Some say there’s no such thing as an overnight success. Others believe everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame. I don’t know about those old clichés. But I do know someone who proved that worldwide fame can come quickly.
For Mia Michaels, who was already well known in the dance industry, being a part of the TV show So You Think You Can Dance exposed her magnetic personality to millions of primetime television viewers. After years of hard work, Michaels became an instant celebrity.
But she has a little problem. Her web site doesn’t match her flare. Her home page doesn’t give the best welcome to her newfound fans who are visiting the site in droves to learn more about this “overnight success.” While Michaels’ site wasn’t bad, it wasn’t set up to accommodate the information-hungry fans who wanted to learn more about her background and her passions.
Michaels was missing out on a stellar opportunity to capture a mailing list of fans that were more than willing to ante up their e-mail address. She was losing out on the chance to truly engage with her fans on a deeper level through modern technology that could tell her story 24/7 to fans all over the world.
So we contacted her team and are now working with them to rebuild the site.
Michaels’ website needs an extreme makeover in the Web 2.0 sense. What we’ve all learned in the social media phenomenon is that the web is a great way to virtually connect with fans en masse and foster that fan base. Sharing behind-the-scenes photos, short blog posts, and upcoming events help create that sense of community. And, perhaps most important of all, the website should be a genuine reflection of the person.
I have some idea of what Michaels might be like in real life based on what I’ve seen on TV. But I would be doing her a disservice if I tried to capture her personality without digging a little deeper. So I turn to the only contact I can find on her website, her manager Dana O’Keefe.
Now Dana is a busy woman – and even busier now that countless fans are e-mailing her looking for more information on Michaels. She probably gets too many emails to answer. But my persistence paid off and tracking her down was well worth the time. After just a few minutes on the phone with her, I had all sorts of great info on Mia.
Here’s what I learned: O’Keefe didn’t have the easiest go of updating the existing site. The result? News about Mia wasn’t posted right away. That lag time left fans out of the loop, meaning lost opportunities to interact and turn short-term fans into long-term loyalists. The website’s current technology restraints meant frequently updating photo and video galleries, much less blogs, were a far-away dream that could never come true.
As far as personality, Dana used words like colorful, exciting, unconventional, graceful, and powerful to describe Mia. These were not the same adjectives I’d use to describe her current site. Instead, I’d use words like plain, dark and distant. That means there’s work to be done.
Michaels’ current homepage is almost completely without content. It’s all black with only a header image and a few navigation options. There’s no news, no updates, no videos, no photos. It’s a major disconnect for the fan who was enthralled watching Mia’s choreography the night before on TV. It may have even made some wonder if they were at the right site. I have to admit, for someone who is very much a visual artist, the lack of visuals seems strange.
On the personality side, the lack of content and images give the impression that Mia is distant or perhaps trying to hide her information for some reason. In reality, according to O’Keefe, she is very open and personal and makes connections easily. Clearly, her current website is not communicating the image she wants to portray to millions of visitors looking to connect in a meaningful way.
To remedy these issues, first we focused on the content. We suggested elements that will provide the first-time visitor as well as repeat visitors with what they want, right here on the front page. What do they want? What all fans want: the latest news and photos about their star. Die-hard fans can now keep up with Mia’s latest comings and goings. In addition, we made room for her video reel or featured choreography right on the homepage so newcomers can instantly see her work and get a feel for her unique style.
On the visual side, we suggested a lot more color. And to ensure the site became a reflection of the artist, we used color palettes from some of her most popular choreography pieces. By using soft edges and flowing colors, we tried to create a design that is fluid and conveys motion.
Now, Michaels’ homepage will be more suited to her personality, her style and her stardom. Her fans can discover more about who she really is – as much as Michaels would like them to know in words, photos and video. This will be a home page that is sure to keep her fans engaged while they are there, make them aware of Mia’s other ventures, encourage them to send the link to other would-be fans, and entice them to come back again and again for the latest and greatest news about this “overnight success.”