music business

The Importance of Having a Website

A website is basically a 24/7 advertising tool to an innumerable audience.  It can be viewed across the world at any hour of the day or night and serves as an online billboard for your business.  Anytime a student asks me, “what do you need to do to start getting gigs?”  I always answer: “you need a website.”  With millions of sites added daily and millions of people using the internet at any given second, it’s your best shot for being “found” and keeps contacts current on career updates.

 Get a Website

Before you expect students and concert presenters to fill your inbox with emails, you have a solid year to look forward to of little to no traffic on your website.  Your site will be the online version of a billboard hung above a seldom-travelled backwoods road; however, you have to start somewhere.  This is why I recommend every musician – even if all they have is a photo and an old mp3 – put something online as a placeholder.  You can always update the layout later, but you want people to have someplace to go should they look you up on Google. 

The Essentials

  • A Good photo with your instrument that lets viewers know what you’re about immediately
  • A brief Biography that highlights your accomplishments
  • Sound and video clips
  • Contact information 

There are a ton of free options such as WordPress, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn that can be up and running within 10 minutes – there is no excuse not to have some sort of online presence in this day and age.  In addition to the free options available, there are several companies that offer dirt cheap domain registration and hosting. 

Hosting Companies

My personal website is hosted by iPage.  It’s super simple to use and, for the most part, I’m happy with it.  With “Drag and Drop” builder, no knowledge of HTML coding is necessary,  and all you need are the text, photo, or sound files you want to upload from your computer.  Some reputable companies that offer simple hosting are:

 http://www.ipage.com/ipage/index.html

http://www.hostgator.com/

http://www.godaddy.com/

http://www.weebly.com/ 

I am not an affiliate of any of these companies.  I only offer these links as a route to finding different hosts.  As a musician – set yourself a goal and put up a website – even if its just a picture and brief bio – as soon as possible.  Later down the road you’ll thank yourself. 

 

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Protip: Anniversary Follow-up

Early on I used to compartmentalize performances and events into separate categories. They were divided by the companies that hired me for corporate events, small recitals, and couples who hired me for their wedding. I viewed myself as a guitarist who just so happens to play weddings, and thought of the different events as a separate life in comparison to my “serious” performances.

What I realized was that one great way to keep in contact with past clients and get them to come to your next concert is to follow up via email. I don’t recommend blindly adding everyone to your email list, as most of the time it will feel spammy and end up in the trash folder. However, always follow up immediately after a gig with a short “thank you” email.

For weddings you can take this one step further. I’ve found that the thoughtful gesture of emailing the bride/groom on their first anniversary to be a HUGE success. Simply wish them a happy first anniversary and remind them how much fun you had playing for their big day. Ask them what their plans are for the future and in a sentence or two, let them know about your upcoming CD or concert. This is a great way to stay in touch and I’m sure they’d love to hear you play again – after all, you did play for their Big Day!

This demonstrates professionalism, friendliness, and thoughtfulness all in one short email. I’ve even mailed a free CD to a bride’s mother completely out of the blue. The result was she mailed me a surprise bottle of wine and referred me to another couple who is getting married. In order to use this successfully, it will require you to be a bit more established and be at least a year into the game. It’s crucial to have this level of commitment because eventually, you will soon have just as many anniversary emails to send as you will for new bookings.

Hope this helps – how do you keep in touch with past clients?