Why popular bands get massive traffic and sales on their website and you don’t ?

Recently, I realised that many emerging artists when they  think about a band website, they don't always measure the crucial role it can have in their marketing strategy. Instead some of them just consider it as just another business card. The mindset is: you need one but it’s not always essential.

To add more, in certain region of the world (for instance Asia), many artists or bands don’t even have one, they focus all their presence on social media only.

Talking about Asia, I spotted an artist who can fill arenas in Thailand and she has no website, just a strong presence on Facebook/Instagram and a big label (Grammy) behind her to provide necessary support. Is she an exception in Thailand, not at all! I saw many other similar cases in that specific region.

Let's be clear, for many of artists or bands, having a website can be synonym of a burden. How many websites without updates over a year I have seen, those are legion !

Yes I agree it’s time consuming (if we add the time spent on social network as well for the promotion of your material, there is not much time left for working on your next track).  Yes it requires regular maintenance. Yes you need to update it on regular basis, it can be costly.

Or for some other artists, building a website may seem as a daunting task as it requires many steps such as:

  • Domain registration
  • Subscribe to a web host
  • Design the architecture of your website (number of pages, type of contents, colours …)
  • Provide regular technical updates (plugins for instance)
  • Repair broken links

If you recognise yourself in the above, let me try to convince you that you should really consider having one !

Note just before to go further: I will not write about the technical on how to build a website (there are tons of info on Internet), it’s not the goal of this post. I will instead focus on showing you that your website can be a real magnet to grow your audience. But I can already recommend you a great combo of solutions (I have been using for years) that could facilitate the building of your band website:

WordPress: they are the leader on the market, open source solution which allow you to be under control of all your data.

Thrive Builder: great solution to build your pages just by dragging elements. 

YOAST: perfect solution to optimise your pages from a SEO standpoint.

A website is part of a band/artist ecosystem which plays a central role (as described below)

Website Mindmap - Band Website Post

For any artists, there are 3 places where they can growth real fans and potential buyers:

  • Their website - Sale page/Subscribing section located throughout their website under various forms (pop-up, opt-in..)
  • On tour (I recently wrote a post about it, you can find it here)
  • Private communities 

 You don’t sell on social media instead you build a community and retarget that community to your website or specific landing page where you will provide a clear offer with a proper call to action (CTA) such as:

  • Join an exclusive content/special program through subscription (Join Us, Subscribe..)
  • Inviting them to check your new merchandise page
  • Check your tour schedule or your latest tracks to listen

As a reminder, you don’t own any data on any social network. You may have a community of 10.000 followers on Facebook or Instagram, you can lose them at any time if your account get banned for what ever reason.

While on your website, any person subscribing to your private community/newsletter, you have a better control and  own the data, also you can reach all yours subscribers directly at any time. You can also capture anyone who come and check your website as long you activated a certain number of tracking tools (the action of tagging a person who visit your website and be able to retarget that audience..) such as Google Tag Manager or Facebook Pixel.

To complement the above, in one of my previous blog post, I discussed the importance of having an email list, I encourage you to have a look. I strongly believe that having an email list is key in your strategy to grow your audience and increase your sales.



Why it’s important to have a website as a band:

Your band website illustrate who you are as an artist, this is your business card, it represents your past and current portfolio including also your future touring activities.

Your band website is most probably the number one search for any one interested about your music.

It’s indexed on Google but also other search engine (Bing..) which means you can be on the first page of google for different terms (keywords) and backlinks if done well.

Your website is your first entry point to sell merchandise.

Your band website is your starting point to invite your audience to subscribe to a newsletter or be part of a selective VIP fan club.

Last but not the least, having a website means you owned the data and can measure them effectively (Track your visitors and measure conversions)


When building your band website, you need to keep in mind that each pages of your website need to have a specific purpose. 

In other words, you have to ask yourself: what do I want to achieve with the Listen page or the Front page for instance. Where do I want to bring the visitors, what actions do I want them to perform.

You want your band to be found. Having a website can help you to get reference on first page (this topic will be described below..).

Goals of a website

Track & Convert

The implementation of Tracking tools (Google Tag Manager or Facebook Pixel) will help you in your re-marketing activities. Google Analytics - discover where your audience is located, which pages they checked, how long they stay…Check the number of conversion to sales where done, or conversion to register to newsletter….

Centralise your profile data

Your website target two types of audience: Your "potential" fans (B2C) but also professional from the music market (promoter/pr agency/labels/DSP and other B2B parties). 


It's very important to get all the relevant information available for both audiences.

Provide unique content and raise awareness

By capturing the attention of your visitors and push that person to perform a specific action such as:

  • Listen a track
  • Buy a ticket for your next show
  • Buy your new merch or even a NFT
  • Subscribe to join a private community and get access to some specific and unique contents and get discounts on some merch before anyone else
  • Embark them to a user friendly customer journey. 
  • Your content (relatively static) must act as a support and complement to what you post daily on social media.


Three use cases

Let’s review 3 websites from established artists who have a good traffic already.

By doing this exercise, I am interested to see:

  • How heavy is their traffic per month (I used Semrush to extract the data)
  • Their rank of authority & Number of Backlinks (data extracted from Semrush)
  • How user friendly are their websites (and believe me, I had some surprises ..).
Alan Walker:

https://alanwalker.com/ 

At first, let's look at the analytics, all those data were found on Semrush

You can noticed, by looking at the page that all his releases are connected to Streaming platforms

https://alanwalker.lnk.to/WorldOfWalkerAlbum

It’s crucial once you get visitors on your website to embark them to a user friendly customer journey. 

AW Analytics - Band Website post

In terms of traffic (organic), Alan Walker has around 40.8k traffic per month (it's a very good amount).

I noticed the authority score is average and number of backlinks relatively low for a website with such traffic. 

A large chunk of traffic comes from India, I suspect the main reason being the Alan Walker was about to play in India around that time and secondly he has a very good fanbase over-there.

The Website Front-Page
AW - Front Page - section 1 - Band Website post
AW - Linkfire - Band website post

I divided his front page in 3 sections. Each sections has specific goals.

Section 1: By looking at the first section, you have no doubt that Alan Walker just released some new material. You have one call to action "LISTEN HERE"

 By clicking on it, you are sent to a squeeze page or in between page from Linkfire. As you can see in the second pic. If ever you click on the RELEASE Tab in the menu bar, you will reach a page with all the discography of Alan Walker linked to Linkfire.


AW FP - section 2 -band website

Section 2: For this section, Alan Walker is inviting you to join a contest. Again, one clear Call To Action. By clicking on it, you will land to a side website of Alan Walker dedicated in the gaming. Great way to collect email addresses !

Section 3: the bottom of the front page, a shop section was added. 3 items proposed, 1 expensive and the other two for just a few USD. 

By clicking on one of the button BUY, you will be sent to the shop page where you can confirm the quantity and proceed further to check out.

By checking out, you get a pop window offering extra merchandise items. This technique is very effective and powerful as it helps to increase your revenue without much effort.

AW - Shop - Section 3 - FP - Band Website
AW - Bundle offer - Band Website post
AW - Tour Page - Band Website Post

A quick word about the TOUR Page. You have of course the list of gigs around the globe linked to the platform where you can purchase your ticket, but what I found the most interesting is the choice of the video. The video show a huge crowd waving at the artist and having the time of their life, here also very effective in the decision to purchase a ticket.

IDLES

What I really like with IDLES is the fact they integrate the usage of POP UP. It's a very powerful features and not enough used in my opinion within artists and bands website.

In this popup (appearing only few sec you reach their website), we can notice 3 things:

  • IDLES is on tour (you can list the gigs)
  • They clearly differentiate themselves with their newsletter "Emails Sucks, Ours Don't. Subscribe.
  • Second Invitation to subscribe with a list of advantages with a clear RED button.
Idles - Popup - Band Website

HURTS
HURTS - Analytics - Band Website Post

Let's have a look at the analytics for a second. You can notice it's relatively well balance. Around 15k visit per month. An average authority score (ideal will be between 50 to 60) and 20.8K backlinks (this is good). Interesting enough, US is their main market followed by UK.

Hurts Merch Page - Band Website Post

I took also a snapshot from their shop which is handled by a third party provider and based on those number, their shop get a massive amount of organic traffic (65k/ month). Keep in mind that this page is linked on their website but most probably part of marketing campaign across social media and via their community which could explain this high number. I will be extremely interested to know the conversion rate of that page.

I divided their front page in 3 sections. Each sections has specific goals.

Section 1:  there are 3 elements that got my attention. 

  • Their new album is available
  • Available to listen by clicking on LISTEN NOW (once you click on the link, you are sent to a multi DSP platforms (Featured FM) and you click on your preferred platform.
  • JOIN US : by clicking on it, you will join their Telegram Channel/Group. Right now they have 8k Users and the fact the band is very active and engaged in the community helps a lot. But the most interesting part is: they are using Genius Link to track anyone (by adding a pixel) clicking on JOIN US.  So to be clear: once you click on JOIN US, you will be route to https://radi.al/JoinHurts for just a sec (this is where you get pixelled) and then send to your final destination: https://t.me/InformationHurts (Telegram)
HURTS - Bands Website - FP - 1
HURTS - DSP - Band Website Post

Note: if you scroll down a bit more you will see another section of their past album : Somebody which is available for listening (also through Featured FM).

HURTS Fan - Band Website post

Section 2: This probably my favourite section as it's dedicated to their fanbase. Basically they run a contest where their fans need to take a picture/selfie with the new album Faith and post it on social media using correct hashtags. Once done, the band will select several of them to be featured on the band website.

Section 3: displayed their last video. The focus is still the promotion of their official video " All I Have to Give" which is part of their latest album FAITH.

HURTS - FP - YT Embedded - band Website
Follow US - Hurts - Band Webpage post

Section 4: The bottom section of this front page is another CALL TO ACTION. It invites anyone to follow the band and be informed next time they are touring. For this CTA, they used the third party company Seated to collect the info.

I noticed as well, they are using Google Tag Manager and Facebook Pixel, which means they are collecting datas based on habits of their visitors, where they are from, etc, and based on the data collected they will be able to re-market past visitors. Those data are extremely important when building new release/fan growth/tour strategy.

A final aspect that I really love is the survey they send to their fan in order to have a better understanding who they are, what are their preferred way to listen Hurts music, where are they located…A lot of useful answers that will help the band management to tune their marketing/sales strategy.

Overall, they did a very good job in terms of :

  • Website organisation (ONE SECTION = ONE GOAL), 
  • Constant engagement and 2 ways communication with their fans,
  • A great understanding of who are their fans (location, music consumption, habits, age..),
  • Interesting re-marketing and tracking opportunities here through their Telegram community, their regular social media FB/IG),  their surveys, touring, but also through FB pixel, Google tags in place and Genius Link.

One final note: and it's more an open question (I hope to get the answer one of these days), the 2 websites analysed (Alan Walker and Hurts) are from an artist and a band who belong to major labels and I was wondering who was owning the data (the label or the artists or both). I saw many websites from artists signed on Warner/Universal/Sony where even the sign up section (for the newsletter) is handled by those big labels. 

Hurts - Linkfire - Band Website Post
Alan Walker - Linkfire - Band Website


How to measure the results of your band website with Google Analytics

Let's say, you want to know how many people subscribe to your mailing list and also where on your website but also outside of your website they sign up:

You will use Google Analytics. In GA, there are tons of analytics available but I would advise you at first to limit yourself to 2 measures:

  • Traffic - how many people came to your page
  • Conversion - how many people opt-in to your mailing list

Below you will find an illustrated example, where for a dedicated page of my site, I can see where the traffic come from (source/medium) and how many people view my page and finally I can measure the conversion rate of people who sign up for my newsletter.

Note: if you want more information about how to set up goals in Google Analytics, you can go to this link.

Measure Results on GA - BAnd website


Conclusion

You reached the end of this post. As you noticed, having a website is definitely not an easy project to build, maintain and optimised. It requires constant effort however a website stays an important key part in a band ecosystem. It plays a major role in the growth of their audience, and the development of their business which could potentially lead a band or an artist to a certain economic freedom (if done properly).

Finally, I want to conclude that I just uncovered the tip of the iceberg and you need to do your own due diligence when it comes to additional researches. There are so much more to cover.

What about you, any good or bad experiences with running a band website you want to share? 

About the author 

John W.

17 years experience in the Music Industry, I worked as a promoter in Bangkok for 8 years where I set up shows for Backstreet Boys, Death Cab For Cutie, Mogwai, Diana Krall, Herbie Hancock.. In 2016, I created my own artist management agency which focus on the development of emerging artists

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