Build a Website for Your Music School From Scratch
Before I map out how to build a website for your music school I want to start off with an analogy. Imagine if you decided that you wanted to make a movie, so you hired a cinematographer, you hired a lighting specialist, you hired some actors, and everyone gathered on day one of your shoot and they said, “Okay, where’s the script? What’s the movie about?” and you said, “Oh, I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about that. I just wanted to make a movie.” And they would say to you, “Well, we need a script,” then you frantically started writing a script.
Most likely, that movie would not be a great movie. You did the whole process backward. You need to start with the script first. Before you start with the script, you need to identify your characters and figure out what the general message or theme of the story is going to be. That’s the exact same way you should approach your website.
A lot of people contact a website designer and say, “I want to build a website” or “I want to redo my website,” and they haven’t really thought that much about the words on the website. I created a website once and told my designer, “You get to work on the website, I’ll start writing the copy for it.” She asked me “what do you want the website to look like?” I said, “I don’t know, just do what you do. Do your thing. You’re the website specialist.”
The more knowledge you have of what makes for a good website and the more impactful the language is on your website, impactful in terms of readers feeling like the language on your site speaks directly to them, the more effective your website’s going to be-the more sales you’re going to make.
Spend 30 Minutes For a Little Research
Before you embark on any new endeavor in your business, you should spend a little bit of time hanging out on Google or YouTube, “how to make a great website,” “how to build an effective website.” These are all Google or YouTube searches you could do. Spend 30, 60 minutes to educate yourself a little bit about what the design of a website looks like. Obviously, you’ve been on tons of websites, but you’re not going onto those websites typically taking mental notes of the design.
The guru of website design and messaging is Donald Miller. He’s done the research to look at what works well on websites; not only from a design perspective but from a messaging perspective. Also, Steve Krug wrote a book called Don’t Make Me Think. The title of the book says it all. When people are on your website they shouldn’t have to think. That the navigation, that the experience should be so simple for them.
Testimonials help eliminate the concerns and the risks that a prospective client might have. But beware; not all testimonials are created equal. You want to choose testimonials that directly mirror your brand promise.
Helping Customers Transition From Doubt to Excitement
Imagine if you were walking down the aisle of a Target store and you see on the shelf a little keyboard with all these cool little buttons on it. It’s in a box and the box says, “This keyboard will automatically write for you your next hit song.” You think, “What? No way. That’s not possible.” But, still, it caught your attention. How can this little device write a hit song?
You pick up the box and you read a short paragraph it explains the process: “With the push of a button, this keyboard, within just a few minutes, will create a hit song for you. Imagine seeing your name in the number one spot of the Billboard Top 10.” On the box, there’s a little picture of Bruno Mars, with a quote that reads, “This is an amazing product. My last three hit songs were all written by this keyboard.” Then there’s another image of Taylor Swift with a quote that makes a similar claim. Then there’s an image of Billie Eilish and she also claims that she’s used this device to write her hit songs. Would you buy it? I would at that point, or I’d certainly want to research this some more.
Testimonials Eliminate Doubt
Let’s look at what just happened with this example of this magical keyboard. First, there’s intrigue. You’re walking down the aisle of Target and become intrigued when you see this product and claim that it makes, that it’s guaranteed to write a hit song. It caught your attention.
Then there was some copy on the box that gave you a better sense of what this product is, and it painted an image of the future. It said, “Imagine seeing your song sitting in the number one spot on the Billboard Top 10.” Yeah, yeah, nice try, but there’s no way that this is true. Doubt begins to melt away as credible pop stars start backing up these products. These pop stars are providing social proof that this product really does what it claims to do.
Build a Website For Your Music School: Create a Wireframe
Let’s look at how we can apply this exact same approach to your website. If you’re at home right now, grab a piece of paper. I want you to draw four lines going horizontally across the paper, and we’re going to now design a wireframe. A website wireframe is a blueprint for your website; a sketch of what it will look like.
The first frame of your website is where we’re going to build intrigue, just like the keyboard at Target. In the story, you walked past the keyboard and its brand promise caught your attention. That’s the first thing that you have to do on your website. The first frame on your piece of paper is going to be where you want to build intrigue.
Short Form Sales Copy
The next frame or the next section on your paper is where there’s going to be some short form sales copy. That’s where you’re going to paint a picture of the future of what a child’s life will look like, or, really, what the website visitor’s child’s life will look like after they take lessons with you. You might want to incorporate a pain point in that sales copy. I’ll talk about that in a moment.
The next section of your website is a great spot for providing some social proof. Social proof that supports your brand promise. This could be in the form of customer testimonials.
Credibility and Recognition
The next section is where you want to build or establish some credibility and recognition. This could come in the form of referencing reputable organizations that have recognized your music school.
Your “About Us” shouldn’t be the back story of you and your school. Instead, it should be about what motivated you to start a music school. It should be about what change you aspire to make in the world through music education.
Long Form Sales Copy
This is where you can flesh out and articulate or express what your music school’s purpose and mission are.
Your website doesn’t have to follow this exact format. You can certainly experiment with it. Here’s a quick overview of the function of each frame.
- Frame 1: Build Intrigue
- Frame 2: Paint a picture of the future
- Frame 3: Establish social proof
- Frame 4: Establish credibility
- Frame 5: Your Mission and purpose
Frame 1: Build Intrigue
When people land on your website, the first thing they land on is you’re above the fold. It should be designed like a billboard. Think about what a billboard looks like. It’s designed so that a person driving 70 miles per hour can look at it, and within maybe two or three seconds, get all the information that they need from it. Billboards on highways are designed with the driver in mind, the drivers moving fast. Your above-the-fold should be designed with the website visitor in mind; they’re also moving fast. People move fast on the internet. When you check out a business’s website, do you read all the copy? How much time do you really spend on any given page?
Invite Your Website Visitor to take Action
Your above-the-fold should use a single image that fills up the whole frame, like a billboard. You want to have a couple of call-to-action buttons. One in the middle, towards the bottom. Maybe it says, “Start today.” Another call to action, upper right-hand corner. It might say”Schedule a call.”
Now you need a headline. The headline defines your service: music lessons, and an outcome: perhaps “music lessons that are fun”. The formula is to define your product and the transformation it provides. “We help kids experience success and accomplishment through music.” Success and accomplishment are the outcome. Music lessons are the vehicle, and your image reflects that language. Go look up “Donald Miller websites” on YouTube and you’re going to get lots of great information.
Frame 2: Paint a Picture of the Future
The next frame is going to be where you have your short-form sales copy. It’s going to just be a few sentences. This is where you want to paint a picture of the future, just like this magical keyboard. The image of the future was having a song on the Billboard Top 10. Perhaps the picture we’re going to paint here is of a happy kid who’s able to take a break from screen time and enjoy themselves playing music.
You can draw the reader in by stating a problem or concern they’re dealing with. “Do you worry that your child spends too much time on screens and social media? At Dave’s Music School, we think it’s important that kids are able to strike balance in their lives. We offer music lessons that inspire kids to want to put down their phones and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.”
I introduced a pain point, “too much screen time.” What’s the solution? Music lessons at my school. What’s the outcome? A child who’s able to live a more well-balanced life. It’s short; two sentences long. That’s it. This short-form sales copy is building on the intrigue of the above-the-fold. It’s getting the website visitor a little bit more excited.
So what’s our website visitor now likely wondering? “Wow, these guys say their music lessons help kids build a sense of confidence and accomplishment. I feel like they understand me. They talk about one of my greatest concerns in terms of my child’s obsession with the screen and their inability to put it down and do something more constructive.” Great spot now for testimonials. Social proof. Nobody wants to test drive your product. It’s too risky to sign up for music lessons at your music school.
Frame 3: Public Proof
Testimonials help eliminate the concerns and the risks that a prospective client might have. “These guys are talking about how they help kids feel a sense of success and accomplishment. Maybe that’s just sales speak. Maybe these guys just talk a good game.” Testimonials that support your brand promise, that support your claim, eliminate doubt in the prospect’s mind: But not all testimonials are created equal. You want testimonials that mirror your brand promise. A testimonial of a parent saying, “My kid really looks forward to his lessons every week,” or, “My son’s music teacher’s really nice and they run a really professional operation,” that’s not supporting the brand promise here.
A testimonial that says, “I can’t get over how much more confident my daughter’s become ever since taking music lessons at Dave’s Music School.” mirrors the brand promise in this example. So does “It’s so nice to see my son put down his phone every once in a while and pick up his guitar instead.”
How To Get Effective Testimonials
How do you get these testimonials? Come up with two or three questions that are likely to elicit the response that you want. Questions such as:
- What do you appreciate most about music lessons here at Dave’s Music School?
- What impact do you feel our music lessons have had on your child?
- What do you feel is your greatest challenge with raising children today
- How do you feel our music lessons helps you with that?
You could even get these testimonials by simply calling some of your top customers and running these questions by them. If you ask your top customers, what’s your greatest concern with raising children today?; I guarantee you, most of them will talk about social media. Then they talk about that, you could say something like, “Well, do you feel that music lessons help with that?” That might be a more natural and organic way than having them do it in a written question.
Once they respond to you, make note of it, write it out as a testimonial. It’s not going to quote them 100%, but write it up. Email it to the parent and say, “This is a one-sentence, two-sentence summary of what we talked about. I would love to use this as a testimonial on our website. Are you okay with me quoting you?” Once they give you their approval, even though that it isn’t exactly what they said to you on the phone, they did sign off on it.
Use Images with Your Testimonials
Ideally, you want to layout your testimonials going across your page horizontally with a short quote and an image of the person saying it. This helps bring that testimonial to life a little bit more. They can look at that picture of the parent and think, “Oh, she looks like somebody that I can relate to. She’s roughly in my age range. She dresses in a manner that’s somewhat similar to how I dress and the things that are important to her are things that are important to me.” Without that picture, the testimonial is just one-dimensional. That image adds another dimension to it. So now, the question is, “Well, how do you get these pictures?” You can go on to the person’s Facebook account, see if you can find a nice image, and ask if you can use the image on your website. Ask them for another image if they would rather you not use it.
Taking Your Website Visitors Emotional Temperature
Let’s look at where our website visitor is emotionally at this point.
- You’re above the fold built intrigue, curiosity.
- Your short-form sales copy painted a picture of the future, gave them a sense of hope, but they still have a sense of doubt.
- “Are these guys really going to help my kid feel a sense of pride and accomplishment? Or, is that just some pretty language they came up with?
- Testimonials help wipe away any doubt.
This is a perfect time now to put on your website another call to action button: “Start today”. Even though you had your call-to-action button up in the above-the-fold, they’re probably not likely ready to sign up at that point; unless they heard about you through a referral and they’re going onto your website, not even interested in reading your website. They just want to sign up right away because one of your customers won’t stop raving about you.
Frame 4: Add a Little Credibility to Your Brand
By this point, your website visitor is hopefully feeling pretty good about you. The next frame is a great place to add some credibility to your brand; to show how reputable outside sources or organizations have recognized your music school.
Perhaps you were featured on Channel 4 news. Perhaps your local county paper did an article on you. Perhaps you were voted once in some “Best of” poll. Take the logos of these different organizations and list them horizontally across your website in the next frame. These are called trust badges. They add credibility. Not only do their customers back up their brand promise, but these reputable recognizable organizations have endorsed this music school on some level.
Frame 5: Your Mission and Purpose
This is where you could write your About Us or it could be called Our Story. Oddly enough, your About Us should not be about you. I know that sounds counterintuitive. Your About Us should not tell everyone your backstory, about where you went to college and what you majored in. No one cares about that; like, they don’t know who you are. Your About Us instead should be about your story and what aspects of your life story motivated you to start a music school. What change in the world do you want to make through your music school?
Perhaps you had a terrible experience as a child in music lessons, but yet, nonetheless, you formed a deep love of music and you knew there had to be another way to teach kids. That music lessons shouldn’t be something that children dread, that they find it’s hard to do, or they perceive it as boring. They think it’s not fun. They look at it as a chore. There’s got to be a better way. You made it your life mission to build a music school that would help kids feel successful, helps them experience success and accomplishment.
This is a great place to mirror aspects of your brand promise. Your long-form sales copy should simply flesh out your short-form copy. This is where you state your purpose and your mission. This is hard to write. This takes a lot of work to get it right, but this can help motivate the website visitor to buy. Your website’s homepage should function as a sales page. It’s specifically for prospective students. You can humanize your brand in this section with a photo of yourself. A photo taken by a professional, a headshot.
This is how you create a wireframe for your website. It’s a blueprint. It’s a draft. You could even take this messy wireframe and show it to your website designer and say, “here’s what I’m going for. This is a general idea.” It’s exactly what I just did last week. I’m building a new website and I have a messy wireframe, a sketch of what I want the website to look like.
Once you get that website really working for you, then you don’t have to build a new website every few years. You can just update it. Every few months, make changes. Once you get one really killer design working for you, no reason why you can’t use that website for years to come. Just update it as you go.