Advertising costs are a major expense for many businesses. As part of an effective advertising plan, companies must explore different methods to capture clients. Radio advertising can provide a cost-effective method for creating brand awareness and even obtaining new clients, especially for service-based companies. Radio advertising offers three main benefits.
1. First, it comes with built-in listeners. Radio listeners tend to tune into scheduled programming every day, and then tend to keep the same station on for an extended period of time. Unlike other marketing channels, radio listeners are more likely to receive the message, especially when it is broadcast a number of times over the course of two or three weeks.
2. Second, the radio advertising cost can be less expensive than television advertising, and more cost-effective than print advertising.
3. Third, it can be more targeted because many stations and progams cater to specific demographics. To maximize the effectiveness of a campaign, it’s important to understand the audience and how that matches up with your own target demographic. It’s a common mistake to choose a popular station because that’s what you listen to, though your most likely prospects may not. Every radio station’s media kit contains this information, or a radio salesperson can provide the data, including important factors like the gender and age of the audience, as well as income level.
Of course, choosing the right demographic means knowing which ones make buying decisions for your product or service. A national dog training company conducted an analysis of their buyers and discovered they needed to target working mothers, age 30 to 50. This demographic was their sales sweet spot, and the commercials that ran on adult contemporary and easy listening stations performed the best. Once you know your target group and match that to the station’s audience, don’t forget what listeners tend to be doing at any given time of day. For instance, listeners tune-in to their favorite stations in different environments. With the working moms mentioned above, work hours proved the most fruitful for one type of service for that demographic, perhaps because working moms are less likely to get any radio time in before or after work.
Don’t be distracted by reps who want to sell you on the biggest listening audience, which is rarely important. Radio’s real value is in it’s ability to repeatedly target your message to the right people, at the right time of day. The impact of your radio advertising campaign also depends on its frequency. Frequency represents the number of times a listener is likely to hear the marketing message. No matter how interested they may be, consumers rarely take action from a radio ad before hearing it three to five times.
Without a clear call to action, however, listeners are unlikely to take any action. An experienced radio ad writer can help craft a short and powerful message that can make a clear, effective point about your product or service. Radio ads need to be concise to be processed and remembered by listeners. Humor and other emotional tactics can play well.
Radio ads vary from quick mentions, to 15, 30 and 60 second spots, as well as live reads by the radio show hosts. A good advertising rep will help you package together a series of ads that help you to make the most impact. Don’t think that because you are new to radio ads that your service needs 60 seconds– that might sound like an eternity! On the other hand, if you can’t convey your type of service or unique selling proposition quickly, don’t load up on mentions and 15 second spots, just because that’s what you can afford.
Finally, consider radio-to-web strategies in your ads. Phone numbers are hard to remember, and require that the listener feel ready to take action and speak to someone. Listeners are much more likely to remember a catchy web address and can feel free to look it up when getting home (or to the office, as is often the case)! Radio-to-web campaigns also allow you to set up focused landing pages specifically for radio listeners, so you can push one or more radio-specific messages to test and improve your campaigns over time.
Neal Lacy works for United Call Center, a messaging service in Lake Havasu City, AZ. He is an expert on call center services and writes widely about telemarketing in general.
Photo by S. Diddy