Canadian Music Trade - October/ November 2017 - Page 62

BUSINESS MATTERS Creating Better Web Content BY MICHAEL RAINE he purpose of an MI store’s website is pretty straightforward, right? You give visitors the standard information – address, contact info, brands carried, new arrivals, lesson registration, etc. – and maybe spruce it up with some fun photos and a few drop- down menus to navigate the site and, voila! Job done. Not quite, says Will Mason, owner of the four Mason Music locations in Alabama, who, along with his colleague Nicole Patton, presented the “Practical Tips for Better Website Content” Idea Center session at this year’s Summer NAMM. “I think one of the big [misconceptions] is that the purpose of the website is to only inform the visitor – like give the information – and they’re missing the opportunity to actually create some sort of meaningful connection,” says Mason. “It sounds touchy feely, but relationship and emotion play a big role in creating customers who don’t just shop for the lowest price, but who are looking for a brand that they can trust and a company that they might want to do business with again in the future versus just looking for, ‘What’s the bottom dollar place for me to get this?’” Compared to in-person encounters, it’s difficult to foster meaningful connections with customers through a website, Mason concedes, but it can be done if you have the right content and execution. What is needed is content people want more of, that will have them coming back looking for more and not just visiting the site to find out what time the store opens on Sundays. Of course, the website must work in conjunction with social media, where the former is the “hub,” as Mason puts it, which hosts the content, and social media is the distributer of that content. “We’re trying to guide people to that website,” Mason says, 62 CANADIAN MUSIC TRADE before referencing social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. “The idea is just that, especially with social media, you’re not always selling. You’re giving content and creating value for your visitors and then when you do come across with that right hook – when you are selling something – they’re already engaged with your content and they’re already interested in what you’re doing and they like you and they’re more likely to want to buy whatever it is.” The way this works with regards to website content is that the blog, for instance, is a resource of practical and useful content that you give to visitors. It provides content on a regular basis that is informative, entertaining, and/or useful. Importantly, this content does not serve as a direct sales pitch; it is there to be helpful and foster a sense of community. “For us, the jabs are showing stories of our students who are learning how to play instruments, or maybe giving away content on a blog post like, ‘Six Tips for Beginner Guitar Players’ or ‘How to Tune Your Guitar,’” says Mason. “So those are jabs that we can put out on social media and, again, they’re bringing people and they’re driving traffic to the website where then the website is designed to get people to engage with as much content as possible so that if they come across a blog post like that, then I know for a fact we’re having a songwriting clinic in December that is a product that somebody can buy. So there will be links to register for that class on that blog post. You’re giving something for free. You’re not requiring any sort of payment or email address or anything like that, and the people who really appreciate the value of that content are going to be more likely to say, ‘Hey, I want more and I realize the value of what they’re giving so I’ll gladly pay a couple hundred bucks to go