Not long ago, a client I was working with complained that the radio advertising he had done had given him no results. He had been visited by a radio sales representative and purchased several spots over a few weeks. It turned out that my client had put little effort into researching his market and the station. Also, he had only purchased a few ads, and then when they “didn’t work” he did not purchase any more.
Radio advertising can be a very fruitful method of advertising for some small businesses if the owner puts in the necessary research and is patient. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when considering radio advertising.
Understand Your Customers’ Listening Habits – Before making decisions concerning radio advertising, you need to know who you are targeting and understand what types of stations they like It is crucial to choose the station(s) whose main listeners match your target market. In addition, spend time listening to various stations to evaluate station quality.
Make Content Count – You only have a short time to get your message across. Leave out irrelevant information. Concentrate on what will motivate the listener to want more information, visit your place of business, and make a purchase.
Ask for Help – Radio representatives can assist you with developing a script for your ads. Work with more than one station to help you evaluate what may work best. Be consistent in the tone of your ads and listen to them before they air.
Use the Appropriate Method – If you are having a specific event you wish to advertise, run a large number of ads in a short period of time. But if you are looking for business name awareness, run less frequent ads regularly over a long period of time.
Advertise When They Really Listen – Radio listeners tend to be listening more closely during talk shows, news, sports, and weather reports than during music segments. Advertising during these times can be more effective, but always consider your target market when determining ad placement.
Consider Sponsorships – Sponsorships are when your business sponsors a particular segment of time such as news, weather, sports, etc. Your business is given credit for bringing this segment to the listeners.
Understand the Importance of Repetitiveness – Be patient. To get your business into the minds of your target customers will require repetitiveness. Running just a few ads over a short period of time and then quitting will likely not generate the results you want.
Consider a Special Event – It may be appropriate and beneficial to have a special event at your business with a remote radio broadcast led by a local radio personality. Work with your chosen radio station to set up the event and fit it into your budget.
Create a Budget – In most cases, it is desirable to run low frequency ads over the year and add high frequency ads occasionally throughout the year as special events occur. But consider what you can afford. Develop a budget and run ads as often and for as long as fits your budget.
Understand the Role of Radio in Your Overall Marketing Plan – As you are planning and budgeting for your radio advertising, you must consider your overall marketing plan. Are some of your radio dollars better spent on other methods of promoting your business? How likely are radio ads to contribute to your bottom line?
These guidelines can be very useful, but remember, radio advertising is not right for all businesses and any efforts to advertise through radio must be tailored to your business and your market.
Connie Edwards is a Business Consultant with The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center. Contact her at 912-651-3200
Edwards, Connie (n.d.). Business Sense. Available from http://www.georgiasbdc.org/pdfs/edwards08.pdf