Should we advertise or not?
March 16, 2007 6:52 PM   Subscribe

Is a £250 advert in a specialist magazine going to pay dividends?

I am looking to sell a compilation record I've got together with a friend. We have been offered cheap-ish advertising space in a music magazine that fits our needs.

Is it worth our/my while to take out advertising space?
posted by djstig to Media & Arts (12 answers total)
Advertising in "specialist" magazines works, if you ask me. Although repetition helps. You should specify the magazine, the term of the advertising period, and the size of the ad relative to the size of the page.
posted by phaedon at 7:01 PM on March 16, 2007

what's the circulation/ how good is the ad/ what's the price-per-unit?

Even if you supply all that info, nobody knows for sure. The more relevant question is "can you afford to lose £250?
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:02 PM on March 16, 2007

It depends. Can you reach the same readership via mailing lists? You usually can. Example: Pipeline magazine/the Cowabunga! mailing list (for surf music). While spamming a mailing list will usually get you banned, becoming a reasonably active member of the community can be a sound commercial move.
posted by unSane at 7:24 PM on March 16, 2007

My dad publishes trade magazines. He manages to stay in business through ads alone, so they must do something right.

If you've got the money, why not?
posted by crinklebat at 8:15 PM on March 16, 2007

I never believed in the value of ads until I bought one. It wasn't in a magazine, but it certainly worked for my business. When I read a magazine I like to think I ignore the ads, but I'm sure some of it slips past into my subconscious. There apparently are plenty of people who deliberately read ads and patronize the services advertised.

You might try calling some of the companies with ads in the magazine currently and see how they have done with their ad?
posted by jesirose at 8:26 PM on March 16, 2007

Specialty magazines are an odd animal when it comes to advertising. You might want to look at congruent ads in the publication, call the company/people and ask how it worked for them. If you do not have a back ground in marketing be sure to "bone up" on the subject so that your ad gives the customer a way to respond to your offer and then make absolutely sure you build some kind of database or spread sheet to track those responding. This way you might be able to sell to them again in the future at a much reduced cost. Also, have in place a way to respond to different requests. Some folks are going to want more information or possibly a site to sample some of the music before they purchase. You should probably look for a response rate of about .003 per 1000 people reading the magazine. This is a low number and it does vary by different markets but you can use it as a gauge to decide if you will recoup your investment.
posted by bkeene12 at 8:40 PM on March 16, 2007

I read ads in both runner's world & singletrack. The first crank bros components I bought were essentially because of one of the ads they had. It was definitely a repetition thing though... I'd see them every issue, & finally I figured I'd look at the web site.
posted by devilsbrigade at 9:14 PM on March 16, 2007

It probably won't work.

Advertising is incredibly complex (everything from design to placement), and you're a couple of amateurs sticking your toe in the water hoping to get results. Are you seriously expecting this to work? (Not being negative, by the way; your ad may be superb, but the point is that you've no experience here.)

I've worked in specialist magazine production and I wouldn't advise anybody to advertise anything, ever. There are two exceptions: Huge corporations, who are trying to build brand awareness, and small direct-sales retailers who are genuinely undercutting everybody else. Those adverts work.

ALL other adverts are pissing in the wind, IMHO! It's just that the truth hurts, and it isn't in the interest of anybody (publishers or advertisers) to admit this.
posted by humblepigeon at 7:17 AM on March 17, 2007

Success is about risk.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:30 AM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Advertising for music is especially tricky, since the benefits of buying music are ephemeral, personal and hard to communicate in an ad placement.

I know musicians who've bought print advertising for CDs, and they've more-or-less all said it wasn't worth it. However, I suspect their main problem was targeting: wrong ad for the wrong audience. So make sure that the people you'll be reaching with this ad are actually inclined to buy the record.

That said, if you're being offered "cheap-ish" ad space in a publication that you truly feel is appropriate to your audience interest, there's no reason not to try, so long as you're prepared to eat the losses.

A suggestion: tie your ad placement to an offer: free download, a discount, etc.
posted by scottandrew at 12:11 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

You'd probably be better off either taking a series of smaller ads, or not doing print ads at all.

Agree with scottandrew, tie your ad to an offer, eg. free download from your MySpace page, or whatever.

Personally, I'd probably spend the money on something else, like printing 250 free CDs with your MySpace address on and giving them away in the street than spending it on print ads for a CD, but still.
posted by girlgeeknz at 3:49 PM on March 17, 2007

Honestly, selling a compilation cd in a music magazine sounds tough. Unless it is extremely rare and desired, I don't think you'll get many people buying a CD after reading an ad.

Why not email a bunch of mp3 bloggers (fluxblog is a good place to start) a link to an mp3? If they like it, they'll write about it and tell people where to buy it.

and if you still want to try advertising, you can throw £25 into google adwords and see how that goes.
posted by kamelhoecker at 8:31 PM on March 18, 2007

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