Question

Have you noticed any trends that would help in promoting our group's website? What are other people using to promote their site?

Answer

Trends that have been noticed are (1 feb 2012) (* our recommendations are noted in each section):

  • Website -- groups/associations
    • the vast majority of sites have a website, however, a small, but growing number of groups/associations are using Facebook as their only “web presence vehicle”. The vast amount of websites are mostly static (very few changes to the sites) other than updating of upcoming concert dates or their discography. Most will now have a button leading to secondary interactive vehicles such as Facebook, YouTube, MySpace etc.
    • * A website is highly recommended even if you have a Facebook account. Caveat: Facebook reaches 800 million users, HOWEVER, the vast majority of people are NOT on Facebook. Groups using Facebook as their main website will NOT reach those without a Facebook account. At the very least, groups/associations should have a website with corresponding domain name.

  • Domain Name
    • the vast majority of websites have a domain name corresponding to their own group/association name. For example: “EarlyMusicNew.org“ (our official name) is found by surfing by browsing to the “http://www.EarlyMusicNews.org” site; our parent company name is “parEntreprise” and may be found on the web at “http://www.parEntreprise.com”. However, a small segment of performance group have not as yet acquired a corresponding domain name, but these are in the minority.
    • * A corresponding domain name is highly recommended. It is also suggested that groups/organizations acquire the country code name instead of the .com/.org/.net unless you are anticipating bases in other countries. For example “NotaBeneBaroque”, based in Waterloo Ontario Canada, has acquired its corresponding Canadian country domain name and may be found at “http://www.NotaBeneBaroque.ca”. Using a corresponding country code domain name give the group additional branding and the general public will associate the site with the originating country base for the group. Should you wish to protect your group/association brand name, you may consider then acquiring the international .com/.net/org version of your domain name.
  • Website sound files
    • some websites make use of a music player offering excerpts of recorded music -- the music player offers visitors to “stop/pause/play the music. A growing segment is leaving full sound clips of complete movements. It seems the average number of sound files numbers around 5 clips, although, there seems to be growth in sites offering a larger variety of sound files making a visit to their site a better “auditory” experience. Some sites are offering website visitors mp3 sound clips without a player.
    • * Highly recommended especially for a group engaged in performance, the mp3 format is still the most preferred format, “vogg orbis” format is available to those who are worried about mp3 licensing issues.
  • Facebook site  (or alternatives to Facebook)
    • the vast majority of groups have a Facebook site. The groups make serious use of Facebook’s ease at “feeding” visitor’s attention/curiosity with updates. It seems that most groups/organizations will have specific individuals associated with the group/organization maintaining the sites on a regular weekly basis as well as monitoring the comments
    • *Highly recommended. Caveat: Facebook reaches 800 million users, HOWEVER, the vast majority of people are NOT on Facebook. Groups using Facebook as their main website will NOT reach those without a Facebook account.
  • Photo album site
    • the vast majority are posting photos on their site, a growing segment are using their Facebook sites as a photo repository, some are using photo upload sites for ease of use such a Google Picasa Web or FlickR etc.
    • * Highly recommended, especially if posted on a website. Visitors seem to appreciate photos greatly! Photos will also add face recognition to the group. Caveat: a Facebook album/photos reaches 800 million users, HOWEVER, the vast majority of people are NOT on Facebook. Groups using Facebook as their main photo repository will NOT reach those without a Facebook account.
  • YouTube site  (or alternatives to YouTube)
    • a fast growing segment of performance groups are using YouTube to promote their group by posting videos of some performances or  “pre-performance” events such as rehearsals or individual performances.
    • A very small segment are posting complete concerts on their site, however, this is highly unusual as such streams may ultimately slow the site down for other users or, may in fact use up the amount of allocated bandwidth to the site’s contracted download/upload agreement. In such cases, hosting services may close the site down temporarily until the site owner agrees to the purchase of further bandwidth.
    • * Recommended -- YouTube (or similar) account, especially if you are a performance group OR if you are not offering sound files on your website. NOT RECOMMENDED if the video is of poor quality as the visual message may affect the group negatively.
  • Electronic Newsletter (E-News)
    • larger groups are making effective use of their newsletter mailouts by targeting their ticket/audience user base. Unfortunately, the newsletter option is NOT used by the vast majority of performance groups. In order to use the newsletter option, a group must start collecting email addresses from audience members as well as advertise the newsletter on their website with an option of signing up to the newsletter is also necessary.
    • * Highly recommended for ALL groups. Targeted mailouts such as newsletters are very efficient marketing and promotion tools.
  • Twitter
    • some active groups are using Twitter, whereas the vast majority of sites are NOT making use of the“Twitter” option.  (* The Twitter option seems a little excessive for smaller groups where there is not enough interest from group members to “twitter” pertinent information to listeners)
    • * NOT RECOMMENDED unless groups are prepared to devote the time spent updating OFTEN.

  • Funding Strategies
    • most performance groups/associations are making use of some form of funding strategies. Most of these groups have a “Donate” button strategically placed on their websites.
    • * Highly recommended. Generally speaking, most of these groups have gained “non-profit” status, making use of tax exemption options.

  • Corporate Sponsoship
    • Most larger associations and some performance groups have garnered some form of corporate sponsorship to help with certain projects.
    • * Highly recommended if running a festival/workshop or for associations without corporate sponsorship. In most cases, corporate sponsorship will depend on the group achieving “non-profit” status.