Advertising can be intimidating. Case in point: “Mad Men.” Ad executive Don Draper heads to work at his large advertising firm wearing a pressed suit and carrying a large briefcase full of important materials. By lunchtime, he’s pouring a glass of scotch to cope with the stress of the job.
As cliché as the “Mad Men” comparison may be, it’s true. In the “Mad Men” era there were only a handful of places to advertise and targeting those advertisements to the right audience was extremely difficult.
Fast forward to 2014. The days of advertising in phone books and posting flyers all over town are long gone. You no longer have to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for ad space just to sit back with your fingers crossed hoping that it is effective. With the inception of the Internet and social networks that are gathering information about us constantly, reaching the right audience is easier than ever.
Advertising, at least in the digital sense, doesn’t have to be so scary. All it takes is a little time, elbow grease and a budget. So where do you start?
Step 1: Plan
Start by answering the five w’s: who, what, when, where and why.
Why do you want to advertise? Is it to extend the reach of your message, let your fans know you have a new album on iTunes, find new people who aren’t familiar with your music? If you have a clear answer to this question, you’re ready to move forward.
Next, answer these questions: who are you trying to reach? What are you trying to accomplish and what message do you want your audience to see? When is the best time to reach that audience? Where does that audience spend their time online and even more specifically where does that audience live?
By answering these five basic questions, you’ve laid out the framework for your campaign. Not to mention, you may even learn a thing or two about your audience you didn’t know before.
Step 2: Craft Your Message
Now that you know the reason for your advertising campaign, it’s time to come up with the messaging. Start by thinking about your audience and the kind of message they might respond to. Use action words that are going to make them want to act. Keep in mind, there is a lot of clutter out there. Be concise, and grab your audience with the first seven words.
Note: Your message will differ depending on the ad platform and the type of ad. If you are brand new to all of this, familiarize yourself with the basic ad techniques on Facebook, Twitter and Google Adwords.
Step 3: Start Small
The wonder of digital advertising is, there’s no need to blow your entire budget in one fell swoop. Most platforms allow you to adjust your budget as you go. Set up a few different campaigns and test the waters a bit. You’ll know pretty quickly which copy and images are resonating with your audience and which ones are not.
Step 4: Evaluate and Optimize
Digital advertising platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google Adwords give you access to an unbelievable dashboard with plenty of great data. Dig in! Find out what audience reacted the way you wanted them to, what images grabbed people’s attention most. If you’re happy with the results, add more money to the pot.
Step 5: Make Changes and Start Over Again
Now that you’ve seen what worked, you should also evaluate what didn’t work. Take a look at what ads didn’t resonate with your audience and try to figure out why. Next, make a few changes and launch round two. Then repeat the process all over again.
Hopefully these tips won’t leave you reaching for the scotch just yet – keep in mind that the beauty of digital advertising is that it’s ever evolving and allowing us as marketers to get closer and closer to our target audience. If done with a little TLC, the money you spend on digital advertising will be well spent and your message received by the right audience. Embrace it. Digital advertising isn’t going anywhere soon.
——by Ashley Mixson
Ashley Mixson is currently the Executive Director for Girlilla Marketing, a digital marketing agency with offices in Nashville and Los Angeles.
Ashley has implemented and executed digital strategies throughout the music, talent and brand space with clients such as Zac Brown Band, Jennifer Nettles, Southern Ground Music & Food Festival, John Fogerty, Lionel Richie, Ram Trucks and many more.