The basics of remarketing for musicians

Remarketing 101 for Musicians: How to put the right message in front of the right fans every time.

Music marketing shouldn’t be a guessing game. At least not ALL the time.

When you know what your fans have done in the past, you’ll have a better idea of what they want to do today and tomorrow.

That’s the basic concept behind remarketing.

Check out this tutorial video all about the basics of sequential messaging, segmented audiences, and installing your Facebook pixel:

What is remarketing?

Remarketing is the process of putting the right sequential messages in front of a defined audience based on their previous actions. 

Put another way:

  • You use remarketing/retargeting code (such as the Facebook pixel) to track your fans actions across your online properties (websites, campaigns, sales funnels, Facebook, Instagram, etc.).
  • Then, based on what they did or didn’t do on those properties, you’ll have a better sense of how to communicate with those audiences in the future. For example, you can target Facebook ads directly at a segment of your fanbase who you know has already visited a specific page on your website.

Instead of blasting your entire fanbase with a string of one-off messages, you try to take fans on a journey from A to Z; and you treat each fan differently according to when, if, and how they take the next step along the way.

You will have to PAY to remarket right.

SWALLOW THIS PILL NOW: Effective remarketing often involves paid advertising.

Sure, you can keep close track of link-clicks in Mailchimp or whatever and tag your list accordingly, then follow up with those segmented audiences for free — but that’s not REALLY what we’re talking about with remarketing. You want the bulk of the tracking (now) and the targeting of messages (later) to be automated. And for that you’re going to have to get used to the idea of PAYING Facebook, Google, YouTube, SOMEONE.

If paying to advertise sounds like a bitter pill to swallow, here’s four scoops of sugar:

  1. Your music career isn’t a career if you don’t treat it like a business in some respect. And businesses have to spend money to make money. Attention isn’t free. Effective advertising isn’t free. But the return can be well worth it.
  2. The big ad platforms like Facebook/Instagram, Google, and YouTube have enormous reach and fairly competitive (cheap) ad rates. In the grand scheme of modern advertising, you’re in a bright age. And before you even get to the RE-marketing phase, you have a ton of potential for introducing yourself at low-cost to complete strangers.
  3. The segmented audiences you create will update automatically based on fan engagement, so they become dynamic advertising assets you can return to again and again.
  4. As your skills develop in this area, it gets easier and often cheaper to achieve the same or better results. Don’t despair. Plug away. Improve.

Remarketing gives you a better way to drive music sales, tell your story, and take fans on a journey.

Ever heard the term “funnel” used in a marketing context? Purchase funnel. Sales funnel. Conversion funnel.

It’s pretty much what it sounds like. The funnel is a way to describe a journey you take someone through (ummm, down) from awareness, to interest, to desire, to action.

  1. Hey, you’ve never heard of me. Now you have.
  2. Like what you heard? I’m pretty cool. Here’s why.
  3. You’re pretty cool for liking me. Can I give you 50% off my newest album?
  4. Thanks for buying my new CD! Now you’re in the club, here’s some more sweet stuff.

That’s a crass summary, but hopefully it illustrates the point. You move your audience from here to there.

Not surprisingly, you lose some people along the way. So the “top” of the funnel is where you have the most reach but the least commitment from your audience. As fans follow you down the funnel, your reach shrinks but your audience’s commitment deepens.

Remarketing can be seen as a kind of messaging or advertising equivalent to the funnel concept, or as an integral part of the funnel itself.

Again, it’s about a journey. You can create that journey based on your goals of course, but you should also consider what would be most exciting and valuable for your fans.

Perhaps Point A is a web page where a Spotify player for your new single is embedded, and Point Z is a page where you ask the diehard fans who followed you “down the funnel” to purchase the limited-edition vinyl package when the full album comes out. Along the way, you better have made the JOURNEY towards that premium offer something your biggest fans found interesting (at least) and inspiring (at best).

With remarketing, it’s easier to treat every fan like an individual. And that’s key to creating a deeper sense of connection and loyalty with every message you send, ad you serve, video you post, blog your write, etc.

Remarketing helps you determine:

  • who wants to travel further down the road with you
  • who needs a little extra encouragement or convincing
  • who might need to see a different offer, or different kinds of content
  • and who wants to be left the hell alone already

Then you follow up accordingly.

Did your fan take the next step? Great. Make sure the road ahead continues to be exciting.

Did they stall? That happens. Maybe they need a reminder they were on a journey with you, and why that’s exciting for both of you.

Are they losing interest? Give them another chance to hop back on the train.

Did they consistently ignore you? Great. Get rid of ’em. They weren’t going to be your fan anyway.

Let’s get (just a little bit) technical

Remarketing and retargeting are technically different things, but for our purposes we’ll call them the same thing. No need to overly complicate this.

Tracking your fans’ online activity

Tracking your fans online activity requires you to install some retargeting code — such as the Facebook pixel — on your:

  • Websites
  • campaigns
  • Sales funnels
  • LinkFire links
  • and more

To create your Facebook pixel, go HERE.

Installing your retargeting code within a campaign is super easy. You just copy the code from Facebook and paste it into the retargeting code field within your dashboard when creating the campaign.

As for your website, different hosting services have different ways of accommodating the Facebook pixel, so be sure to check your host’s FAQ or tutorial videos.

Now — how are YOU going to follow up?

Tracking is one thing. But follow-up is where the fun begins. This is where you get creative and find the right way to speak to specific segments of your fanbase.

If you’re leaning on the Facebook pixel for your tracking, well, your follow-up is probably going to happen through the Facebook (and Instagram) ads platform. But email, Messenger, normal social posts, and your website content will all play a part in where and how you follow up too.

Questions to ask yourself before you create a follow-up ad or piece of content:

  • What copy, image, video, or offer will most interest these people at THIS point in the journey?
  • Does this follow-up communication deepen our connection or further the story in a meaningful way?
  • Does it help them as much or MORE than it helps me?
  • Does it speak directly TO them and acknowledge where THEY are at in this journey?

You should repeat these questions every time you consider some bit of sequential messaging. If you do, I bet you’ll see surprising results in your fan engagement.

In review, remarketing can help you as a musician:

  1. Connect the dots between your fans and their online actions
  2. Follow your fans’ activity across multiple platforms
  3. Avoid an endless string of one-off posts that don’t tell a cohesive story
  4. Deepen your connection with your audience
  5. Build dynamic advertising assets

I hope this article is helpful in providing the basics of remarketing, and I’d love to hear about your own efforts in sequential marketing, Facebook ads, segmented audiences, and leading your fans on a journey that results in more email signups, merch and ticket sales, and streams.

Lemme know in the comments below.