Success in advertising is hard-fought and never guaranteed. The businessman John Wanamaker once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
The truth is, sometimes you need to try a bit of everything.
Radio can be part of a solid marketing strategy. Here are a few reasons why:
According to a recent study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions, for every $1 spent on radio advertising, businesses see $12 in sales. As radio advertising expert Matt Senne explained, “No other medium can reach such a broad cross-section of potential customers.”
Other favorable attributes of radio advertising include repetition and a relatively long exposure time. Combine that with the fact that production costs for a radio ad campaign are affordable, and it makes sense to get your message out over the airwaves.
It's a myth that people don’t listen to the radio anymore. According to RadioAdvertisingFacts.com, 90 percent of Americans regularly tune in to at least one FM or AM station. Even the younger generation will forego their streaming apps to sample what the disc jockey has on tap.
How much does it cost to advertise on the radio? You will pay anywhere from $20 up to several hundred dollars for a radio spot, depending on a few factors like market size and when the ad plays. A “30 spot” is 30 seconds of airtime. A “60 spot” is 60 seconds. Your initial ad campaign should have 20 spots in its first week. You should expect to spend around $2,000 to $5,000.
Creating a successful radio ad campaign is hard work. It’s even harder when you don’t know what you are doing. Here are some best practices to make sure you’re putting all that effort where it belongs:
If you don’t have experience with this type of marketing, it would be smart to hire a consultant or use a marketing agency. Be careful, though. Some of these organizations work directly with the radio companies, and their focus is less on getting you a great rate, and more on lining the pockets of the radio station executives. You want to hire someone who’s on your side.
I have a friend who owns a restaurant. He decided to purchase a billboard ad next to the freeway just outside of town.
Weeks went by, and he didn’t see an increase in customers. He was about to cancel the billboard when a customer finally came in saying that they had to try the big, juicy hamburger they’d seen in the picture.
“When I saw that burger, I just had to turn around and come back into town.”
His ad was on the wrong billboard. He was advertising to people leaving the city. He called up the billboard company, and they put his ad where it was supposed to be. Almost immediately, he enjoyed a significant uptick in diners.
Anyway, that’s a lot of words to make the obvious point that bad advertising doesn’t work.
Big mistakes in radio advertising include:
That last point deserves particular attention: do not go against any advertising regulations in your area. It would be smart to have a compliance specialist listen to your ad before it airs. Also, ask the radio station what their rules are on reusing your ads on other stations. Most stations are okay with this, but it’s worth asking just in case.
Hopefully, your first campaign is profitable. Either way, there will be room for improvement. Like:
If you hit your stride recording the radio ad, then you try getting your voice out there in other ways. A podcast is a powerful way to reach an audience. The tricky part is building up that audience. You will need to find your niche, and then get them to notice you. This can be expensive, and there is a very good chance it will never pan out.
Radio advertising might sound a little old-fashioned at first, but it is a cost-effective way to get your message out there. Speaking of your message, one last point that we can’t stress enough: every single radio advertisement you make must include a strong, clear, and concise call to action. You should always invite your customers to do something. Preferably, something that makes you money.