Advertising on the radio is one of the best ways to promote and grow your business. It is one of the most cost effective and direct ways to get your message out and promote your business, especially compared to other traditional advertising (billboards, magazines, newspaper, etc.) Radio is truly ubiquitous, reaching people wherever they are whether at home, work, on the road or wherever they are. It is a great part of an overall media mix, complementing and enhancing everything else you do. Radio is one of the best mediums for branding, increasing awareness and driving traffic. Business Professionals advertise on the radio for a variety of reasons. They use radio to increase their position in their industry, increase their awareness, improve their brand, educate and help people and promote their products and services to gain potential clients. They also may use their ads to advertise and promote grand openings, open houses, events, seminars, workshops, webinars, books or other parts of their business. In this day and age, having a radio commercial is a very impactful tool that makes people take notice and brands your business as an "expert"; people usually think a business on the radio has more credibility. And it’s easy to do. Here’s how it’s done.
Radio is listened to by over 92% of U.S. population each week over 12 years old. Radio has its highest audience and reach in its over 100 year history. Almost 285 million people tune in to the radio each week. 57 million people, or 1 in 5, listen online weekly. 3 in 4 people tune in daily. The average radio listener listens almost 16.25 hours each week. Radio reaches listeners consistently throughout the year. It has one of the highest R.O.I.’s of any advertising medium returning $6 for every $1 spent. Additionally, talk radio has a 3 times return over music radio because more listeners hear the commercials; they are less of an interruption, the flow of the show is linear and most hosts have a loyal following. 32.1% of radio listeners have initiated an online search after hearing a radio ad. As for radio listeners (adults 18-49) that tune into radio over the course of a week, 96% have a college degree and an annual household income of over $75,000. There are 80 million Baby Boomers Americans born between 1946 and 1964 which make up a big part of the daily radio audience, and they account for roughly half of all packaged-good sales, almost $230 billion. In five years, they’ll control 70% of the USA’s disposable income. Most radio ads generate emotional levels equal to or higher than T.V. and 65% of Americans believe radio is more “personal” than television.
Determine your goals. What are you looking to accomplish? Are you looking to increase sales of a product or service? Generate leads? Increase awareness? Brand? Drive traffic into a retail establishment or online to a website? Generate phone calls? Generate Facebook likes or Twitter followers?
Determine who you are looking to reach. Who is your ideal customer? What is their buyer persona? Where are they located? What are their interests?
Determine your budget. How much can you afford? What should you spend? A typical yearly advertising budget is 5.5% of your gross annual sales. Depending on your specific business or industry, it could be more or less. Your radio budget could be 100% of your advertising budget or a percentage of it. Refer to my 2/10/15 blog on media planning and allocating your media budget.
Determine what stations to advertise on. Advertise on stations that reach your target demographic to help you accomplish your goals. Research stations. Radio locator lists all stations in all cities in the country. Contact local stations only if your market is local or national stations also if your market is national. Look for stations with formats that reach your target market. For example, talk radio reaches middle aged to older affluent consumers. Usually stations will have listenership and demographic information on their website.
Most radio station production staffs can write and produce the entire commercial, including voice overs, music and sound effects from beginning to end. If you wish to write the ad script yourself, they can assist in any edits needed. If you want them to create the ad, they will ask questions and need some guidance for your script. Usually you can get an ad on the air in about a week though most stations can get an ad on immediately if needed. You have the option to voice the advertisement yourself or the production staff or voiceovers can read the ad. They can air any pre-produced spot as long as it is the agreed upon length or edit it if needed to the agreed upon length. Usually, you can change your ad at any time or rotate multiple ads. Depending on the advertising package, usually it includes the cost to produce the finished commercial. You can receive a copy of the commercial and own the rights, so you can post it on your website and re-air the spot elsewhere. You can post the commercial on your social media. Usually, your commercial can also can receive bonus reruns throughout the week in open time at no extra charge depending on time available. Also, your business is usually listed on the station’s website with a link to your website.
The costs vary by the number of commercials aired, day parts they’re aired and term of the agreement. The initial term is usually 13 weeks with the first month paid upon contract and subsequently prepaid monthly.
Measure the results. Have a monitoring system in place to measure performance. Track results of specific campaigns on specific stations. Short term campaigns can be measured over the short term while long-term campaigns should be measured over the long term. Compare results to your goals. Measure the ROI based on your costs and results. You should try different messages or schedules before discontinuing a campaign. Continue successful campaigns and discontinue unsuccessful ones. If you discontinue one campaign on one station, you could try another on another station.
Now you know why you should advertise on the radio and the best way to do it. Are you doing that? Why not? Most radio advertisers have found radio to be one of the most productive parts of their media mix. I look forward to listening to your ad on the radio. Let me know if I can help you promote your business on the radio.