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Website Review: Andy’s Piano Tips

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Andy's header text

A couple of weeks ago I met Andy Grall. Andy became a student in my Facebook 101 course and reached out and gave me some feedback on the course.

We quickly connected on Skype and had a chat about the course and what Andy was working on (this connection, with a complete stranger on the other side of the planet is just one reason why I love doing what I do).

He explained to me that while Facebook Ads wasn’t relevant to him right now, it would be in the near future. Why? Because Andy is launching his own school for intermediate piano players.

As a way of saying ‘thank you’ for the feedback he gave me, and since Andy’s such a nice bloke, I offered to review his digital strategy and his website. The one catch? I would review it publicly.

Courageous Andy agreed, so here I am, writing a review on his website and overall strategy from the perspective of what ‘I would do if I were in his shoes’.

This task is always so much easier for someone on the outside looking in. It reminds me of a story about a winemaker who made the greatest wine on the planet, but couldn’t work out how to market his wine. A consultant suggested when it came to him marketing his wine, he was standing inside the bottle. He knew everything about his wine, the age, the grape, the barrels, the extra ingredients… but being so close to his wine (inside the bottle) he was unable to see the label.

This is how I see Andy right now. So close to what he is doing, he’s struggling to see the label for himself. Andy isn’t alone, so with this review I hope you’ll also get inspired to consider your business from a new perspective.

Andy’s Piano Tips

Website Review - Andy

Andy has put together a website, to get the ball rolling. It’s a work in progress and he’s done a great job at getting started. In fact, the website andyspianotips.com is his second website. The other is his personal site andygrall.com

The first question I would ask is why the two sites?

Andy is the man behind the music. Does he intend to branch out into a different area personally at some point? Or could Andy be the brand?

In his case, Andy’s Piano Tips is focused on and around Andy. It’s not a generic name – so he is front and centre.

For that reason it makes me think he could easily combine the piano tips into his own personal website.

Why would that help?

Because as time goes on management of one site is much easier than managing multiple websites. I speak from experience here. I have a personal blog, two websites for Digital Domination (the agency and the academy) and another website for my building business.

All require work. To grow, they require focus – and there’s only so many hours in a day.

Suggestion #1: Choose one domain

So my first suggestion would be this; Choose one domain name and stick to it, or completely separate yourself from the piano tips brand so at some point you could scale that with other teachers and even sell it as an asset.

I really like the idea of using andygrall.com as your main hub for everything you do.

Lot’s of people are doing this right now. A great example is Marie Forleo.

Marie Forleo

Marie puts all of herself into her personal website. She uses subdomains to run her teachings (Much like Digital Domination uses academy.digitaldomination.com for our courses).

This puts Marie front and centre – she is the brand. She is memorable. She takes the stage and people warm to her. They can find her and everything she does in one place.

Gary Vaynerchuk is a great example of someone who has his own personal brand but is involved in businesses who have separate brands.

His personal brand and personal website is all about the hustle.

Gary Vaynerchuk

He is an owner in Vaynermedia

Vayner Media

And previously built up Wine Library to a $60M business before branching into other areas

Wine Library

In the case of Gary Vee, his personal brand is an extension of what he is doing in the business world. Each other business property could easily run without him and is a saleable asset.

So my first suggestion is to choose which way you’d like to go. Think of the future as best you can. It seems to me that playing the piano is a part of who you are and will always be that way. So my personal suggestion would probably be to model off Marie Forleo. Be the brand. Use one domain. Then dominate that domain with everything you do.

Suggestion #2: Clarify your position and message

The current messaging on Andy’s Piano Tips website is fractured and could be more focused. I think it’s there somewhere on the page but it is currently lost in the pool of text. We want a message that will resonate quickly with site visitors.

Most people spend 6 seconds or less on a website page to see if it’s relevant for them. This gives us a very short window to capture their attention, so if we’re to be successful online, we’ve got to grab that opportunity and make the most of it.

The first message we see on Andy’s site is this;

Andy's header text

This feels like a beautiful poem.

The problem is, it’s difficult to read because of the fonts and colours and really, it feels nice but doesn’t achieve any specific outcome.

In some of the copy text is a great message though, and something we can play on to attract and keep the interest of your site visitors with a small amount of tweaking.

We can take this;

“You want to improvise. You want to write. You want to perform.”

And turn it into this;

“Learn how to Improvise, Write & Perform on Piano with Andy and a community of outstanding Pianists.”

That text can be large and the focus on the home page. This will become the primary headline.

Lets break it down and see what this sentence does in a matter of seconds.

  1. It qualifies the pianist. Andy teaches intermediate piano players. So learning to Improvise and Write is not for beginners.
  2. It is attractive to pianists who aspire to perform. Performing on piano is not something everyone is confident with. So this could work well for aspiring pianists who need a little more confidence to get out there.
  3. It positions Andy as the leader of the community – he’s front and centre.
  4. It opens the door to meet other like-minded pianists and builds a community.

In 6 seconds a simple line does all that.

Suggestion #3: Choose what you want people to do

Every home page is better with a call to action and Andy has a few.

The first call to action is this;

Andy's CTA

Join the group on Facebook.

Building a community is a great idea, and it’s part of what Andy wants to do because he is growing a community of pianists.

What this does though, is it immediately directs visitors off his website and opens a new wormhole for visitors to go down. So much so, by the time they’re done with Facebook they might be done with everything and close the website down.

This could be Andy’s strategy and if so, that’s OK. I would recommend this call to action be placed directly under the new headline.

It would then be a requirement for Andy to engage in the group and promote his courses to the group members over time. It’s a strategy I know is working for lots of people, so push that as your main focus for now. This is what I would refer to as being at the top of your sales funnel – where you bring potential customers in to your sales pipeline.

Another call to action on the home page is your email newsletter opt-in which simply says ‘Subscribe to our mailing list’.

Most Newsletter style opt-ins no longer work. People are flooded with emails so subscribing to more without a promise of something great in return often results in very few, if any, opt ins.

Since Andy is about to launch some courses, he could instead give away a free course in return for an email address. This is easy on the Thinkific platform Andy has chosen to use. It can also be integrated nicely using Zapier to connect to Mailchimp or a marketing automation suite like Active Campaign.

Andy also has an album which he is giving away free (on his personal site). Again, this would be a great opt-in as people will exchange an email address for some free music. However, I have some other ideas for Andy’s album.

Suggestion #4: Display your expertise & build desire

In doing some research around Andy and what he is currently working on, I checked out his personal website. On it, he has his album called ‘An Image of Worlds’.

It’s 14 tracks off his debut album which is cinematic, instrumental music.

I had a listen to a couple of tracks and I will say, I was impressed! The music is great – and worth promoting more!

This is key for anyone who can distribute their message on other sites and Andy is sitting on 14 tracks that can be distributed in various ways to promote himself and what he is producing.

Having those tracks front and centre is a terrific idea and he has done that on his personal website. But they’re missing on the piano tips site. So lets get a few tracks on the home page so people can sample what you do.

Which takes me to my next suggestion.

Suggestion #5: Syndicate & Promote on other platforms

Building an audience is vital for every business. So part of what I always recommend is to syndicate whatever you can on platforms where your audience is.

That’s one reason why I love the idea of Andy creating a group on Facebook. People hang out on Facebook. They want to chat on Facebook. Having a group on Facebook is one way to engage with your audience – where they are.

There’s two other sites I’d love to see Andy on.

Site 1: Soundcloud

Soundcloud

Soundcloud is a great site for sharing audio and it can help build an audience of listeners. People are using it for all types of audio and Andy’s music could be discovered here.

What’s more is, they have an easy snippet of code you can embed on your website so their music player appears. This serves as being an easy way to embed your music on your website, but also as a way to help people discover more of your music on Soundcloud via their widget.

Site 2: iTunes

On Andy’s personal site he relays a story about his Grandfather, Frank. Its a short story of a song that came to him one morning and in just a few minutes he finished it. Moments later he received a call from his brother letting him know that Frank had died.

The song became a tribute to Frank and is a beautiful tune.

This story and the tune, could be a podcast episode. Much like all the other tunes Andy creates.

Share your story. Share your music. Podcasts right now are extremely popular – it’s where your audience is.

A podcast will not only serve your current community, but attract new listeners to your music and grow your community.

Podcasts can be a few minutes or hours long, it’s really up to you. A short introduction, a piece of your music and a closing offer to join your community is all it would take.

In summary my suggestions would be:

  1. Use your personal domain and build everything from there.
  2. Clarify your position and message.
  3. Strengthen your calls to action and drive people to join your Facebook group.
  4. Add more music sound bites to your home page to give people a taste of what you can do.
  5. Build your audience by getting onto Soundcloud and iTunes.

I hope you like these suggestions Andy. Good luck with your piano lessons – I’m a fan of your music already.