Playing the Advertising Game:

Playing the Advertising Game
Playing the Advertising Game

if you are a small online business who restricts your marketing efforts to list building and affiliate marketing, you will probably never get a call from a radio sales representative and you are pretty much safe in skipping this article. However, if you put your business card or flyer up in a public location or advertise in a newspaper or magazine or put a listing up on a local business connector website, then you might want to skim through so that you are prepared for a call from your local radio station’s sales department.

You see, radio salespeople are constantly prospecting for new business. They are alerted to your existence as a business entity through the aforementioned activities and many others including yellow page ads, internet searches and word of mouth. It’s part of their job to be vigilant about finding new advertisers for their particular radio station.

It is not, as many believe, because they are sales sharks looking for the next score. For the most part, they are professional and polite and really do want to help you make the most of their marketing. The problem is that they are, for the most part, biased.

They will show you the statistics that show their radio station in the best light and they will try to convince you that they reach your target market. The information may be true, or it may be slightly skewed in their favor. It is rare that you will run across one who will outright lie to get your advertising dollar, but it does unfortunately happen.

Effective advertising medium:

So, as a potential target, you need to protect yourself from their tactics. Of course, saying you are not interested may work for the short term, but is ultimately unproductive in terms of your business growth. Radio is a powerful and cost effective advertising medium and one that should be seriously considered. Radio, done right, is a great investment.

Even if you aren’t quite ready to make a commitment to a radio buy when the first sales call comes, it can pay off to explore the possibility. The challenge you face as a potential advertiser, is not to find the quickest way to avoid the advertising salesperson but to use the keys of successful radio advertising to get the best results from your investment.

3 KEYS to a successful campaign:

Reaching the Right Target Market

First, and foremost, you’ll want to restrict your dealings to the right radio station or stations for your target market. If your business targets a young and hip demographic then the oldies station is not going to be an ideal fit for you. Alternatively, if you sell high end services for luxury vehicles, the station that plays up to the anti-establishment punk scene is not going to be a good fit for you. So, your first step is asking the radio rep who has found you to describe in detail who their target market is to see if it lines up with your target market closely enough to consider as a possibility. If the answer is no, then you can honestly tell them you’re not interested and why.

Having the Right Frequency

With frequency in relation to radio advertising, we aren’t speaking about where you tune it in on your FM dial, but how often and when your audio sales message plays. (You may call it a commercial, and your radio rep may call it a spot, but what it boils down to is a sales message). You need to have your message heard by the right target market enough times for the message to cause your potential customer to react. How often this is for you will depend on your budget and your goals. If you want to see strong results quickly then you’ll need to have your sales message heard multiple times per day. However, if budget is a factor then there are a variety of techniques that can be used to optimize your marketing impact. The key to making a less than large budget work on radio is to reach your target market when they are most likely to be able to listen and respond. Ask what they can do and what results you should be able to expect with your budget. Beware of suggestions of less than 3 spots per day, unless they provide a well-reasoned rationale for their suggestion and back it up with expected results or previous success stories with a similar business.

Delivering the Right Message

Your sales message needs to have a clear and concise goal and delivery. Your radio representative will work with you to create a message that inspires your target market to take action. If your radio station offers free or low cost writing and production (and most do) you will want to do a little research to ensure that your sales message is getting the best treatment possible. If they are trained to do so and are willing to share previous success stories with you, then this is an acceptable route. However, if they cannot provide great examples of past work that paid off for the client, then you are better off paying for professional writing and possibly professional production outside of the station in order to achieve best results for your message.

With these three components in place, it is likely your business could benefit from radio. Your first radio campaign is much more likely to be a successful one that will have you returning to radio for results time and time again.

Of course, if you’re still below the radar and the radio reps haven’t found you yet, you can still benefit from radio advertising. It just means you’ll have to call them before they call you and apply the same three keys in your search.

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