With advertising now very focused on digital ads and social media, many business owners might be missing out on a highly effective advertising option: radio. Radio advertising has several benefits for small business:
- It is surprisingly affordable. Radio advertising is a lot less expensive than cable television advertising, but often reaches the same market. Because repetition is important to radio advertising, the low cost enables you to run multiple ads, which gets you better results.
- It is fast. Creating a radio ad is easy if you use the services most radio stations provide to help produce your ad. That means you can often purchase radio ads and have them on the air within days.
- It is easy to target listeners. Radio stations are constantly studying their listener profiles to see which demographic groups listen to specific shows, personalities and times of day. They know when your type of customers are listening.
Here's what you need to know if you are interesting in radio advertising:
- Decide on your target market. Create a profile of your ideal target customer as part of your marketing plan. Salespeople from the different radio stations can help you figure out if their listeners are a fit with your target customer. With politics on many Americans' minds throughout the election season and continuing into the foreseeable future, talk radio's popularity continues to rise, Nielsen reports. In fact, news/talk radio was the number-one radio format last year, followed by pop contemporary, adult contemporary and country. Classic rock and classic hits are also very popular formats.
- Choosing when to advertise. The times when you can advertise are broken down into day parts. There's morning and afternoon drive times, as well as nighttime and late night (midnight to 6 a.m.). Radio salespeople will be able to help you hone in on the specific times that are best for reaching your target audience. Remember that the radio stations may have different audiences at various times of the day. For example, a rock station might play music that appeals to younger listeners late at night, but more classic rock during drive time when older listeners are likely to be commuting to work.
- How frequent you should advertise. It's better to run short ads often than to run a couple of very long ads just a few times. Radio ads typically run in 15-, 30-, and 60-second increments. Even a very short ad can be very effective. For best results, run your ads during the same time slot every day, and multiple times per day and week so that your target listeners hear them over and over. It normally takes at least three exposures before someone will even notice your advertising message, and additional exposures for them to remember and act on it. Remember: You can usually negotiate discounts for purchasing a lot of ads at once.
- The length of your advertising campaign. Be patient. This is a process and it takes time to get results from radio. Experts recommend that you allow at least three to six months before you expect to see an impact. After six months to one year, however, you should definitely see an increase in sales - if not, try adjusting your format, dayparts or frequency.
- What to include in your ad. You should remember that the goal is to get your ad to stick in customers' minds. So repeating a tagline, phone number or offer helps make your ads memorable, so they can being silly or even annoying. Make sure you include a clear call to action (Call today for an appointment) and repeat it several times.
- Getting help in creating your ad. Most radio stations have everything needed to create an ad for you, including an announcer, stock music and sound effects. They know which types of ads are most effective, so having them handle it for you is not only easier, but also generally gets better results. If you aren't happy with your local station's offerings, you can employ an outside service to develop and record your ad.
- Track your results! To find out how effective your ads are, you should implement a tracking system using a code for each ad campaign. For example, if you're advertising on radio station WFLA, tell listeners to mention WFLA when they make their appointment or type WFLA in the offer field on your website. You may want to also create a specific website landing page with a URL you repeat in the ad: 'Go to seagulltechnologies.com/KLOS to get this special offer.'
You also need to have specific goals for each ad campaign. Do you want to get customers to call for a consultation, visit your store or go to your website to make an appointment? Know exactly what you want each ad to accomplish - that way it will be easier to track whether it succeeds or not.