Written By Petra Hule

Not everyone is cut out for this profession, but I’m guessing you’re here for a reason, you’re an aspiring musician who wants to make a career out of performing and playing music for the world? Although the path is enticing and thrilling and oh, the joys that will come along with it, it’s also a long and grueling path that can’t be done alone.

Luckily, the world and its inhabitants are here to help, but let’s keep it real, not everyone will enjoy the same taste in music. So, let’s take a look at how you can sift through the world and find those that are on the same wavelength by advertising your music online.

First things first, what is “online advertising?”

Getting in touch with anyone, anywhere in the world has become increasingly easier as the world of technology constantly evolves. Thus, this internet-driven world we live in naturally becomes one of our greatest assets, when utilized most effectively.

Online advertising has many names including online marketing, digital advertising, or web advertising. In a nutshell, any type of advertising done via the internet that delivers some sort of promotional message to a consumer is known as advertising. In the case of musicians, maybe it’s an ad for an upcoming album or a single. Way before ad blockers, the online advertising game excelled, but nowadays, it’s more of a challenge to get in touch with your target audience. But, have no fear, it can be done!

A popular way to advertise nowadays is “cookie-based targeting.” Cookie-based targeting displays ads based on a consumer’s past browsing experience. For example, let’s say someone visits your musician website. Later on in the day, they are scrolling through Instagram and wallah, your ad magically appears. Is it coincidental? Sometimes, but most of the time, it’s because of an advertising cookie. You can usually filter whether or not you would like to do cookie-based targeting when setting up your ads.

How To Format Your Ad

Here’s a scenario for you: Let’s say you’re on a date, they ask you, “what do you like most about yourself?” or, better yet, “why should I date you?” Essentially, this is advertising. Scary, right? To be asked, what makes you special? To some, you’re the greatest thing that has crossed the earth and to others, maybe not so much. That’s totally fine, however, if you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll never know right?

So, you’re done with your date and decide to see them again. Unless you’re married at first sight, one doesn’t necessarily go from a first date to the alter. The same goes for artists and their fans and this is where online advertising becomes your best friend. When writing an ad, here are a few things to keep in mind:

All Caps Are Not Your Friend

We love your music as much as you do, but when all caps are used in advertising, it tends to make the consumer feel like they’re being shouted at. Keep it simple, keep it classy & clean.

Don’t Overcrowd Your Ad

When creating your music ad, be sure to keep in mind, “if I saw this, would I read it?” If you’re answer is no, first take a look at the word count. Are there so many sentences that your mind loses interest after just one? Sometimes the lesser amount of words, the better.

Always Have A Call To Action

A call to action, also known as a CTA, plain and simply is a way to bring consumers in. In the case of a musician, this could be something like ‘listen to my new single,” or ‘pre-save my new album.’

Crisp Images Are Crucial

No one wants to scroll through Instagram or TikTok and see a blurry image. Be sure to check your image’s resolution before uploading for any display advertising.

Create Powerful Headlines

The headlines need to knock a consumer’s socks off! Sometimes instead of being so obvious like, “listen to my latest single “Elicit Mag Is The Best” you could say, “how much do you love music blogs?”

Our subconscious is always running in the background, even when we don’t know it. It’s just like the apps running in the background of our phones after opening them for the first time. The catch, however, is “opening the app” to begin with. This is the same for the human brain… (bet you thought you were only going to learn about advertising tips and tricks, but ha, welcome to psychology 101!). If you haven’t seen the movie, Focus, now is the time. The movie teaches us an important lesson, “you get their focus, you can take whatever you want” – subconscious being the most important.

Releasing music to the world can only get you so far, thus, advertising not just your music, but you as an artist, person, creator, goes far and beyond the traditional releases not only support your music but you as a human being. There are a few tips and tricks to draw people in and stimulate the minds of your future fans and listeners.

Places To Advertise Your Music

Sometimes, we don’t always think about the endless possibilities of advertising. Keep in mind, not all advertisements are visual and this is where things get interesting. Here are a few different places you can start advertising:

  • Radio
  • Email Newsletters
  • Blogs
  • Playlists
  • Newspapers
  • Social Media
  • Search Engines

Some of the best platforms to advertise yourself are the most common places you visit on the internet on a daily basis such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram. Aside from just digital advertising, it’s important for musicians to keep in mind advertising in a local newspaper or even doing some guerrilla marketing like publicity stunts (flash mob anyone?).

Advertising Lingo 101 For Musicians

We get it, a lot of the time the advertising lingo that’s thrown around can be really confusing for those that are not marketers on the daily. Here are a few terms to know when getting into advertising for your music:

Impressions

Creating these advertisements doesn’t cut it if they’re only being seen by a handful of people. What’s even more important is the reach, also known as an impression, of which your adverts are receiving. Impressions are the number of times your ad is seen or interacted with by anyone. This gives insight into how many people are noticing you and becoming aware of your name, image, and message.

Audience Loyalty

Going back to our scenario from earlier, if we were to give a rating to our dates, as to how much we enjoyed their presence, ranging between from hot to cold, hot being YES, want to see you again a hundred percent and cold being, I don’t see us working out. Audience loyalty is graded on the same scale, just with a few more levels.

Cold Audience

A cold audience is an audience that has no idea who you are and are foreigners to you and what you’re about. A lukewarm audience is those that have maybe heard of you, seen a video or two, but nothing special. Those that know of you well and want more are your warm audience and the ones that are your die-hard fans, waiting on edge for your next release or move is your hot audience.

Warm Audience

Like any relationship, the jump from cold to hot doesn’t happen overnight, it takes spending time with them and getting to know them. Just like you and your fans and how much “engagement” they’re having with you. In the world of advertising, the term engagement refers to how much time they interact with your ad. Are they watching your entire video? Subscribing to your channel? Clicking on your ad?

Creating A Successful Ad Campaign Takes Time

So you’ve been on a couple of dates, but no further action is being taken. What are you to do? Well, instead of looking at the other dates that ended this way, you too can take action. You’ve created the ads but they’re not taking off? Your numbers of impressions are through the roof, but few are taking the next step, you can either be disheartened and look at the numbers that don’t exist or you can make your next move and try a different route by focusing on the ones you do have and reassessing.

Investing in something, anything, especially in a business (you are the business here) you will incur some losses, some very heavy losses. If you’re serious, however, about your music and career plan, these losses come with the wins in the long run.

How Much Money Should You Put Into Paid Advertising?

One thing to keep in mind when dealing with budgets, in the beginning, is sticking to the budget plan. Make the most out of what you set out for yourself. It’s great to go all out and sell your soul if you have to be, but I can assure you, there are smarter ways to be known as opposed to driving yourself into a one-way highway of debt. Keep to the budget during the initial phases to “test the water” first.

Take advantage of all the free goodies in the world that won’t cost a dime, just time, such as Instagram pages and posts, TikTok videos, YouTube content, or websites and blog posts. Sometimes, putting something, anything out there to inform those that are there from day one, goes a lot further than you would think, so don’t overcomplicate what you start off with.