While preparing for tomorrow's Website Optimization Webinar, I was reviewing the websites that were submitted for our analysis.  One of the marketers submitting their website had a particularly LOUD call for help.  And, when I asked if it would be okay if we shared this information, she yelled (again, very loudly) YES!  She's hoping that we can help her and by reaching out to our HubSpot readership, hopes that you can help her as well.

Here's the website:  www.clarionsociety.org

clarion society

Here is their Website Grader Report (Graded a 31) :  http://websitegrader.com/site/clarionsociety.org

A Bit of Background Info:

  • The classical music scene in NYC is dominated by the big 3 (NY Philharmonic, Met Opera, and "whatever is on" at Carnegie Hall).
  • The average age of the support base, defined as individuals that buy tickets and those who make one-off or donations their companies match, is 74.8 years old. 
  • Steven, the conductor, is young, charismatic, articulate, good-looking, Ivy-League-educated, and widely recognized by his peers as one of the greatest musical talents in decades. 
The Problems Being Faced (as articulated by the MarCom Director)
  • "I have yet to find a combination of search words that will take you to Steven, or Clarion's page.  You have to have a priori knowledge of one or the other to find the Clarion site (Google analytics reinforces this; if you're searching for 'classical music new york" or some iteration of that, i don't know where you go but it isn't to Clarion).
  • Steven has won literally every prestigious award a conductor can receive.  BBC Music Magazine did a 4 page full-color spread on him in 2008.  He was recently granted Associateship with the Royal Academy of Music.  He won the Alan Kirby Prize while he was a student there.  The problem?  Do a google search for any of the above, you won't find it.  I'm still not sure why, but the Royal Academy isn't taking my phone calls....Anyhow, this has proved problematic in trying to post his Wikipedia page; there aren't enough online references for the web editors.  I have hard copies that I've scanned, but clearly this isn't the same as a page hosted on the RAM website.
  • The PR necessary to raise awareness would be very expensive, and Clarion operates on a shoestring, as most nonprofits (and arts organizations) do.
  • The website is messy and confusing.  I haven't had time to redesign it, as I keep getting twisted on ways to make it more effective, as I'm clearly going to need to start from scratch.  Steven doesn't have time to keep a blog, so I plan to start one for him...once I decide where on the site it should go.  We sent a direct mail and email newsletter recently; I put up a new landing page that makes it really simple to do what we wanted to do with those mailings: sell tickets.
  • YouTube is not an option at the moment.   Clarion's musicians are hired as independent contractors on a per-performance basis, as the organization doesn't have the budget to hire full-time musicians.  The contracts are bound by union rules, hence I need written consent from each performer in order to put any video or music content online.  The music clips available on the website are all I am permissioned to use (and I DESPISE the automatic music on the site...it's hard-coded and my programmer can't get it off.  This will be the first thing to go as soon as I start the site overhaul)."
What do you think should be the first course of action?  What would you do if you were the MarCom Director for this non-profit organization?

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Originally published Apr 19, 2010 9:54:00 PM, updated October 20 2016