Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros


August 12, 2005

Music Ads: 6 Steps to Powerful Promotion

I'll be the first to tell you that print and online ad space should not be the first place to invest your money. There are many creative no-cost and low-cost ways to market yourself that you should focus on first.

However, there are times when precisely placed and timed ads could benefit a promotional campaign. With that in mind, here's a short excerpt from the Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook to help you make the most of advertising if and when you do use it.


Six Steps to Creating Powerful Music Ads

It's sad to say, but most music marketers approach advertising in a shoot-from-the-hip, spontaneous manner. That quality is great for jamming, but it does little to make the best use of your ad dollars. Whether you're designing an ad for a print magazine or web site, here are six principles you should use to generate real results from your advertising efforts.

1. Have a purpose for every ad

If you're running an ad just because everyone else is, or because you have a new release coming out and it's the thing to do .., slow down. Beyond that, what's your real objective for advertising? Is it to get people to go to stores and buy your new CD? Add people to your mailing list? Solicit mail order sales of your recordings? Promote a live show?

Don't expect an ad to work miracles and accomplish multiple objectives. Pick one purpose for each ad. Then make sure its design works toward that end.

2. Remain consistent with your theme and design

Choose a look and attitude that will stay the same for many weeks and months to come. Having a consistent design and feel to your ads burns an impression of your music into the minds of consumers. And that's exactly what you want to do! Think of the Coca-Cola logo. It's changed very little over the decades. And it's one of the most recognized images in the world. Bottom line: Consistency rules!

3. Start small

Don't think your ads have to be bigger than the other guy's or gal's. A lot of marketers let their egos steer their ad decisions, not rational thought. A series of small ads run regularly over time will have 10 times the impact of one or two full-blown, full-page ads that people never see again.

4. Make the offer prominent in your ad

After you decide on the marketing objective for your ad, create a corresponding offer that will inspire readers to take action. Examples: a free download, a $3 discount, free CDs for the first 50 people, etc. Then make sure that offer is prominent in your ad. Don't bury it.

5. Stick with a budget

Figure out how much per month or per quarter you can budget for advertising and then stick to your plan. There are two reasons to do this:
  • So you don't go nuts and blow your whole bank roll on advertising, and

  • So you don't get side-tracked and skip advertising when you need to be.
Again, I don't think you always have to be running display ads. But during those months when it's in your best interest, make sure there's a system in place so you don't miss publication deadlines and lose out on the exposure.

6. Include complete contact info

There's no excuse for leaving out your street address, phone, e-mail and web site info. If you have them, list them!

Before you rush to slap together another ad, look over these music advertising tips. You'll be glad you did.

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