What makes a good orchestra website? Is it pretty pictures, a nice layout, or color scheme that makes you feel warm and comfortable?
All of those things are worth considering at some level but they’re also subjective. An orchestra website should focus on two basic principles that are not subjective, one major and the other minor: generating revenue and disseminating information…
Given the industry-wide fall off of subscription ticket sales the past several years, single ticket sales have become crucial in the short term struggle to raise revenue. But it’s expensive to market single tickets and as a result, orchestras don’t earn as much profit on each ticket they sell.
This is where the internet comes in. Compared to print, radio, and television media internet marketing is still cheap; especially after you recoup initial investment expenses. Orchestras should be bending over backwards to promote online ticket sales as well as online donations (remember how well that recently worked for the Howard Dean campaign?).
Once that revenue generating mechanism is established, everything else you do is gravy. Promoting the orchestra musicians, offering patrons access to the orchestra in ways that haven’t been available in the past, and providing a conduit for interaction all help promote the previous activates of selling tickets and getting people involved. It turns into a cyclic resource that renews itself.
To determine how well the industry is achieving these goals, I took three days between 9/5/04 and 9/7/04 and examined 70 (well, 71 but more about that later) American orchestra websites in exacting detail. Some orchestras performed well, but most didn’t.
Using a 0-100 base scale, the average score was 62.9; or if you prefer to look at it from a scholastic point of view, that’s a D-.
All orchestras examined were based in the United States and have an annual budget of no less than approximately $2 million.
Starting 9/16/04, you’ll be able to view the details for all 70 orchestras, but for right now you can examine the five orchestras with the highest scores and the five orchestras with the lowest scores. You can also view the rankings for all 70 orchestras as well as review the criteria utilized for the evaluations. You just might be surprised to find out where some of the bigger budget orchestras are on the list!
Top Five Orchestra Websites
1. Chicago Symphony 91.8
2. National Symphony 89.2
3. Minnesota Orchestra 85.5
4. Dallas Symphony 85.0
5. Oregon Symphony 84.9
Bottom Five Orchestra Websites
66. New Jersey Symphony 42.0
67. Colorado Symphony 40.3
68. West Virginia Symphony 37.8
69. Honolulu Symphony 35.2
70. Colorado Springs Phil. 28.4
Come back tomorrow where you’ll be able to examine the details for the remaining 60 orchestras.
You’ll also get to hear from Kevin Giglinto, V.P. for Sales and Marketing at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He’s the man responsible for putting together the only orchestra website that scored over 90 points (or receive an “A” in scholastic terms) and the winner for the 1st Annual Adaptistration Orchestra Website Review.
Friday’s article will focus on some of the uniquely wonderful and ridiculously awful items I ran across while wading through these sites. We’ll also examine the all important revenue vs. expenditure ratio for some of the 70 orchestras that were generous enough to share their details.