This article is part of my series on Branding Your Guitar Business. Before creating your brand, you need to know your market – who your customers are and who your competition is.
Let’s look at the sequence of events most likely to lead to your first customer touchpoint. It begins with Google or a similar search engine.
Your prospective customer enters a search term, let’s say “guitar repair near me”, and gets a list of links.
How to be near the top of that list and how to have a great marketing blurb that makes people click on your link, will be the subject of our article on “SEO For Your Guitar Business”.
Today, we’re going to analyze that list, the blurbs and the “landing pages” the links bring us to. From this information, we’ll see how each competitor is branded; what their niches are; their strong points; and their weak points.
After analyzing this information, we’ll be able to see where our greatest opportunities lie and we’ll see how to interact with our prospects so that they’ll be more likely to want to do business with us than with one of our competitors.
I begin by searching with the same phrase my customers are likely to use – “guitar repair near me”. I’ll ignore the map listings for now – but we’ll take those up in our SEO section. Here’s my list –
Guitar Center is #1. Surprise, surprise! (Not!). GC has the money to hire the pros, and it’s likely they’ll be a major competitor in most areas.
We can learn a lot by studying GC’s website (and we will!)
#1] Guitar Center headline stresses “repairs, maintenance & modifications”. I’m not sure what “maintenance” means nor how it will help GC get clicks. Their blurb mentions warranty service for secondary tier brands and a plea to “..contact your local Guitar Center..”
You get just a few lines of opportunity to motivate people to click and I think GC pretty much blows it here and figures their name is enough. Maybe they’re right, but why waste this opportunity???
#2] Third Coast Guitar’s title: “Repair Estimates”. I’d say that’s an excellent choice. The #1 question on many minds will be “How much is this going to cost?” and by addressing that issue, they’re going to get clicks!
Their blurb follows up and doubles down on the bet that this is the question on your mind. It may only motivate budget-minded or curious people; it may miss the mark on those who could care about price and want only the best – but if you aim for everyone, you’ll hit no one!
#3] Guitar Tech Berkeley wasted their title on their name. Why should I care about your name before I’m motivated to learn more about you?
The blurb..”is an independent, full service repair shop..” Nothing in there to light a fire under my clicking finger. Sounds quite boiler-plate. And why am I getting Berkeley, CA listings? That’s not ‘near me’!
4] Let’s see how Mikey is doing – “Mike Reynolds Fretwork and Guitar Repair is a Guitar Repair..” Well, he got “guitar repair” twice in his title, helping to ensure he make the top ten list. But for what? There isn’t a single motivating word in that title!
Does he make up for it in his blurb? “Mike Reynolds Fretwork and Guitar Repair is a specialty guitar repair shop in. San Jose, CA. I specialize in fretwork on electric, acoustic and bass guitar.“
Well, that was quite stirring, eh? Not! Informative though. If I was looking for fretwork, this might tempt me, but I think the info (medicine) could have been delivered WITH some “honey”. Maybe – “Poor fret work killing your tone? Fretwork is the missing link in many setups, but not at Mike Reynolds Guitar Repair!”
The original blurb makes people wonder if fret work is ALL Mikey does. And if it is, he’s likely already out of business.
#5] Title wasted on the business name. Why should we care what the name is at THIS point? You have maybe 6 to 10 words for a title and they should be used to get our ATTENTION.
Your blurb should then motivate our clicking finger. Let’s see if it does.. “Guitar Repair of Tampa Bay offers ▻ repairs and modifications for the discerning guitar player. See why Guitar Repair of Tampa Bay is the guitar player’s”
Sounds amateurish, boilerplate and even a bit snobbish.
Just who is this person searching for “guitar repair near me”? Why are they searching? They’re searching because they have a problem.
What do they want? They want their problem solved, preferably by someone who understands their problem and will understand them.
How do they want it? Convenient, friendly and perhaps low-cost.
How Do You Customerize Them?
Huh? OK, I’m trying to keep my titles short and catchy. If “customerize” isn’t in Websters, it should be! It means turning your prospect into a paying customer.
With search engine listings you have two tools – the title and the blurb. Your title needs to get their attention and your blurb needs to make them click – all within the realm of your branding.
Analyze Your Competition
So how marketing savvy are your competitors? Size up their titles and blurbs. Are they effective? Do they give a hint of their branding?
Make some notes. Maybe setup a page for your top five to ten competitors. Or if you’re in a big market like LA or NY, maybe your top eighty to ninety competitors! (LOL)
Next, we’re going to click those links and get a better idea of your competition’s branding, pricing and overall operation. The web pages we land on from these links are the “landing pages”.
With marketing savvy businesses, they’ll have a special page linked for each search term. Chances are your competitors are amateur marketers and merely link to their home page. Make not of whether you get a home page or a special landing page.
#!] Guitar Center
GC definitely puts us on a landing page setup specifically for those seeking guitar repairs. The page is bright and clean, well laid out and in keeping with their branding- just what you’d expect from a national chain big-box store. Photos are all professional and all colors on the page work well together.
As for the content, restrings is a common service and it’s #1 on the list, and setups #2 though both in smallish print. Looks like the marketing people might have done a better job if they knew more about guitar repairs, but overall this page is top-notch!
We all think we’re great photographers, but your website is no place for amateurs. You can probably find a great wedding or event photographer who has a little “product photography” experience and who’ll handle all the photos for your landing page(s) for a few hundred dollars.
The trick is to pre-plan each photo and have a clean work bench and some great-looking guitars ready to go, so that the photog can get their shooting done in a few hours. You might even agree to have credit at the page bottom like “Photos by Southpark Photography” with a link to their website.
I’m getting ahead of myself though. We’ll cover your website, marketing, SEO and all that jazz, later. Let’s get back to analyzing your competition..
I’M STILL WORKING ON THIS ARTICLE – LOTS MORE TO COME! (Apr 22, 22:55)