each level of this funnel?
Many of these channels are free. Make sure that you are investing heavily at the top of the funnel in order to get results further down. Place streaming players where fans can discover music, and let them share it. Give away content in exchange for emails. Connect meaningfully with fans and treat their email addresses with care!
The Most Valuable Channel: Email
Email is typically the strongest converting channel. When building a fresh leading up to a release event, click through rates range from 20-50%, and of those visitors, conversion ranges from 5-20%. This is a highly efficient channel, but it may not necessary be your highest volume channel. This is why a strong email list goes hand-in-hand with high site traffic and a high-performing landing page.
Take a look at this email:
Social Networks: Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter
Your results with Myspace will depend upon how much you've already invested in building a loyal audience on that channel. For artists like Metric, customizing their MySpace page and embedding Topspin E4M widgets has paid off handsomely. Other artists may see a modest lift in emails and site visits from MySpace links.
As of late 2010, Facebook still accounts for low to mid single digit percentages of revenue for a dedicated permission marketing campaign. By embedding Topspin widgets on your fan page, taking advantage of the API store features, and targeting FB fans for specific campaigns, you can get fans engaged without leaving their FB session. The single highest converting FB mechanism is the "send update" feature, which allows you to put a message on your fans' homepages— pretty close to an inbox experience.
Twitter can be a versatile marketing tool. By taking advantage of tools like Hootsuite, you can program updates on the calendar and keep tabs on your various accounts at a glance. Don't just use Twitter to pimp your content with marketing links. Engage your fans with interesting content and personality. The most successful Twitter accounts blend content and links.