Do's and don'ts for local nightlife Web sites
Midnight Sun commenter eCommerce Consultant aka Ethan Giffin takes the lead on this piece about Web design:
Since I've spent more than half my life either slinging records, owning a venue or running a digital marketing agency, ol’ Sammo asked me to step in and give a state of the nightlife address: Internet edition.
There is no doubt that over the last three years, the Web sites of Baltimore's nightclubs and bars have gotten better. But they're still not great.
In fact, the best promoters across the country utilize all of these tools to build their communities. The truth, though, is that most Baltimore promoters and operators have truly failed to harness the web and make it play an active role within their marketing plans ...
I took a cross sampling of 10 local venues. All of these venues and promoters have special events and cover charges.
Of the local 10 web sites I looked at:
- Seven had updated events calendars
- Zero had an RSS feed available of those events (What?!?!)
- Three had recently updated photo galleries
- Four had a linked and recently updated Facebook page
- Four had a linked and recently updated MySpace page
- Five had an easily accessible email newsletter sign up
- One had a linked and recently updated Twitter account
I would say that this is a pretty poor report card. With a little bit of time, money and sweat equity, there is no reason that they can’t be doing a better job of promoting online.
More than once, I found out about an event too late to go to it. All the promoters had to do was send out a quick and simple Facebook message to their friend list ahead of time, and I would have been able to make the event.
One of the best local night life presences, love 'em or hate 'em, are Bob and Robby of JetSetMafia. They don’t have the cleanest sites in terms of graphic design or functionality, but that is made up for by the sheer amount of photos and content they publish online on a weekly basis.
Hiring a photographer for almost every event they promote, then having those photos published on their Web site within 48 hours of the event is a definite key to their success. They also engage their audience from many different places, including MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter as well as SMS text messaging.
It’s 2009. The days of massive radio buys and dropping 10,000 fliers on the ground are over. Developing and connecting with online audiences is what will help Baltimore’s venues survive the current economic storm.