Your Most Valuable Game Audio Tool
Many of us are enamored with our gear.
And why wouldn’t we be?
It’s so shiny and nice.
It also helps us to make better music and SFX for our clients.
In short: it’s definitely important!
However, (you saw this “however” coming, right?) there is something even more valuable than that hot new compressor plug-in you've been eyeing.
And game audio freelancers consistently underuse or ignore this most powerful of business tools.
Many don’t even have one!
What am I talking about?
If your website had mass, it'd be worth its weight in gold.
The Holy Grail of Your Game Audio Business
The internet is the most powerful tool ever created.
Its invention has changed communication, business, social interaction, everything.
We all use the internet every day for our business but many of us aren’t paying enough attention to the MVP of our online presence, our website.
What Makes Your Website so Important?
Let’s take a second to think about your internet presence from the perspective of who has the power.
You might not be He-Man, but you likely want to have some power!
Every platform you can use online whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Soundcloud, etc… exists to serve its own interests.
While you can use these platforms to amazing effect for your business, their main goal is to do things that make THEM money, not YOU.
Often the way they do this is to distract people from your posts and content in order to drive them towards more content that will keep them engaged on their platform longer.
As we know, most of these sites’ main user interaction involves continuously scrolling to always consume more and more.
In this situation, these platforms hold the power, and they only serve you in so far as your content and interactions serve them.
This is good for Mark Zuckerberg, but it’s not good for you and me.
Zucks doesn't care about you. He's a robot. He has no feelings.
Take Back Your Power
On your website, however, you have complete and total control over what your customers see, how they see it, in what order they see it, and so on.
There are no distractions, no ads, no pop-ups to drag attention away from what you want to present.
In short, you have the ultimate power.
If used correctly, this is the strongest card you can play in acquiring new customers.
Communication is Key
If you’ve read my other blogs, you might not be surprised to hear the following sentence:
Your website is for your customer, not you.
In the age of the internet, clear, concise communication is your highest priority.
Remember: the reason your website is so important is that you have your customer’s full attention.
But only as long as you can hold it.
If anything on your website is not finely tuned to grab your customers attention and tell them exactly what you do, why it is valuable to them, and what they should do next to get the ball rolling on your involvement in their next game, they will click away and you will miss out on paid projects.
RIP the human attention span.
I don’t mean to sound ominous, but it is what it is.
Many game audio freelancers I’ve seen in my time as a business coach have made the critical mistake of making their website design and content about them and not about their customers.
This manifests itself in different ways such as:
Design choices that look pretty but make no attempt at connecting with customers and their expectations
Unclear or totally non-existent cues as to what the business is about and who would benefit from its services
Wordy “About Me” sections that make no attempt to describe why your customers should be interested in you
Poor UX choices that leave potential customers with the job of searching through your website trying to find the information they need
If you want the best clients, you need to provide them with the best experience and that starts from their first interaction with you and your work.
A poorly designed website can leave potential customers underwhelmed and unsure about hiring you, so let’s take a look at what to do about it.
A Recipe for Website Success
What does your website need to capture game developers’ attention and drive profitable customer action?
Let’s lay this out as three basic questions your website needs to answer:
1 | What Do You Do and Who Do You Do it For?
This question is perhaps so simple that many game audio freelancers forget to answer it.
We know what we do and for who, right?
Here’s the thing:
You must assume at all times that your customer knows absolutely nothing about you or the services you provide.
This might be the person on your website.
The basic business/customer relationship is as follows.
Customers have problems
Businesses solve problems in exchange for customers’ money
If your customer lands on your website and isn’t certain within the first few seconds that you can solve their problem, they'll probably bounce.
Bouncing cats = CUTE // Bouncing customers = BAD
We want their first glance of our website to immediately communicate what problems we solve and who we solve them for.
Enter your website’s header, also known as the hero section.
Take a look at this screenshot from video game composer Pete Frog’s website.
As soon as it loads, you and everyone else know exactly what he does and who he does it for.
He makes music for games.
The more specific you can be, the better.
I love Chris Kohler’s hero section as well:
Sweet clarity Batman!
No one will ever be confused as to what he does and for who.
It seems too simple to be true, but never assume your potential customers know anything about you upon loading your website.
Tell them what you do. Tell them who you do it for.
Communication is key.
2 | Why Should Anyone Care?
This is your time to shine.
What do you do that makes you unique and how can you best communicate that to your customers?
You can show this in the form of a reel, portfolio, social proof (testimonials), and other things but my favorite tool for answering this question?
While many a discerning developer might have an ear for good sound, others may not understand the direct connection between the quality of your audio services and the success of their game.
So should we just embed a Soundcloud playlist on our site and assume our customers understand the value of our work?
What did I say before? Never assume!
Here’s a direct quote from my studio's website:
We understand how difficult it is to achieve the perfect balance between the creative and the technical in your game. That's why we built a one-of-a-kind game sound studio that values these two elements equally.
We specialize in technical sound design and audio programming so what do we do?
We highlight in clear language why that is important for developers.
We tell them directly what our work means for them.
Because business is a value exchange; our expertise for their money. If your customers don’t understand the value of your work, they won’t give you their valuable, hard-earned cash.
It’s that simple.
Business transactions: simple stuff
Through your portfolio, testimonials, and especially direct language, tell your customers why they should care about you and your services.
3 | What Should Your Customer Do Next?
This crucial final step is often overlooked or misunderstood.
I’m sounding like a broken record, but you can never assume anything in business.
You can’t assume your customers will understand what to do next if they believe you can solve their problems and want to work with you.
So what do we do?
You guessed it!
We tell them!
Not only do we tell them, but we make this next step (often called the “Call to Action” or CTA) one of the most obvious elements of our website.
What customers should say about your CTA
For most of us, this will likely be a button that leads to a contact form of some kind.
And it should be everywhere.
Go nuts with this because it is the most important part of your website.
If people like what they see but don’t take the next step, it was all for nothing.
Make it easy. Make it fun. Make it frictionless.
Whatever you do, make it obvious that anyone who is interested in working with you needs to take this action!
Check out the home page of the website you’re currently on:
The Game Audio Pro Homepage - featuring many CTAs
I want visitors to subscribe because it is the easiest and most valuable way I can communicate with people who are interested in what I’m doing.
That’s why the subscribe button is f*cking EVERYWHERE!
If you want your customers to fill out your form, call you right away, DM you on Twitter, whatever, make it so clear that they could never possibly mess it up.
The internet is the most powerful tool in the world.
And if you leverage it correctly, your online presence can be massively important to your career as a game audio freelancer.
I hope you’ve understood not only why your website is the most important asset in your business, but also how to go about designing a website that speaks clearly to your customers and convinces them of your value.
Because guess what?
"Your customers aren't interested in you. They're interested in how you can help them."
If you are not sure if your website is sending the right message to your potential customers, drop a link in the comment section and I will happily take a look at it and give you feedback.
Yes, you heard that right.
Free feedback for your website!
What are you waiting for?
I created The Game Audio Pro with the goal of helping others understand the fundamental business skills that are often the difference between success and failure for freelancers.
If you're ready to take your game audio career to the next level, download my guide to The Most Important Mindset for Game Audio Success.