Adweek - Holy WarOver the last few columns, we’ve been talking about Promotion.  Last time, we walked through a brief overview of Public Relations otherwise known as PR.  Now we are going to talk about Advertising.  

My philosophy on advertising is that in most cases, the goal of your ads should be Data Capture.  You can read my blog on that topic at //tinyurl.com/WhatYourAdShouldDo.

The key to all of advertising is to answer the following question for your target audience: What’s In It For Me?  The person viewing your ad is fully tuned into WIFM.

Your message has to answer that question with something of value to the end user.  Period.  If you don’t do that, then your ad will not be effective.

Many ads in our Christian market industry simply say “Available Now” which is ok if you are someone like Hillsong or Chris Tomlin where fans are literally excited just to know that something new is out. However, for most of us that is not the case. Give your targeted ad viewer something of value to respond to so that you can capture their contact information.

Music sells because people hear it and like it.  Just about every music ad should at least invite the viewer to “hear it now,” watch it now,” or “free song download now.” You don’t need to say it exactly that way, but that should be part of your message. Be sure to capture their contact info in this process!

Advertising is about Benefits. WIFM is about what the viewer finds beneficial to them.  With music, a massive part of that is the listening experience, but it isn’t the only thing. Worship music delivers additional benefits to the listener.  Your church or personal life experience shared in the songs delivers benefits.  Use your advertising to tell about those benefits.  Look here at the well done direct email ad from VideoBlocks.com sent through Worship Musician and WorshipTogether. Ask yourself what’s in it for you? What benefits are they pitching you?

Ads are not just banners or direct emails or printed ads.  Advertising in its broadest sense can include everything you do from your email newsletters to what you say on stage to what’s on your trailer as you drive to your next gig.  Since advertising nothing more than targeted communication, it can encompass all the way s in which you communicate.

What can you give that is of value?  Some things are probably connected to your music, but others may have no obvious connection. Hearing or watching your music is of value, hopefully! You can also do giveaways of your music or of things connected to your music like song posters, or VIP time with you.  Many people do giveaways of the latest techno-gadget like an iPad or  Flip camera because those things are of value to the audience. 

Look at what others are pitching you in their ads. Watch TV, listen to the radio, look at the ads on Facebook and Google, or on the web sites you visit.  Some will be more effective than others, but start paying attention to what others are doing in their ads. That will help you to grow in this area.

Not all advertising has to be paid. You can work out advertising trades, for example, do a drawing with the church that is hosting you as a guest. Send a personal video greeting advertising your upcoming appearance and tell the people to logon to your Facebook page for a chance to win free tickets to the evening concert.  That ad promotes you being there, giving them a flavor of who you are and gives them a chance to get in free, while adding themselves to your Facebook page. That’s just one example of a no cost ad idea.  The church gains because they are bringing you in as an added value for them members, so by showing the video, they are communicating that added value to their members.

Paid ads are also an option.  Any artist who is looking to develop a national following should be adverting on HearItFirst.com and NewReleaseTuesday.com, two top Christian music sites, and worship artists should be considering Worship Musician magazine.  To move into the national arena, you really need an advertising strategy rather than just putting out a couple of ads, which is part of what the team at FrontGate Media does for the entire Christian music community and for musicians. Contact us for a free consultation before you pay for an ad anywhere. It’s what we’ve been doing for over 10 years.

So far in the MAP, we’ve talked about your Mission, Fan Development, the Non-Profit option, God’s Growth Strategy, the Four P’s, Social Media, PR, and now Advertising.  Next time we’ll take a look at several “no-brainers.”  Until then… 

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You’ll find Scott’s regular column in Worship Musician! magazine: “Ministry + Artistry = Profitability? Creating your MAP”. Scott has led classes for us at NAMM, the Christian Musician Summit and at the Christian Leadership Alliance. He has been featured in Adweek and is the Founder and President of FrontGate Media, the largest culture-engaged media group reaching the Christian audience (//www.FrontGateMedia.com) and is the co-founder of Creator Worship: online radio for worship leaders (//www.CreatorWorship.com). Email your comments or questions to Scott@CreatorLeadershipNetwork.com.