Easy Ways to Improve Your Radio Advertising
Radio advertising is still a great business driver, especially in small markets where listenership has an intimate relationship with local station personalities.
A 2014 Nielsen report claims that more than 90 percent of American consumers are still listening, which is good news for businesses like yours. Radio advertising is efficient, powerful and fun when it’s done well, but also requires attention and experimentation. Businesses that take the “set it and forget it” approach eventually see a diminishing return on their campaign. The good news is you can easily breathe new life into your advertising with a little effort.
STAY FOCUSED ON THE RIGHT AUDIENCE
Radio is versatile, but it’s also fragmented. Most advertisers buy 3 to 5 stations to reach enough of their target customers to make an impact, but just remember that audiences change, and so should your strategy.
Ask your ad sales rep to share independent ratings research with you (Nielsen Audio, formerly Arbitron) at least once a year, and make sure you always have a clear idea of who your ideal customer is. Trying to reach “everybody” is not a winning strategy. You should always focus on your most frequent buyers unless you are introducing a product or service to a new market.
In rural markets, you may need to ask your rep to run the numbers over two books in order to get an adequate sample.
check your schedule
A good advertising schedule delivers your message in all dayparts that make sense for your campaign. Morning and afternoon drive times offer the greatest listenership, and the highest costs, but that doesn’t mean other dayparts won’t help you reach your goals.
“Rotator” schedules are popular because it gives advertisers broad exposure throughout the broadcast day. Instead of customizing a schedule based on your particular needs, the station will offer you a low-cost, high-frequency package that spreads your message across all dayparts. Local businesses often go for this because they get a lot of spots for a good price. The downside is that many of your ads could get buried in programming where inventory is plentiful and listeners are scarce, like late night and weekend time slots.
Advertising agencies audit the invoices they get from radio stations, checking to see when the ads actually ran compared to the schedule we purchased. You’d be surprised at how often discrepancies pop up. That’s why it’s a good idea to review your schedules now and again. Sometimes a completely new strategy – like saturating one daypart – can revive results.
Change your creative
Running the same ad for months or years without changing the creative is like trying to drive a car that has run out of gas. Remember that the average consumer encounters as many as 5,000 advertising messages a day, and if your business isn’t constantly challenging their attention spans, you are wasting money.
Here are some tips on how to sharpen up your ads:
Make the beginning count – The first couple seconds of a radio ad are crucial for grabbing attention. Don’t waste them on lame introductions. This is the moment to surprise people with something unexpected. You can do this with sound effects, music, or words – just make sure that it’s memorable.
The message is king – You can create an amazingly creative ad and it will still fail if the message gets buried. When it comes to advertising, creativity is only good when it enhances the message itself. If your concept isn’t simple and message driven, it’s a dud.
Keep it simple – Examine your radio copy and look for words and phrases that don’t play a vital role. Start by going after every cliché you see. Got a “friendly, knowledgeable staff?” Get rid of it. Do you have “the best prices and the best service?” Gone! Say something unique and different that people will remember. Just make sure it’s the truth.
Don’t just sell them. Be helpful – The best way to capture attention is by distinguishing your business from every other advertiser on the radio. From the moment the commercial break starts, announcers start screaming: Buy this! Buy that! Buy now, now, NOW!
Taking a different approach will help set your business apart. Offer people tips that will enhance your credibility as an expert. Direct them to your website if you’ve got more information. Using advertising to cross-promote your content marketing is always a good step.
A good radio ad strategy is consistent, but that doesn’t mean letting things run on auto-pilot. When your campaigns start to feel stale, try experimenting with a different creative approach or a new placement strategy. Surprise the listeners with something new. They just might surprise you as well.